Guest Post by Will Goodman
“What is a prolife rescuer”
I wish to write about an ideal.
And share what I have seen and learned from the lives of countless good people who have sacrificed their own lives to save the lives of others in pursuing this ideal.
They have quite literally laid down their lives in love so that others may live.
They are the rescuers.
And this is what i have learned from them.
A rescuer is called to be a witness. A very particular and unique witness.
A rescuer is an advocate prepared to stay with the endangered victims, no matter what.
A rescuer may choose to stand between the innocent and the weapons directed against them.
A rescuer is a first responder willing to risk everything to save people in grave danger– even just to try and save one single human life who is infinitely loved by God.
A prolife rescuer is an individual committed to nonviolence and courage who seeks to build a culture of life, and places of peace and safety for vulnerable mothers and babies.
A rescuer is a Christian crossbearer understanding the Holy Cross is a spiritual weapon against evil.
A rescuer is called to live out their Baptism in a dedicated life of intense prayer, fortitude, penance, and as a living testimony to Christ’s truth, viz., His love for others.
A rescuer understands a very important and unforgettable truth: the lives of the babies and mothers are worth every risk imaginable.
Some may ask, “why risk your other important work for the possibility of government persecution?”
The answer: rescuing IS the important work that has been given.
Rescuers discern a call, an avocation, from Almighty God.
This is no different than prolifers who feel called to serve in a multitude of important ways such as in maternity homes, or in educational work, in raising funds for poor families, adopting orphans, caring for the elderly or disabled, being a street activist, doing legal work, serving in government to establish just laws, sidewalk counseling, assiting in pregnancy aid agencies, and being a prayer warrior.
These are all essential parts of the prolife movement.
Rescue is a very singular and integral part of the whole.
If one felt called to work in a maternity home, but spent all of their time sidewalk counseling, they’d be doing good of course, but not the essential task they were called to do.
Conversely, if one felt called to be a sidewalk counselor but spent all of their time working at a maternity home, they’d also be doing good work, but not the crucial service they were called to do.
And so it is with the rescuer. Their primary work is not to do the other essential works of the movement, but to rescue. Period. Full stop.
The special path of the rescuer is to try and love their sisters and brothers in a particular, proportionate, and profound way.
This mission is certainly different than all other key services in the prolife world.
Rescue is not “better” than the other roles of service. It is not “more important” than all of the other essential dimensions of outreach needed to build a culture of life.
But a rescuer’s singular place is with the innocent and helpless outcasts of society who are all alone on the threshold of slaughter.
A rescuer intends to stays with the endangered victims, come what may.
The outward concrete mission is extremely important, and can be summed up in three words: the rescuer stays.
The inward mission is summed up this way: the rescuer offers a gift of self to the beloved, and is prepared to suffer for the beloved.
A rescuer lovingly lays down his or her life to testify, entirely if thus called, to the truth of a precious life of an innocent person in mortal danger who is worthy to be loved.
The ideal: a rescuer is prepared to suffer unjust punishment, inconvenience, torture, and even death, as a faithful witness to God’s gift of life so that others, including one single baby, might live and flourish in this world.
Such an ideal requires much prayer, practice, humility, and grace.
A rescuer is not a sidewalk counselor, an activist, a civil servant, a pregnancy resource volunteer, a maternity home worker, or even principally an educator, or any other type of prolife missionary.
A rescuer is a rescuer.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
A rescuer tries to live a life for others scheduled to be killed, and intervenes or interposes where the violence takes place.
He or she seeks to give, and not count the cost. But only with the strength and grace provided by Almighty God.
The special mission of the rescuer is at ground zero inside the very place of imminent danger.
Yet, this mission is also consequently open to the possibility of unjust arrest, being dragged viciously through the judiciary, and even having to endure unlawful prison sentences.
The most painful suffering a prolife rescuer endures is being misunderstood, forgotten, abused or derided by fellow prolifers or members of the Church.
In the nearly 50 year history of the rescue mission, this has always been a cross which rescuers have gladly carried.
Yet, even in this personal pain, the rescuer ideally seeks solace in the betrayal and abandonment of Jesus, as well as entering more deeply into the spiritual solidarity one lives with the persecuted preborn.
The ideal rescuer says with their life, “I will faithfully love and serve my brothers and sisters in the womb, and their parents, no matter what, even amidst hatred and misunderstanding, and if necessary– unto death.”
Such words, however, are by far more easy to say than to live. Much grace is needed to fulfill such an ideal.
Why pursue this ideal? To look for approval from others? Obtain the hope of notoriety? Self-aggrandizement?
No. Authenic rescue is none of those things. In fact, those are the very contradictions to rescue work.
Rescue is about love for the babies and their parents.
Rescue is about concern for the souls of those in the abortion industry.
Rescue is about dedication to the good of one’s town and nation and culture.
Rescue is about the dignity of the human person, the beauty of foundational healthy family life, and the primacy of the natural law.
Rescue is about sharing the good news of the Gospel of Life wherever the Lord of Life may lead. Even unto the “dark holes of the poor” …or to the very gates of hell itself.
A rescuer is a witness.
A unique witness to the blessing of human life, and the inalienable human rights of all people.
A witness to the necessary persistent advocacy for those persons in desperate need, at the very location of that need.
A witness to peace as a spiritual solider of Christian nonviolence.
A witness to the value of lost souls in the culture of death.
A witness to truth, especially the truth that nobody is above the law, especially the most fundamental law– thou shalt not kill.
A living witness to the joys and power of the Gospel of Life.
And they hope to offer a witness to a courageous, selfless love which knows no fear because the rescuer truly believes that, in Jesus Christ our King, “love never fails” because “love conquers all.”
Because God is Love.
These are the lessons i have learned from the countless thousands of other prolife rescuers who have gone before us, as well as the living testimony of the few rescuers who rescue still today.
Their selfless witness is what allowed me to understand a very particular call to love the babies and mothers. Their sacrifices of love is what has led me to the prolife rescue mission.
I believe the ideal of rescue to be a gift given from the Holy Trinity to be spent in self-emptying love for others.
In my weakness and imperfection, I fall extremely short of the rescue ideal, which i see only from a very far distance. I clearly understand that i have a long way to go before being all that a rescuer should be.
I take small, halting steps.
I beg God’s great aid, for me and for the other rescuers to follow this path if so He leads.
Because of the sacrificial love of other rescue heroes who have trod this path, I am drawn to this kind of witness and intervention, even if it hurts, since i firmly believe rescue to be an important mission of love.
I pray others may be inspired by Jesus to share their love as a rescuer in this challanging mission.
Since we know where and when lethal voilence is taking place, I believe rescue is necessary there. A necessary expression of love. A necessary love.
This is only because helpless babies and abused mothers are in grave danger, they all deserve a rescuer’s love.
I have seen through the witness of fearless prolife rescuers through the years that this intense mission is about offering love for others who are being dragged off to their death
These brave people show love for the abandoned so that the little ones might be rescued, have life, and life in abundance.
These are the selfless witnesses who obey the command of Almighty God:
“Rescue those who are being led away to death. Indeed, hold back those who are staggering to the slaughter.”
A rescuer will obey. A rescuer will stay. A rescuer desires to love the abandoned, come what may.