Today is 9/11/13. I remembered 9/11/2001. About 8:50 I watched from my classroom a small group of women leave church. They had stayed after mass to say the rosary. They always had a long list of people and causes to pray for. One was always for anyone in the parish who needed a prayer. They had done this for years, saying the rosary for anyone who needed a prayer, for jobs and for people who were sick. This was part of their daily routine.
We have no idea of how many people benefitted from these prayers but I know on 9/11/01 there were 6 parishioners working in the World Trade Center. All six came home safe. Never underestimate the power of the Rosary.
One Friday in 2008 before saying the rosary we talked about a South Carolina priest who advised his parishioners they should go to confession if they voted for a candidate who was pro abortion. Then we started the Sorrowful Mysteries. Talking about abortion gave me a whole new perspective on the mysteries.
Mystics claim that in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus saw every sin that was or will ever be committed. Satan launched an all out attack to discourage Jesus. Think about what that must have been like. Every abortion, every sin that led to the pregnancy, every politician who supported abortion, everyone who voted for pro abortion candidates; all of these sins were visible to Jesus. If you think about the sheer numbers it is overwhelming. World wide in the past twenty years there have been over a billion abortions. That’s just one sin, only part of what is forbidden by one commandment, and only twenty years, one billion; imagine how many sins were committed when you include the rest of the Commandments and the rest of time. Jesus saw all of them in the Garden. No wonder He asked to take this cup from me. How little His sacrifice would mean to us! Yet He stayed rather than flee. He stayed knowing the brutality He would endure as He took on the punishment for these sins. He stayed knowing that billions of people wouldn’t care. What love!
The Scourging at the Pillar can also be connected to abortion. The physical suffering of the Passion was the most intense suffering imaginable. Every inch of His body was in pain. The Romans were not restricted by Jewish law and were free to do whatever they wanted. They already hated the Jews because of the zealots and spurred on by Satan came up with new and more painful tortures. This physical suffering Jesus endured to atone for the physical sins we commit. He endured this because of the sins of lust and adultery that have caused so many abortions.
When we meditate on the Crowning with thorns we are told that Jesus went through this to atone for our intellectual sins. Most of us don’t really think about intellectual sins but the abortion issue clearly illustrates this. In our pride many have decided that we know better than the Church that we don’t have to follow the Church’s teachings. We can be Catholic politicians and pro-choice. We don’t have to listen to our bishops. We can support politicians who contradict the teachings of the Church. We know better than the Church. Whatever the issue that we disagree with the Church on is an example of the intellectual sins that Jesus was crowned for.
How heavy was the Cross that Jesus carried? A historian might tell you that it weighed one hundred pounds or so but after all of the blood lost and beatings it surely didn’t feel so light. No matter how Jesus carried the cross it had to be resting on an open wound. Imagine the pain of that, the weight of the Cross and our sins. Every time the Cross bumped the Crown the Crown would move digging more wounds into His skull. As He walked He continued to bleed from the Crown and the wounds under the Cross. Yet there was more suffering and abuse along the way of the Cross. People were screaming and cursing at Him all along the way. I wonder did He see the faces of those in our time who are screaming, cursing at and mocking the Church and pro lifers. He knew all of the sins we would commit. Did He see us in those who abused Him then? Jesus went through all of the abuse without responding, what an example for those who support life.
When I think about abortion and the Crucifixion I think about Jesus’ words from the Cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” We too have to forgive as Jesus did. We have to take this message of forgiveness to those who had abortions, those who perform abortion, and those who promote abortion, to those politicians who supported abortions and to the voters who supported them. We have to remember that we are called to correct but also to carry a message of forgiveness.