Intercession: Today's intercession is for fathers who have consented to abortion. We pray that they will come to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for love and healing.
Too often, pro-abortion arguments are scripted as if abortion only affects women, when it instead affects fathers, grandparents, society and, obviously, unborn children. Because fathers are often forgotten, it becomes easier to leave off the influence of fathers altogether. How many teenage television shows show the unsuspecting boyfriend saying, "I'm good with whatever you want to do."? Let's pray not only for fathers who have consented to abortion, but for fathers who will take an immediate responsibility to defend life.
Reflection: Today's Gospel reading is John 1:29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
In today's Gospel, John the Baptist describes meeting and baptizing Jesus. "I did not know him," he says twice, which stood out the most to me when I read it. John does not know Jesus when he sees Him, but instead knows (1) the sign he will see when it is Him and (2) what to do when the Son of God arrives. We can apply John's story to the 9 Days for Life campaign too. Literally, the first sign we see when new life begins is a pink line or plus sign, depending on the type, of a pregnancy test. Knowing that we are called to defend and protect life at all stages, our first response (pun unintended) when we see that sign on the pregnancy test should be joy and thanksgiving. This child is a new son or daughter of God who deserves our love.
Act of Reparation: Read about the life of a modern (19th or 20th century) saint. You might be surprised by how much you have in common with them.
For this act, I chose St. John Bosco. Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco lived next to my university parish and were often seen in the halls and chapel of St. John's. I also got St. John Bosco as my saint of the year, so this is a good opportunity to learn more about him.
St. John Bosco lived from 1815 to 1888. He was declared blessed in 1929, was canonized in 1934 and his feast day is 31 January. When he was nine years old, John dreamt he stood in a field with many children who were misbehaving. A man whose face shone with light appeared to him and told John that he must be the leader of the children. John said it was impossible, but the man said John would learn by obedience and by acquiring knowledge how to do the impossible. The children changed into wild animals, but the man showed how they changed to lambs when they were led properly. John went on to work with neglected children and help them become more holy.
I've read this story before but I had completely forgotten about it. I wake up talking about or writing my dreams down frequently, probably four nights a week on average. I haven't been writing them down much recently, but really want to start doing so again. I like to think that dreams mean something, but I usually conclude that they are composed of pieces of things which have been marinating in the back of my mind, not that they are messages from God telling me of my future. It would be incredibly cool to have a dream like that. Maybe my dream about meeting Pope Benedict XVI will come true! I guess you never know. ;)