The weapon of prayer
We have entered the new year of pastoral ministry that has the motto ‘Let us care for life’. We asked Dr. Antoni Zieba, an engineer, the Chairman of the Polish Association of Defenders of Human Life, how young Catholics could be involved in the defence of the most precious gift, which is human life.
Agnieszka Konik-Korn: – Dr. Zieba, where should one seek inspiration to become involved in activities supporting the defence of the most defenceless and innocent people?
Dr. Antoni Zieba: – I think it is worth remembering the appeal of Pope John Pope II lodged in Czestochowa during the World Youth Day on 15 August 1991. Then the Holy Father said, ‘Your vocation is to ensure in the world of tomorrow such values as full religious freedom, respect for personal dimension of growth, protection of man’s right to life from the moment of conception to natural death…’ The young people from all over the world applauded this appeal wonderfully. It means that these young hearts responded with joy to this special task the Pope left. His appeal has become an inspiration to some deeper involvement in defending the life of the unborn.
– How can young people become involved in pro-life activities?
– First of all, what is needed is prayer. This is the foundation of every good work. We will do nothing without prayer. We will achieve nothing even if we had the best technological or financial means. An example can be the American abortion clinics in front of which pickets and demonstrations were organised. However, they were not successful until their organisers began praying. Many such places were closed. Prayer changed the hearts of those who committed crimes on the innocent. That change could not have happened by force or persuasion.
– Is prayer the only way of the activities of the defenders of life then?
– Not the only one but the most important one. Dr. John Willke, President of the International Right to Life Federation, mentions four tasks of the defenders of life: to pray, to learn, to teach others and to help. Briefly, these are the aspects of pro-life activities.
– What kind of education do you mean?
– We are speaking about the protection of human life, so the education will concern everything that is connected with man’s life, commencing with biology lessons, if we speak about pupils, further education in the field of personal growth, natural methods of family planning, etc, suitable for each age and life situation. Today the media give young people pulp that causes confusion. The information you can easily find in the Internet is subjective to a large extent. The popular articles are often sponsored by pharmacological concerns producing e.g. contraceptives or even early abortion pills. Since it is logical that a firm, which wants to sell such products, will not advertise the natural methods of family planning. However, if a young person does not realise it he will take information from the press or the Internet as true. And this is the danger. Pope Benedict XVI spoke in Sydney, ‘Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.’ The Pope’s words seem to be a clear guideline on the way covered by half-truths, the way that a contemporary young man takes. If he wants to see the truth he will find it. I dare to invite you to look at our web age www.pro-life.pl. Seeking the truth requires effort, endurance and being systematic. When you gain profound knowledge you can pass it to others, for example sharing the pro-life publications with others, organising an exhibition or showing a film on the defence of human life.
– So how can a young Catholic join the pro-life movement?
– There are many ways of giving help. However, perhaps one of the most known ways is the Spiritual Adoption, which is daily prayer of individuals for the unborn children. Throughout nine months we pray for saving one child’s life, known to God, a child whose life faces the threat of annihilation; and we pray for love and courage for its parents. We offer daily prayers in this intention and the prayer can have some concrete form, for instance one decade of the rosary or some form of fasting or alms. These are well-known and very effective prayers.
– Are there any other methods of supporting the work of defending the conceived life?
– One must mention World Prayer for Life, which is World Crusade for Life. It originated on the 90th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima, on 13 October 2007 in the International Centre of the Cult of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki and the core of the work is here. It is constant praying in the intentions: expiation of the Divine Mercy for the rejected gift of life, increase of respect for every human life from conception to natural end as well as to ensure the unconditional right to life for every human being from conception to natural death in the legislative systems of all countries. I encourage you to see the web page www.lagiewnikimodlitwazycie.pl. World Prayer for Life is an answer to the appeal of Pope John Paul II in his encyclical ‘Evangelium vitae, ‘a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world’ (No 100). The Pope knew very well what he was speaking of. I will give an example. In the recent terrorist attacks in Bombay ca. 200 people lost their lives. The TV stations all over the world competed to give news from this site. For some time there has been an increase of the persecutions of Christians in India. Every day ca. 500 Christians are killed only because of their faith. And yet the news about these persecutions is given only by Catholic media. The number of abortion conducted every day is even more horrifying. Every day, horror of horrors! ca. 140,000 children are aborted. It is a true prenatal genocide! However, such information is not given on public television or in daily press. The Pope was aware of his mass evil and he himself prayed for salvation of the defenceless every day. Thus the most important weapon to defend life is prayer. And I will quote the words of John Paul II again. In Kalwaria Zebrzydowska he said on 7 June 1979, ‘You should continually pray and never lose heart (cf. Luke 18:1), said Lord Jesus. Pray and shape your lives through prayer. Let the simple and fundamental papal challenge to pray speak from this place to all who listen to me here or everywhere else. And this is the most important call. The most essential message!’
Catholic associations, together with all people of good will who believe in the values of the family and life, cannot yield to the pressures of a culture that is undermining the very foundations of respect for life and the promotion of families […] In many cases, what is presented as the progress of civilization or a scientific breakthrough is a defeat for human dignity and society.
From the speech of John Paul II to the delegates of the Forum ‘Family Associations’, 18 December 2004