I have a CD of over 200 talks given by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. I think I have listened to the CD at least twice in its entirety, and perhaps even three times. As I have listened to him speak, I have grown to love hearing him recite his favorite poems. One poem is simply titled, “There is a Man on the Cross,” by Elizabeth Cheney. The poem is as follows:
Whenever there is silence around me
By day or by night—
I am startled by a cry.
It came down from the cross—
The first time I heard it.
I went out and searched—
And found a man in the throes of crucifixion,
And I said, “I will take you down,”
And I tried to take the nails out of his feet.
But he said, “Let them be
For I cannot be taken down
Until every man, every woman, and every child
Come together to take me down.
”And I said, “But I cannot hear you cry.What can I do?”
And he said, “Go about the world—
Tell everyone that you meet—
There is a man on the cross.”
The most striking part of the poem is the charge Our Lord gives to each one of us to go out and tell the world about Him. Why? Because He cannot be taken down until every man, woman, and child come together to take Him down. Now, this may not be theologically accurate, but the message is clear! Each of us has a duty to go out into the world with great haste and urgency to tell everyone about Our Blessed Lord. And, according to the poem, each moment we waste is another moment His suffering continues.
As I listen to the world around me, I hear debates, statistics, strategies, and proposals on how to reduce the number of abortions, and at some point it strikes me: Where is the sense of urgency? In the United States alone, there is one abortion every 26 seconds. This isn’t a statistic; this is a person. A baby. And 26 seconds later, it’s another baby. The need for urgency is very real and ever present. Can you imagine the outrage coming from bystanders if fire fighters stood in front of a burning nursery and debated about how many babies they could save and which ones they should ignore, rather than charging in and trying to save all of them? Even though there are no alarms and burning embers in a Senate debate, the urgency is no less real. It’s just not immediately evident—just as Our Blessed Lord isn’t immediately evident as people go into the world to talk about Him, either.
When I first started working at American Life League seven and a half years ago, I worked with a man in my office named Craig Kapp, who has since passed away. On his door was a phrase: “It’s About the Babies, Stupid!” He kept that phrase on his door as a constant reminder to him and to those around him that what we face is the very real and permanent destruction of individual human beings.
This is the whole reason I am here. I have seen videos of abortions in progress. I have seen the pictures of tiny mutilated bodies. And these images are so seared into my mind that they are even in my dreams.
The urgency is real because it really is about the babies, stupid!
Michael Hichborn is director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith project.