The other day while praying out at Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois, I was touched anew by one of the prayers in the Pro-Life Action League’s Life Witness Prayer Book.
It’s one of the lesser known prayers in the book, which comprises four hours’ worth of scripture readings, hymns, chaplets, litanies and other prayers. This prayer is in the First Hour of the book, and it’s called the “Helpers’ Litany to Jesus in the Womb of Mary.” It was written by Marta Catalano, a member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, a group founded by the heroic Msgr. Philip Reilly, who has been sidewalk counseling in New York City since the 1960s.
This litany reflects on the profound mystery of Jesus Christ—Son of God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Redeemer of Mankind, He through Whom “all things were made”—living and growing in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
I’ve always appreciated this prayer, but it really hit me this time, especially this line:
Jesus, whose Precious Blood first flowed through tiny arteries and veins in the womb of Mary, Have mercy on us.
I think perhaps the reason these line resonated with me at this time is because we’re in the season of Lent, when we enter in to the mystery of Christ’s suffering and death in a special way. And it is during this season that we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation.*
On the cross, Christ poured out His blood to the last drop—blood that first began to course through His veins in the womb of Mary, pumped by His tiny Sacred Heart.
This image of the embryonic Christ underscores the profound mystery of the incarnation. “In all things He had to be made like His brethren” (Heb 2:17a)—including the utter fragility and vulnerability of life in the womb.
In this way, Christ shares in the humanity of every single child whose tiny body is torn apart by abortion—a consoling thought for a pro-life activist as he watches women and girls file into Planned Parenthood on a cold Friday morning in Lent.
Though the Feast of the Annunciation in the Roman Rite is moved this year to the Monday after Easter Week, it is celebrated it on March 25 as usual in the Byzantine Rite. Eric Scheidler belongs to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Byzantine rites.Back to text.