Once again, the pro-life movement in Britain has reason to be grateful to Robert Colquhoun, a pro-life powerhouse, and organizer of the excellent 40 Days for Life
Robert has posted
on his blog, Discover Happiness, the best pro-life talk I've ever heard, given last night in London by Monsignor Philip Reilly, the founder of Helpers of God's Precious Infants
You need 75 minutes to listen to the talk. It might be the best 75 minutes you spend learning about pro-life activities this century if you can find the time.
All of us struggling to play our role in the worldwide crisis afflicting humanity, brilliantly identified by Pope John Paul II as the culture of death in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae
, can be buoyed up by the vision, wit and wisdom of Monsignor Reilly's words and by his vital work.
Before I get too carried away, let me say that this vital work, which is by no means easy, is praying and fasting combined with truly effective counselling outside abortion clinics.
Monsignor Reilly has been doing just that for 22 years, 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. And he's been travelling all over the world establishing this work - the fruits of which can be seen here in many parts of Europe, including in England. As someone involved these past 37 years in the educational and political work of SPUC - I salute what has been achieved by Helpers of God's Precious Infants. (On a personal note, my love and thanks here to Josephine, my wife, for the past 27 years of marriage which we're celebrating today.)
Judging by its fruits, which I've witnessed personally
in England, in Australia and in Austria, I believe this work is one of the most effective of all front-line pro-life activities - full of compassion and truly saving lives - and its growth throughout the world is changing lives and re-building the culture of life.
But Monsignor Philip Reilly is above all a man of God and what he's primarily about is bringing Christ to women and men, to abortionists, and to unborn children - and seeking to save souls.
He says that those who need our compassion and prayers most are not the unborn children, but those bringing them to the abortion centres and, in particular, the abortionists.
He told us that he was in Maidstone
yesterday morning and the abortion centre, outside which he and the Helpers of God's Precious Infants were praying, called the police to complain that the Helpers outside were disturbing everyone inside.
When the police told him that everyone inside the abortion centre was disturbed by what was going on outside, Monsignor Reilly replied: "What, everyone?" "Yes", the police replied. "Oh wonderful", said Monsignor Reilly.
"Does it bother me that a change of heart was taking place inside the abortion centre?" he asked us, his audience. And he gave us many heart-warming examples of such changes of heart occurring during his 22 years of keeping vigil.
Monsignor Reilly insisted that Jesus did not die on the cross "abandoned and alone". He had Mary his mother there; Christ had St. John, Mary Magdalen, Mary the wife of Cleophas and the women who had followed him from Galilee. Monsignor Reilly told us "Unborn children should not die alone". They need us praying for them, for their mothers, and for the abortionists, and loving them before they die - just as Mary and the others did for Jesus.
He told us that the pro-life movement was maintaining the light as the world goes into darkness - and just as a light shines clearly and brightly in the darkness, so does the pro-life movement.
He told us that the abortionists need our presence more than the unborn children do.
He tells the countless mothers who tell him how much they regret their abortion: "You're a mum forever. Your child is with God."
No evil has ever taken place in the world, he said, which did not produce a greater good. The greatest evil which has ever taken place in the history of the world was the Crucifixion of Jesus. And the Crucifixion of Jesus produced the greatest good in the history of the world: our redemption. The culture of death is so bad, Monsignor Reilly said, it's hopeful!
He tells mothers who come back to thank him after their babies are born: you owe me nothing.
I can't possibly capture the wit, humility and wisdom of Monsignor Reilly. His talk, at 75 minutes, was simply too short. Just one tiny example of his New York humour came at the start of his talk when he said: "It's good to be here this evening at St. James, Spanish Place...It's good to be anywhere in today's culture of death"!
- and learn. And thanks again for the recording Robert!
At the end of the meeting we were urged to attend a vigil in Brixton this Saturday beginning at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 6 Knowle Close, Brixton Road, Brixton, SW9 at 9 a.m.. I have an SPUC executive committee all day that day and cannot attend - but will be with the Helpers in spirit. Full details can be found here
, under 21st May.
Finally: you might also be interested in supporting the vigils
at the Marie Stopes abortuary organized by the splendid Good Counsel Network