on this day of prayer and penance,
Almighty God, our Father,
you who have given us life
and intended us to have it forever,
grant us your blessings.
Enlighten our minds
to an awareness and to a renewed conviction
that all human life is sacred
because it is created
in your image and likeness.
Help us to teach by word
and the example of our lives
that life occupies the first place,
that human life is precious
because it is the gift of God
whose love is infinite.
Give us the strength to defend human life
against every influence or action
that threatens or weakens it,
as well as the strength to make every life
more human in all its aspects.
Give us the grace...
...when the sacredness of life before birth is attacked:
to stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life;
...when a child is described as a burden
or is looked upon only as a means to satisfy an emotional need:
to stand up and insist that every child is a unique and unrepeatable gift of God,
a gift of God with a right to a loving and united family;
...when the institution of marriage is abandoned to human selfishness
or reduced to a temporary conditional arrangement that can easily be terminated:
to stand up and affirm the indissolubility of the marriage bond;
...when the value of the family is threatened because of social and economic pressure:
to stand up and reaffirm that the family is necessary not only for the private good of every person,
but also for the common good of every society, nation and state;
...when freedom is used to dominate the weak,
to squander natural resources and energy, to deny basic necessities to people:
to stand up and affirm the demands of justice and social love.
give us courage to proclaim the supreme dignity of all human life
and to demand that society itself give its protection.
We ask this in your name,
through the redemptive act of your Son
and in the Holy Spirit.
adapted from a homily
of Blessed Pope John Paul II
October 7, 1979