Be Not Afraid – Be Prolife!

On October 22, 1978, then Pope John Paul II (newly elected) said in his first homily:
"Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. ... So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life." - emphasis mine
This short sentence has had a profound effect on my life (hence the name for my blog), and I think it is applicable to the topic that I want to address today, namely being active, courageous, on-fire, witnesses to Christ in our world.  Before I get started, a little background:  Yesterday night a bunch of the guys from Bruté (including myself), went to the annual pro-life dinner here in Indy.  The dinner was delicious, but the thing that had the bigger impact on me was the speeches.  The first, given by a high-school student who had won the pro-life oratory award for the year, and the second, given by Abby Johnson, who several years back had directed an abortion “clinic” before converting and becoming a pro-life advocate, were both pro-life speeches (go figure…)  However, what struck me was that neither of these speeches were patting us on the back.  We weren’t being praised for being pro-life; we were being called out, prodded, galvanized, to be more pro-life, more outspoken, more Christian.  I guess I was expecting them to just say that we all were doing a great job, that the people at the dinner were really generous donors, that they had more people at the March for Life than ever, etc.  However, instead the main message was “Wake Up!”, “Get To Work”, “Sacrifice”.  During the speeches I was like “huzzah - that’s what I’m talking about!”, but then I started to think about it and started to apply the speeches to me (instead of to everybody else), and I saw that I have a lot of work to do.  Hopefully, this post will turn out really good, but before I get going I want to give tons of credit to C.J. and Corey, who both have written exceptional (and I mean that) posts about this very topic.  They are faster at getting these things written than I am, so I am probably going to pull ideas from them (read their posts!).

OK, I began this post with the great quote from Blessed John Paul II, Be Not Afraid!  Folks, this is the heart of what it means to life out the Gospel, especially the Gospel of life, today.  Of course, I could boil it down the Gospel to something different (love comes to mind…), but here I am talking about the human side of things.  What keeps us from doing everything we need to in order to spread, protect, and relate the Gospel of life?  Fear.  We are afraid that others won’t listen, or won’t like what we are saying, or will persecute us because of it.  We are afraid that we will lost money, status, power, time, or friends, if we stand up for something that isn’t accepted.  We are afraid that we will lose something if we follow Christ.  Well folks, we will.  Christianity isn’t easy.  Jesus said pick up your cross and follow me.  Crosses were torture instruments.  (So yeah, not easy)  But, and this is a huge point, we will gain so much more than we will lose.  Look at Christ.  He became man, suffered horribly, and died – but then the resurrection happened.  Without the resurrection Christianity is nothing.  Not only would it seem that Jesus wasn’t divine (kind of a big thing, don’t you think?), our hope in an eventual afterlife and perfect happiness with God would be lost, and death and sin would be the victors.  The resurrection means that we can look to beyond this world, we can know that God has the final say, not evil, and that pain in this life can lead to everlasting bliss in the next.  Now, I’m not saying that suffering is a good thing in itself, but I think that when we pick up our cross, in this case our fear of loss (of money, power, or prestige) or doubt (of not knowing if we are capable), in order to follow Christ this is when He can bring about a resurrection, He can give us a 100-fold harvest, and He can bring us the tremendous joy of following Him.

Now wait a second, you say, – you just said Christianity was hard, it involved picking up crosses, and facing our fears for Christ, and then you immediately said that this can turn into joy – that doesn’t really follow…  But this is the deeply crazy truth of the resurrection; God can bring good out of evil, great positive out of great negative, great joy out of great sadness, great peace out of great fear.  This is where trust comes in; it’s not easy to surrender to God and say, sure, you can have my entire life, I’ll ignore the typical fears that I have and follow You.  The resurrection gives us this faith.  It is totally miraculous, supernatural, outside what we can expect, and in the same way, God’s ability to bring a greater good out of every evil, is something that takes supernatural faith.

I’m trying hard to turn this post toward what I really want to talk about – being prolife amid a culture that isn’t.  So, to begin this second section, another quote from JPII: Evangelium Vitae says (paragraph 82):
"In the proclamation of this Gospel [of life], we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world's way of thinking (cf. Rom 12:2). We must be in the world but not of the world (cf. Jn 15:19; 17:16), drawing our strength from Christ, who by his Death and Resurrection has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33)." - minor typo correction made
Obviously, I chose a passage that connected the first half of my post to the second, but I think that fear is really a huge obstacle to our following Christ, especially in the area of pro-life activism.  (Actually, I just noticed that Blessed Pope John Paul II connected it to the Resurrection – nice!)  In his post (link up above), C.J. said, echoing Abby Johnson, that the biggest problem that the pro-life movement has to overcome is apathy.  Corey, in his post on the same topic, said that we need to go from prayer and go!  What do these have in common?  Action!  Folks, don’t be afraid, don’t let the apathy that floods our culture infect you, don’t let human respect stop you from doing Christ’s work, don’t let hardship stop you from doing absolutely everything for Christ.  It’s time to be courageous (thanks Corey!), it’s time for action (thanks C.J.!), it’s time to get out there and fight!  Already pray? – Pray more!  Already sacrifice? –  Sacrifice more!  Already work? – Work more!  We are in a battle in which Christ asks us to give everything to Him, to trust Him in the midst of fear, hardship, and struggle, and let Him multiple are (all too often) pitiful bread and fish.  The eternal souls of billions of people are at stake, as are the lives of millions of unborn.  The respect of all life (including yours) is hanging in the balance.  Are you willing to give a bit more to save them?  Ready for a challenge? – Christ has given you the ultimate mission, get out there!  Talk to one extra person, give one extra dollar, pray one more minute after Mass.  Be not afraid!

This is a pretty good song for the occasion…  Enjoy!


  1. One of my favorite songs we sing in choir, 'Be Not Afraid'.

  2. I'm not at all saying that I'm fearless. I'm probably one of the people that needed to hear what you wrote the most! But, I hope and pray that Dominic, you become a priest who isn't afraid of saying the blunt truth of what (Catholic) Christians need to hear...just like you posted today about being pro-life. I've been in sermons where I felt priests sort of beat around the bush, because I think they are afraid of turning people away. Like, it's better to be politically correct with your pews filled than to have unafraid, truth-filled parishioners, but only half filled pews at your Mass. Personally, I like priests who tell it like it is! But, from the priest's perspective, I'm sure it is a very fine line to tread upon; a line I can't even fathom.

    I've often wondered why, here in Quincy, the Pro-Life Chain (which lines one of our busy street intersections) doesn't have dozens more people standing and praying for an hour to end abortion? And, why more clergy aren't present? I've stood with the group for the past 5 years or so. I've often wondered why the whole city of Quincy's church leaders (that are pro-life, that is) aren't present to lead their flock! Fear, I think, is the answer because the date for the event is announced plenty in advance for most to make arrangements to be available for 1 hour. So, if our church leaders are a bit afraid, it's not surprising that their flock is afraid too.

    I've probably already said too much and maybe am full of malarky! But, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all you have to post about. It'll take some time, but one person at a time, like me, will start to feel ready to go out on a limb a little more and a little more. Eventually, I pray we will have more on-fire people to stand up for Christian issues and values; I'm getting there! :-)

    Hang in there with all your studies -- I'm praying for ya! And, somehow I think this will post! Wish I knew what I did to get it to post because I've written replies to your posts before and they don't make it on! Weird.

    1. Believe me, I am always struggling with fear too (I guess we are all a lot like Peter in that sense). Keep up the good work! Thank you for the prayers, you have no idea how helpful they are! I hope you had a wonderful Sunday!