White crosses dot the field in front of the Dominican parish near my house, their small planks crudely nailed together. In a harsh reminder of the cross’s brutish nature, little white sticks sprout from the grass like a spring prairie that was deformed. These are not the beautiful crosses you encounter at Hobby Lobby. These are markers for those who do not have graves. These are reminders of the murdered unborn.
It’s easy to become numb to abortion statistics just like it is to any large casualty rate. We get excited when abortion numbers drop by the thousands, forgetting that the new number still leaves thousands of babies killed by abortion every day. But there are moments when the reality of abortion presses upon you, whether that is when you connect the number 3000 with the words, “babies who die daily,” see an image of an aborted child, or hear the testimony of a post-abortive woman. And that reality can crush you as you realize that despite the adrenaline of the March for Life, the success of Unplanned, or political gain for the pro-life movement, 61 million children are dead and in trash cans.
Despite the excitement seen on social media for every pro-life victory, there can be a lot of hopelessness in the intense uphill battle that we have had to fight since 1973. A couple years ago I was in Adoration after a local January march, and despite the excitement of the crowd and the cheers at the rally as pro-life legislation was explained, all I saw before me in the chapel was my Bible open to Psalm 22. It’s the prayer of an innocent person, the prayer of one considered to not be human, whose heart melts within him, whose bones are disjointed as he is laid aside to die. I grew angry as the psalmist praised God for his coming deliverance, because I knew that as I read that psalm, there was a baby being murdered. And there was no deliverance for him.
As I wrote this post, I sat right here on the page, my cursor blinking in exasperated anticipation. Because what more is there to say? We can press forward in fighting abortion and providing hope and help to the women currently in crisis pregnancies, but how do we account for the tens of millions of children who our society failed?
Love is strong as Death.1 Perhaps the answer to this tragedy lies in St. Therese of Lisieux’s Offering to Merciful Love.
I was never wild about St. Therese2 until I read 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Michael Gaitley. Like Fr. Gaitley’s preparation for Marian Consecration, this personal retreat prepares the reader for the same consecration that St. Therese created, the Offering of Love. Therese writes,
“Oh, my God! …Will it be only Your Justice that will receive souls that offer themselves as sacrificial victims?…Doesn’t Your Merciful Love need them as well?…Everywhere it is misunderstood, rejected. The hearts into which You desire to pour it are turned toward created things…instead of throwing themselves into Your arms…It seems to me that if You found souls that were offering themselves as sacrificial victims to Your Love, You would consume them rapidly… Oh, my Jesus! Let me be that happy victim; consume your sacrifice through the fire of Your Divine Love!”The Story of a Soul
The covenant of Therese’s offering entails far more than this post could go into,3 but at its heart is this cry to console the heart of Jesus by accepting all of the graces rejected by those who have shut themselves off from the Lord and His tender mercy. The Lord has oceans of grace and mercy reserved for each soul, but so often that torrent cannot be released because of a soul’s unwillingness to accept. So Therese asks that all of Christ’s rejected love and grace be poured into her own soul for the sake of the sinners who have rejected Christ, as well as for Jesus, who so desperately loves but is so little loved in return.
There are unseen depths of love and grace that were reserved for each baby who never got to take a breath. It was not God’s plan for a child to be murdered within her own mother. That baby was created by Love to pursue Love with her whole being over the course of a long life. And that baby, that innocent person crying out in Psalm 22, may not have been pursued by her parents or by a world that so ruthlessly lies about the existence of human life. But even in her final, painful moment she was ardently pursued and passionately loved by her Maker.
I think it would be the greatest honor that we could give to each aborted baby to ask God for the graces that He was prepared to bestow on that soul for what was intended to be a long life. These sweet souls are in the hands of God and no longer in need of strength to finish the race well. But those of us who live in this valley of tears and culture entrenched in the jaws of death? We need all the grace and strength we can receive on this slow, painful, uphill battle against Roe.
I can no longer do anything about the babies who were silently slaughtered today in my city. But I can throw myself before the jealous God whose heart is broken by the weeping of Rachel. I can ask to console His tender, battered heart by asking for the graces no longer needed by the battered bodies in Planned Parenthood. I can allow these forsaken children who never had a chance to change the world to live, in a sense, through me, as I fight for a world in which abortion is unthinkable and denounced for the depravity that it is. The Lord desires that we ask boldly for His grace, His spirit, His love. Today, I invite you to ask boldly through the intercession of the innocent unborn for the unfathomable graces that the Lord never had a chance to give. And as you are overshadowed by His merciful love, ask for the strength and perseverance to do whatever it takes to end abortion.
St. Therese writes, “I know that Jesus…wouldn’t inspire in me the desires that I feel if He didn’t want to fulfill them…” I desire justice for victims of abortion. I desire a culture of life. Come, Holy Spirit.
1 – Song of Songs 8:6
2 – Gotta find some way to be a rebel in the Catholic home school world
3 – Please, I am begging you, include this book in your next 2020 Amazon impulse spree. The consecration has been one of the deepest gifts that the Lord has ever given me. Also, Fr. Gaitley explains Therese’s theology far better than I ever could. So if this post bothers you or confuses you, read the book. If you love this post, read the book. If you are a human being, read the book.