Volume > Issue > The Least of the Least of Our Brethren

The Least of the Least of Our Brethren


By Jeffrey Ziegler | October 1998
Jeffrey Ziegler works in the Development Office of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Then he will say to those at his left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”…. Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. Mt. 25:41,45.

Every third year, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Holy Mother Church proclaims the above words of Our Lord. By doing so, she urges those prone to individualism to consider their neighbor, those tempted to secularism to ponder the Four Last Things, and those inclined to quietism to remember that faith without works is dead. So graphic is Our Lord’s portrayal of the General Judgment and so straightforward are his words that to reflect upon this text is to feel reproach, to beg for mercy and promise amendment.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade handed to private persons the power of life and death over pre-born children, Christians have consciously numbered these little ones, too, among the least of the brethren. In the U.S. there are some 1.5 million abortions each year — 4,000 per day — one every 20 seconds. Moved by these staggering numbers, Christians and others have sought to save the lives of the victims and the souls of their killers through prayer, fasting, sidewalk counseling, rescues, picketing, education, and political action. This witness has had the power to move even atheists to conversion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written:

It was not until I saw the spirit put to the test on those bitterly cold demonstration mornings, with prochoicers hurling the most fulsome epithets at them, the police surrounding them, the media openly unsympathetic to their cause, the federal judiciary fining and jailing them, and municipal officials threatening them — all through it they sat smiling, quietly praying, singing, confident and righteous of their cause and ineradicably persuaded of their ultimate triumph — that I began seriously to question what indescribable Force generated them to this activity.

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