In Memoriam

Did you feel it?

A few days ago the veil of satanic oppression smothering this country was lifted, just a bit. Suddenly, in the midst of all of the other turmoil engulfing the country just now, the opportunity has arisen for President Trump to select another Supreme Court justice. There now exists a real possibility that the United States will be blessed with a Court capable of overturning not only the hideous abortion decision Roe v. Wade, but also other decisions rendered by the Court which were based on a bankrupt and progressive view of the Court’s role. However, the fight to install that new justice promises to be ferocious.

I am reminded of the incident in Holy Scripture when Jesus was called upon to cast out a devil from a deaf mute afflicted with seizures from birth. The devil did not go easily – its rage was evident as it was extracted from that boy:

“And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’”

Mark 9:25-26 RSV Catholic Edition

And here we are, a country full of people stricken mute and deaf while unspeakable violence has been visited upon the most innocent and vulnerable among us – for decades. We are indeed afflicted by demons, of the worst sort. And Catholics and other Christians for many years have fought against this evil with events such as the annual March for Life, 40 Days for Life, and praying outside of abortion mills. I will personally never forget the overwhelming sense of God’s grace I felt last January when I stood on the National Mall, and saw there in front of me, for the first time ever, the President of the United States exhorting the nation with a pro-life message.

But perhaps now, at this critical juncture, it is time to up the ante, and take to heart the words of Jesus at the end of this passage from Mark, when his disciples wanted to know why they could not cast out this demon:

“This kind cannot be driven out be anything but prayer and fasting.”

Mark 9:29 RSV Catholic Edition

Since Jesus himself tells us that the worst demons are only driven out by prayer and fasting, we Catholics can make the conscious decision to integrate our prayer to end abortion with some method of fasting or other means of practicing mortification. In our Catholic tradition, we already have the basic framework for an approach like this, although it is not used much these days. I am speaking of the practice of weekly abstinence from meat on Friday. It seems to me that a great deal of the power of Catholic devotion was lost when the obligation for abstinence on Fridays was lifted. However, we are urged to continue Friday abstinence, recognizing its inherent value in our spiritual life and practical importance to the general penitential character of Catholic life on Fridays:

Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified. [1]

In consonance with this guidance from our bishops, we could revive Friday abstinence in our own spiritual lives, amplify that abstinence with fasting in order to obtain the effectiveness cited by Jesus, and, for this decisive period in our national history, specifically associate these actions with the fervent prayer to end abortion.

And while we are doing so, let us recall the sacrifice of those millions of souls whose lives were taken in abortion before they even saw the light of day.

Reference.

1. “Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence.” USCCB: Prayer and worship: Liturgical Year and Calendar.

https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year-and-calendar/lent/us-bishops-pastoral-statement-on-penance-and-abstinence?source=post_page—————————]