On January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we Catholics have the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, and in California, usually the Walk for Life, on the nearest Saturday. But is it time to ditch focusing too much on rallying Christians to prayer and protesting? Should we have a day of Pro-Life Action instead, a day where we focus on doing something to propagate pro-life truth instead of just talking to God and one another about it, as good as that is?
Personally, I am a man of action; I like to get things done and not just talk about getting things done, and so having a Pro-Life Action day appeals to me, for I believe there is a lack of impactful pro-life evangelization happening, where focus is on winning the hearts and minds of individuals. Don’t get me wrong. The movement, as it is, is having measurable results and is saving lives and saving souls, but we still need more. The Walk for Life is great, prayer is great, but how do we also win the hearts and minds of pro-choicers, or those “on-the-fence” or undecided?
One of the things that is missing, it seems to me, is translating the pro-life moral reasoning (rock-solid as it is) into actionable steps that average person can take to help. The goal is not just having the knowledge, but winning the hearts and minds of those who don’t. Having a day of “Pro-Life Action”, a day of creating awareness about making “Pro-life” less about “a belief”, and more about “a movement” at the grass-roots, might be a good new focus.
Be this as it may, I don’t think we can “ditch” the day of prayer, and here’s why. We are Christians, and we know that if we want to do anything good in this world, we are doing it as God’s instrument; that we are doing it with God – or rather – that God is doing it with us. I used to do pro-life street evangelization with the Canadian Centre for Reform, before I entered the Dominicans. I hope to do something like this after I am ordained, too. We were winning dozens of hearts and minds every single day we went on the street. This is not an exaggeration; it happened right before our eyes when we spoke to people. But what the other interns and I realized was the very stark difference our impact had when we prayed and explicitly called on the Holy Spirit before going out, as opposed to when we forgot to. When we called on the Holy Spirit, it was usually amazing and we had numerous converts; but when we didn’t, results were marginal.
No, both action and prayer are indispensable and inseparable. All things must begin and end with God, and no good in this world, no effort of our own to better this world we live in will matter unless it is this way (Apart from me you can do nothing | John 15:5). Prayer must always precede action, but action nonetheless must also follow prayer. So, let us pray for the unborn, and let us rise up and take action to defend them.
Br. Chrysostom Mijinke, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE