Then she [Judith] took the head out of the bag and showed it to them, and said, "See, here is the head of Holofernes, the commander of the Assyrian army, and here is the canopy beneath which he lay in his drunken stupor. The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman. As the Lord lives, who has protected me in the way I went, it was my face that tricked him to his destruction, and yet he committed no act of sin with me, to defile and shame me."
All the people were greatly astonished, and bowed down and worshiped God, and said with one accord, "Blessed art thou, our God, who hast brought into contempt this day the enemies of thy people." And Uzziah said to her, "O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you to strike the head of the leader of our enemies.
– Judith 13:15-18
|The Virgin Mary crushing the Serpent|
I was thinking more about Lila Rose and the controversy over the tactics of her Live Action organization in attacking the abortion industry giant, Planned Parenthood.
I happened to read the story of Judith from the Bible and immediately saw a connection there. Judith used deception to destroy the enemy of the Hebrew people that was threatening their very existence as a people. She killed the captain of the army that was besieging her town and cut off his head. While this is certainly a grotesque image, it is celebrated by the Hebrews because it leads to the ultimate victory of their people. (See the biblical quote at the top of this article.)
Traditionally, the Virgin Mary is depicted as crushing the head of the serpent. This arises from an interpretation of Genesis 3:15 but is also seen in the apparition of Our Lady of Graces. This vision appeared to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830. Her visions are also the source of the Miraculous Medal.
|The Miraculous Medal|
The Old Testament heroine Judith is associated with the Virgin Mary because she is called "blessed among women" and because she beheads the enemy of God's chosen people. She also is chaste and never remarries after her husband dies.
The comparison of Lila Rose to Judith is pretty obvious in that Lila has chosen to use a form of deception to defeat the enemy – in this case Planned Parenthood. I'm not trying to turn Lila into a saint, but I think the attacks on her from the likes of Mark Shea at the National Catholic Register are a bit excessive.
We should definitely be praying for Lila and Live Action, because they have taken a path which is fraught with danger. There is temptation lying in wait all around them. So far, they have done an admirable job of resisting those temptations and staying true to their intended mission.
Father Frank Pavone has written a timely article titled "Let the youth teach us about pro-life" which seems to be a discreet endorsement of Live Action. He never mentions Lila Rose or her organization by name, but speaks of the courage and straight forward approach of young pro-lifers.
But most important for us as adults is to understand what will happen when we recruit more youth into the pro-life effort. They will challenge us. They will remind us of things that we have perhaps forgotten, and will even be able to teach us a new way of activism, and even a new way of thinking.As I mentioned in a previous article, Lila Rose has converted to Catholicism. It's interesting to contemplate how her name relates to the Catholic symbolism for the Virgin Mary. Roses are very closely associated with our Blessed Mother. And the lily [Lila] is a symbol of purity and virginity. So let us have faith that Lila will be guided by of the light of the Stella Maris – Star of the Sea.
Is there not truth in this “straight-line thinking?” Sure, we can teach our youth about the “how-to,” which is not always so simple. But we can also learn to re-focus our attention and energy on fundamental things which, in the end, simply have to be said and done. Maybe we’ve become too complicated; maybe we’re making the “it’s not so simple” lines into easy excuses for cowardice or a lack of confidence.
|Stella Maris – Star of the Sea|