40 Days for Life
The verses from today’s Responsorial Psalm:
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
This really seems to be a theme in my life this week… the fact that we can so easily FORGET what the Lord has done for us. Why do we do this?? I think it is mainly because we focus too much on OURSELVES. Any one of us can fall into this selfishness, putting ourselves before others and God.
During each 40 Days for Life campaign, we MUST remember what the Lord has done for us… and what He continues to do. He continues to change people’s minds and hearts about human life. Especially as we enter into the last ten days of this campaign, we must not forget the God who has done great deeds for us. Prayer can help us to remember, because it keeps us connected to Him:
Let us TRUST that He continues to work in us, through us, and with us. He is alongside the abortion-bound couple… alongside the abortion worker… alongside each of us as we pray. Let us trust that He will lead us in ways that are right.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a worthwhile time on the sidewalk this morning. I was very bundled up and stayed fairly warm. There was no wind, which made it nice. I feel so badly for those who had to suffer yesterday in that bitter cold wind.When I first arrived, Diane was already loading up the materials. Please pray that she gets well soon as she is trying to get over strep throat. We have such dedicated and faithful people on our team, I am so grateful to God for sending so many wonderful people to this movement!As usual, the first hour was relatively quiet and I was able to pray. Faithful Peggy was my partner and we stayed on opposite sides of the circle. Vickie came and prayed for a while before heading to work; it was good to have her there. A young man named Sean came and stayed for at least an hour before going to work. He belongs to Saint Paul Cathedral but was unable to come with them last night. It was a blessing to have his smiling face added to our little prayer presence. At about 10 minutes before eight customers begin entering. It was clearly an abortion day. I was able to hand out quite a few of the resource cards, and almost everyone who entered heard that there were other options available and that we were happy to help.One young woman left planned Parenthood and came up to talk to me. I had given her the card when she entered, and she said she still had it, but she was curious to know why we were there. She did not know if we were promoting another abortion clinic or if we were against abortion. She already has four children, and she is 25. She is planning on having an abortion. She said she is 12 weeks pregnant, as she looked at the baby model display. She asked me if that was really the size of a 12 week baby, which I confirmed that it was. She seemed surprised, said she wasn’t sure if that was really correct. I told her to look it up online for herself, that those sizes are accurate.When she said she had four children, I said, “So, this is your fifth?” She said yes. In my mind, I was encouraged that she was acknowledging that this new life within her was indeed her fifth child. She said that she did not want to keep this child because the child is from a different father, and he is not her boyfriend. I told her in a matter of fact way that none of that will matter in 20 years. When all her children are grown and she is a grandmother, she will simply be grateful for all of them, and will not care about the circumstances that she is worried about now. I told her how she would never regret having this child, but on the other hand, in 20 years she could very well regret having an abortion, always wondering what this child could have been. She seemed open; I think there is a chance she could choose life. She said she was leaving and needed to make another appointment. She said that by the time she has her next appointment she will be 16 weeks pregnant. So, please pray for this young woman, that the Holy Spirit waters the seeds that were planted and that this child will be brought to birth.It was wonderful to see Judy and Chuck as they arrived to take over. Thank you to everyone for enduring this cold weather for this very important cause! Oh, one last thing, another blessing from this morning. We had many people stop to thank us for being there, and we also had many people scream words of condemnation. But, it was a blessing that I was able to affirm to a young woman who, as she walked by, shouted at me that I was a “f-ing worthless piece of s—-,” that she was loved by God and was very important in his eyes. It is a blessing to get to turn curses into words of love and affirmation. It is a gift to be able to participate in 40 Days for Life, and I am very grateful to God!
The shift from 11-1 was fine, other than the parking problems we had. What a headache for my fellow parishioners, whose day at the vigil was today! I thank all of them who were so faithful in the midst of that difficulty.
There were several good and bad reactions that we received… just like normal. But one group of three young men passed by, and I assumed that they were going to goof off and joke about us or our signs/display, etc. But it was the baby model display that caught their eye. One of them looked at me and said that he was expecting a baby. Another said that he had three kids, and he does NOT believe in abortion. And then the first man said, “I felt my baby kick the other day.” and the second man introduced himself to me, and offered a “God bless you.” It was a BEAUTIFUL moment. So unexpected. It reminded me that we CANNOT presume to know what people are thinking, and who is in agreement with us or not as they simply pass by.
I also really wanted to share about TWO amazing things that happened Tuesday and yesterday because of my little pro-life witness. Tuesday afternoon, I stopped by a grocery store, catching a glimpse of myself in the glass doors as I went in, and realizing that I was wearing my 40 Days for Life button on my coat that says, “Pray for an End to Abortion.” There was a TINY part of me that was mildly bugged by that. I was thinking that other shoppers who saw it would think things like, “Who does she think she is?” or “What makes her think she can tell everyone what to do?” etc.
I went to the checkout line, and the cashier looked at my button and said very solemnly, “Pray to End Abortion….. oh, YES.” I couldn’t believe it. I smiled and thanked her, and she told me about a prayer group at her church she was a part of… and then, after she bagged my items, she came around the counter and HUGGED me. Whaaaat? That was amazing, and DEFINITELY not in my usual realm of experience.
Then yesterday, I was sending several emails to some moms whose kids go to my daughter’s school. These were emails about the school musical. These women and I don’t know each other. Well, I have a “signature line” that appears automatically at the bottom of each of my emails- and it is overtly pro-life and Catholic. One part of it says, “Pray for an end to abortion.” Once again, there was a TINY part of me… maybe even a little bigger than the day before… that made me think, “Maybe I should delete my signature line. After all, do I need to “put it out there” right off the bat that I am pro-life?” and “These women don’t need to feel like I’m this ‘controversial’ person in these otherwise innocuous emails.”
To my surprise, after corresponding with one of the moms several times, I saw this sentence at the end of her final email: “Praying for your request.” I was so touched- and amazed again.
All of this makes me think of the above Scripture passage from the psalm above. How EASY it is to (almost instantly) forget what the Lord has done for us!! I didn’t even last 24 hours without forgetting!! I was having that uncomfortableness get in the way of my pro-life convictions so SOON after my witness had just been beautifully affirmed.
We must NOT be afraid or ashamed. Our pro-life witness will anger some; we all know that. But it will INSPIRE and UNITE others in ways we never imagined. Let us not forget.
I was determined to be early today. I knew Carol would be chilled to the bone. Little did I know that I’d be turned away from four garages and three parking lots, all with signs that read, “Full. No Parking. Leases Only.” When I finally got to PP, Carol and Jack were immediately understanding and sympathetic. They had to park far down on Liberty Avenue, and Jack (from St. John the Baptist) found a space only on 31st Street. The NCAA is in town, and there are only so many places to park. There is also an art exhibit at the gallery just down the street, so there was a lot of sidewalk traffic, too.
A young woman came along and snapped, “Don’t you have anything else to do?” Jack was quick on the draw when he said, “We are doing the most important work in the world.”
I was grateful for the hand warmers, and Nicolas, who is a fourth grader, found room for them in his shoes. I’m sure he was glad his dad told him to wear gloves and a hat that looked like a penguin and had a black scarf attached. Nicholas had good questions for his dad. He won’t soon forget the women who went into Planned Parenthood. The fetal models were a good visual for this wise young man.
Almost out of nowhere, four uniformed Pittsburgh Police officers stopped at the doors of Planned Parenthood and rang the bell. They went inside, and very shortly six or seven individuals whom we presumed are employees, came out and scattered in several directions. About five minutes later, the police officers emerged and gave each other some “questioning” looks. One of them asked those of us standing there, “Did anyone come around here and give you a hard time?” We answered, “No.” They smiled, shrugged and disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
About 4:40, the next shift manager arrived. He was a pleasant fellow from Our Lady of Fatima Church. He was soon joined by three faithful regulars who undertook their shift with smiles and high spirits. I overheard a man (who is a deacon) tell Chris, who just finished his vigil, that he should be a deacon.
Judging from the brief, special time I spent on the sidewalk with Chris and Nicolas, I happily agreed.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord called John the Baptist a burning and shining lamp. My prayer today was for our people to be that visible light of truth. I was blessed to stand in that light tonight with some faithful members of the parish, in Plum, named after that great saint. The first hour I was joined by Lisa and Tim, and the second hour with Peg. St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
The Lord is at work in the midst of this campaign.
He is at work at every moment!
Let us consider these beautiful forget-me-nots as a REMINDER of all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
May WE work alongside Him to contribute toward bringing an END to abortion.