I made a mess of my life in my younger years, and did a lot of damage to my children’s lives as well. I did not know the Lord as a young person. I bought the culture’s lie of easy love…hook, line and sinker. I have been trying my best to follow Jesus for about 13 years now. I didn’t create my “mess” overnight…so how can I expect healing and restoration to happen instantly? I have been forgiven for my sins. I know this and am very grateful. But there are consequences that still have to be lived with, and many family members that I battle in prayer for on my knees each day.
God has changed me (especially through my work in this pro-life ministry and through the influence of so many wonderful pro-life friends), and I see His blessings beginning to flower in my family as well. But, still I get impatient when dealing with some of the difficult situations with many of our children. How long, O Lord? Patience is difficult for me.
This past Sunday, the Gospel was from John 12. In it, Jesus says that, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” Jesus continues with one of my favorite verses of the Bible, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
In his homily, my pastor spoke about the need for the seeds of selfishness to die within us. When I thought about those words afterwards, an image began to form in my mind. It was a image of a place…very dark, damp and cold. I imagined a seed, buried in the ground. I thought about the TIME and ENVIRONMENT necessary for that hard shell to soften and break down before it can grow and multiply. It doesn’t happen instantly, and from our perspective, looking at the bare, empty dirt, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. We see no life, just barrenness, bleakness and abandonment. Neither can the seed see the changes that is happening within it, as it suffers in the damp darkness. But as it feels the slight warmth of the sun above, without it even knowing what is happening… it begins to break down, the hard shell dissolving and dying…as a tender green shoot sprouts forth from its center.
TIME and ENVIRONMENT are necessary for growth and change.
TIME… That is all up to God…we can’t rush him. God works in his time, which is perfect. That is where we need patience. (Continue these 40 day prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood!)
As for the ENVIRONMENT…now that is where we can help. Just as a seed will not break down and dissolve if it is left sitting in a nice dry, comfortable environment…neither will the selfish seeds of our individual souls (or the collective soul of our culture) break down and die if we stay in our nice warm houses, sitting on our nice comfortable couches. We need to have patience, yes…but we also need to provide the necessary environment for change. That environment includes a life of love and obedience to God, regular practice of prayer, faith and good works. If we PERSEVERE in these things, God will…IN HIS TIME…bring forth a bountiful harvest! In my life, in yours…and in our culture!
I believe that our prayers, fasting and presence on the sidewalk has planted more seeds than we know. Lives are saved, hearts are changed, and souls turn back to the Lord…but we…in our darkness…cannot see what is happening.
I watched a beautiful documentary today, that my friend (and Tuesday blog writer), Sue, forwarded to me. I encourage you to watch it too! It is a true documentary of a young man meeting his birth mother and father for the first time. He was raised in a loving adoptive home, but decided when he was 19 that he would like to meet his biological parents. In 1993, they were teenagers who thought abortion was the only answer. As they were being escorted into the clinic, surrounded by abortion clinic escorts, and covered with a blanket…they heard the voice of one woman shout out, “Your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes…and you’re going to kill it?” The young woman went into the clinic, and was actually on the table when she changed her mind! She said as she left the abortion clinic, those who were outside protesting thought she had done it. They never knew she changed her mind. To watch this inspiring and worthwhile short film (30 minutes), go to:
Even without seeing all the lives saved and hearts converted that probably happen without our knowledge, we have already seen many beautiful buds beginning to open. Here are some that I see:
- The buds of seeing timid individuals struggle, but finally get up their courage to come to the vigil.
- The blossoms of those who gave up selfishness in order to fast, and to suffer in the cold weather.
- The future flowers of families and children who walked by and saw our witness.
- Seeing the discouraged faithful being bolstered and strengthened by the unity among believers in our 40 Days for Life family!
So, thank you to all of you who have participated during these 36 days! We still have 4 days to go! Please keep praying for more lives saved! And join us as we officially close the vigil at Planned Parenthood at 6:30 pm this Sunday, followed with a social gathering (pot-luck food) inside Catholic Charities Welcome Center (corner of 9th and Liberty) from 7-8:30.
There are not the usual shift reports today, since the vigil was closed because of the snow…however, one shift manager husband/wife duo DID go for an hour today! Here is what Hank wrote:
We spent about an hour at PP today and although it was snowy it was not too cold. As we expected there was very little street traffic, but we greeted all those passing by and a few people responded with a “thank you” and /or “God bless you.” It was interesting to see the reaction on the faces of those who read the sign that we carried which read “Inside this building, more than 40 children are put to death every week.” People read the sign, look at the building and look back to you in surprise. I think this sign is effective in getting the message out as to exactly what takes place at this location. A young man named David read the sign and stopped to talk. He was unaware of 40 Days For Life and it’s mission and did not know that abortions were being done here. He said that he was a Christian and was against abortion and before he left he asked to pray with me, which we did. Praise be to God for the snow, each flake uniquely made by his hand, just as each one of us is from our conception.
If anyone else happened to go to pray today, feel free to send in your reports and I will post them.
God bless you!