Hang in there…
I have to be honest…this is the time when I begin to feel weary and uninspired. Usually I have an idea of what the Lord wants me to write about in my Wednesday blog post, but today…nothing. There seems to be a heaviness…a grayness and a dryness that is hanging all around. Maybe it is because it is day 29, and this is when I realize just how very long 40 days can be. We have been at this prayer/fasting/vigil thing for a long time already. February 14th seems so long ago. And we still have 10 days to go…the finish line is not quite in our sight yet. This is when I get weary. I feel kind of like this guy…
I got an email from a dear friend this morning who was honest about expressing her sense of depression about the election results yesterday. She is very faithful and has a strong love for God in her heart…so she sought out the sacrament of reconciliation this morning to help her to deal with the discouragement of seeing so many “Christians” who have no problem in their consciences with voting for pro-abortion candidates. She actually had an encounter with an older man that goes to her Church every day…who “got in her face” when she questioned why he was voting a certain way, defending his vote because of his fear of losing his medicare coverage if the pro life candidate won.
It is depressing.
It is discouraging.
After reading her heartfelt plea this morning, I knew what God wants me to write about.
Last Tuesday’s blog contained a shift report from Lisa, the 5-7 shift manager. She had a very discouraging shift, with many passersby giving her a hard time. One, in particular, she humorously dubbed “Professor Blueberry”, because he was incensed that we would defend the right to life for something as small as a blueberry. Although he seemed professional, carrying a briefcase…and at first seemed to be trying to sound articulate and intelligent in his arguments…he soon degenerated into hateful, filthy, vile spewing of words. Rather than try to argue with the good professor, Lisa decided to pray. He left soon after that. I read her shift report from last night and was so encouraged to hear her saying that she remembered to pray for this man all week…and last night she had a peaceful shift on the sidewalk.
Yesterday morning it was bitter cold, and I saw the photos of Fr. Brennan and Helen from St. Robert Bellarmine as they braved the freezing weather in order to pray and witness. I had the pleasure of standing on the cold sidewalk later that afternoon with at least 11 individuals who had sacrificed their time and comfort to come out to make sure I wouldn’t be alone.
I spoke to my dear friend Mary Lou after Mass this morning, and witnessed the weariness in her face, and the discouragement about the election results. I also saw the loving way in which she faithfully and obediently cares for her family each day, and serves the Lord in the pro life cause.
The common thread in all of these instances is the BEAUTY that I see coming out of sacrifice and suffering. None of us wants to have to endure suffering. God knows that we are weak. If we were left to choose our own circumstances, we would choose comfort and ease. I know from experience that the more comfortable I am, the weaker and lazier I become. The more I have to struggle, the more progress I make…spiritually and physically. So, I guess what I want to say is that we just need to PERSEVERE. (Duh…why didn’t I think of that before…after all, I am the one who chose that as the theme for this campaign!)
Spring is coming….Easter is coming! A time of new birth and beauty will follow this time of ugliness and struggle. God is in control! He is absolutely perfect and has everything accounted for! Not a single prayer or sacrifice from us goes unnoticed by him! He takes note of it all, and holds it in his heart. He even has all the hairs on our head numbered…and he knows when a sparrow falls from the sky…so what do we have to worry about?
Did you see the encouraging shift report from Jeannie on Monday? During her 5-7 shift, a woman came up to her and told her that she had decided to get an abortion 2 years ago…but when she walked past our vigil, someone handed her information about fetal development, and she changed her mind. There is a little 2-year old boy running around out there because folks were willing to sacrifice their time and come to the vigil. We never knew about it, and would have never known about it…if the woman didn’t come back to tell us. These are the encouragements that God gives us to keep us going.
Beauty in the ashes. Darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up!
Also, mark your calendar to attend our closing event on Sunday, March 25th! At 6:30pm, we will gather for a closing prayer service in front of Planned Parenthood (933 Liberty), led by Pastor Joe Stump of the Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. At 7pm, we will officially close the vigil, and walk to Catholic Charities Welcome Center (corner of (9th and Liberty) for a fun time of pot-luck food and fellowship. Hope to see you there!
Here are the shift reports from today:
Charlene reports from the 7-9 shift:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake.
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”
We all have heard Psalm 23 and this part of it certainly rings true in front PP…the “dark valley”. I’m sure we all remember our first time on the sidewalk…a little (or a lot) fearful, not knowing what to expect….but knowing we are called to do this, knowing God is at our side with his “rod and staff to give us courage”.
Today we had a first timer from St. Louise de Marillac, Matt, and he quickly found his rhythm praying on the sidewalk. Also from St. Louise de Marillac were Denny, Chris, Janet, and our regular, Peggy. A cold but prayerful day. Charlene
Cathy did the 9-11 shift and writes:
Three men from St. Louise, Denny, Seamus, and Tom, spent all, or part of the shift with me today. It was a quiet time, a few people went into the clinic, but no one wanted any lit. I’ve been offering the resource card tucked into the “Everyone’s Bio” leaflet. A man waiting in his car for his girlfriend did gladly take the flyers I offered him.
We heard, though did not see, the chanting from the CAPA students walkout for gun control. While I agree that something needs to be done about this kind of violence, and not to minimize the value of each student who has been killed, but each abortion day more children are killed at this PP than were killed at any of the schools. Where is the outrage? Each child’s life is sacred!
Hank managed the vigil from 11-1 and writes:
It was a cold and windy day, but it didn’t dampen the turn out or the spirits of the St. Louise de Marillac prolife group. St.Louise de Marillac was signed up to cover from 7 AM to 3 PM and I was with a enthusiastic, joyful, prayerful group from 11-1. Mary, Diane, Seamus, Joe, and Tom were there when I arrived and Randy joined us shortly afterwards and we prayed the rosary. Maryjane from Our Lady of Grace had business in town and joined us around noon as did Bob (works in town) from SLD and we prayed another rosary. Debbie and Rick from SLD arrived early for their 1:00 PM shift so we had good numbers from 11-1. There was not much PP traffic or street traffic, but we received a good number of thumbs up and only a few cold looks. We did engage a young woman who was pro abortion and hopefully gave her some things to think about. Mary gave me her hand warmers when she left which made the last hour more comfortable. Praise be to God who grants man the wisdom to make hand warmers, may He also open minds closed to the sacredness of all life.
Chris was the 1-3 shift manager and writes:
To say it was cold on the street today would be an understatement. The wind blowing down the street was constant. But my heart was warmed by 10 prayer warriors braving the cold to stand witness and pray in front of PP. I was joined, as I have been during most of my Wednesday shifts, by street preacher Bill, along with Mary Jane, Liz, Marie from St. John Neumann, Debbie, Rich, Dianne, Denise, Sister Faith, and Dan. We prayed the Rosary and a Divine Chaplet, saying prayers for the abortion clinic workers and the parents of the unborn children entering PP. We had several “God Bless Yous” from passersby and one man praising abortion. We said we’d pray for him. Thank you again to the half-frozen pray-ers who stood with me today on the street.
Barbara & Richard kept the sidewalk warm from 3-5…even though Barbara is recovering from the flu! She writes:
Chris, surrounded by praying witnesses, greeted us. Everyone was in a good mood.
Saint Paul Cathedral parishioners Regis and Bridget joined us in praying a Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary. Joe arrived and we felt blessed to return to a warm place.
Joe K. is recovering from being sick, but still kept his shift from 5-7. Here is his report:
Blustery – that best seem to describe this evening…
I was greeted by Regis of St. Paul’s who had been there already for about 2 1/2 hrs. After Regis left the beginning of the shift was extremely quiet / prayerful and contemplative – not sure anyone was coming, but just kept saying “God Provides”… and also reflected on some words that I’ve heard actor Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) say multiple times:
“You weren’t made to ‘fit in,’ my brothers and sisters. You were born to stand out”
St. Paul’s came strong for the last half of the shift – we had four prayerful warriors stationed around the “Arc de Death” – One of the biggest, if not the biggest groups that I have had on the late shift…And they were “standout” at standing out!!!
Lots of foot traffic, and folks passing by with musical instrument cases, but zero (0) comments this evening other than one gentleman that asked me to contemplate on “Pro-Life” vs. “Pro-Birth” with a quiz to follow – though he did not return by the end of the shift…
The night ended with Tom flying solo (Diane get better!!!) and the St. Paul’s pit-crew sprung into action to get the 40 DFL mobile packed and ready for tomorrow’s vigil…