Here’s another homily Fr. Wertin gave some time ago during 40 Days for Life…
Fr. Matt Wertin’s talk and blessing
[With Purple Stole] Since this is principally a spiritual battle, we begin with a prayer of
“In the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority given to me through
the Sacrament of Holy Orders, if there are any entities here present that are not of Our
Lord Jesus Christ, I command them to leave at the moment I impart this blessing, in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
And as for our human adversaries, we say, “We love you, we’re not going to stop loving you,
and we can’t wait for you to join us in the cause for LIFE!”
My goal tonight is to encourage you to go back to your homes, schools, and parishes to get
more people involved. To do this, first please allow me to share a brief, true story:
A young high-school girl found out she was pregnant, and while it is true that she should
have waited for marriage for such things that bring about new life, she did cherish the life of
her child and looked forward to motherhood. Who knows where she learned this valuable
lesson: her heart, her Confirmation classes, someone at the parish? However, her parents did
not feel the same way. Instead, they felt the only choice was to abort the child, since not
doing so would bring shame to the family and ruin this young girl’s very bright future. After
pleading with her, and having her brother plead with her, they even bribed her with a brand
new car. After that didn’t work, one night as the young girl slept the mother came into the
room and began to beat her violently. The young girl found a safe place to live until the
parents finally accepted the fact that she had chosen life for her child and would not change
her mind. Then a very interesting thing happened. When I went to visit the young girl and
her newly born daughter at the hospital, the girl’s mother was there in the room, glowing
with pride and with an obvious protective love for this little baby, her granddaughter.
This is not a unique story. This family went to Mass every Sunday, helped the parish, and
brought their children to religious education classes. So what went wrong?
While many people have been raised in the faith, they still have not made a personal choice
for Jesus, surrendering their lives to Him and His plan for their life. So too, many people
have still not yet made a personal choice to stand up for LIFE, with the sacrifices this
requires. Like those who refuse to worship and serve a God they cannot see, so many refuse
to acknowledge and defend the dignity of the unborn children whom they cannot see.
They just don’t get it, but “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I was told that the first 40 Days for Life opening rally here in Ottawa had 1,000 people, last
year we had 400, and this year we had 200. At first, I admit, I felt sad and discouraged, but
then, by the grace of God, I became very happy and hopeful. You see, out of 32,000 soldiers
in his army, Gideon was left with only 300 to fight the enemy, and they won! God did this so
that it would be known that the victory was His!
All of us here, few though we may be, have been called by God to be the instruments of His
victory, and when this place finally closes down, all will know that it was God who did it!
There are others being called, so let’s find them and bring them along. We will tell them
that it is possible to make a difference, and that they’ll be loved and supported in doing it.
40 Days for Life works! This is why we must continue to invite people to take part in it,
over and over again, if necessary, with ever new and creative strategies until they finally do
get it. Those who dare to participate find their lives transformed, passers-by find their
faith strengthened, babies are saved along with their parents, abortion workers are
converted, and mills are closed down. Please, go tell everyone how awesome 40 Days for
Life is! We have great victories that we share in, and great stories to tell others. Every 40
Days for Life victory, wherever it happens, is one that we share in, just as it is rooted in the
one victory, the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death.
In a talk about “How to Win the Culture War,” Dr. Peter Kreeft states:
The hard-nosed, successful, secular lawyer Gerry Spence writes: “A small boy and a bully
meet. When the small boy is knocked down, he gets up and attacks again, over and over,
until at last he will win. For nothing in the world is as fearsome as a bloody, battered
opponent who will never surrender.” Never.
Winston Churchill delivered the shortest and most memorable commencement speech of
all time at his alma mater during World War II: “Never, never, never, never, never,
never, never, never, never give up.” That’s all. We will win the war, because no matter
how many times we fall down, no matter how many times we fail at being saints, no matter
how many times we fail at love, we will never, never, never, never, never, never, never,
never, never give up.
I have added a prayer before offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day:
“Jesus, please help me to offer this Mass as if my life depends on it, because it does.”
Now I challenge you, and through you, your friends and families, your schools and parishes:
“Live your life as if the lives of others depend on it, because they do!”
Mary, Mother of Mercy and Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us!