ARE YOU ALL IN?
Back on her January 23rd post Nikki wrote about how she was fighting the lukewarmess she was feeling towards the upcoming Lenten campaign. She knew she had to make a decision: either be ALL IN or ALL OUT. Thankfully, God gave her the grace and the courage to commit to being ALL IN. Then, just a few weeks later, she wrote the following:
I also think that it is more important than ever to add FASTING to our prayers! Jesus said that some demons can only be driven out by prayer AND fasting! St. Augustine said that fasting and almsgiving are the two wings that carry our prayers to God!
I think you see where I’m going here. If we’re going to be ALL IN, then fasting needs to be a big part of our lives during this Lenten campaign. With that in mind, I have a few tips to offer with respect to that most challenging spiritual discipline:
- Let God decide what kind of fasting you’ll be doing. While you may have your own ideas as to what you want to fast from, your fasting is sure to have more of an all-around impact (i.e., not just with respect to saving lives and changing minds and hearts, but on bringing you closer to God) if you surrender all of your ideas and simply pray: “Lord, what is it that You want me to give up?” Then, pay attention as you go about your day to listen for His answer.
- Start small and build. There’s the decision to be ALL IN on fasting, and then there’s the actual execution of that decision. There are many things I feel prompted to give up as Lent approaches, but I know that I’m not strong enough to give them all up at once. So I start with one thing and give that up during the first week (usually sports-talk radio). Then, by the time I get through that week and have become somewhat acclimated to that sacrifice, I’m ready to add some other small thing to it for the following week, and another the week after. That gradual build-up makes the arduous mountain that fasting can be, seem not so steep.
- Consider committing to a day on bread and water OR liquids only through our fasting calendar. Really, when you can choose which of these two fasts to do for 24 hours (7PM – 7 PM), it’s not as hard as you might think. The first step in getting there is to go to this page of our website and scroll down to the link which says: Prayer and Fasting for life.
AND NOW, THE SHIFT MANAGER REPORTS:
SM Barbara L. was with her parish ALL DAY on Saturday. And her husband Richard was her assistant SM for 6 of those 12 hours. [I’d call that being “ALL IN.”] Here’s what she had to say:
Today, Holy Wisdom and Saint John XXIII Parishes helped cover Pittsburgh’s 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil. Joining in prayer were Chris, Beth, John, Al, Sally, Bob, Rose, Richard, Barbara and Claire.
Since the beginning God has called His people. God designs vocations and they are awesome. You will not be bored. Saint Peter, one of my favorite people of God, in saying yes, progressed from virtue to virtue and ended upside down. Peter’s is an outstanding beauty in the stories of love.
We arrive and stay to pray on this sidewalk because we are looking for God. Abortion hurts the baby, the mother, the father, the grandparents, the siblings, the baby’s whole family. The abortion hurts the doctor, the nurses, the secretaries, cleaners…everyone working at the abortion site. It is almost inconceivable that abortion, killing the baby, is promoted as a solution to a crisis pregnancy. Yet, people promote abortion publicly and shamelessly.
Thank Goodness, seeking and choosing this terrible “solution” need not be the last chapter in the story of a crisis pregnancy. Life is the solution your heart seeks. Let your baby live. Repent and turn to God if you have had an abortion. Pittsburgh prolife organizations have the back of those of us who meet you on the sidewalk. Our hearts and “HELP” sheet are crammed with help for you, ready right now.
The frosty temperature didn’t prevent over a dozen of the faithful of Father Tim’s Guardians for Life or those from Holy Wisdom parish & St. John XXIII Latin Mass Community from praying and witnessing at the dawn of this day. The Sidewalk Advocates had counselors in all directions from the clinic. One group of four men walking down the sidewalk walked around our prayerful group on the road rather than thru us. I believe it was out of respect. Hopefully we had this same effect on those women or couples thinking of entering the clinic. Maybe, just maybe, we saved a baby today.
Tim B, 7-9
The weather was unwelcomingly cold as I arrived at the vigil today — and it sure stayed that way! The Guardians for Life were in full force and faithfully praying the Rosary. The PP escorts, as they always are on Saturdays, were also in full force. In the minutes before 10a, many people, mostly women, were entering PP. Since I am on the sidewalk every Saturday morning as a representative of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, I’ve come to know that PP holds training meetings regularly on Saturdays at 10a, so undoubtedly that is what was going on. I have never been able to find out, though, just what exact purpose the training is for …. it is still a goal of mine to do so, as they attract a fairly large number of people, more people than can possibly be employed inside PP — and I never see any repeat faces from week to week.
With the large numbers of the Guardians for Life, one always wonders if anyone will be left praying on the sidewalk when they leave! But we were blessed soon afterwards with Claire, Rose, Rose, Tripp, and Mary from St. Boniface, along with “regular” Ken, and the sidewalk remained filled with prayer. Sadly, however, only one young woman entering PP during the time I was there accepted our offer of literature. Keep praying – we’ve only just begun!
Sue M., 9-11
Do you wonder if we make an impact on what people think of those who pray in front of PP? Last night as I was leaving the vigil to catch my bus, I noticed a young couple smiling/chuckling while looking across at PP. I caught the young woman’s eye and asked if they wanted information as to why 40 Days for Life stands and witnesses. The woman asked “Why are the men kneeling?” The engaging conversation lasted about 5 minutes with at least one other person at the bus stop hearing the explanation and the friendly and fact filled conversation. The couple, open to hearing the message, saw and heard something new about PP last night because they saw two men kneeling. Thanks Pat and Matt for your witness. The two young men who passed by, before I crossed the street, also noticed. Grown men kneeling in prayer – what an awesome sight! Men who support women…who could ask for anything more?Marian, 11-1
Not many people were out this afternoon. I prayed with Barbara and Bob. Thank you Barbara for praying the whole vigil today. You really are an inspiration for the rest of us. Don’t give up.
Dean D., 1-3