In the children’s story by Hans Christian Anderson, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the Emperor, full of vanity and self-centeredness, is fooled by two impostor weavers stating they will make an extraordinary suit spun of gold that only the “wise and worthy” will be able to see.
While checking on the progress of the “suit,” the prime minister was unable to tell the emperor that he did not see anything because he would be labeled a fool and unworthy of his office. So, he lied and stated the fabric was beautiful. He put his own self-interest above the truth.
Even the emperor, on his day of parading through the town to show off his new suit, could not see his own clothing, but would not admit to it, due to being labeled a fool. So, he walked very proudly in his suit, although “invisible,” as everyone cheered and congratulated him on his new clothes. Suddenly, a child raised his voice alerting everyone to the truth: “… the emperor is only wearing his underwear!”
Everyone couldn’t believe the obvious was spoken. It took one person to reveal the truth. Everyone knew it was true but didn’t have the “guts” to speak the truth for fear of the consequence of being labeled a fool.
Today, we are in the same spot. Self-interests, deceit and pride create new “truths.” The emperor is naked and we all know it. We see lies and evil happening, but are unsure what to do. Do we have the fortitude to take a stand, not afraid to speak out the truths of our faith, or are we fearful to stand in the face of the impostors and tell them they are weaving a bunch of lies and pray for them?
It may be difficult to stand up for righteousness, but we have all the grace that we will ever need to live a life in Christ! We can withstand the hate and lack of tolerance and be a witness to love. There are many entities that are walking about naked, showing off their beautifully woven comments that sound so profound, but are simply wrong. We are culpable for our actions and inactions.
Jesus told us that if we are to follow him, we will need to carry our cross. If we embrace the crosses that come our way, then we grow in our faith, thus accomplishing the mission we that receive from God. You’ve heard the saying, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”
Pope John Paul II so eloquently and emphatically teaches in his encyclical, “The Gospel of Life,” that “a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.
“Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As he taught his disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29).”
We need to discover our courage from within. Our prayers and fasting will empower us and destroy the lies and deceit hostile to the way, truth and life. Let’s build a vibrant pro-life culture and fearlessly proclaim the truth! And tell the emperors that they are naked!
Pallini is the respect life consultant for the Green Bay Diocese. Visit www.gbdioc.org/respectlife.