By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Acting on an inspiration that came to her during Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, a 25 year-old Minnesota woman has launched the first national day of prayer for marriage which will take place one month from today – on August 29, 2011.
Shawn Hernandez of Rochester, Minnesota has always been concerned about the increasing attacks on marriage and family in the U.S. and believes now is the time for the faithful to start ignoring all those accusations of being “homophobic” and start standing up for marriage.
“This is not about hatred, but love, the love that God created, to be shared between a man and a woman, the source of all life!” Hernandez says. “New York’s gay marriage law went into effect on July 24. Other states will follow. We must be proactive about this and pray!”
Hernandez, an administrative assistant who has been married for five years to her husband, Alfonso, said the idea to launch a prayer campaign for marriage came to her one night during prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. On this particular night, she had just finished praying the rosary when the idea to start a campaign popped into her head. At first, she thought it was just her own thoughts, but then she began to wonder if it could be from the Lord.
She prayed, “But Lord, I’m just a simple girl living in Minnesota! How would I get this done?”
Almost instantly, ideas for how to accomplish the mission began to flow through her head.
“But still, in my humanity I questioned it. I asked the Lord for a sign. Not just a small one, some way that I would know for sure this was really what He wanted.”
She went to the front of the chapel and knelt in front of the monstrance. There was a small Bible in the pocket of the kneeler and she had a sudden inclination to open it. The Bible opened to Mark 6:14-29, which is the account of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, who was murdered because he denounced Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodius.
“Knowing his fight for marriage, even to the point of death, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, but Providence,” Hernandez said.
She went home and discovered that the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist takes place on August 29 – just enough time for her to put a plan into action.
The first thing she did was launch a Facebook page and made a YouTube announcement. Not long after this, she called into the Women of Grace daily radio show and her call was taken, which gave her the opportunity to speak to a national audience. By the end of the show, the ministry’s staff journalist offered to write an article about the campaign to get the word out even further.
At this point, the miraculous way her story was unfolding gave her almost as much inspiration as her main motive for launching the campaign – love.
“The meaning of Love has been so torn apart and destroyed,” she said. “One reason for this is the use of birth control. It teaches us to believe the marital act of love is only for pleasure, which means that if children are no longer the fruit of this act of love, homosexual marriage would be permissible because the meaning of marriage would no longer be life. Marriage has lost its meaning. Love has been brought down to meaning something that makes you feel good, which is not love at all. Love is sacrificing. Love is the ultimate gift of self. Love always creates.”
But we know that “with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) and if we join together in prayer, He will hear us and respond.
Therefore, Hernandez is asking individuals, prayer groups, parishes, anyone who wants to participate to make August 29 a special day of prayer for marriage. Pray the rosary, make sacrifices, attend Mass, make a Holy Hour, put an announcement in your parish bulletin, post in on your Facebook page.
“I am asking for anything you can do,” Hernandez says.
No offering is too small for such a sacred mission as this – to defend marriage and the Love that brings life to the world!
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