Consider the generations long past and see:
has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been ignored?
For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
forgives sins and saves in time of trouble.
As we passed the halfway point of the campaign this week, I admit that I was feeling pretty weak and whiny. Three more weeks? Really? And once I gave in to that question, my fallen nature got on a roll. How many more campaigns? Is this ever going to end?
Right about now, I’m extra grateful that Nikki chose “perseverance” for our theme this time around. I could use a good dose of that particular virtue. It seems like I always have to stop and remind myself of some basic points to find motivation to keep going. Just in case you’re in the same boat, I’ll share…
#1: Just because I don’t understand why God is allowing this to take so long doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a reason. And it’s a good reason, whatever it may be. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) I can’t see the end from where I stand, but God can.
#2: Even if I never come to understand God’s reasoning, I can trust Him. He has proven it to me over and over, and I’m ashamed that I still need to be reminded. Every morning, Lisa sends out a beautiful scripture-based reflection to the vigil shift managers. Yesterday, she called out the last part of this verse: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.’” (Psalm 95: 7b-9) That’s me, out in the desert with the wandering Israelites, questioning and complaining even though the Lord has saved my life. I need to remember all the good I have seen Him do to quiet my thoughts—in particular the good He is doing through the 40 Days for Life campaign!
#3: In His mercy, God has offered us insight into the way He thinks, so I do have some idea of what He is up to. Take His explanation to Jonah, who became irritated with the discomforts he was suffering while delivering God’s message to the Ninevites. God rebuked Jonah’s impatience, saying, “And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot know their right hand from their left, not to mention all the animals?” (Jonah 4:11) God understands how his children can be deceived—how we cannot know our right hand from our left—and he mercifully gives us more time to come to know the Truth. Like Jonah, I start to focus on the relatively minor discomforts and inconveniences I’m asked to suffer while delivering God’s message on the sidewalk or on the blog, and lose sight of the tremendous need that we’re called to address. The fact that I’m still struggling despite already knowing the Truth shows that I need God’s patience as much as anyone and should be grateful for all the extra time He is granting us!
SO…I’m praying that God will help me (and all of us!) to persevere through the rest of this campaign and however many more campaigns He wills us to hold. I’m asking Him to keep reminding me of all these points that make it easier to go on. God is giving us time to turn away from the temptation to abort…time to find healing and forgiveness for a past abortion or participation in one…time to stop dwelling on the sacrifices we make and to start focusing on the reason we’re making them. Blessedly, He is always aware of our limitations and shows us infinite patience, waiting for us to change and grow in His grace. “And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you.” (2Peter 3:15) God bless you all!
And now for reports and pictures from today’s vigil!
Barbara & Richard, 7-9 AM:
I have a cold.
Richard covered our shift today.
It was nice to have the company of all the people from St. Bonaventure Parish.
Mary, 9-11 AM:
Still thawing out from my 2 hour shift. Fr. John and his St Bonaventure parishioners are saints! Close to 20 of them were already frozen when I arrived at 9: Charlene, Fr. John, Rick, David, Rachel, Bob, Gordon, Ed, Jean, Mary Ann, Theresa, Bill, Mario, Frank, David, Dan, John. They started at 7. Charlene greeted me and said that she was supposed to turn things over to me. I believe the 7-9 manager was sick. I took a group picture of them but most of them (bless their heart) stuck it out until 11 (don’t know how they did it). Edith arrived and it was wonderful to have her with me. She said that one of the abortionists went in with probably 2 residents. It seemed fairly busy. Some people going by took literature. I spoke with one man who stopped to look at the little models. I saw Edith talking to a woman who came out. I had 1 negative remark. Some of us prayed the rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. After I took the first group photo about 5 more came from St Bonaventure so I took another picture later of Sandy, Carol, Clare, James and Terry (he comes every Friday in Lent). Fr John told me that Rose from St Mary’s goes down to stand at PP sometimes. She is the sister of my Pastor, Fr. Vince. Maybe you know her. Finally at 11, a man from North American Martyrs, Tony, came. Then Marie came to take over from 11-1. I don’t know if she was going to take a picture so I took one of her and Tony. As far as I know it was only the 2 of them. He said the priest was coming at 1. I felt bad because everyone left at 11 except them. I think Edith was leaving. St. Bonaventure should have left long before that because some of them were shaking but they were dedicated.
Marie, 11 AM-1 PM:
Noreen, 1-3 PM:
We had a good shift today. Fr. Joe from North American Martyrs prayed with us. He had a booklet specifically for the unborn. The prayers before each decade were so beautiful. He was kind enough to leave it for us so it’s in the big box if anyone wants to use it.
Lisa and Family, 3-5 PM:
Praying for Life with Bob, Lori and Kaylee from Elizabeth, PA, Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Also Tony from St. Bonaventure and faithful Luke and Esther from St. Monica.
Quiet day with some vocal hostility- mild compared to our Lord’s Way of the Cross. We were happy to do it for Him- the Author of all life and Protector of the innocent!
Pat, 5-7 PM:
Thank you to Pastor Matt and his daughter Mayim who stood and prayed on the “supply chest” side of the circle while Bill and I did the same from the far side. We did have one woman who, walking by, cursed at us and let us know (at least the three males there) that we “didn’t even have a uterus.” Pretty sure that this wasn’t news to any of us.
The sad thing about the evening was that, at about 5:30 I saw so many people coming out. Some were couples, some were employees, and others I wasn’t sure about. It just seemed like a lot of people all within a 10-minute span.
The strange thing about the evening was that at about 6:25 I noticed that the guy in the expensive looking SUV, which had been parked on the side where Bill and I were praying, was filming us with his phone. He couldn’t have gotten anything exciting b/c we were pretty much standing where we were the whole evening as was Matt and Mayim. And then, at about 6:50, the Director of PP and the woman I think of as her second command, got into the SUV and left.