The Lord’s patience on Calvary

A pro-life reflection on the passion

The Lord has opened my ear. For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle. The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

How do we respond to anti-life attitudes in the UK and beyond?

After all, it is difficult not to throw one’s hands up in despair at the fact of 200,000 abortions per year, the fact that the vast majority of the population is in favour, the fact that pro-lifers are more and more labelled as “extremists”.

The best antidote is the peaceful witness to the life of the unborn, whether that is in a 40 Days for Life campaign, or through calm conversations with interested parties; after all, actions speak louder than words.

It is so important that we do something concrete to ensure that this story does not fade from public consciousness. In view of the much more visible international terror that besets the world today, the scandal of abortion might easily take a back seat.

The Third Song of the Suffering Servant, read in the liturgy of Palm Sunday, provides a remarkable example of patient and courageous suffering in the face of unjust affliction.

Notice the Servant’s attitude. He accepts his situation in calm, standing back from it, seeing it for what it is. He is not caught up in self-piteous thoughts. He knows with utter conviction where his strength lies so he can commit, right now, to the cause “like flint”.

The Song of the Suffering Servant of course is often seen as referring to Christ on Calvary. On the Cross the work of redemption is complete.

The agony and humiliation on that first Good Friday do not give way to bitterness and self-destruction. On the contrary: Our Lord, a living and life-giving embodiment of the Suffering Servant, knows that everything finds its meaning and purpose in this one act of acceptance.

“It is accomplished.” The destruction of life in the womb continues. But our suffering in the name of the unborn finds meaning and solace at the consummation of all things on Calvary.