As I mentioned on this blog a few times last week, the big news in this area is late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart setting up his barbaric practice in nearby Germantown, Maryland. I have now attended two prayer vigils at the clinic – Monday’s drew over 300 people and Saturday’s brought in over 600. I am convinced that prayer is necessary to stop such evil, and all of our activities are worthless without deep prayer support. But I also think something else is desperately needed, something that is often neglected when we think about what we can do to stop legalized abortion in this country. That would be reparation.
What is reparation? The Catholic Encyclopedia defines it as
a theological concept closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. It is the teaching of that Faith that man is a creature who has fallen from an original state of justice in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion, and Death of the Son of God, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition. Although God might have condoned men’s offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this; He judged it better to demand satisfaction for the injuries which man had done Him. It is better for man’s education that wrong doing on his part should entail the necessity of making satisfaction. This satisfaction was made adequately to God by the Sufferings, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ, made Man for us. By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ’s Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord “and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ” (Colossians 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.
Please note that last sentence of the definition: “by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.” We can and should make reparation for our own sins, but we also can make reparation for the sins of others. And what sin today is crying out the loudest to heaven for justice? The killing of innocent unborn life through abortion.
Let me use an example. Let’s say that my children were playing roughly in the house and damaged the piano. They might be truly sorry and I might forgive them. They might ask very nicely that I pay to have the piano repaired, but until money is raised to pay for the repairs, my children will not be able to play the piano. Their contrition and their requests for repair must be combined with reparation in order for the piano to be restored. Only when they pool their money together, sacrificing their own good for the piano’s restoration can the problem be overcome. It is true that I could just use my own money to repair the piano, but by making my children use their money, I showed them the consequences of their actions.
The same is true in the spiritual life. As the Catholic Encyclopedia states, “God might have condoned men’s offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this.” God asks for reparations from us for our sins and the sins of the world, but too often we think that by asking for God’s assistance, He will swoop in and solve our problems for us. Abortion is legal in this country because of the sins of this nation, and it is not until we make reparation for those sins that it will once again be illegal and abortion clinics will be shut down.
What are some ways we can offer reparation? It can be any and every sacrifice:
- Take the most uncomfortable chair when you enter a room.
- Deny yourself treats after dinner.
- Do the dishes for your wife without being asked.
- Fast at least once a week.
- Go to adoration an extra hour each week.
- Get up early to pray an extra 15 minutes each day.
- Give extra help to that annoying co-worker on a project.
- Pray the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic each week.
- Give more than 10% of your income to charity.
As you can see, there are countless ways to offer reparation, and every day offers opportunities for it. If we really are serious about ending the evil of legalized abortion in this country, we need to be really serious about offering reparations.