Worth the Shouts and Stares

By: Sr. Clare Hunter

I was nervous when the SUV pulled over to the side of the road while I was praying outside of an abortion facility in Falls Church with a group of students from Bishop O’Connell High School. The man driving it lowered the passenger side window. I could see his two young children in the back seat as he leaned across the seat and pointed to the building. With great emotion he yelled: “Shut that place down! My wife killed two of my children in there!” We were stunned, nodding our heads as he drove off, silenced by his emotion, pain and the reality of what abortion does to men, women and families. I will never forget that experience and it is one of the reasons I continue to go to pray outside of the abortion facilities.

40DaysforLifePraying outside of an abortion facility is never comfortable. Wearing a habit and veil all the time, I am used to the staring, but it is always heightened while praying outside of an abortion facility, especially when the occasional angry, derogatory shouts come from passing cars. One of the worst was at the end of reciting the rosary with Bishop Loverde and the group that had gathered after a monthly Respect Life Mass: A very angry, young woman walked by and asked if we were protesting. Bishop Loverde answered that we were praying to end abortion, at which point she started to swear and use derogatory terms. We all prayed for her. Usually we are encouraged by “we are with you” car horns, waves and thumbs up; but sometimes, not. It is always sobering to be praying, knowing that behind one of those windows a life is being taken and parents are going against their nature by ending life, rather than protecting it.

Is it worth the discomfort and very public witness of standing outside of a building to pray, and, God willing, help a woman in need to choose life? Absolutely! So many organizations and prayer efforts have moving stories of lives saved and parents helped. That day with the Bishop O’Connell students happened to be during a 40 Days for Life campaign. Founded as a grassroots effort by a handful of people in College Station, Texas, the program has grown in seven years, and with God’s grace have included: 625,000 individual participants, 17,000 churches, 3,039 total campaigns, 539 cities, 24 countries; 101 abortion workers have quit, 54 abortion facilities have closed, and 8,973 children have been saved from abortion!

40 Days for Life is a worldwide pro-life effort which includes prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil outside of abortion facilities and community outreach. For years the parishioners and parishes in the Arlington Diocese have participated in this campaign, and participants have shared wonderful stories of men and women changing their minds. The diocesan pregnancy assistance program Gabriel Project has helped countless women find medical, financial and emotional support. There have also been cases of post-abortive men and women contacting the Project Rachel hotline to begin to heal from the wounds that their abortion has brought into their lives.

This year, there are three locations for the 40 Days for Life campaign in the Arlington Diocese taking place September 24 through November 2. What do you say to joining this year? Do not be afraid! I encourage and invite you to give an hour, even with the potential shouts and stares, to save a life!

1. Amethyst Health Center for Women
9380-B Forestwood Lane
Manassas, Virginia

Contact: Jeanne Ostrich

2. Falls Church Healthcare Center
900 South Washington Street
Falls Church, Virginia

Contact: Ruby Nicdao

3. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic

Landmark Towers Apartment Building
101 South Whiting Street, 2nd floor
Alexandria, Virginia

Contact: Sara Dina

One thought on “Worth the Shouts and Stares

  1. According to the Scholastic interpretation as promulgated by Saint Thomas Aquinas of the nature of the Human Soul, the Human Soul is: 1) Spiritual, 2) Naturally immortal, 3) Incorruptible per addends and per se, 4) Simple, 5) Unextended, 6) Without shape or size, 7) Non-material, 8) Non-corporeal, 9) Rational, 10) Free, 11) A first created principle, 12) An essence or a being which exist per se, 13) Independent of the body for its existence and to some extent its operations in this life, 14) The substantial form of the body in the Ancient Greek philosophical sense of the word, 15) Directly created by God, 16) Immediately created by God, and if I am not mistaken, 17) Multiple meaning that it is completely and totally present and united to every portion of the Human body that is alive.

    The modern Catholic approach to the immortality of the Soul is somewhat ambivalent about the spiritualistic extreme ideologies of Saint Thomas Aquinas described above. However, as a big socially dumb ox myself, I prefer the traditional Scholastic approach. Our Lady Of Fatima was absolutely clear about the reality of Purgatory and the Souls suffering there, as well as in Heaven and in Hell as opposed to claiming some tenuous, vague, notions of some form of marginal sentience of the deceased or the notion that GOD might simply keep the information of the Soul in HIS intellect and recreate the Soul at the End of Time. All of these minimalist notions are nonsense and are an insult to the Souls suffering in Purgatory, as they are also an insult to the Souls consigned to Hell, because such minimalism wrongly rejects the notion that all such souls are personal identities and are the same persons as they were while united to a body on Earth.

    Now, the main theme of this essay is the transcendence of the Human Soul in its natural aspects of Substance, Faculties, and Accidents with respect to the life of Sanctifying Grace.

    According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Human Soul in its substance is a first created principle and depends only on GOD for its continued existence and on no other created reality which also includes the Human Brain.

    So, the Human Soul presumably as a result does not depend on the life of grace for its continued existence after bodily death. The eternity of Hell and presumably any Limbo affirms this notion since the condemned souls do not have grace, and the unbaptized souls who have never committed a mortal sin, but have never done anything good, are also without grace, and in my opinion, may have natural enhancements commensurate with compensation by GOD for what is lacking in grace. For aborted infants, this may include an exalted state in some ways perhaps higher than the Heavenly state as compensation for their martyrdom.

    However, the life of grace, even sanctifying grace depends on human nature as un-augmented by grace. Without a spiritual and immortal soul, even the sacramental seals of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders would not and could not exist. Yet, the Soul can exist in this life and in the next life without grace, plain and simple.

    The transcendence of the natural aspects of the Human Soul with respect to grace are not only substantial or essential, but also semi-substantial, and accident wise. This is evident by virtue of the reality of Hell and perhaps Limbo, and the Human Souls who dwell in either place as sentient persons. Hell would not be a punishment if the Souls consigned there were not so sufficiently naturally alive so as the experience the sufferings which Christ forewarns us about in Sacred Scripture.

    By corollary, the natural aspects of the vegetative, sensitive, and intellective life aspects of the Human Soul are also transcendent of grace as is the differentiation and elements of the set consisting of the Conscious, Sub-conscious, Un-conscious, and perhaps Ultra-unconscious.

    Classified alternatively, the Id, Ego, and Superego as aspects of the sentient life of the Human Soul would also be transcendent of the life of grace.

    Now, I am not denying the glories and grandeur of the life of grace nor the sacramental seals, and I in reality, respect the need for grow in grace and the great dignity of grace.

    However, we as Human Persons are called to respect all aspects of Human Nature including the natural, and where applicable, also the supernatural.

    If we esteem only those clearly in the state of grace, we are on the road to rejecting the sanctity of Human Life in all cases. Without a belief in a spiritual and immediately created Human Soul, it then become all too easy for even practicing Catholics to resort to abortion, a especially embryonic abortion inducing drugs.

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