By Dr. David Franks, Chairman of MCFL
To see the weak begins the renewal of our republic.
In the Catholic lectionary in the days after Easter, the first readings at Mass come from the Acts of the Apostles, showing us how Saints Peter and John, in particular, go about Jerusalem, transforming the city through the power of the Spirit of the risen Jesus.
Divine love impels them, so they see the marginalized, as we pro-lifers do. The work of God is the work of solidary love.
The man lame from birth sitting at the Beautiful Gate begs Peter and John for alms, as they are heading into the Temple: “But Peter looked intently at him, as did John.” They see the man. Love gives them vision. That vision transforms the worship of a people, and therefore the city, the common life of the people. Everything changes when we see the powerless.
“But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk’” (Acts 3:4–6).
Most pro-lifers have precious little silver and gold, but the love of God abounds richly in your hearts. The whole political order can be renovated by such a love.
I just came across a powerful poem by Walt Whitman, in which this reality is described:
I DREAM’D in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks
of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it
led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.
Just perfect. The Spirit of total sacrificial love gives us an irresistible power, for love can never truly be defeated, even if it is crushed. This powerless power is strong enough to cause something of the New Jerusalem to shine in our grand but tottering republic.
The first matins readings in the Catholic breviary right now come from the Book of Revelation. Saint John isn’t in Jerusalem anymore, but for the sake of love, he is imprisoned on Patmos.
What he sees now is a vision of how the New Jerusalem descends upon and through all the terror and turmoil of history.
He sees the slaughtered Lamb receive the scroll of world history, worthy to break open its seals because of His total love.
The opening of the fifth seal holds particular significance for the pro-life movement, for what is revealed are the souls under the altar in heaven (Revelation 6:9–10). These are all the victims of history, for Jesus is the Victim in every victim. And all the little martyrs of abortion are just like the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, for in littleness, there is Jesus. When the weak are assailed, Jesus is assailed.
We see. And we love.
Photo: Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man by Nicolas Poussin, 1655