POLITICAL PAPIST COLUMNIST
The semester is almost at an end. Students’ assignments are wrapping up, and finals are closing in. The season of Advent has begun, with Christmas music abounding and a beautiful candle wreath in Christ the King Chapel. For the most part, the mood is an odd mix of excitement for the end and trepidation for the end trials. I prefer to focus on that excitement and preparation for both the coming of Christ and our returns home, which is why I’ve decided to write a more upbeat column this time — a little feature on a woman named Lila Rose.
If you’ve ever scrolled through any pro-life Instagram or Facebook pages, you may have seen a quote or heard a speech from Lila Rose. Wikipedia calls her an “anti-abortion activist” (note that lovely skewed language), but I call her a relentless pro-life warrior. Rose, at 15 years old, began the organization Live Action, which is now a leading America-based pro-life and human rights organization that reaches millions. Now, at 31 years old, she is married and expecting her first child, all while acting as the president of Live Action.
She and her friends used to go to Planned Parenthood clinics and ask for abortions, tape the conversations between themselves and the employees and then post the footage to social medias. Even as a child, Rose knew that abortion was wrong and wanted malpractice exposed.
Today, she continues that mission.
Rose may very well be called the “Scourge of Planned Parenthood.” Why? She and Live Action conduct undercover investigations on abortion facilities, unearth their horrific deeds and expose them to the general public. For example, they released in May 2018 a major report on yet another nefarious sin that Planned Parenthood does and is complicit in. Not only does the baby butchery slaughter unborn Americans, it also aids sexual abusers by removing the evidence of their crimes — the innocent babies — and refuses to report to the authorities when they suspect abuse is occurring. Rose isn’t afraid to shine a light into the darkness and bring in public scrutiny.
This woman is an inspiration, not only for the secular pro-life movement, but for Catholics too.
Her conversion story starts with a homeschooled Protestant childhood. Because her father, on his own faith journey, read the church fathers and books about saints, Rose read them, too. In an interview, she recalled being drawn to the Blessed Mother and the saints, as well as to Jesus through her Protestant background. She also remembers being “intellectually convinced” of the truth of the Catholic faith for a couple years, before finally falling so deeply in love with the Eucharist that she converted.
“For me,” Rose said in an interview with the National Catholic Register, “I survive on daily Mass, the rosary and mental prayer each day; spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, daily aspirations … (bringing) Christ into each situation I’m in.”
As the season of Advent brings into sharp relief the need for repentance, prayer and charitable works, I hope Lila Rose serves as an inspiration.
She is an example, not only for the pro-life movement, but for her fellow Catholics. She proves that anyone can make a difference (even a 15-year-old kid and some friends), proves that intellectual honesty is the path to the church and proves that evil’s hidden deeds cannot stay covered up for long in the face of fervent and frequent prayer.
Rose also, I believe, poses a challenge to her fellow Catholics, especially those who (like me) often feel useless in the fight against the forces of darkness. You and I may not necessarily be called to start an organization that eventually becomes nationally recognized. But we are always called to share the truth of the faith, and what better time than during the season of Advent, when we are preparing our hearts for the Lord?
I encourage my fellow students to challenge yourselves as we leave the “Franciscan Bubble” for Christmas break: Search every day for the chance to do good, even if it’s minute, and do it with love. Find an evil (it’s not hard) and actively combat it as best you know how. Steep yourself, like your favorite holiday tea, in prayer, spiritual readings and the sacraments.
Draw inspiration from Lila Rose and her life story; open yourself to the nudges of the Holy Spirit, the saints and Our Lady. As St. John Paul II, one of Rose’s favorite saints, once said, “Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ.”