Look at these guys! A tiny toy bear and gorilla. Are they what the first 40 Days for Life witnesses looked like to Planned Parenthood?
When our first coordinated 40 DAYS FOR LIFE campaign hit the pavement in front of Planned Parenthood in Texas, 2007, did Planned Parenthood yawn? Look at these guys! No money…no numbers…no power…no looks! No problem!
Our sisters and brothers at PP have eyes, but they cannot see.
No money. No numbers. No power. No looks.
Do we need the influence of powerful people?
Do we need their bags of money?
Surely not! BORING!
We bring prayer, fasting and witness to the sidewalk.
God defines the goal.
God accomplishes the mission.
We are God’s “pencils.”
Finding the words to show this from the inside, where our hearts can see, where all the action takes place, needs an expert. Let’s enlist Gregory the Great, 540-604 AD. Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., THE LOVE OF LEARNING AND THE DESIRE FOR GOD, is where I first heard Gregory talk about God.
Gregory the Great experiences and describes spiritual states with great subtlety. His experience gives him a strong sense of human suffering, a strong sense of the effects of Original Sin and the value of weakness and temptation for spiritual progress.
At the root of this concept of the Christian life is a lively awareness of man’s misery.
Man’s wretchedness comes from his physical nature, from Original Sin, and from the egoism which harries each one of us. Egoism is always on the watch and tends to vitiate all our actions, even the good ones.
It must be put to rout constantly. This is necessary at the outset of our actions. We must purify our intentions. It is necessary during our actions, and again at the end, for it is always a menace to us.
The love of the world lulls us. But, as if by a thunderclap, the attention of the soul is recalled to God.
Compunction is an act of God in us, an act by which God awakens us, a shock, a blow, a “sting,” a sort of burn.
Compunction is a gift beyond our power to understand.
It is God Himself who is working in us by His mysterious action.
This action of God is accomplished in us by all kinds of trials, the thousands of sufferings of life,
sin itself, and, above all, temptation.
Permission to tempt man is given by God to the demon because of the benefit resulting from temptation.
Temptation encourages the purification of intentions, it humbles, and it is a cure for pride.
This is why God accepts the risk involved. Temptation and even sin are less grave than pride.
With humility there grows the desire for Him who alone can fill our inner emptiness.
Compunction hollows us and thereby increases our capacity for God.
The force of love intensifies the spiritual quest. A new weight carries the soul toward God, the weight of love.
The soul hardened by egoism becomes tender. The cold soul is warmed and cleansed of its rust.
Brought back to its true center of gravity, converted, the soul is simplified and freed.
The Lord accomplishes this in us.
Our part is to consent to it.
One must above all, and first of all, make oneself sensitive to this invisible action of God.
The ultimate role of compunction is to bring to the soul a longing for Heaven.
The soul does not become indifferent or unfeeling.
At peace, it enjoys tranquility.
It consents to its condition, which it understands better.
It consents to God.
It accepts its tasks.
It grows in stature, and as it were, is dilated.
The soul becomes fruitful in the service of God.
Daniel 3:91-92, 95
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Certainly, O king,” they answered.
“But,” he replied, “I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him.”
Special thanks to the following religious communities for their commitments to pray for us during these 40 days:
Sisters of the Divine Redeemer; Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden; Monastery of Saint Clare, Langhorne; Carmelites of Erie; Felician Sisters of Coraopolis; Carmelites of Elysburg; Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy
And a special thanks to WAOB Radio!
Through the end of 2017, local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders have reported these blessings, God’s answers to their prayers: 5,251 total campaigns; 741 cities; 47 countries; 750,000 individual participants; 19,000 churches; 13,998 lives saved from abortion; 170 abortion workers quit their jobs; 90 abortion facilities closed.
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
Today was the coldest Sunday morning of the whole campaign, but that didn’t stop Rose, Vince, or Bill from joining me on the sidewalk to pray for the cause of life. We were able to help a homeless woman who stopped, and Rose gave out many of the sweet little “story of your life” brochures. One young man took a brochure and headed off down the street, stopped halfway down the block, and then came back to us. He asked if we are a pro-life group and thanked us heartily for being there when he heard that we are. As one of my sidewalk mates put it, that was a “warm hug from God.”
To every person who has been a part of this 40 Days for Life campaign, I share that thanks and that hug with you–God bless you all!
Sue wrote from the 9-11 shift:
Well, if March is going to go out like a lamb, it had better change its ways soon!! It was as cold a day as I’ve ever experienced on the sidewalk. Yet that did not deter my prayer companions Kathy, Patty, and JoAnne. JoAnne came all the way from East Palestine, OH to her first 40 Days vigil ever. We prayed from the Psalms, the Rosary, and the petitions on the back of the signs. Passersby were generally friendly or neutral, although we did have a single negative comment from a young man. A large group from Butler, PA arrived toward the end of the shift, along with several others. Sidewalk Advocate Jim joined us later in the shift. As Kathy and I were leaving, we had a chance to minister to a young woman who said she was stranded in town (well, Kathy actually did all of ministering!). Long story short, although the woman did have other needs, Kathy was able to buy her a warm meal at Arby’s. The woman told us she had three children and also expressed that she is pro-life.
Lamb or no lamb, the end of this March focuses intensely on The Lamb — The Lamb of God — who does take away the sins of the world. We know he will bring about the end to abortion in His time. I have been privileged to have taken part in this vigil, as I have in years of 40 Days for Life vigils here in Pittsburgh. I would like to thank each and every participant who has stood with me this Lent; indeed, I thank everyone who has been on the sidewalk at any time this Lent. And I thank Nikki and Diane & Tom and all of the organizers of this vital ministry. May God bless you all with a joyous Easter and with blessings all year ’round!
For Life, Sue M.
ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
“Wonderful people” is how to describe all those who participate in 40 days. The wonderful R. family from St. Bernard’s, Debbie, Jeannie, Barb, Ed and Chris from Lifeline in Butler, Isaac and Anita from St. Paul’s in Butler were all great prayer warriors and compadres. Their presence and their prayers and sacrifice helped to warm us on this cold Sunday.
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
We prayed for 2 hours straight!
The sun was shining and I know that good triumphs over evil. One day Planned Parenthood will close down!
LINDSAY 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
Bricklayers: Today, I was struck by the rather unique brick design of the Planned Parenthood building. Some very talented masons built that brick facade long ago. If it wasn’t such a sad place of death and destruction, and if the windows and building weren’t filthy, you can almost imagine that once upon a time before Roe vs. Wade that it was a nice building, maybe even pretty. The other thought that struck me was that ironically, Planned Parenthood is closed on Sunday and all major Christian Holidays (except, sadly, their most prolific killing day on Good Friday).
I guess in a way, the unique brick design and the Judeo-Christian days of operation give me hope that:
1) We are all bricklayers for Life, being used as masons for God as he creates his unique design in each and every one of us, even the passersby, victims and workers of PPH. We are in a way building on His Foundation, one “brick” at a time, a shelter for the hopeless; and
2) Since PP is closed on Sunday, Christmas and Easter, that despite themselves, they are closer to God and His Commandments than they realize or will admit to.
So keep praying and laying those “bricks”, good people of 40 Days for Life. You are creating a shelter from the storm; hope for the hopeless.
Thank you dear prayer warriors from St Agnes, St. John XXIII, St. John’s of Delmont and Our Lady of Guadalupe for your witness today, for getting your hands full of “mortar” while toiling for God’s beautiful design. And for singing gorgeously while bricklaying!
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.