Have you ever found yourself witnessing a tragedy before your very eyes? If so, did you struggle with how to respond?
About a year ago, I was walking towards the exit inside the Penn Hills Giant Eagle, after having done my banking. Right in front of me, blocking my exit, was a teenage girl laying flat on her back. Her eyes were open and rolled back, her mouth was open and foaming, and she was convulsing. It didn’t look like she was breathing, but I hope she was. There was already the store manager kneeling beside her, and he was calling 911. Many shoppers gathered around in silence, watching the scene unfold before them. As the minutes went by…and the ambulance had not yet arrived…people began to leave. I struggled with what to do. It just didn’t seem right to walk right past her and leave…but I couldn’t do anything for her and I didn’t feel right about standing there gawking. So, not knowing what else to do, I knelt down on the linoleum and began to pray for her, with my hand extended towards her. I have to admit that I felt pretty foolish…being the only one doing this. Within a few more minutes, the paramedics arrived, put her on a stretcher and carried her out. I got up and left. I never heard any news about her, I hope she was okay.
I write about this experience because I believe it can be related to our mission to pray and witness in front of Planned Parenthood during this next 40 Days for Life (Sept. 27 – Nov. 5).
Allow me to explain. You see, I have to admit that I get pretty discouraged after 14 consecutive vigils held in front of that place at 933 Liberty. After so many years of fervent prayer, witnessing through all kinds of weather and putting up with persecutions…they are STILL ending the lives of approximately 3,000 human beings each year. It doesn’t seem like our efforts are doing any good, does it?
When I feel weak in my faith, as I do right now…maybe even lukewarm in my love for God…and I don’t know what to do…I think of it in reverse and I ask myself, what should I NOT do?
I read the Gospel today from Matthew 13, where it says that Jesus was not able to do many mighty deeds in his hometown because of their lack of faith. I found myself wondering, is that why he hasn’t ended abortion yet in our nation? Do we lack faith? Is that why God isn’t doing many miracles here?
So what do we do when we lack faith?
We should ACT like we have faith! DO the deeds that we would do if we had faith!
Do we not want to fast? FAST ANYWAY!!! Not want to witness? WITNESS ANYWAY!!!
So, every time I begin to think of giving up…I think about the alternative. I think about those sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood being EMPTY, while we went about our life as if we didn’t care. I think about how that would look to the world. It would LOOK as if we (Christians) didn’t care! Just as I was afraid that if I had walked past that young girl in Giant Eagle, and had walked out those doors…it would have looked as if I didn’t care. So my strategy is…when I don’t know what it is that I should do, or how it is that I should respond…I like to think of it in reverse. So, I ask myself…”What is it that I should NOT do?” And then, I do the opposite. Even if I make a fool of myself.
Would you consider being foolish with me? Even if we cannot stop the killing of the innocents at 933 Liberty Avenue (God WILL do this in HIS TIME!!!)…we can be there to show that we care. We can show that THIS MATTERS! It matters to God, and it matters to us.
It is time to sign up to pray at the up-coming vigil…let’s get those 480 hours filled!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to commit for your time slot. (Check the schedule first at http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ ).
Also, please help us in our efforts to close Planned Parenthood and to bring an end to abortion in Pittsburgh by signing up for our rosary campaign. We would like every hour (from 7am – 11pm) during the 40 days to be covered with at least one person praying the rosary for this intention. Go to https://signup.com/client/invitation/6775657374/1930757/false#!1930757/false/false to sign up. (40 Days for Life is an ecumenical movement, and we are not trying to exclude non-Catholics who may not wish to pray the rosary…so if you are Protestant and would like to pledge to pray for certain hours, we welcome your prayers! Please just contact Rick Thimons at email@example.com, who is in charge of the prayer campaign, and let him know.
And of course, we need your help to fill our fasting calendar during the 40 days! We strive to have at least two people fasting every day during the 40 days. Go to https://signup.com/client/invitation/6775657374/1942419/false#!1942419/false/false to sign up.
Also, don’t forget to “LIKE” our Facebook page and follow us! You will be able to follow the national 40 Days for Life devotional prayers at https://www.facebook.com/40daysforlifepgh/
Finally, mark your calendar for Katie’s next Diaper Drive, to benefit local crisis pregnancy centers! It will be held on Saturday, September 2nd from 7am – 7pm in front of Planned Parenthood. More information will be posted soon.
Thank you for your help!
God bless you!
Your sister in Christ,
P.S. I hope I am not confusing you with this blog post…Sue David IS the new campaign director! As the vigil coordinator, I am just writing to try to help us to fill the vigil. 🙂