Stories, stories, stories. This is a book full of moving and delightful anecdotes as well as sober and moving thought.
If you will enter its world, you will learn new things. Dr. Marks gives here a picture of an extraordinary effort in the current culture of life. Like all good efforts, those in this book can seem to be beggars to those not open to truth, goodness and beauty—not their imitations—which are available free of charge.
The book’s many stories can draw you in. They come with keen insights into our daily life.
You will want to at least take a look at several things in the book that are worth the price paid of the time you spend reading them. I’m thinking first of all—at least for myself—of the help of Saint Anthony in getting Monsignor’s new idea for pro-life activity started (page 75)—an idea that would quite literally spread across the globe. Many of us have Saint Anthony stories. This one ranks right up there.
We are used to the false narratives and examples and conclusions put out by the pro-choice movement and its fellow travelers in media and government. We seldom see, in one place, the great refutations this book presents. We find here an encouragement and intelligence that can affect our own witness both in the movement and in daily life. Indeed, we will find things that we will want to add to our own daily conversations with family, friends and acquaintances.
A good place to see all of this is the chapter, “Marks of a Teacher” (pages 89-93). Marks (the author) tells us that “Cardinal Schönborn had it right when he told Bishop Daily that the Helpers “changed the face of Austria.”” And Marks adds, “Austria owes much of the change to a quality that I shall call “teacherliness,” for lack of a better word. It is one part communications skill, one part mastery of subject matter, and a third part appreciating the good qualities of one’s students. Monsignor qualifies on all counts.”
Monsignor gives us a compelling overview of how abortion took hold in the first place. The book also gives us a look at what Monsignor is trying to do to improve the quality of homilies. In his program, called “We Want To Teach, We Want To Be Taught,” he wants to replace the scripture review approach with a catechetical method.
The pro-choice movement is a compound of falsehoods, and it introduces these into its arguments, always substituting a different lie for the one that is being exposed. The ground keeps shifting. A good teacher—Monsignor Reilly—can keep the matter on track.
The book is, I think, a conscience-forming event. If you are an active pro-life person, I think this will encourage and improve what you do. And even if you have been a regular with Monsignor at vigils, I think you will find it a new benefit to have so much of Monsignor’s history in one place and in a continuous, memorable presentation. Whether you are a bishop or a beggar, I believe you will find yourself somewhere in the story.
This is a book we can go back to:
- We can get a look at some of the history of New York that we may never have heard.
- We learn who make the best shock troops in the movement.
- The number of “turnarounds” at an abortion clinic is directly proportional to the number of persons in the praying group.
- The three things that a woman will never learn from an abortionist.
- Monsignor Reilly, who at one time was principal of Cathedral High School, became an unwelcome person there, because of the strong pro-life message he continually advanced.
- How Monsignor was able to invigorate the pro-life movement after Operation Rescue began to run down.
- Bishop Daily’s help in separating, as greatly more important, the pro-life movement from other issues, such as was being done by some of the clergy.
- How Monsignor was able to successfully prevent the New York City Council in its attempts to deprive The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants of its First Amendment Rights.
As you read, you begin to see that because of the approach Monsignor takes, the stories frequently lead to what J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, called eucatastrophe—“the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears…”
For myself, this is something that can occur at a vigil in the presence of evil at an abortion clinic— the silent and powerful way goodness can seep into your soul—and into the souls of your fellow pray-ers and counselors. I think that if you would experience the wellsprings of hope, you may find them at Calvary, which is what Monsignor calls the abortion clinic.