“Are you listening?” asked Lisa. Again her question reminded me of a friend’s favorite verse (Father Joe from Somers Point, NJ) always loved-
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Why do you follow Jesus? Is it because of what He did or didn’t do?
I was raised in time when political leadership challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” The man credited with those words was killed in 1963- martyred or assassinated- has never been determined. I was in fourth grade at the time. Five years later, in 1968, a man with a dream was martyred. He was killed for his faith and action. I was in ninth grade. Both of these men fit into the category of Jesus followers who were “tax collectors and sinners” like the rest of us.
In 1973, when I was a sophomore in college, 7 out of 9 leaders (5-4 in 1992), with no right to make law, decided it was legal to kill the truly innocent. Our pro-life ministry is founded on the babies’ blood. Sometimes we call this large group of dead babies (59 million and counting), the Holy Innocents. They are born dead at the hands of men, woman and other. It is comforting and romantic to believe that these dead babies are held in the lap and arms of God. But there is no romance in how they were killed…only violence.
On March 24, 1998 I was a teacher in a second- grade class dealing with a violent child (red hair and freckles). March 24, 1998 was a particularly difficult day with the child. I left school that day at a fork in the road of decision. Arriving home to take care of my own family, I turned on the news. Does the name Shannon Wright evoke a memory for you? Today is the anniversary of her death which happened on March 24, 1998 in a middle school in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Her death was a watershed event for me. I remember her daily because on that day, March 24, 1998 she became Jesus to a child in need.
“I asked Jesus, how much do you love me? Then he stretched out His arms and died for me.”
“While schoolmates were conspicuous in their attendance of the children’s funerals, a huge contingent of teachers was among the 600 who attended Wright’s service at Bono Church of Christ. Leaning on each other, hugging each other, the educators said Wright’s death resonated in a personal way.”
She is but for the grace of God, go I.
Romans 5: 5-8 “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Unlike police and fire fighters, teachers do not travel across the country to attend funerals so I was not among the huge contingent of teachers attending her funeral (I lived in southern NJ at the time). But God gave me the opportunity, a few years later, in a laundry room at a Disney World hotel to speak with and listen to a school counselor who worked at a school in Jonesboro. The words I remember most from her testimony was “It was like a war zone that day.” Other schools were impacted- not just the site of the massacre- 4 or more killed at one time for one purpose.
March 24 is also the anniversary of the martyred death of Bishop Oscar A. Romero as he was doing his work.
“We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.” ― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love
He is but for the grace of God go I.
We are not all called to be killed for our work or faith, but someone just may set the bar so high, that we have to challenge ourselves to do better. Shannon Wright’s death challenged me to be a better teacher. Priests and ministers are not killed for their faith in America as much now as in the past, but in other nations- while doing their work- clergy of all ranks and denominations are martyred. What events are watershed events for clergy?
On April 20,1999, there was a watershed event that touched every school in America. Principal’s learned on that day they better listen to the messengers otherwise their schools will be in utter confusion from death and destruction. So, the nation has had to learn the lesson over and over and over again my friend. The schools who ignored the warning signs on the eve, faced destruction in the morning. Schools had to learn to take better care of the children under their charge. It is an ongoing commitment. Why do children kill children?
I do not remember a time in my life when we have not had violence of some sort, and I am “39 in Jack Benny years”. Violence is never the solution. I wish we could say that WWII rid the world of the philosophy of Nazism violence but it didn’t. We adopted their philosophy, (using Margaret Sanger’s take on the sanctity of life) as Constitutional law on January 22, 1973. “It was the education among them who decided who lived and who died.” (Holocaust survivor). There is not a faith denomination around that has not had its fair share of false teachers on the morality of abortion. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (collectively) are pro-choice.
So, who do we follow- the world? Most readers of this blog know that is a rhetorical question for them. But maybe, just maybe somebody is reading this blog and needs to be challenged to answer that question?
How do we know babies are killed if it is just tissue or a parasite? Begin getting the answers by asking the surviving parents. Read pro-life news because the secular media doesn’t report the truth about abortion. “On January 13, 1987, the remains of thirteen aborted babies were found in a dumpster behind an abortion clinic in a town in Minnesota-as reported in the Pro-life Action Ministry news (http://plam.org/)”. Finding those babies in a dumpster was a watershed event, laws changed in Minnesota regarding the care of the dead aborted babies.
Dean had food for thought last Saturday. “Food for thought when refuting the abortion argument: The abortionist sells the concept that the unborn baby is an nonviable mass of tissue. But, they know the harvest potential from selling these babies organs.”
40 Days for Life was founded, on the blood of these baby martyrs, by a few people sitting around a table. The founders were not just “spit-balling” theory. They formed an action plan of which we are all part.
“Nothing would be done at all if a man waited till he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it”- Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman from the National Institute of Newman Studies (Thanks to The Oratory).
Gloried and romanticized from conception to unnatural death, violence is still a sin. (Nikki wrote about the Ten Commandments and sin this week too. We don’t discuss our themes with each other.)
Father Stubna said at Mass in his homily last Sunday, March 19:
“The devil doesn’t want us to recognize our sins. He doesn’t want us to turn to Jesus for mercy.” I saw Father after Mass and told him I literally wrote those words down. He gave me permission to use the words for this blog.
Then on Sunday, March 19- W.O.R.D radio once again, during “Through the Bible”, presented a program about the Scriptural response to abortion. Psalm 139 is a Scriptural passage identified as God’s word about abortion. The preacher during the 7:00 pm hour said that abortion is a sin and someone needs to tell the person it is a sin.
We are kind and gentle on the sidewalk, so we offer life affirming alternatives, but let us never forget that abortion is a violent sinful act. Let us never forget the devil doesn’t want us to understand this because “it doesn’t want people to turn to Jesus for mercy.”
With God, there is forgiveness and redemption when we confess our sins and seek His mercy. Our nation needs to seek the mercy of God- collectively and individually. We cannot undo the killing that has happened but we can set the bar higher for life for the children of the future.
Following are the reports from the sidewalk today from 40 Days for Life volunteers who stand in front of one (of two) of the most violent places in Pittsburgh. We offer life affirming choices and peaceful solutions to the abortion minded and the abortion workers. Keep your eyes on winning this fight to change the hearts and minds-. one starfish at a time!
It is just a matter of time and there is no limit to the things we can do with your witness and the Grace of God.
(Reports are in reverse chronological order!)
Pat reports from the 5 pm to 7 pm shift and heeds Tim’s advice!!
Lisa C reports for the 3 pm – 5 pm shift:
We had a super team of prayer warriors who stepped forward when they heard that from 3 to 5 today coverage would be sparse!!! Thank you for your smiles, prayers, and witness in face of a few hostile remarks!
As Jesus opened not His mouth except in love so Tony, Katie, Dave, Larry, Jim ( who brought at least 2 dozen roses to share with passersby), Jen (whose birthday was today), Ethan, Alex, Mark as well as Esther, Nati, and Daniel showed Christ’s love in front of PP!!!
Charlene sent this wonderful picture in for the 1 pm – 3 pm shift:
Katie was our shift manager during the 1 pm to 3 pm shift:
It was such a beautiful day, especially compared to last week! People seemed more willing to take literature today. I was able to talk with a man who went in with a girl and seemed interested in the resources but she didn’t come back out for about 2 1/2 hours. We got some negative comments and some positive ones but nothing out of the ordinary.
9 am to 11 am: Sheila engages in conversation which can make a huge difference!
There was steady abortion day traffic during my shift. One young couple entered the clinic, refusing any resources. They exited about five minutes later, and the young man took a resource sheet from me. He insisted that they were just there to get information about PP for a paper they’re working on at college. Hmmm, never heard that one before, but you never know!
One bright spot was when a young man passed by and then returned to engage us. Bill H. had just arrived. The young man said he had a terrible problem with the fact that men can get away with impregnating women and walking away, while we’re “telling women they have to carry that baby no matter what.” Bill shared his personal experiences with the young man, who then walked away with a better understanding of the issue. The young man said he would do his part to talk with his peers to promote life
7 am- 9 am Barbara and “the usual suspects”:
Friday at 6:50 am felt cold and wet downtown. We kept lids closed and everyone put on the 40 Days signs. They survive the weather. The rain continued. Al and Sally came followed by Kim and Kathy. Our layers of winter clothes kept the rain out. It feels so nice to be in the rain without an umbrella.
Planned Parenthood says bad things about planning parenthood.
Staff hurries in, voices low, no smiles. When you look in the front windows, you see beige flat walls and black trim, closed doors and hard floors. There are no pictures, no wall paper, no potted plants. You do not hear people talking and calling to each other. No sound of music escapes from the closed windows.
The sidewalk counselors kept close watch to offer their many alternatives to a person who thinks abortion is a solution for their pregnancy. Barbara, 7-9
The death of the unborn is personal to our Creator.
What makes abortion personal to you?
What was the watershed event for you when it came to speaking up for the unborn?