After some mingling, spontaneous dancing, and a game of ‘teachers vs. youth ministers’ (which the teachers won, by the way), tonight the high school students watched an inspirational video featuring Archbishop Carlson and local teenagers that reminded us that Jesus is present in everyone, perhaps even especially in “the least of these.”
Then, in a moving reflection, our host Rachel Leininger called us to compassion for ALL people – not only mothers with unplanned pregnancies, but also our family members who might be hard to love, Planned Parenthood executives, and pro-choice lawmakers; we were reminded that they are all our brothers and sisters. To love those who we may not like is a difficult task, but we are not called to do it on our own; we need to tap into the grace that comes from God.
As she began her talk, Catherine reminded us that everyone on the other side of the abortion issue has a story, and then she shared her story with us.
When she was younger, she found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and decided to have an abortion. Shortly thereafter, she found out that Planned Parenthood was hiring, so she took a job with them, with the mistaken understanding that they are a ‘pro-woman’ organization.
She recalled from her time at Planned Parenthood that they never said the word “baby” because, in order to sell abortion, it’s necessary to dehumanize the person.
Catherine then described, in some detail, what happens in an abortion – not to shock us, but to remind us what we are in fact fighting for.
She shared with us how on one particular day she was assigned the task of cleaning up a third trimester abortion, and saw the arms and legs of a baby – so beautiful and perfect – and she realized that a human being had been dismembered in that room moments just moments before she entered. Looking back on that moment, she now realizes that God was showing her the truth – that a unique and irreplaceable human being had been killed. She found herself angry, but kept her feelings inside for many years. She got married, and had kids – all the while feeling like she was a monster, that she had committed the unforgivable sin for all that she had done.
Then, after waiting far too long, she finally went to Confession, and a holy priest reminded her of God’s love and mercy. And she opened her heart to His love, which has changed her heart forever. Now, she is wholeheartedly committed to the pro-life cause.
Catherine concluded her time with us by encouraging all of us on this trip to be excited about what we are doing, but most of all to radiate Christ’s love when we March for Life tomorrow.
Our host Rachel Leininger then presented us with a powerful challenge: to think of someone that we know personally who is hard to love, to write that person’s name on a piece of paper and to put that piece of paper in our lanyard. Then, as we carry that piece of paper with us tomorrow, we should pray for them during the March for Life.
Who is the Lord calling you to pray for?