That toe lady pic of me tells it all. I am way too silly. She’s So Cold, Rolling Stones, 1980, remains one of my #1 hits. Left to myself, goodness knows what I would do or fail to do.
In His passionate, fatherly generosity, God sends “rescue teams”. He sent me a hefty one last fall, during our 40 DAYS campaign.
A young woman who supported PP regularly visited us on the sidewalk. She championed PP for hours at a time, walking back and forth, peering closely into your face, and loudly demanding answers about abortion and God.
One day our parish sponsored the prayer vigil for the entire twelve hours. She accompanied us for at least 2 of them. She phrased her questions skillfully, appeared to listen carefully, misconstrued our answers and returned the conversation to her original premise. Clever. Exhausting. Annoying. That‘s how I saw her. Some of the parishioners who came that afternoon patiently gave her their full attention for quite a while. I couldn’t. I knelt down to pray. Tears started. I sobbed. I hate to do that. There was no hiding it.
She completely unnerved me. I knew some answers that might have helped her. My heart went out to her. She swamped me.
Soon my friends left. I was alone. I sat down and held my prolife sign on my lap. She stood at the curb, called out cheers for PP and held her PP sign above her head. Half hour later, we said goodbye and she left.
I had to thank this roughly enthusiastic PP woman. I dropped the ball. Was I wasting too much time being TOE LADY … irrelevant, lukewarm ….
I asked God to send a rescue team.
“What are you doing to evangelize the culture?” Pope Saint John Paul II asked Cardinal George during his ad limina visit to Rome. Returning to Chicago, Cardinal George tossed the ball to Reverend Robert Barron. “I want you to evangelize the culture.”
Lucky me! Bishop Barron caught the ball.
I already had and loved CATHOLICISM. I already subscribed to his daily Gospel reflections. I needed more.
This winter, my rescue team found me one of Bishop Barron’s videos.
I learned. I watched more. I bought the The Pivotal Players and his book, To Light a Fire On The Earth.
Bishop Barron revisits and restates the ancient truths about God and man in Jesus Christ. He reminds us that today’s heresies are not new ideas. They are reworded misunderstandings that have captured people since ancient times.
PROCLAIMING CHRIST IN THE CULTURE
The New Testament is really about a lot of people
who want to grab the whole world by the shoulders
and SHAKE them.
DO YOU REALIZE THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD?
Evangelization is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
FROM THE DEAD.
Contemporary secular culture
rejects religion and the supernatural.
Even so, people remain Christ-haunted.
People long for the answers
to questions they have lost the ability to ask.
These answers are found only in Christ
When discussing evangelization, certain adjectives kept coming up. Nimble, quick, and canny are favorites.
While personal conviction, knowledge of the tradition, and zeal to be a missionary are essential, they have to be rounded out by good instincts for where the target audience IS at any given moment, and which strategies are likely to reach them best.
PP people will continue to break my heart. But this PP woman will not make me cry again. EVANGELIZATION is what her heart wants. I offered what I had. Her questioning technique blocked me. Now I better understand in whose strength I can help. I can see the ancient enemy more clearly. I can be patient. I can accompany and love her as she tries to cooperate with the rescue team God sends her. I have a back up team I can access because nimble, quick and canny have not described me for quite a while, if they ever did!
“Rescue team” is Bishop Barron’s concept. He uses it to refer to God’s persistent, loving direction of the ancient recalcitrant Israelites, and us.
*NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK *
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
I set out my mittens, scarf, and winter coat last night to be ready for the vigil this morning, but I didn’t end up needing any of them! Thank you, Lord, for a welcome taste of spring on a February morning.
Besides the warm weather, I was blessed with warm fellowship on the sidewalk. Mark, a Knight of Columbus, arrived to make sure I wouldn’t be standing alone–despite the fact that he was just getting over being sick. Vince came, too, as he does on so many Sunday mornings. And we were happy to see Bill when he stopped by on his way to church.
Together, we prayed two Rosaries and a Divine Mercy Chaplet while handing out resource cards to passersby.
Sue and Kathy took the shift baton just as Matt, Mary, and Therese joined our group. Thank you all for being there this morning!
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
A pleasant yet misty spring like day was in progress when my good friend Kathy L. and I arrived on the sidewalk this morning. I felt overdressed in my winter coat. We arrived to find Vince and the lovely family of Matt, Mary, and Therese, and Patty joined us soon afterward, as she so often does on Sunday mornings. Vince led us in a heartfelt Scriptural Rosary, Joyful Mysteries, as only Vince can do. After he left, Kathy and I moved to the other side of the circle to provide some witness on the other side.
It was a very prayerful shift. If anyone ever wants to pray from Scripture, Kathy L. is your gal! She led us through many psalms, and we sang some hymns. Patty and the Matt-Mary-Therese family continued in prayer on the other side. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and my resolve to continue in this prayerful battle was strengthened.
The foot traffic was rather light today, which it usually is on Sundays, and we had only one negative-commenting passerby. Kathy and I prayed for a change of heart for him.
The heavy rains and wind came about halfway into our shift, but we persevered in prayer throughout although Kathy’s Bible got soaked. Thanks be to God for the privilege of being His witnesses and providing friends in the Lord by our sides!!!
ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
We got lucky and our shift started just as all that rain moved on to the east.
We were fortunate to have 4 prayer warriors to stand with us today and got in a couple Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets.
We had a few positive comments and only one negative.
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
The shift was uneventful.
Had some amazing people praying with me including a family of 6 who has been at the vigil before.
God is good!
KEN 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
I was praying for a word of guidance before starting my shift today. I opened my Bible to John 1:5.
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’
I drew encouragement from that. I thank God for the gift of this 40 days ministry and all who participate in it. Although the darkness does try to enter in, with angry comments, those standing to witness for life are not overcome. I give thanks in particular for Joyce and Sarah from Harvest Baptist and Meme who prayed with me in the Light today.
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
Ken greeted me and hung out for a bit. He’s good people! Then Jim and Cathy(my 40 days muses) showed up and we prayed a couple of rosaries. They’re good people, it’s a trend.
Thank you Jesus for bringing such high quality individuals into this fight for life.
Peace to all.