As I mentioned previously, an out-of-state abortion business is opening an abortion clinic a few blocks from my home parish. I am blessed to be part of a wonderful parish. It is full of people who love Jesus and who work for the good, including an end to abortion.

I believe that the fight for the sanctity of human life is more than a legal and political struggle. I think that it is a spiritual battle. We are dealing with what St. Paul described as “powers and principalities.”

Abortion has led our society into the pit of nihilism and degeneracy. It sets us against one another. Abortion is Moloch. It is Satanic.

That is what I meant when I spoke of Satanic influences. It is also what I was referring to when I said that I do not want my parish to be degraded by the evil of this abortion clinic. Satan is insidious. He confuses us with lies, distortions of truth and, odd as this sounds, our own best intentions.

Abortion has the power to enrage. The sheer brutality of abortion, and the callous way with which some people dismiss the lives it takes can enrage any of us.

This anger, when it combines with our own egos, is a powerful tool the devil can use against us. It can alienate us from one another and cripple our efforts to convert this culture. It can even drive a wedge between us and God.

We are no match for this evil. The only defense against Satan is to entrust ourselves and our efforts entirely to Christ. Any time we set out to do things on our own understanding or through our own wits, we are wide open to being used as unwitting pawns in the cycle of evil that we are trying to stop.

Pro-life people who pray at abortion clinics save lives and souls. They are the unsung foot soldiers in this fight for the sanctity of human life. I would never deliberately say or imply anything else, for the simple reason that I do not believe anything else.

But they are always in peril when they stand in front of these killing fields. Abortion is deeply evil. It has acted on our society in terrible ways and it can damage anyone who gets close to it, including those who are doing their best to stop it.  

We are no match for the malicious presence that hovers around abortion. Our righteousness is completely insufficient to stand against the onslaught of evil that Satan unleashes when we try to do something about abortion. We cannot do it on our own. Can. Not.

The only way to deal with this is to let Jesus fight the fight for us. I do not mean that we should do nothing. I mean that we should act within the scope of His grace and mercy. We should give ourselves and our efforts totally to Him and trust Him without reservation.

If we do that, the results will astound us. If we let God’s grace loose in our lives, He will use us in ways we never could have imagined.

However, I know just how hard Satan can pound on people who are effective, even in a small way, for life. None of us is capable of facing down the devil on our own.

My parish is forced into what can be a greatly damaging and degrading encounter with evil. Or, it is standing on the brink of a great work of witness for Our Lord.

The thing that will make the difference between the two is whether or not its efforts are founded and based solely in the love of Christ. If we approach this challenge with the idea that we are going to follow Christ rather than lead ourselves, He will use us to save souls.

I am not in any way saying that we should do nothing. Far from it. But I am saying that we should begin whatever we do on our knees. We need to confess our own sins and confess them often. We need to abandon ambition and desire to advance on our own righteousness. We must forego the temptation to think too highly of ourselves and our actions. We need to give ourselves wholly and completely to the Lord Jesus to use as His instruments in this fight.

Do you remember the two men in the Scriptures who went out to pray? One was a Pharisee. The other was a tax collector — a public sinner and pariah.

The Pharisee congratulated himself on his own righteousness. His prayer was, “O God, I thank you that I’m not like the rest of humanity … or even like this tax collector.” (Whenever I catch myself praying at my neighbor instead of to Almighty God, I think of this man.)

But the tax collector asked God for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus tells us that this tax collector was so aware of his own sinfulness and unworthiness that he could not even raise his eyes up to heaven. He just kept praying from his heart, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

“And the tax collector went home justified, not the Pharisee,” says Our Lord, “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.