By Father Joseph Breighner
Since abortion has been legalized in the United States since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, there have been approximately 53 million abortions performed in the U.S. and roughly 4 to 8 million adoptions.
I am grateful and admiring each day of you who have adopted children. Yours is the kingdom of heaven! And I send love as well to all the adoptees. You have often had many inner doubts about yourself, as well as doubts about your biological parents’ decision not to raise you. You live without knowledge of genetic information and the like. But, despite all of your ‘inner demons’ may you always live with profound love for your biological parents who chose to give you birth, and your parents who raised you.
But each day I also pray, and send love, to those who chose abortions. I even pray for those who perform them. There are few more wounded people in our world than those who participate in abortions.
Yes, I read the articles and hear the speeches defending “reproductive freedom.” And I send love and prayers to those who write those articles and give those speeches.
My article here is in no way a self-righteous condemnation of anyone. In every instance, I know that “there but for the grace of God go I.” There’s no room in life for self-righteousness. There is only room for love.
And I choose love on this issue because I have a different kind of “knowing” about it. You see, I spend hours and hours and hours in quiet rooms listening to peoples’ hearts. And I have not met a single woman who is happy that she had an abortion. I have not spoken with a single man who participated in a girlfriend’s or wife’s abortion, who felt happy about it. There may have been some initial feelings of “relief” in the face of an unwanted pregnancy. But there is never any longterm joy.
As an older priest, I have talked with people who were part of “back room” abortions in the “old days.” It wasn’t a pretty sight then. It’s not a pretty sight now. In everyone’s heart of hearts in the medical profession there was, and is, a desire to save lives. No one feels good about participating in ending any life. Despite our personal and political differences, we all know every life is sacred.
So I will spend my personal prayer time sending prayers and love to everyone in the world. Death has many faces – war, crime, disease, poverty, and on and on. To be for life is to be for love. Only the love of all of us for all of us will ultimately prevail! So I refuse to be against. I choose to be for life and love.
Allow me to share a story that helped to change my life. Blessed Mother Teresa was once asked if she would join an anti-war march. She said no. She said: “I will not march against war.”
Then she added: “However, if you organize a march for peace, I will join that march. I will march for peace!”
So much of life in this world is spent being against. We are divided by political parties, by religious groupings, by ethnic differences and on and on. Typically, someone profits from our divisions. Some can get elected. Some religion can claim superiority. Someone can get power with one ethnic group if it pits itself against another. This is the “real world.” And this is also the world Shakespeare wrote of when he said that: “Life is sound and fury signifying nothing.”
As I’ve said before, a hundred million years from now there will be no evidence that you and I ever existed. But a hundred million years from now you and I will still be alive in the presence of God.
Love really is forever. Love is the only force that can last forever. Why not give love a chance in the here and now? Why not all of us loving each other just the way we are. Love dissolves all differences. Love saves all lives.
St. John the Evangelist pleaded in the Scriptures: “Little children love one another.” Tradition has it that, as the great Apostle aged, and had to be carried into the assembly, all he would say to each person was: “Love one another! Love one another!” Love heals all differences. Love even conquers death.”
Copyright (c) Oct. 11, 2012 CatholicReview.org