The presence of thousands of pro-lifers at the annual March for Life in Washington on…
The darkness will pass
“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.”
On a cold, rainy night, three Sisters of Life were in a parish hall in New Rochelle, New York. They have been making the rounds throughout the vast Archdiocese of New York to talk about the grave new reality in the Empire State. Recent national political and media coverage of late-term abortion and the debate over protection for infants who survive abortions started because New York moved against the rights of those innocents, expanding the inhumanity of abortion and infanticide in a state that already had long been dubbed the abortion capital of the world.
The Sisters of Life, whose charism involves making life plausible for women and families, are essentially missionaries in our culture, which often seems as far as we can get from the culture of life and civilization of love Pope St. John Paul II talked about in Evangelium Vitae. And yet, it very well can get darker. Politicians — including Democratic presidential candidates — are doubling down on death, declaring that it’s a personal decision with medical advice about whether a baby who has been delivered alive after an intended abortion should be given the conditions to live.
In many ways it is the natural extension of what we’re already doing, of course; we’re decades into a culture that insists on an adversarial relationship between a woman and her unborn baby if all planned elements aren’t in place. We talk about freedom and choice, but many women who wind up having abortions feel nothing but the pressure to abort, creating a more miserable situation than they already had. They often can’t see their way to the choice for life — whether raising the child themselves or choosing adoption for the child.
The Sisters of Life exist to provide something better for women, children and families and our culture. And Sister Virginia Joy and Sister Pia Jude run the archdiocesan Respect Life office very much like a mission post, out of a convent where mothers and their babies live.
During their post-Reproductive Health Act tour of regions around New York, the sisters began with a clip from “The Two Towers” movie, part of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. That’s where the opening quote for this column came from.
“It’s like in the great stories. … The ones that really mattered,” Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin, continues. “Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?”
“But in the end,” the speech continues, “it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.”
The message, of course, is clear. We must persevere. We must make strides to turn back. And that’s not going to be only or even primarily a political matter. People need to know they are beloved by God. That’s part of the sisters’ message. When they talk about life, they are not merely talking about a political issue; they are talking about the life-giving mission to which they have surrendered their lives: the Divine Spouse whose love for all radiates through them.
The darkness already seems to be passing in their presence. We all must be that presence. That’s how we right the wrongs — by living lives that are the irresistible message of life, with Divine Mercy beckoning for conversion out of the darkness, by pouring ourselves out in love in reparation and in service to those who need support.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review.