The weather in Washington, D.C. was dismal on Saturday: more than two inches of rain. 2018 has now surpassed 1889 to become the wettest year since records have been kept. So far, more than 62 inches of rain have fallen this year; the annual average is only about 40 inches.
On this cold, rainy December morning, a group of us stood in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic in northeast D.C, just as we do on many Saturdays throughout the year. We prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We sang some Christmas carols. We engaged in some sidewalk counseling. We called the “escorts” to conversion. These escorts try to shield the women entering the facility from having to hear the truth we speak and our pleas to reconsider their plans to abort their children. The escorts are trained to keep their eyes fixed forward and to avoid making eye contact with us. I say to them, “One day you will stand with us. We are praying for your conversion and for an anointed realization of what abortion really is.”
Earlier in the day I read a psalm from the Office of Readings that contained God’s lament of how lost and corrupted His people and nation have become.
The psalm begins with a reminder of the blessings the Lord lavished on His people:
O give thanks to the Lord for he is good:
for his love endures forever.
Who can tell the Lord’s mighty deeds?
Who can recount all his praise?
… He threatened the Red Sea; it dried up
and he led them through the deep as through the desert.
He saved them from the hand of the foe;
he saved them from the grip of the enemy.
The waters covered their oppressors;
Then they believed in his words;
then they sang his praises (Psalm 106:1-2, 9-12).
In the United States, we too have been blessed and favored.
The psalm continues with the lament of God (through the psalmist):
But they soon forgot his deeds
and would not wait upon his will.
They yielded to their cravings in the desert.
… They fashioned a calf at Horeb
and worshiped an image of metal,
exchanging the God who was their glory
for the image of a bull that eats grass.
They forgot the God who was their savior,
who had done such great things in Egypt,
such portents in the land of Ham,
such marvels at the Red Sea.
… Then they scorned the land of promise:
they had no faith in his word.
They complained inside their tents
and would not listen to the voice of the Lord.
… They bowed before the Baal of Peor;
ate offerings made to lifeless gods.
They roused him to anger with their deeds
and a plague broke out among them (Psalm 106:13-14, 19-22, 24-25, 28-29).
In the next part of the psalm comes the greatest darkness of all:
… They worshiped the idols of the nations
and these became a snare to entrap them.
They even offered their own sons
and their daughters in sacrifice to demons.
They shed the blood of the innocent,
the blood of their sons and daughters
whom they offered to the idols of Canaan.
The land was polluted with blood.
So they defiled themselves by their deeds
and broke their marriage bond with the Lord (Psalm 106:36-39).
Yes, so evil did their hearts become that they sacrificed their own children on the altars of the pagan gods with whom they committed adultery. This is where we are today in the U.S. Some “celebrate” abortion and worship at the altar of “choice” and “sex without consequence,” even if others must die as a result.
I do not suppose that every patient who enters an abortion clinic fully understands the meaning of her plans or intends to worship Baal, but I believe that she will be traumatized as the life in her womb is either surgically removed or burned away through caustic chemicals. Perhaps she has been misled. Maybe she has been pressured by her parents or by the irresponsible “father” of the child. It is also possible that she coldly enters knowing full well what she does; that is for God to know. I only pray that when she does come to understand what she has done, she will not despair; the Church is still here for her through the Sacrament of Confession as well as Project Rachel and other support groups.
Collectively, we Americans know what we are doing. The science is clear that human life begins at the moment of conception. The Pro-life message is effective and clear. Our consciences are testifying to us. We know better and are better than this. We once forbade the killing of the innocent through abortion. This once Christian nation has forgotten the God who has blessed and saved us; we have scorned the promises of our own land.
God will not forever abide our rejection of His vision. The blood of the innocent cannot forever be silenced as they cry out to God from the soil of this blessed and rich land. One day soon God say to us,
What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground (Gen 4:10).
In the Liturgy of the Hours each psalm has a New Testament verse to frame it. Psalm 106 is paired with this warning:
These things have been written for a warning for us, for we are living at the end of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Beware indeed; there will be a reckoning. Stand up now and choose sides. The Lord’s justice cannot be forever avoided. Perhaps He will delay, simply for the sake of the remnant who pray and witness against this killing, which is claimed the lives of more than 50 million children in the U.S. since the legalization of abortion in 1973.
Psalm 106 stood to warn an ungrateful and increasingly faithless people of the punishment that awaited them if they did not repent and end the infanticide as well irreligion and injustice within them. It can be no less for us, who have been even more blessed than they. God laments our condition more than we can know. In mercy He offers us time to convert, but injustice cannot forever continue. God will and must end this if we will not.
On a dreary, cold, rainy morning in D.C., both the weather and Psalm 106 speak ominously to our condition. What is the forecast for tomorrow? That depends on us.