We continue our prayer campaign in this Year of Mercy by remembering how the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines mercy: “The loving kindness, compassion, or forbearance shown to one who offends (i.e., the mercy of God to us sinners).” In the spirit of that definition, as we pray monthly for mercy in various areas we, then, are not asking for prayers or grace in general but specifically for the grace of mercy, which involves forgiveness.
This month we pray for God’s mercy to be poured out on everyone affected by contraception, such as:
– Those who are intellectually or spiritually blind to the wrongness of contraception, perhaps through no fault of their own
– Those who haven’t discovered yet that contraception prevents them from giving God sovereignty over their sexuality
– Those who suffer the physical, emotional, and spiritual effects of using contraception, especially infertility
– Those who have inherited the contraceptive mindset from their families, friends and society
– Those in our country and abroad who have had contraception pushed on them to “solve their problems”
It has not even been 9o years since the Church of England became the first Christian church to formally accept contraception (in limited circumstances) at the Lambeth Conference of 1930. We’ve come a long way, baby, and not in a good way. Contraception is widely accepted in today’s society as not only normal, but a right. Yet listen to the tone and language used by Pope Piux XI in 1930 in reaction to the Church of England’s decision:
…the Catholic Church…standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises our voice…and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin (para 56, Casti Connubii).
What a reverent view of marriage and marital love that Pope Pius XI was defending! It is sad that marriage is too infrequently spoken of in reverent terms these days, and sadder still is the staggering amount of spiritual blindness that prevents many from even recognizing that there is anything wrong with the use of contraception. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts on the issue of contraception — that those who are affected by it may be granted new eyes to see it as God does, and that those who have been blessed to know the truth may be loving and merciful evangelizers.
Almighty God, your plan for marriage and marital love is based on the sacrificial love of Jesus for his bride, the Church. In your mercy, reawaken your people to the greatness of Our Lord’s sacrifice and help us to willingly share in that sacrifice for the good of spouses and families, for the good of the Church and society.
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Don’t forget to let us know how you are praying! We are creating a spiritual bouquet that (we hope) will have a multitude of flowers in it from all of our prayers. Each email report we receive of prayers said becomes a heart “flower” in our bouquet. Here’s the progress we’ve made so far, but we know that we can do much, much better. Please tell your friends and family about our prayer campaign and invite them to pray along with us. Please contact Sarah with your prayer efforts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year we are given a special opportunity to ask for and receive God’s mercy in our lives and for the good of the whole world. Let’s celebrate the Year of Mercy by ardently praying for what is most sorely needed in our world: an education in love.