40 Days for Life
After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
~Revelation 7: 9-10, 13-14
I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Cathedral in 2005. It was a memory that has stayed with my husband and me for all these years, and probably always will. The reason was the artwork of the saints…. unlike any we had ever seen before.
All of the tapestries showed multiple saints– some canonized and some “regular” people like you and me– all facing in the direction of the altar. Such a beautiful sight during Mass, making it easy to remember the reality of those in heaven being right there with us.
If you can enlarge the images below, you might be able to make out the names above or below the saints.
What is the “time of great distress” that St. John talks about in this passage? I can only speculate that he is referring to our time on earth– our time in this vale of tears. It is a time of spiritual battle. And this battle we fight EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Whether we are considering whether to commit adultery or tell a lie, whether to slander a co-worker or have an abortion….. these moments, these decisions, large and small, are battles we fight every day.
But the SAINTS are the ones who fight the battle…. lose…. then win…. then falter…. then win….. then forget about striving for holiness….. then fall…. then win. Ultimately, the Lord wants us to WIN. To overcome our sin. To desire Him MORE than we desire sin.
May the saints in heaven pray that we can “survive the time of great distress.” That we, too, can wash our robes and make them WHITE in the Blood of the Lamb.
The Lord has shed His precious Blood for us. Let us not forget that our sins— even the ones related to abortion— can be FORGIVEN, and lives can be changed and healed.
Shift Manager Reports
My shift from 7 to 9 started out peacefully as usual. Peggy and I had the first hour to pray, and although it was wet and rainy, it was nice and warm. We prayed in the dark and in the rain. I prayed on my knees in front of the door as usual. As I meditated on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, I thought about Jesus being immersed in the water of baptism, as I was being immersed in a puddle of water. I thought about his first miracle, changing the water into wine, as water was all around me. I thought about his preaching of the kingdom of God and his call to repentance, as I kneeled in repentance before the place that kills so many innocent babies. I thought about his transfiguration on the mountain, and imagined that day when this place of death will be transfigured into a place of life. And, I meditated on his self-giving, the giving of his very own flesh to us at the Last Supper, and I thought about how profound are the words “this is my Body, given for you,” and I thought about how the enemy has twisted those words into meaning something totally different. “This is my body” now means that I have a right to kill somebody else because they are dependent on my body for life.We were in the middle of praying the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel, when the first couple arrived for an abortion. They allowed me to speak to them for a few minutes, and took the information that I offered. The girl seemed very passive; the man did all the talking. He explained that they already knew about their options, and understood that this was a human life, but had decided that this was what they were going to do. I had the feeling that this young woman felt that she had to go along with what he said. Sadly, he will most likely end up leaving her, after she has also lost her child. They sat in the waiting room right next to the sidewalk for about half an hour. That gave me the opportunity to pray a second rosary on my knees literally a few feet away from them. I sent my prayers to that little child, and I know that child will know that people were praying for him. Peggy and I also asked our guardian angels to go in and assist the guardian angels of that woman and man, and of that child.Unfortunately, many other couples began entering those doors. It was a very busy abortion morning. Quite a few of them took the information. They were all polite. One woman who was bringing a friend in for an abortion even agreed that she believes abortion is wrong, but she still brought her friend there. A very sad day, but our trust is in the Lord! These babies did not die alone, we were there to show that their lives matter!
Today we had Meredith and Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Later we were joined by Mary Jane from St. Bernard and Dave from St. Philip. It was a nice day with mild temps and the rain stopped shortly after we arrived for our shift. There were a few people coming and going out of Planned Parenthood, but not as many as usual. I encountered the young man that I had prayed with two weeks ago who had lost his girlfriend to an overdose. He was doing better. There were two different couples going in (at separate times) and I offered them our resource card but they declined. There were a couple of ladies going in and I was able to have a conversation with them. I told them about the abortions that were performed at PP, and one of the women said she didn’t want to go in, but the other one was the one with the appointment and she said she wanted to go ahead and “take care of herself.” She came out later with a bag of pills. They took the resource card, and I encouraged them to get services other places that did not kill babies. There was another lady who was going in and I was able to connect with her and tell her about other resources and she willingly took the card and went on in.
On a side note, there was a lady I have seen every week crossing the street in front of Planned Parenthood. I have tried to get her attention every week but she completely ignores me. She carries a “Literacy Pittsburgh” satchel/bag. So this morning I spoke and she ignored me and she had to stop to wait for the light. So I approached her and asked if she worked for Literacy Pittsburgh. She gave me her attention, and said she did. I was able to open a conversation with her because our church has a partnership with Literacy Pittsburgh and we do a lot of work with ESL and GED classes for refugees. I was also able to fill her in on other things we were doing with refugees. (They have a heart for refugees). She just melted right in front of me and was so appreciative and grateful…she could hardly thank me enough. I hope this softens her heart to what is going on in front of PP now, rather than possibly thinking we are a bunch of protestors who should just be ignored. I hope she will also begin thinking we are doing very valuable work at PP which is also a very necessary thing.
I am so very thankful to David, who came to pray with me from 11-1. We had a relatively quiet shift, with each of us on either side of the circle. Some people did enter PP, and only one woman seemed genuinely interested and thankful to receive the information we gave.
I was feeling a little bit emboldened because of Shawn Carney’s visit on the 22nd, and also because of the Catholic Women’s Fellowship conference that I attended last weekend, where I heard a powerful speaker who encouraged us to not be afraid to speak the truth to people. Some things they said have really stayed with me. So I found myself saying things on the sidewalk I normally don’t say…. but things that are good and true nonetheless. Maybe that was the Holy Spirit kicking me a little more into gear.
Also, I had the experience twice today of groups of people not knowing what the flowers and stuffed animals were for on the sidewalk, and in both cases, they were so saddened to hear that it was a memorial for those babies who had lost their lives at Planned Parenthood. I think it really struck them. I thank God that it did.
I also had a really amazing experience on the sidewalk today. Since David and I were praying on opposite sides of the circle, I had MUCH opportunity for MUCH prayer. I had a good time of prayer, almost all the way through the shift, and then this happened. A woman going into PP had ignored me as I tried to talk to her. I stood in front of the doors, watching her, and just praying for her like crazy. I began repeating, “Come, Lord Jesus… Come, Lord Jesus….” And then, this crazy thought struck me out of nowhere– something like, “Where ARE YOU?” “Why aren’t You COMING???” And it startled me that I was suddenly so frustrated, as if to say, “Where is God????” I realized right away that this was probably satan trying to get me to despair, so I began to pray…. without words…. just waiting. And suddenly, one by one, several people walked by me and said, “Thank you,” or “Thank you for being here,” one right after the other!!! I was amazed! I realized that it IS important that I was there today!! It DOES matter!! And the Lord IS with us in the battle!!! I felt a strong wave of the Lord’s presence wash over me. I stood still and reveled in Him for several moments, just thanking Him. And THEN– as I was praying my thanksgivings with my eyes closed, I felt a hand on my arm. I opened my eyes, and a lovely young woman smiled at me and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH for being here.” I was SHOCKED. I said, “Would you BELIEVE…..” and I told her about what I had just been praying about…. and she smiled and thanked me for my witness. After that– I had this strange feeling that everyone was “looking” at me…. like it was “different” somehow. I was about to leave the vigil, so I walked over to Carolyn and David and asked, “Do I look any different to you than I did a minute ago?” They said no…. but I sure FELT different. And I told them the whole story, and how I thought that maybe my encounter with the Lord had changed my appearance (like Moses after conversing with God or something!!). But even if not outwardly, the Lord CHANGED ME INWARDLY…. to know that YES— HE IS THERE with us at that awful place. He is THERE. And it MATTERS that WE are there too. I thank and praise the Lord!!!!!
I did not realize that Mimi (in photo above) comes to pray every day. She said she prays at St Paul and she comes to PP and then she goes back to St Paul.
As we prayed, it started to sprinkle.
Counting Jeff, who came to help Carolyn, there were 12 of us at PP for the 3-4:00 hour.
Let us especially ask for the prayers of the Blessed Mother, Mary, who is known as Queen of All Saints.
We need all the help from heaven we can get. Why not ask the Lord’s Mother? He wasn’t afraid to ask for help from her. Let’s imitate that.