Fr. Pavone on Trinity Sunday, and what it Teaches us About Ending Abortion

June 9, 2017

Fr. Pavone on Trinity Sunday, and what it Teaches us About Ending Abortion

By Fr. Frank Pavone


--Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

As the church celebrates the feast of the Holy Trinity, it is an excellent time to meditate on how the church is called to share in the mystery, the life, of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- and, as evangelists, to fight the lies that seek to contradict it.

Just as the Father shows Himself to the Son, the Son reveals the Father to us. We read in Matthew 11: 27: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him." This knowledge, of course, is the eternal life (see Jn. 17: 3) which is Christ Himself.

The Holy Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth" (Jn. 14: 16-17). "If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you" (Jn. 16: 7). He is sent by the Father and the Son because He proceeds from them both. The giving of the Spirit to us in history reflects the Trinitarian life of God beyond history.

The Trinitarian life is a family. In fact, the book of Genesis uses plural language when God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.”  

We are made in the image of the triune God, and that image is not simply a personal reality, but an interpersonal reality. In other words, I’m not simply the image of God when I stand alone; I am the image of God when I relate to others, when I love and receive love. God is a community; by sharing His life with us, he makes us a community.

Moreover, the second Person of the trinity, Jesus, took on flesh. The incarnation teaches us how to live God’s life even in our bodies. In His flesh, Jesus shared in our humanity and showed us the way of love by laying down his life. And His risen body points to what ours will also be. This giving of self is the ultimate sacrifice. It is the pouring out of self. This is how love is done.

Therefore in our human flesh, we are to reflect the pouring out of ourselves. We many not be called to crucifixion - although some are. But life gives us many opportunities to pour ourselves out in love. In the creation of new life, a man is called to responsibility, love and protection. In pregnancy, a mother gives of her body for the good of the child, protecting him and nurturing him. Then she suffers great pains to bring a child into the world. After birth, both parents continue in the care of each other and in the upbringing of children. The family is a unity. Again, the image of God, the Trinity, shines forth: a communion of persons that gives life.

Our enemy knows the privilege we have as children of God and seeks to destroy the human reflection of the trinity in every way possible. Abortion is a direct attack on the Trinity. The link here with the abortion struggle is this: We do not find fulfillment unless we give ourselves away in love. The very existence of the Persons in the Trinity is defined by their mutual self-giving. The same is true, in an analogous way, with us. To see the abortion debate as simply a conflict between the rights of the mother and the rights of the child is to underestimate the depth of this controversy. The abortion debate goes deeper. It is about the question, "Can mother and child find their fulfillment apart from each other?"

Abortion is a complete distortion and rejection of communion and self-giving. There are no two human beings closer than a mother and her unborn child. Abortion disrupts, denies, and distorts the union of these two persons, and in doing so, further destroys family and societal unity. Abortion breaks up marriages, disrupts a mother’s ability to have relationships with men and to bond with future children, and impairs her ability to trust and make decisions about her future. Abortion is not only a separation between mother and child but between man and woman. It takes back the promise that is made in the act that created the life to begin with. It is a lie.

If Christ came to give His body and to suffer that we might have life, what a horror that we crucify our children for our own sakes. Christ says, “This is my body given up for you.” Abortion says, “This is my body; therefore you must give up yours.”

How do we fight against these contradictions? Standing for life and protecting the unborn means fostering the communion we see, in its ultimate form, in the Trinity. As Pope Saint John Paul II declared in Evangelium Vitae, life finds it deepest meaning precisely when it is given away in love.


Priests for Life is the world's largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.

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By Fr. Frank Pavone

Fr. Pavone is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life (PFL), a private association of the faithful, and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard, a ministry of Priests for Life.

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