January 7, 2019 (Priests for Life) — Among the many events surrounding the upcoming March for Life in Washington and the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco are the Silent No More Gatherings that occur in close connection to both events.
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign (www.SilentNoMore.com), a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, is the world’s largest mobilization of moms, dads and other family members who mourn the loss of their children to abortion.
At the conclusion of the March for Life, dozens of these brave men and women share, at the steps of the Supreme Court, the stories of their abortions and of the healing mercy they found in Jesus Christ. Likewise, just prior to the main rally at the Walk for Life West Coast, the testimonies are also given.
Let's reflect for a moment on the key importance of this.
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us” (1 Jn. 1:3). With these words, John spells out the basis on which the Gospel was announced to the world: personal testimony. Peter proclaimed, “We are witnesses of everything he did …God raised him from the dead …and caused him to be seen … by witnesses whom God had already chosen — by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed … ” (Acts 10:39-42).
God takes personal testimony seriously. It’s the way he has spread his word from the beginning. He intervenes in the lives of his people, and then he empowers his people to spread the good news about God’s intervention, so that they can experience it too!
The Old Testament Patriarchs encountered God in a variety of surprising ways, and the advancement of salvation history depended upon their sharing that witness, starting with Abraham’s sharing of the encounter by which God told him to relocate his family and trust in a promise of fruitfulness that seemed impossible. The prophets likewise, through words and symbolic actions, told the people what God spoke to them. And the central event of the Old Testament, the Exodus, comes to us through generations of personal testimony to the mighty intervention of God.
Jesus Christ himself is the testimony of the Father. “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence,” Jesus explained (John 8:38). “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37).
Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus is one of the most famous testimonies in Christianity. And it does not stop with the Bible. Whether it’s through the Confessions of St. Augustine, or the writings of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, or Ignatius of Loyola, this much is clear: personal testimony is an essential tool of evangelization.
It’s not surprising, therefore, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is one of today’s most powerful pro-life developments. The voices of moms, dads, and other relatives and friends who have been impacted by the abortion of a child and speak out about their pain and healing bring truth where there was deception and bring hope where there was despair.
The experience of the Campaign has shown that when these testimonies are shared in churches, in the media, and in public rallies around the world, people are converted from support of abortion, pregnant moms find the strength to choose life, and those hurting from a past abortion are moved to seek the forgiveness and peace of which they have been deprived for years.
These testimonies both reveal the hidden horror of abortion, and proclaim that for those alienated by sin – whether abortion or not — there is a Savior.
It’s time for the Church and for each of us to hear and spread the testimonies of this campaign. Let's make this January the biggest success ever in Washington, D.C. and in San Francisco by meeting the courage of these Silent No More witnesses with our own courage to share their stories with as many as we can!