Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- March 20
Archbishop of Sens (Northern France)
(entered heaven April 20, 703)
Don't underestimate the power of prayer. I commend you for striving so energetically to develop more effective pro-life tactics on campus (don't forget about promoting chastity, by the way). Remember, though, that you are fighting a spiritual battle. Don't get me wrong, our human efforts are necessary, because God has chosen to make us his coworkers. Without the grace of God, however, those efforts can bear no fruit: "Without me you can do NOTHING" (John 15:5). So add prayer to your tactics list. Organize a weekly holy hour. Invite somebody to come and give a series of talks on prayer. Encourage people to have prayer partners to keep one another accountable. Learn to pray. Your pro-life efforts will not only become more fruitful, but they will also become more energetic, creative, and joyful. I suggest you adopt today's saint as the patron of this new strategy.
He grew up in the lush court life under the Frankish King, Dagobert. But a greater King and a greater Kingdom won over his heart, and he became a monk, then a priest, and then Archbishop of Sens. He only occupied the episcopal palace for three years, however. Then he turned it over to St Amatus and then joined a group of monk-missionaries and headed into Frisia (northern Holland, southern Scandinavia) to spread the faith.
The Frisians were violent, superstitious pagans. They were tough nuts to crack. Very anti-life (as most pagans). To appease their gods they had a long-standing tradition of human sacrifice. They would offer children to their idols by tying them to stakes on the seashore during low tide, so that they would gradually be submerged and drowned as the tide rose. (One time Wulfram got permission from the king to wade out and save two of these hapless waifs.) On certain festivals they would also pick out a human sacrifice by having everybody choose lots. The winner would either get hung or cut into pieces. Bringing such folk to Christ was certainly as difficult as bringing the pro-choicers back to the full truth.
How did Wulfram and company do it? Their example of virtue – patience, charity, hard work, kindness – paved the way. And their tireless preaching planted seeds. But it was the power of God invoked by prayer that really broke through.
A fellow named Ovan had chosen the winning lot one fine festival day (which meant he was going to be the sacrificial victim). Notwithstanding Wulfram's eloquent and insistent pleas, Ovan was brought to the gallows. Wulfram persisted in his efforts to convince the king to set him free, and to banish such brutal sacrifices. The king was wavering, but the populace flooded the council chamber accusing the king of contemplating sacrilege. It was agreed that if Wulfram's God could save Ovan's life, Wulfram could have Ovan as his slave. Wulfram agreed to the deal. Then he got on his knees and started to pray.
They put the victim in the noose. He swung from the gallows for two hours. The crowd dispersed, taking him for dead. When no one was left, suddenly the rope broke and the body fell to the ground. Lo and behold, Ovan was still alive and well. Wulfram's prayers had been answered. It was the turning point of the entire mission.
Don't underestimate the power of prayer. Fight the pro-life battles with your hands, your time, your words, your imagination, your charity, your example, your creativity, your mind – but don't neglect the most essential weapon of all.
Your loving uncle, Eddy
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