Coinciding with Advent, the Diocese of Breda has published a personal prayer for the protection of life. Drawing on the rich language of the Old Testament, the prayer, which is “a conversation with the One who gave life”, is composed from texts from the Books of Psalms and Isaiah. Deacon Fred van Iersel, who promotes Catholic social teaching on behalf of the diocese, explains:
“The dignity of the human person is the basic principle of the social teaching of the Church. All people are created by God and in His image and likeness. Every person received life from God. Life is therefore never our property. It is a gift to be cherished, and certainly so for new life.”
Psalm 139: 13-18
You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb.
For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders. You knew me through and through, my being held no secrets from you, when I was being formed in secret, textured in the depths of the earth. Your eyes could see my embryo. In your book all my days were inscribed, every one that was fixed is there.
How hard for me to grasp your thoughts, how many, God, there are! If I count them, they are more than the grains of sand; if I come to an end, I am still with you.
Psalm 8: 3-6
I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers, at the moon and the stars you set firm – what are human beings that you spare a thought for them, or the child of Adam that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god, you have crowned him with glory and beauty, made him lord of the works of your hands, put all things under his feet.
Can a woman forget her baby at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you.