By Father Tony Van Hee
“Father, all-powerful and every-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. You renew the Church in every age by raising up men and women outstanding in holiness, living witnesses of your unchanging love” (Second Preface for Masses of Holy Men and Women).
God provides. Even now, in this “wicked and unfaithful generation,” God is raising up outstanding men and women: Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Jean Vanier come to mind.
Alan Keyes, a black U.S. Republican presidential candidate also comes to mind. Coverage in the March issue of the Ottawa Times had this to say about him: “If Americans do little else during the coming presidential campaign season, they ought to listen once to Republican Alan Keyes.”
So wrote The Baltimore Sun, in a November 29, 1995 main editorial, just one of the many voices in America which has expressed awe over the candidate’s oratory.
“A Keyes’ speech on the moral erosion of America is one of those transcendent experiences where you just have to be there. It’s hard to explain how he touches the soul of an audience, and saying that he’s ‘silver- tongued’ (as everyone does) only tarnishes the picture by inadequacy.
“It is the coruscating brilliance and moral energy with which he weaves the abortion issue into a comprehensive critique of American society that sets him apart. The result is a test by rhetorical fire for people who, like me, have attempted to fashion a facile truce with themselves on the issue of abortion.
“He puts you on the point of his sword, and does not let you slide off,’” it went on. “You must confront his seemingly seamless analysis, which connects the abortion question all the way back to the Declaration of Independence.”
Dr. Keyes reportedly brought the house down at the Louisiana Republican Convention, literally shouting, “I will not join the Clinton Democrats who worship government as their god. I will not join the Forbes Republicans who worship money as their god. I will stand firm where the founders of the nation stood… [with] the Creator God who is the ground of justice …and our human rights!”
One man’s reaction
When one of his eight-minute speeches was rebroadcast on James Dobson’s (Focus on the Family) nation-wide radio show, it generated 10, 000 letters and phone calls. He reports that one woman wrote him to tell him that her elderly father was bedridden but had rolled out of bed onto his knees to thank God for permitting him to hear a speech like that before dying.
It was actually the magnitude and intensity of the reaction to this speech that persuaded him to run for the Presidency of the United States.
Isn’t that good news?
Pat Buchanan, another powerful pro-life speaker, ranking second to Bob Dole for the Republican Presidential nomination, has been such a witness for many years.
Randall Terry, founder and leader of Operation Rescue, prisoner for Christ and the child in the womb, along with Joan Andrews Bell, Linda Gibbons and all pro-life prisoners of a conscience, are such powerful witnesses.
A small but essential key to such outstanding service, however, is simply showing up “for work” each day.
If I’m not in my place when the right moment along, God has to wait for another right moment.
As Mother Teresa said, I’m not asked to be successful, but to be faithful. “Paul plants, Apollo waters, but God gives the increase.” Faith, fidelity, courage, perseverance, are my part.”
O my Jesus, You do not give a reward for the successful performance of a work, but for the good will and the labor undertaken. Therefore, I am completely at peace, even if all my undertakings and efforts would be thwarted or should come to naught. If I do all that is in my power, the rest is not my business. And therefore the greatest storms do not my business. And therefore the greatest storms do not disturb the depths of my peace; the will of God dwells in my conscience.
Editor’s note: Father Van Hee has maintained a vigil on Parliament Hill during each Parliamentary session since September, 1989. He is working for a law to protect the unborn from the moment of conception.