Satan’s elite fighting force…Lukewarm Christians!
Here we are on day 22…more than halfway there. The weather has been beautiful and our witness for life and for Christ on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood has been going strong! Our numbers are sometimes small, but as Sue wrote so beautifully in her post from yesterday…we are to “dream small“! I LOVED that reflection! However, today, with the faithful prayer warriors from St. Louise de Marillac in Upper St. Clair, Guardians for Life and many dedicated individuals…our numbers were anything but small! AND A BABY WAS HOPEFULLY SAVED TODAY! (Read about it in shift manager Hank’s report at the bottom of this post.)
Last week I watched a video of Abby Johnson, pouring out her heart and her frustration over the fact that 40 Days for Life leaders all around the world are having a hard time filling the vigil hours. In the video, she says, through tear filled eyes, “I just don’t understand why it is so hard for CHRISTIANS to PRAY for an hour!” It was the 8 year anniversary of her conversion…8 years from the day that she was asked to assist in an ultra-sound guided abortion…and she watched with her own eyes, a tiny 13 week baby boy struggle to move away from the abortionist’s device…and ultimately lose his struggle. As you probably know, she had a conversion and is now a pro-life advocate…assisting other abortion workers to leave the industry. You can watch the video yourself by clicking HERE.
But, after I watched the video…I have to admit that it had the effect of making me feel sorry for myself! And I felt a slight bitterness creeping in. Especially when I don’t get response from my emails asking for help when we have empty hours at the vigil. It is then that my little interior pity party begins…and I start thinking, “Why doesn’t anyone else care?” Now, don’t get me wrong. I KNOW that there are MANY people who DO care…and who are praying, fasting and coming to the vigil if and when they can. And I KNOW that we are making a difference through these 40 day campaigns! I stand there and see the expression of folks walking by, especially when they look at the fetal models. I see many young people looking…and I BELIEVE that we are planting seeds that will reap a harvest some day. But still…I wonder whey there aren’t MORE of us???
I read something last week that has really stayed with me…Fr. Richard Heilman posted on his blog:
Satan’s most powerful force; his “Elite Fighting Force” are the indifferent, the dispassionate, the halfhearted … it is the lukewarm. These are Satan’s “Special Forces” because they are the most effective in winning over a multitude of souls for the devil. Why? Because many are easily swayed by their “version of lukewarm religion.” One that sets every other thing, noble or not, ahead of participating in building the kingdom of God. And, lukewarm church-goers are the elite among the elite in Satan’s fighting force, because they “set a powerful trend” of this empty religiosity, with no urgency to go much beyond church attendance. This is VERY contagious!!
I always thought it was interesting that God speaks so harshly about the lukewarm…saying He will spit them out! I mean, being lukewarm is better than being cold…isn’t it? Isn’t a little of something better than none at all? But, after reading this refection above, I can begin to see why being lukewarm is so dangerous. Because it is like thinking we can have our cake and eat it too. We can be Christians and still be comfortable. We can live like the world, as long as our “mouths” say the right words. That reminds me of a joke that I heard a priest tell a few weeks ago. He said,
“There was a woman who wanted St. Peter to give her a tour of Heaven, so she could check it out. St. Peter agreed, and as he was showing her around, she noticed a large hole…it was full of tongues. She asked St. Peter what that was all about. St. Peter answered, ‘Oh, that is for those whom only their tongues made it to Heaven.'”
If there was no suffering in the world…if no one was hungry or homeless…if helpless babies weren’t being killed by abortion…then maybe we could get away with being lukewarm. But we are in a battle here. Satan is fighting hard for souls. So we have to fight hard also. And we know that our side wins in the end, so we can be encouraged to persevere! And speaking of encouragement…I want to share with you a couple updates on babies that were saved from abortion at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood. We believe that many lives are saved from abortion through our prayers and witness…but it doesn’t happen very often that we actually get to find out, or to follow up on those lives. Here are two that I do keep in touch with:
I met Carita at Planned Parenthood when she came to have an abortion. Confused and fearful, she thought she had to do it. God used our pro-life family in Pittsburgh to help her choose life. We had a baby shower for her and also collected money to help her to buy a car. Her little girl, Adrial, is the light of her life, and her relationship with God is stronger than ever! I asked Carita to write a little message to our 40 Days for Life family for this blog. She wrote:
I just want to say God is good all the time and I just want to give him thanks for everything that he is doing for me and for everything that he did for my daughter. I want to specially thank the 40 day for life team for being there for me throughout my pregnancy. Thanks a lot to you too Nikki. Word of encouragement… life is preciously given from God, so we should preserve it.
Carita is also asking for prayers. She is living in a neighborhood that is not safe for her kids, and is going to look at another house to buy this Saturday. Please remember to pray for this intention for her.
These two little cuties were also scheduled to be aborted at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood…but because of our caring pro-life community, we were able to help their mom choose life. A baby shower was held and money was raised to help their family.
So, I hope you are now encouraged to continue these next 18 days! We have some empty vigil hours coming up that I hope we can fill! This Sunday from 1-3, shift manager Maggie will be all alone if no one signs up! Monday morning, from 7-9am shift manager Jeff will be alone. Monday from 5-7pm shift manager Sue will be alone. I hope I will get some responses to help fill these hours!
The final thought I want to share with you is this; Yesterday I got to talk to a woman who has been coming to our vigil regularly to “support Planned Parenthood“. She is upset that we want to “take away women’s healthcare” by closing down Planned Parenthood. When I answered her by saying that I am just one person and that I don’t have the power to close Planned Parenthood, I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke through her when she said in reply: “Yes, you do have the power to close Planned Parenthood! One person is powerful!“
So there you have it…straight from an opponent’s mouth…we DO have the power! It is not OUR power, of course. It is the power of GOD working IN us! Thanks be to God!!!
Now for today’s reports from the sidewalk…
Kathy L. 7-9am:
Thank you to St. Louise de Marillac Church members who came today and prayed. Dennis and Chris arrived first. We read today’s devotional together and then took our posts. Dennis greeted many passersby and most responded back with a friendly greeting. Chris left at 8 but then Brad joined us. He and Dennis prayed the rosary and then Maryann, Karen, and SM Cathy arrived to cover the next prayer shift.
St. Louise de Marillac pray-ers continued on….Karen and Denny were there when I arrived and stayed til around 10, when Seamus, Mary, Diane and Jason came – great group! The clinic was not very busy, we got some smiles and positive comments from passers-by. Just before 11 the faithful Guardians of Life began to arrive.
Hank 9-11am (Reports of a possible baby saved!!!)
What a beautiful day the Lord gave us today. We had a lot of prayer warriors out for the 11-1 shift and pray we did. I was expecting the building to shake from the power of the prayers. The Guardians for Life with Fr.Tim and the K of C were out in force and St.Louise DeMarillac was very well represented along with Bill from 1st Presbyterian and Ken from Greenburg. Among the group were two side walk counselors. Terri, one of the counselors, encountered a young woman who was on here way to PP. She is in her second month of pregnancy and her boy friend wanted her to have an abortion. Terri was able to direct her to another facility for a sonogram and the young lady was grateful and asked for Terri to be in contact with her. Please pray for A. We were warmly greeted by many people….so encouraging!! We distributed a good number of Precious Feet pins.
When I arrived for my shift, I was told the great news that there had been 23 prayer warriors on the sidewalk during the previous shift. Wow! I was joined by John, George, Ginny, and Andy during most of the time. Later, Claire and Jim joined us. Jim, a visitor from New Jersey, spent part of his birthday praying with us. What a blessing! There was very little foot traffic in and out of PP. One angry young man, who I’d seen walk by during previous shifts, spewed profanities and tried to engage us in an argument for about 10 minutes. He believed we were harassing women just by being there and that the developing baby was just a single cell. Andy calmly tried to reason with him and told him, yes, we all started out as a single cell, with unique DNA, DNA that is different from the mother, a unique individual. The man continued to rant and it was clear that trying to reason with him was futile. Thankfully, he went on his way. We received several “God Bless Yous” from passersby and we prayed multiple Rosaries in the beautiful weather.
Barbara & Richard 3-5pm
Sunny and warm described the sidewalk today. It also described the people walking by on the way to the bus, on the way home. After all this time, we recognize familiar faces. One woman, Mary, stopped to congratulate Ginny for coming to pray noting that she took extra effort due to her wheel chair.
Another woman noted, “I have all my kids!” How many? She raised 4 fingers, smiling happily.
One man looked quizzically at my 40 Days for Life sign. “They do abortions here,” I said. He looked away.
It is never a waste of time to stand downtown in front of PP to call attention to the outrage perpetrated behind these glass, usually locked, doors. They say the doors are locked and a fob is needed for access to keep us violent people outside.
Babies are methodically torn to shreds by appointment in there. How do you define “violent?”
Joe K. 5-7
A special thanks to Barbara and Richard for holding down the fort as I was a few minutes late today…
Beautiful evening and eerily quite… Didn’t seem to be that much vehicle / foot traffic… and no long lines of folks waiting for their bus…
I was surprisingly joined for the entire shift by my fellow Knight of Columbus, Mike, who shared his strong pro-life story – adoption and teen pregnancy…
Minimal reactions from passerby’s, other than one young man stopped briefly to indicate his support for us and how terrible it is for Planned Parenthood to sell baby parts…
The fetal models got many looks-n-glances today…
The shift did end with a woman questioning the “truth” of what we do and how we do it… which did jog my memory of an article I read earlier in the day that essentially stated – “…a minority of truth will prevail as long as it is heard…”
My brothers and sisters, let us continue to be “heard” through our truthful witness…