January 27, 2023

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Our young people are ‘prophets of the Most High’

Sean GallagherI’ve been a father of five boys for nearly a decade now. For a few days last week, though, I felt like a father of 25.

It was while I was serving as a chaperone on a trip of students from Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Indianapolis—where two of my sons are enrolled—to the national March for Life in Washington.

On the morning of the march, the students prayed Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. As I heard the young people pray the Canticle of Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist, one line stood out for me:

“You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Lk 1:76-77).

All of those young men and women were prophets of the Most High.

As they marched along the streets of Washington with thousands of other teenagers and young adults from across the country, they were all prophets preparing by their presence together the joyful, life-affirming way of the Lord.

And as we know from the Old Testament and from the life and death of John the Baptist, being a prophet strikes at the very core of their being. It isn’t just a temporary task. It is who they are.

The young men and women from Lumen Christi and their many fellow marchers continue to be prophets of the Most High when they return to their homes, seeking with the help of God’s grace to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed among their peers in their daily lives.

This is how the Gospel of life will take root and spread in the years to come throughout our society that has been so dominated for the past half century by a culture of death.

I was humbled as I accompanied Lumen Christi’s high schoolers on the march that overflowed with jubilation in the wake of last June’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country and thus allowed states to give legal protection to unborn babies.

The young marchers last week, and many of their parents before them, were born and grew up in a society where their lives could have been snuffed out in their mothers’ wombs before they ever reached the light of day.

With Dobbs instead of Roe being the law of the land, all of the marchers can be prophets of the Most High in advocating in their home states for the legal protection of life in the womb.

They can be prophets of the Most High in aiding pregnant mothers who need material, emotional and spiritual support to bring their babies to birth.

And they can be prophets of the Most High by showing love to women who have had abortions in the past, helping them to know the salvation of the Lord in their lives through the forgiveness of their sins.

What Zechariah said of his son St. John the Baptist is true for all of our sons and daughters. They are all called to be prophets of the Most High.

Much of the grace of God that they’ll need to fulfill this noble calling comes to them through us, their parents.

I know all too well how daunting this mission of parents can be. But we can go forward in it each day, confident that God gives us grace, too, to accomplish it. †

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