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Thomas Cardinal Collins gives a homily at St. Patrick's Basilica in Ottawa prior to the National March for Life, May 9, 2019.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

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OTTAWA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins told Canadians gathered for a pro-life Mass in the nation’s capital prior to the March for Life that “fruitful” action will only arise from a genuine relationship with the risen Jesus. The same was true for the apostles almost 2,000 years ago, he said. 

“The readings of Easter season from the Gospel of John remind us that the foundation of apostolic action must be recognition of the risen Lord. Fruitful apostolic action arises out of that recognition, ‘it is the Lord,’” he said during his May 9 homily at St. Patrick’s Basilica in downtown Ottawa.

Cardinal Collins pointed out that this encounter with Jesus, as chronicled in the New Testament, led the apostles to accomplish “vigorous and creative goals.”

“It is the Acts of the Apostles, not the dreams of the apostles, or the wishes of the apostles, or the thoughts and plans of the apostles. It is the Acts of the Apostles: A boldness and action that rises out of that contemplative encounter with Jesus who sends us on our mission,” he said. 

Just as “seeing the Lord” led to “action” for the apostles, the Cardinal said, so too must it be for pro-life advocates who seek justice for the preborn targeted by abortion.

“That is why it is absolutely essential that we begin the March for Life today with mass,” he said. He added later that “our action arises out of our encounter with our risen Lord in the Eucharist.”

The Cardinal said that a relationship with the risen Lord will lead to actions such as helping “uninformed people” whose “reason has been clouded by the fog of misinformation being pumped out by the secular elite in our society” to move them “where they need to be.”

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He specifically mentioned pro-abortion activists in this regard, who annually “scream and shout” in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful March for Life.

“Words will not move them, at least not yet. And so we need to pray for them and silently witness. This is not a noisy rally in which we fire slogans back at those who fire slogans at us. Please, let us abstain from that, let's not get into that game. No. For those who are hostile, a silent prayer for witness is what is called for. It is much more powerful and effective than a volley of words,” he said. 

Cardinal Collins noted how every opponent that pro-life advocates may encounter throughout the day is a potential ally through the grace of God. 

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“We must especially recognize that we are simply servants of God who loves those who oppose us, and those who attack us, and those who espouse destructive approaches to life. This calls us constantly to fervent and silent prayer for them — and fasting — for those who have that view,” he said. 

“Remember, Saul approved of the killing of Stephen and went on attacking Christians, imprisoning them, killing them, until on the road to Damascus, God broke through even his hardness of heart. Every opponent we encounter is a potential ‘Saul’ bent by God's grace to be transformed into ‘Saint Paul,’” he added. 

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