The following message is from Jan Parker, OFS, Minister of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA. It has been edited for clarity and length.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
May the Lord give us peace!
Recently I have received some emails of concern regarding the changes that are happening in our country. One OFS member asked, “Does anyone know of any initiatives being taken by any local, regional, or national fraternities (or by the order as a whole) to respond specifically to the massive, rapidly developing changes that seem to be overtaking the world?” There certainly are many concerns and issues to address—and many courageous actions need to be taken.
I do want to lend my two cents to the above conversation, and I will do that soon. Today, however, my email to you is more focused on an overarching concern and a prayer in the hearts of many . . . the dignity of life; the respect of all life and all creation; and the right to life itself.
As you know, January 22 was the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. It grieves us to see babies killed before they have a chance to draw a breath. It grieves us to see the suffering borne by those who go through an abortion or who are involved in any way. My heart goes out to all, but especially to those who may realize, only later, what they have done. We all fall short. How we need to help each other! Our help, compassion and prayers are so needed.
I know each of us will pray and take action as the Spirit directs. . . . [We can] certainly give encouragement to those who work throughout the year, day in and day out, to promote respect for life. We all need to do what we can. Our simplest acts can have great effect.
May our prayers be full of hope that someday soon our country’s laws will reflect what is written in our hearts – that all life is precious. May all our actions be peaceful and respectful as we reflect to all the love and mercy of God.
May we be passionate, not just this week, but every day, in our commitment and determination to make things better for all people and all creation.
May we celebrate and be thankful for the gift of life that God has given us… and above all, let us today and right now, care for those whose lives do not feel like celebrations.
O Breath of God, unite us in action! Bo ruach Elohim!
Love and prayers,