Saturday, January 21, 2006

Life Marches On

This weekend there are many marches and other demonstrations and events happening across the country, to protest the infamous and murderous Roe vs. Wade decision which has covered this country with rivers of human blood and guilt. I will be offering the Divine Liturgy today for the march happening in San Francisco, a city notorious for its libertinism and immorality. The marchers expect some vicious opposition, so we will be praying.

It has been 33 years since that lamentable decision, tens of millions of unborn babies have been murdered, new and more barbarous ways of killing have been devised, and yet it goes on, firmly entrenched as the “settled law” of the land. What we’re up against are numerous hardened hearts in high places (see my post, “The Hardening” at the end of last month). Those who control the media, and those with economic and political clout are mostly calling the shots, and most legislative attempts to do even a little to curb the madness are declared “unconstitutional” by one or another court. One can be arrested simply for praying or speaking to women outside an abortion clinic. Recently, some pro-abortion people, in an uncontrolled rage, defaced or tore down a number of pro-life ads placed on a public transportation system in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were outraged and indignant that the company took a politically-neutral stance and accepted the ads. Hmm. Suppose a few pro-life people tore down some pro-abortion ads. They would be branded as law-breaking, dangerous fanatics, or perhaps even terrorists, and there would be a lot of media coverage to vilify them. But pro-abortion fanatics are somehow champions of freedom and the American Way. Double-standards are the standard for the enemies of life.

I think I have to ask a hard question in the face of all the well-oiled anti-life machinery that dominates the public arena. They have the law on their side, and a lot of high-priced, slick attorneys (and judges in their pockets). What will a march for life accomplish? Will it change laws or hearts? Most likely not. It seems that the general intention is two-fold: to give people a chance to make a public stand for what they believe in, and to show the powers-that-be (and the media) that there is still a strong pro-life constituency in this country. Chances are, if that is the extent of it, that things will go on as they have been: more dead babies, more hardened hearts, more smirking media personages, and more lying pro-abortion lobbyists.

Only one thing is really going to work: saints. This country is in desperate need of saints, of men and woman who, by their very existence in a profound communion with God, will be “portals” of divine grace for this beleaguered country. It is just and noble (and necessary) to fight abortion on the levels of politics and media. But that is not enough. You can’t overcome the Beast on his own terms, in his own arena. The only thing against which the devil has no defense is holiness. It disarms and destroys him, and lays waste all his insidious plans. Only divine grace can reach a hardened heart—not cogent arguments, irrefutable logic and scientific fact, or political prowess, not even an appeal to someone’s basic humanity. And grace flows through the prayers and sufferings of the saints.

So if the marches are successful (and this is our ardent hope), it will only be because they are praying fervently, and not because they are carrying signs. The victory can’t be won through a mere public face-off. It has to be won on the level of spiritual warfare. “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the cosmic rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). It is not enough to make one’s voice heard in the cause of justice for the human rights of the unborn. One must also be in communion with God, on fire with love for Him, immersed in prayer and the sacraments, “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Shine as lights in the darkness, then, and the devil has to fall, and all that he has built will have to crumble. More saints are needed. It makes little difference if there are 10,000 or 10,001 people at a pro-life march. But the benefits of one more saint in the world are far-reaching. Support the marches, join them if you can—but most importantly, pray, offer your life to God as a sacrifice for the little ones and for the manifestation of God’s righteousness, don’t return anger and violence for anger and violence. Evil can only be vanquished by holiness. Life will march on through the hearts of the holy. It is time for saints to arise; it is time for the Kingdom to come.