4 Things I’ve Learned in the “Pro-Life Movement”

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Being that this Thursday is January 22—the 42nd anniversary of Roe v Wade—I told myself that I’d use this week’s post to talk about abortion.

Easier said than done. It’s hard to write about abortion without feeling like you are just adding to the noise—saying things that have already been said a million times, playing into stereotypes, etc. But it’s a topic that needs to be talked about. Especially as followers of Christ, we have an obligation to speak up for those least among us who cannot speak for themselves; and we need to be unafraid to speak the truth lovingly to those who might otherwise never hear it.

So after a lot of prayer and thinking, I decided that this week I’d just share with you all a bit about what I’ve learned from my experience within “the pro-life movement.”

 

1. I’ve learned that if you’re going to talk about abortion, it is absolutely imperative to speak from a place of genuine love for whomever you are speaking to.  As Saint John Bosco put it: “It’s not enough to love, people have to feel they are loved.”

Something to keep in mind whenever talking to anyone about abortion: it has been said that as many as one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Whether that stat is accurate or not, it is a good practice when you are speaking with someone to consider the possibility that she (or he), or someone very close to her has been personally impacted by abortion. So always, always speak with love and compassion.

2. As someone who has joined with groups in prayer outside of abortion clinics in both the San Diego and Dallas areas, I will say I have never encountered anything resembling the reports you’ll read on sites like Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post about angry mobs of “anti-choicers” harassing clinic workers and patients. The majority of us are there to pray not much higher than a whisper, and may occasionally sing a hymn. One or two people are there as “sidewalk counselors,” who calmly engage those going into the clinics in conversation, sharing literature and just lovingly letting them know they have better options available to them than abortion. It’s all very calm and non-confrontational. [But don’t take my word for it, you can check it out for yourself by signing up for 40 Days for Life].

3. I can’t make it to the clinic on a regular basis to pray. And there’s not always an organized march or protest going on to take part in. But something I can do on a daily basis is pray for the end to abortion. It’s something my husband and I do every night when we offer our family rosary. Admittedly, praying for the same thing night after night can feel monotonous, or even unfruitful at times. But I believe that God hears our prayers, and so we continually offer them for the end to abortion, and for abortion-minded women and men to not give into despair. Which brings me to the final thing I have learned…

4. God is working. Even when we don’t see it, God is working.  And we need never despair, because the battle has already been won.  With abortion as with every struggle we face in this life, all we need to do is continually offer it over to the one who has already conquered death.  He will lead us into His Victory.

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What’s Your Conversion Story?

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I don’t have a dramatic conversion story. I suppose you could call me, as one blogger put it, an “unvert.” No particularly salacious past, no years of questioning and study that led me to discover with the early Church Fathers the truth of the Catholic faith. I was born into a Catholic family and raised in a Catholic home. I was brought up to know and love Jesus and the Catholic faith and I am so grateful for that gift.

But I do have a conversion story. And I wouldn’t call myself an “unvert,” because even though it may not have been dramatic, there was a point in my life when I had to decide to make my faith my own. There was a point when I had to decide that Jesus was going to be who I lived for above all else, and most of all – there was a moment when Jesus became more than someone my parents talked about or told me stories about. He became a friend, someone with whom I could converse and share the deepest desires and longings of my heart.

Maybe it didn’t look like a dramatic life change to those around me. I didn’t suddenly start going to church after years of being away. I didn’t suddenly start taking “the rules” of the Catholic faith seriously. By the grace of God, I never truly harbored any disrespect or contempt for “the rules.” But at some point they became more than rules. They became opportunities for me to express my love to my beloved.

I write this post because I know how easy it can be—especially for us Catholics—to sort of hide behind a love of the knowledge and an appreciation of the beauty of our faith while holding back from a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. When it comes down to it, it’s easy to learn the rules and the theology. It can be awkward to step out in faith, enter into silence, and ask Jesus—the real person who lived 2,000 years ago and lives today—to reveal Himself to us.

If you have never taken that first awkward step, consider this your invitation. It doesn’t matter if you hold an advanced degree in theology or if your shadow has never darkened the door of a church. Jesus wants to be more than rules, more than a character in a book. He wants to enter into relationship with you.

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An Update and Some Prayer Requests

Happy 2015!  I hope you are still enjoying a blessed and joyful Christmas season celebrating the birth and early life of Jesus!

2014 Pearson Christmas Card

Since the Christmas season doesn’t officially end until next Sunday with the celebration of Jesus’ Baptism, I can still feel comfortable showing off our Christmas card

The Pearsons’ December was a whirlwind of celebration!  We celebrated our second wedding anniversary on December 22nd, and on Christmas day we celebrated both the birth of Our Lord and my husband’s 25th birthday!

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Blurry iPhone picture for your enjoyment :)

Our little buddy is at such a fun age, always marching around the apartment, babbling away.  With the turn of the new year, we can now say that we will be welcoming our sweet baby Caeli (–with a “ch”) next month.  Please keep this anxious pregnant mama in your prayers!

While on the subject of asking for prayers, please continue to pray for my father-in-law, Doug, who will begin his second cycle of treatment for esophageal cancer in the coming days.  We received amazing news at the beginning of December that his first 12 week treatment cycle had reduced the size of the cancer by 85% (!!!), and he was given a break from treatment for the holidays.  This next cycle will be shorter but with less time to recover between treatments.  Please continue to pray for him and for the whole Pearson family.  Jesus, we trust in you!

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Ask Mary: To Veil or Not To Veil?

Since posting a picture on my Facebook page participating the #weartheveil event this past Monday (The Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception!), I have received a few requests to discuss the topic of wearing a veil to mass. Where the practice came from, why it fell out of practice, what I think of it, etc.

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To be honest I’m a bit hesitant to write about it. For one thing, I don’t feel that I know a whole lot about the matter…

  • I understand it as a beautiful way for a woman to express reverence and humility when entering the space where Our Lord is present.
  • I know that a woman covering her head in church is a Biblical practice (stemming from 1 Corinthians 11), which is a nice bonus.
  • And frankly, I think that veils are pretty and feminine-looking. (Not to mention, a beautiful way to imitate our Blessed Mother!)

I don’t know the canon law behind it. I don’t know why the “requirement” was done away with. And I really have no idea what it was like to grow up or to raise a family in the Church when the mass was only said in Latin and women always covered their heads in church.

Maybe I would’ve loved it. (I like to think that I would have.)  Maybe I would’ve scoffed at being told I “had to” do something a certain way. There’s no way for me to know. I just know that as a 24-year-old woman living in 2014, I can see a lot of beauty in the practice of women “veiling” at mass.

Truth be told, I have only worn a veil to mass on a handful of occasions (another reason I feel under-qualified to be writing this post). Most masses, my “decision” not to wear the veil isn’t so much a conscious choice as it is simply the fact that I am in the habit of not wearing a veil to mass. It always makes me smile to see other women wearing them, though, and I will admit that wearing mine on Monday did re-kindle my attraction to the practice.  I’m thankful for being encouraged by the “Wear the Veil” event to do so.

I will end this post by saying that I think that wearing a veil to mass is a beautiful practice, but I also think that God is much more concerned with what is in the hearts of young women than with what is (or isn’t!) on top of our heads.  (And I believe most women who choose to veil would be the first to tell you that!)

While what we choose to wear—especially to the Holy Mass—is certainly important, I don’t think that the choice of whether or not to wear a veil to mass ought to be something that robs any Christian woman of her peace.  Until canon law tells me otherwise, I’m going to say that the choice “to veil or not to veil” is a decision between you, Jesus, and your spiritual director. :)

I shared Jennifer Fulwiler’s post on wearing the veil on my Facebook page earlier this week, but if you missed it I am posting the link here again. I think she does a nice job of summing up the beauty and the reverence behind the choice to veil (as well as addressing that concern women often have of not wanting to “stand out” for engaging in a practice that is supposed to be about humility).

Whether or not you choose to wear the veil (or to cover your head in some other manner), I think it’s worth it for any Catholic woman to seek to understand the beauty behind the practice.

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On The Gift of Thanksgiving

I hope you have a blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving holiday this weekend.  How fortunate are we to live in a country that has set aside this day each year to give thanks for the many blessings God has given us!

There is so much in Scripture about the need for us to give thanks to God.  In fact our whole Catholic faith is based on a meal instituted for the purpose of offering God our thanks—or in Greek: εὐχαριστία (eucharistia).  God who, in turn, offers us Himself.

For me, this line from one of the prefaces to the Eucharistic prayer speaks beautifully to the gift of thanksgiving:

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And what a gift it is!  May our hearts always burn with this desire to give thanks to God!

Remember to keep in your prayers those people for whom this time of year can be difficult.  Those who have lost loved ones…families who are in the midst of deployment…and those who just, for whatever reason, struggle with feelings of depression or loneliness especially this time of year.  May we all come to know the peace that Christ offers each of us.

Don’t forget that this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and it also happens to be the Feast of Saint Andrew.  You know what that means…it’s almost time again for the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena!  Fix your intentions now and don’t miss out on this beautiful way to prepare your heart during advent for Christ’s coming at Christmas.

This year I printed up a handful of copies to put around the apartment.  Such a beautiful prayer to meditate on throughout the day!

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Have a great Thanksgiving/beginning of Advent weekend!

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