Thanksgiving is past, we’re in the midst of Advent and Christmas is coming! As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Yet we know all too well how hard it is for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one and are missing that special person who is no longer here to share the family celebrations.
How sad it also must be for the women who chose abortion for their unborn babies. Do they see the joy Christmas brings to little boys and girls and suddenly ache to see their own child smile and giggle? Do they avoid holiday functions because the pain is just too much to bear? How many unsuspecting families are hurt because of this hidden wound?
A few years ago I heard a priest give a homily in which he said that if we could pray for only one thing, it should be for holy families. He explained that with this one simple intention, we could change the world: If we had holy families, people would be open to life and there would be no abortion and no contraception. If we had holy families, we would have more religious vocations. If we had holy families, we would “be our brother’s keeper” and help one another — the young, the old, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned.
Yes, this might seem simplistic. I believe, however, that it is because of its simplicity that it is so plausible. God could have come to earth in any way imaginable, and yet He chose to come by way of the family. Doesn’t it stand to reason that He would want us to strive to have holy families — to pray for holy families? Families that may not be perfect but are filled with love and forgiveness? Families that grieve together, comfort, love and forgive each other?
Blessed Pope John Paul II once said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Because of my experience in pro-life ministry, I would have to agree.
When parents take their own daughters to have abortions, what does that teach them about parenting? When a young woman thinks it’s easier to “get rid of” her unborn baby than to “give it up” for adoption, should we be surprised when we hear about domestic and child abuse? When men think it’s easier to pay for “the procedure” than to step up and take responsibility for their actions and for their children, is it any wonder that we’ve seen a rise in the number of single mothers?
During the Year of the Family in 1994, Pope John Paul II it stated “how urgent it is for families to pray and for that prayer to increase and to spread throughout the world.” I invite you this Advent (and Christmas) season to take this to heart! Pray with your families for holy families and rest assured that the fruits of these prayers will change the world.
Ann Barrick is the founder of ProLifeConnection.com and the campaign director for Toledo’s 40 Days for Life. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.