January 17

National Prayer Vigil for Life

“Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.” (Pope Francis).  To embrace a consistent ethic of life does not imply that we should focus on other issues instead of abortion, but that our witness for social justice and in defense of all life is strengthened when we base it clearly and consistently on the recognition of the dignity of every human life at every stage. (James Martin, SJ) Perhaps it is time to expand our understanding of what it means to be pro-life and for all of us to care for every life- to care passionately about the unborn, but also to care passionately about the migrant, the trafficked,  the innocent victims of wars or violence, and all whose lives are violated by injustice.  As we pray today, and as our faith teaches, let us strengthen our belief that every life is sacred.


May we be grateful and reverent of the gift of life. May we protect it not only in the human but also in all living creatures which are treated cruelly and with respect for the earth without which no life can exist.


Reflect on the meaning of respect for all life. Consider the seamless ethic of life. Choose to support means which safeguard the born as well as the unborn with equal compassion and reverence for all living beings.

Suggested Reading

If personal and social sensitivity in welcoming a new life is lost, other forms of welcome useful to social life will dry up.
Pope Francis

It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.
Pope Francis

Each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his or her days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded.
Pope Francis

Any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed.
St. John Paul II

Life is a gift, given in trust – like a child.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Every day, God grants us the precious gift of life. Yet every day, we squander it with our selfish, petty concerns, rather than helping someone as God helps us.
Kirn Hans

Always thank God for the gift of life.
Author Unknown