By Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 18, 2010 ( – The pro-life battle will only be won if we embrace Christ’s Cross, become “the poor and despised of the world,” and “listen … to the promptings of the Holy Spirit,” said acclaimed author and artist Michael O’Brien at LifeSiteNews’ inaugural all-staff planning event in Barry’s Bay, Ontario in August. 

O’Brien will be a featured speaker at next week’s International Pro-Life Conference in Ottawa. He will address the theme ‘Overcoming Evil and Impossible Odds with Faith’ during lunch on Saturday in a special ticketed event.

(To register for the conference, click here.)

“The long history of salvation is full of peak moments where Our Lord … uses the weak, the small, the nothings of the world.  This is us,” he told LSN’s staff in his August talk.  “The Lord knows that the ultimate battle against Satan … can only be won in Christ, by living radically in Christ.”

O’Brien said that rallying our gifts and powers to resist evil is “a natural reaction to a war-zone.”  “Instinctively we gather our weapons – my intelligence, my money, my organizational skills – … to galvanize resistance … to create organizations, to effect changes in society,” he explained.

But, insisted the author, “it is not the foundation.  It is not the foundation. … It will never be enough.  It will not win this war.”

He read a passage from the Letter to the Corinthians, where St. Paul writes: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

We must unite ourselves with Christ on the Cross, he said, which “means we too will be humiliated, in public, as he was.”  “You too will be lied about, misrepresented, judged falsely, sometimes judged correctly to our own embarrassment,” he continued.  “To be exposed in the war zone, to be a poor man, weak, powerless by human terms, puts everything to the test within us.”

O’Brien noted that in the “intensity of the battles” the pro-life movement fights, we can easily lose sight of the spiritual nature of our cause.  “We can become activists, and purely activists, and lose this dimension of union with Jesus Christ, who is the warrior, who is the one who will win this war.”

This union with Christ may even necessitate martyrdom, he added.  “Some of us may shed our blood someday, we don’t know.  Some of us are definitely shedding our blood in a kind of white martyrdom. … We don’t know if in our own times the great persecution will come, but the times have a character that is unprecedented in its scope, in its quality of an assault against life.”

The modern world has a great need of heroism, “but a hero is not enough,” he explained.  “We need to be sanctified heroes, which means, again, walking the way of the Cross with Jesus every day of our lives, accepting to be the poor and the despised of the world.”

“What the Lord wants are saints.  The stakes in our times have never, ever been as high,” he said.  “Not in all the history of mankind.  Life and death hang not only on the politics of our western nations in the world, they hang upon you and I, listening deeply in the hearts of our souls to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

The International Pro-Life Conference, set for October 28-30, will be the first of its kind to take place in Ottawa in 20 years.  It features an impressive line-up of speakers, including many of the heavyweights in the international pro-life movement.

Those joining O’Brien as speakers at the conference will include, among others, revered pro-life leader and pioneer Dr. Jack Willke (President, International Right to Life Federation), John Smeaton (President of The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, UK), Bill Saunders (Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life), Brad Mattes (winner of a 2010 Emmy Award for his pro-life TV show, “Facing Life Head-on”), and John-Henry Westen (Editor-in-Chief of 

A ticketed banquet on Friday night will feature Rev. Johnny Hunter of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN).

The conference is sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition, LifeCanada, LifeSiteNews, and the International Right to Life Federation.  It will run from Thursday, October 28 to Saturday, October 30 and will be held at the Hampton Inn Hotel & Conference Centre, 100 Coventry Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

To register visit the conference website.  The organizers ask that prospective participants register as soon as possible.