40 Days for Life
The banquet hall was filled. To speak for the occasion, a renowned orator had been brought in. After a wonderful meal, he mesmerized the crowd with his voice as he recited poetry and famous selections of speeches.
Near the end of the program, he asked if anyone had a favorite selection that they would like for him to recite. From the back of the room, an old man stood up and kindly asked if he would mind reciting the 23rd Psalm. The speaker said that he would be glad to do it if, when he was finished, the old man would recite it as well. The old gentleman nodded his head and sat back down.
In a beautifully trained voice that resonated throughout the great room, the speaker began, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” When he was finished, there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
He then looked at the old man and said, “All right sir, it is your turn now.”
In a trembling voice that was cracked by time, the old man began to recite, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” It is said that when he was finished, there was no applause, but neither was there a dry eye in the building.
After the event, someone asked the famous speaker what he thought produced the different responses in the crowd. The speaker paused, thought for a moment and said, “I know the psalm, but that man knows the Shepherd.”
Friends, many of you have heard this story before, and it may be a true story or not. That is of little consequence. The importance of the story is this: Knowing the Shepherd has meaning. It MATTERS. Our relationship with the Lord is what shapes our whole existence.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm helps us to meditate upon the Lord as our Shepherd:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
Do you know anyone who thinks a woman has the “right” to choose an abortion? Of course you do. A question to consider… how would this psalm sound from a pro-abortion perspective?
The LORD is the slaughterer; I shall not want.
In dark abortion facilities he gives me repose;
Beside anxious family members he leads me;
he confuses my soul.
Even though I walk in the sunny life of denial,
I fear no labor and delivery; for you are at my side
With your forceps and your curette
that give my baby death.
NOW…. which of these sounds like the Good Shepherd that I know– that YOU know? Honestly, I don’t believe that even the most pro-abortion advocate would consider this second version acceptable. We KNOW in our heart of hearts that this is not Our God. Our God is one who wants us to have life…. security…. peace…. mercy. He is NOT a God of death. That realm belongs to the enemy.
May we hold up the TRUTH to the abortion-bound men and women seeking what they THINK they want at Planned Parenthood. May we hold up this truth also to the passersby. Not by making a spectacle of ourselves… but by being ambassadors of the One who speaks with His still, small voice in the hearts of His beloved children.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a privilege to pray in the pouring rain this morning with my dear partner Peggy. Seeing our wonderful Diane setting up all of our materials in the pouring rain (she was drenched by the time she left to go to work), I was so inspired at her dedication. The rain and the wind never let up, but it just felt like our prayers and our presence had more impact and more meaning in weather such as this. It becomes clear to me and to those who see us, I think, just how urgent the problem of abortion is, that it warrants such extreme measures. I am probably sounding overly dramatic here; it’s not like I was arrested or went to jail or was martyred. I simply stood in the soaking rain for two hours. Not really that big of a deal. But, it was a small offering that I was grateful to be able to give to God. And I’m very grateful for those who came today as well. At 9 o’clock the ladies from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived to carry-on the vigil from 9 to 11, led by their faithful leader and Shift Manager, Judy. I left the vigil in her capable hands and am looking forward to drying out and warming up. God bless and protect our 40 Days for Life here in Pittsburgh and around the world!
I am so thankful for my prayer partners today. I had three dear ones!! Thank you to Deacon Dan from Holy Angels, who was MORE than prepared to lead us in prayer, as well as being so kind and generous. Thank you also to Denise and Philene!! We made a good team, all!! Thank you!
Thank you to Sheila for her presence and her photos. Gerri welcomed the young man who said, “I’m a Christian. I’ll pray with you.” St. Bernadette’s presence was from 3:00 to 5:00, and at 5:00 two more St. Bernadette faithful arrived. One of the ladies very innocently walked into the “forbidden zone,” and the security guard was at the door in a flash. A woman headed for the “bus line” laughed and called the guard’s move “ridiculous.” She said if she were part of the vigil she would deliberately cross the lines.
By 3:00 the rain ended, but the chill remained. Everything was damp, including our sign-up sheet and penpoints.
A family of various ages stopped to take pictures of the Liberty Avenue panorama.
I asked the mom if they were visitors. She responded, “No English.” They were from France. I welcomed them to Pittsburgh and pointed out the August Wilson Center and the Federal Building. I wonder what they thought about our signs and prayers.
A big thank you to Shift Manager Sheila, who filled in for an hour today! She was with the dear parishioners of St. Bernadette in Monroeville.
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was peaceful and prayerful. Special thanks to Sheila & Jim for filling in as Shift Managers from 5-6 PM, and to Peg and Ed from St. Bernadette’s in Monroeville, and Mary from Assumption for their prayers and witness for unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. Thanks also to Diane and Tom for their faithfulness in picking up the posters and signs.
Just as this baby snuggles in his daddy’s protection,
let us recall and KNOW in our hearts
that the Lord is our Shepherd; there is nothing we shall want.