Preaching at an annual Pro-Life Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral at the beginning of a week featuring the observance of the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States and the somber anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the United States, Cardinal Dolan stressed the importance of listening closely to hear God’s call.
“This call from God is not always easy to hear,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Far from a shout or a command, God’s call often arrives as a whisper or a gentle nudge in the midst of life’s challenges. “We have to learn to listen and be sensitive to His soft prompting,” the cardinal said.
Gathered in the cathedral’s center aisles for the Sunday morning Mass Jan. 17 were members of the Knights of Columbus and a smaller group of the Sisters of Life. Both were cited by the cardinal for their prayerful service in building up a culture of life.
Cardinal Dolan, in his homily, offered several ways in which God communicates with Catholics who are open to his promptings.
One way is through the Bible’s divinely inspired passages, such as the day’s second reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians, which states clearly that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Another way to communicate with God is through prayer. “If we humbly ask God to enlighten us, He will,” the cardinal said. “His graces and prompting come to us through prayer.”
People who are mature in their own faith can also be a good source of assistance to others in hearing God’s call. Cardinal Dolan cited spiritual directors, confessors and even family members as such sources. He said he recently talked to a young man discerning a possible calling to the priesthood, who was forthcoming about the advice and counsel he had received from his parents. “He was a wise young man,” the cardinal said.
The crises of life can also offer “a revelation from the Lord,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Look at the ways He has revealed Himself to us these past 10 and a half months during the Covid crisis.”
The cardinal said the teachings of the Church offer another way God communicates with Catholics, “like a wise mother,” and with Jesus’ guarantee that He would be with her always.
Considering once again significant events such as the anniversary of Dr. King’s birth to the presidential inauguration, Cardinal Dolan said, “He calls us to pray that our country will indeed be ‘One Nation Under God,’ whose only boast is the humble statement, ‘In God We Trust.’”
With the arrival of the Roe v. Wade anniversary, the cardinal also suggested the Lord was calling us “to renew our fidelity to the sanctity of all human life—from the womb to the tomb—the inalienable dignity of the human person, especially the innocent, fragile baby in the womb, as we mourn the unfettered abortion license.”
After Mass, Cardinal Dolan spoke briefly with the Knights of Columbus and their spouses in the cathedral’s sanctuary. Those gathered included State Deputy Wally Wych and other staff officers.
Later, on the steps outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Bill and Jaclyn Carney spoke with CNY. Carney is the marshal of the Knights’ second district in New York state and the Faithful Navigator of the Governor Dongan Assembly of Fourth-Degree Knights on Staten Island, and Mrs. Carney is state president of the Columbiettes, a Catholic women’s organization comprising affiliated auxiliaries of Knights of Columbus councils.
Speaking of the Pro-Life Mass in particular, as well as the Knights’ overall position on life matters, Carney said, “It’s a tradition that has to be kept alive, a position that must be talked about on a constant basis.”
Mrs. Carney said, “It’s important, especially during Covid, to continue with the traditions we have. We have to keep up the visibility as well as we can.”