With an impending blizzard heading for the Mid-Atlantic region, many dioceses and other organizations have canceled their trips to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. In lieu of traveling to the nation’s capital, many diocesan leaders are requesting a day of prayer instead. Here’s how you can prayerfully participate in the March for Life today, even from a distance:
1) Fast. Fasting is an “essential habit of any soul who would draw close to Christ and imitate him,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., writes in his book “Ways to Pray: Drawing Closer to God” (OSV, $11.95). It’s a way of growing in humility, acknowledging one’s sins, worship and, especially in this particular case, it’s an offering of intercession, or, as Cardinal Wuerl writes, “a prayer for the good of another.” Consider fasting today from sweets, food between meals, gossip or complaining to join in solidarity with those praying for an end to abortion.
2) Read Scripture or other spiritual reading. "God has revealed himself to you in Sacred Scripture," Cardinal Wuerl writes. "When you make a commitment to read the Bible daily, you are showing your appreciation and saying 'thank you.'" Whether you are snowed in from the March for Life, or if your travel plans were canceled, reading through the first few chapters of the book of Genesis, in particular, is a great way to reflect on the dignity of each human life.
3) Add a prayer for life to your daily prayer regimen — today and every day. Remember the unborn, the elderly and all whose dignity is in jeopardy during your regular prayer times, such as daily Mass or while praying the Rosary, or during grace before meals, the Liturgy of the Hours or your evening examination of conscience. In each little way, we develop a habit for praying for the dignity of all and that the sacredness of human life, from conception to natural death, be upheld. Such a prayerful habit is, Cardinal Wuerl says, healthy and beneficial. "We need to build up our prayer the way we would build up our muscles," he writes, "through a regular program of spiritual 'exercises' that become habitual."