Advent with 40 Days for Life
"In the past, the period of Advent was seen by Christians as a time of reflection, penance and prayer; a period of spiritual preparation for the great feast of Christmas. During Advent, people were expected to fast and abstain from meat for three days per week. Today, most people (including many Christians) do not see it as a time of prayer or fasting, but instead as the start of the celebrations for Christmas.
"However, those who care about the injustice of abortion, and know the harm it does to women and families, cannot celebrate. This year, more than ever before, Advent is a time of threat to the lives of innocent unborn children. In this country, abortions have reached record levels. During the first national lockdown, when hospitals were postponing routine surgery and medical treatments, abortion continued, deemed ‘essential healthcare’. As a result of government policy, women can now get medical abortion pills through the post, and are expected to administer these without medical supervision. In USA, the president-elect, Joe Biden, a Catholic, has promised to expand abortion provision and pro abortion groups are celebrating his victory. When the Polish government had the temerity to tighten Polish abortion law they were criticised by abortion activists and governments around the world. There have even been protests outside Polish churches in the UK.
"The situation may seem bleak. But as Christians, we cannot despair. Instead, we must increase our efforts to do whatever we can for the most innocent and most vulnerable in our society, as they are ‘the least of our brothers’. But how can we do this, in the middle of a lockdown?
"Let’s pray. Let’s pray as Jesus instructed us. Let’s pray for an end to the madness in which ending the lives of helpless and voiceless unborn children is described as ‘empowering’ for women, and as a ‘human right’. Let’s pray that truth will prevail in our world.
From the start of Advent on 29th November,
until the end on Christmas eve,
we are holding a campaign of PRAYER AND FASTING FOR AN END TO ABORTION,
in our community, and in the world.
We are asking all people of good faith and good heart to pray for just one hour per day, every day during Advent, for an end to abortion.
"It is up to individuals to decide what prayers they use. For example, Catholics may choose to pray the rosary, asking for Mary’s intercession; and the chaplet of Divine Mercy, asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness for this wickedness. Some might wish to pray the psalms (inc Ps 139). All could pray the national prayer of reparation for abortion. This and other prayers will be shared in a Whatsapp group for people to use if they wish. Some may choose to add an element of fasting or self-sacrifice to their prayers, just as they would in Lent (eg giving up alcohol or chocolate, or missing lunch on a Friday…). Again, it is up to individuals.
"Those who take part in this campaign may want to join our Whatsapp prayer group, ‘Praying to end abortion’ - although it is not essential. In this group, members share prayer intentions and are able to pray as part of a virtual prayer community. To join the Whatsapp group, just let me know by replying to this email, and providing your mobile number (you will need to have Whatsapp installed, but it can be downloaded for free from app stores). Each week, a member of the group will suggest specific intentions, to help us keep our prayers focussed on the cause of ending abortion.
"I invite you to join us in our campaign of prayer and fasting during this Advent, by praying for just one hour per day. In this time of lockdown, when we are unable to attend mass, let us prepare for the coming of our saviour at Christmas, through prayer and fasting; and let us use this time to be a voice for the little ones, those who cannot speak for themselves.
"If you wish to take part, just contact us by e-mail.
"May God bless you as we wait for the coming of our saviour to mankind, and reward you for your compassion for the unborn."