AN INVITATION TO PRAYER & RECONCILIATIONPro-Life Statue Dedicated at St. Paul's in Hancock
"Rachel mourns her children; she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning. Wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward. There is hope for your future."
In Jeremiah 31:15-17, Rachel mourned the loss of Israelís children, who were taken away as captives. In Matthew 2:18, this is recalled in connection with Herodís slaughter of the innocent babies. Today, the obvious connection is made to abortion and the continued slaughter of the innocent. But, if we look closely, we note that the passage from Jeremiah speaks not only of mourning but also holds out Godís promise of reconciliation and "hope for your future."
The pain of abortion is intensified by a sense of alienation from God and His church. The feelings which often accompany and/or follow involvement in an abortion: guilt, anxiety, regret, grief, confusion and despair, seem to deepen that sense of alienation not only for the woman who has had the abortion but often for the father of the unborn child, grandparents, friends and medical personnel.
But we are never alone. As with anything which separates us from God, we are called to the healing offered through prayer and reconciliation.
As always, when we have separated ourselves from God, He asks only one thing -- that we turn to Him. He waits for us with loving arms extended ready to forgive us. At St. Paulís, the area to the north of the parking lot has been set aside to offer a place of quiet prayer and reflection so that we all may have the opportunity to speak to God and listen to His reply as He calls us to Him more closely and fully.
"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit
a heart contrite and humbled, O God,
you will not spurn."
Who is invited to prayer and reconciliation?
All of us are invited. Whether or not we have had some part in directly procuring an abortion, we are all involved. If true reconciliation is to take place, we must all participate. As Pope John Paul II states in Evangelium Vitae (section 100)... "a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world....Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As he taught his disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf Mk 9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters the evil practices and laws which are hostile to life."
Just so, it is no part of your heavenly Fatherís plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.
A pro-life statue was dedicated by Rev. Stephen Morris at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Hancock, NY on Dec. 12, 1999, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The life-size statue depicts Rachel, daughter of Abraham from the Old Testament, mourning for the lost children of Israel.
The secluded outdoor site is meant to be a prayerful place of reconciliation for all those who have taken part in the sin of abortion, including those who have remained silent in a society that allows it.
Addressing the crowd, which included many children from religious education classes, Fr. Morris said, "This statue says, to anybody who's had anything to do with not letting a child be born, come back to God. God wants to forgive. God wants you to become an agent of new life."
During the 15 minute ceremony, which occurred after the 10 am Sunday mass, Fr. Morris said, "Heavenly Father, we ask your blessing on this new place of prayer... We ask your blessing upon all those who come to this space to pray, for all those who seek reconciliation, healing, new peace and harmony with You and with all the creatures of the earth."
St. Paul's invites anyone, from any faith, to visit the site and pray. The statue is situated near a beautiful grove of pines, north of the church parking lot. For more information call the rectory at 607-637-2571.