GOD AND FORTY
Last night in Tampa about a hundred dedicated pro-life people and I began the annual “Forty Days for Life” effort across from an abortion clinic. Our presence was a peaceful and prayerful witness to our fundamental belief that all life is sacred and its beginnings and its end should be in the hands of God, not humans. For the next forty days, someone or several people will be quietly walking the sidewalk in front of the clinic giving eloquent witness to Gospel of Life. The vigil will begin at eight each morning and conclude around five or six each evening and volunteers have already signed up. Similar witnesses will be given in front of or adjacent to other abortion clinics throughout the diocese.
It was certainly a privilege for me to join in prayer, solidarity and support with those who believe as passionately as I do that abortion is one of the greatest horrors of our time. FORTY DAYS FOR LIFE gathers people of many different religions who believe in the pro-life cause and who trust in God. Throughout the Bible there is evidence that God made major changes and transformations after a period of forty days:
* It rained 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to begin again the world he has created first in the Garden with our first parents and which had become so sinful.
*Noah waited an additional forty days before he dared open the window of the Ark he had built at the Lord’s bidding.
*Moses twice ascended the Mount to be with God for forty days each time.
*It took forty days to search the promised land and bring back first fruits.
*Jonah warned the city of Nineveh that they had only forty days until God would cast the city into ruins and the citizens used those forty for repentence and God spared the city.
*Jesus fasted for forty days in the in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry.
*Jesus was seen for forty days between his Resurrection and Ascension.
Clearly our God gets a lot done in forty days and this is the spirit in which we launched this year’s vigil for life in the diocese. God has worked mighty miracles in the past and can do the same again if our faith and commitment rivals that of Noah, Moses, Elijah and even Jesus. We have seen the abortion rate in our state drop (though it appears now to be creeping up once again), the public awareness of and debate over abortion-on-request become a major issue in the public square, not just during elections but at other times, and significant legislative victories chipping away at the ease with which abortions can be procured. What were once considered miracles are happening as we approach the fortieth anniversary of Roe in 2013. Would it not be wonderful to have a whole new pro-life climate in the U.S. by then? We can only hope, pray, witness and work and that’s precisely what we did last night in Tampa. Thanks to those who came and to those throughout the diocese who will volunteer their presence in the next forty days.