O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life.
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely,
in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.
—St. John Paul II
It’s hard to look around at our world and not think we have lost all sense of the sacredness of life. From unborn babies who never get to take a first breath, to people fleeing the indiscriminate bombing of their homeland, to students and concertgoers and restaurant deliverymen gunned down in the street, to elderly people abandoned in nursing homes to die a slow and lonely death.
As much as these stories garner the headlines in the media and perhaps in our own hearts and minds, the reality is that when we widen our view, seeking out beauty even amid the horrors, we begin to notice the small and loving actions taking place around us every day. These mundane miracles remind us that, although we cannot change the world on a grand scale, we can change our world day by day through the power of the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed and that we strive to follow.
Always, everywhere, every day, we are challenged to come back to love, even when it would be easier to hate. We are called to live our lives not to the rhythm of the mob (be it on social media or in the street) but to the steady beat of a heart that knows the only way to piece together this broken but beautiful world is through constant love in the face of sorrow and hatred, anger and violence. Our Blessed Mother did just that. From the moment of the Annunciation, she set her life to the beat of the most sacred rhythm. She trusted and loved; loved and trusted.
And so we entrust ourselves and the cause of life to her today, knowing that our sorrowful mother will give us the courage and strength to keep love always before us, even amid heartbreak and injustice. Dorothy Day, who saw how love could spring up amid brokenness and suffering, taught this truth: “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”
This month as we pray for life, let us take a hard-but-tender look at our own hearts and see where God is calling us to an interior revolution that will ripple ever outward to help change our world.
Mary DeTurris Poust, “A Prayer for Life,” from the January 2023 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2023). Used with permission.
Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash