“…Go and learn the meaning of the words,
‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”Matthew 9:13
As I’ve admitted in the past, the start of each 40 Days for Life campaign fills me with dread. That’s awful, immature, selfish…and true. Although my heart knows that God uses suffering to bring about good, my body and mind rebel against it. My reluctance is even more pathetic when you see how very little suffering I actually have to do in order to participate in these vital campaigns.
Given my distaste for suffering, I’ve always been intrigued by Jesus’ words in the Scripture passage above. Wait, you mean there’s an easier way? I don’t need to sacrifice, just show mercy? Sign me up!
Jesus specifically says to go and learn the meaning of that directive, though. With the help of the Divine Teacher, I remember something important when I take time to reflect more deeply.
The important fact is this: mercy and sacrifice often involve the same “suffering” actions. What makes the difference is my attitude–whether I concentrate on what I’m giving up, or on what’s being gained. If I focus on myself as I get up early and go to pray on a cold sidewalk, I’m pretty miserable. But if I turn my focus to the women in crisis and the unborn children in danger who will be helped by my prayers, I feel motivated and even excited to get out there.
Sacrifice for the sake of puffing myself up with pride or eliciting sympathy is pretty pointless. But sacrifice for the sake of others is MERCY, just what our Lord desires from us. May Jesus help us to turn our focus to the needs of others so that we can enthusiastically go out and take care of them. Thanks to all of you who bring His MERCY to the sidewalk!
7-9 AM +++ Barbara, Richard, and Rose
Daylight was peeking through the night sky as we arrived at PP on this warm fall day. Rose, our Shift Buddy, joined us, gathered some information cards, and took her stand at the edge of the gold arch on the sidewalk.Barbara
Very quickly the sidewalk filled: Diane (keeper of the signs, designer of the equipment stands and so much more) and her husband Tom; Cathedral Parish prayer witnesses Claudia and Antoni, answering Donna’s call for more help; and Dave, who traveled up from West Virginia when he read that we needed people to strengthen our witness for life this Friday. Completing our group, Bill arrived with holy water and his irreplaceable zeal.
Early on only staff arrived at PP. We offered all of them, “God Bless You!” Around 8, young women began to arrive. They steadfastly refused our offer of help. Dave led us in prayer after each of these refusals. It really feels bad. The Mothers can never be the same after this day. Abortion cannot make them unpregnant. We were busy every moment. Sidewalk Counselor Kim came ready to share her abundant sources of help and hope.
And then Kathy and Mark arrived. It was time for us to leave. Thank you, Dear God.
9-11 AM +++ Kathy and Mark
From left to right are Sierra, Mary, and Monica from Stonehedge Baptist Church. These dedicated ladies travelled from Bruceton Mills, WV to participate in the 40 Days vigil this week. Their signs say it all. Thanks for coming and safe travels going home.Kathy
Also present on the sidewalk were SA Kim, SB Mark, and Bill H.
Some passersby accepted literature and pens but none of PP clients did. Sad.
11AM-1PM +++ Sheila and Dee
1-3PM +++ Jeannie and Elaine
What a beautiful afternoon on the sidewalk today! I went expecting to be with my shift buddy Elaine. No other groups were scheduled. What a wonderful surprise to be greeted by five lovely prayer warriors and more throughout our time on the sidewalk. Annika had been a part of the prior shift and stayed on through our entire shift. Father Jeremy, too stayed after the ending 11 to 1 shift and kept vigil with us the entire two hours. AMAZING grace. Patty joined in as did Lisa and Marilyn! We prayed the intentions on the back of the baby pictures all together. We also sang Amazing Grace on the sidewalk, and prayed the stations of the cross for the unborn. It was a beautiful witness for sure. The city was quiet given that we still have the pandemic, but we now have a new group of folks to witness to as they wait outside the motor vehicle bureau. A beautiful start indeed.Jeannie
3-5PM +++ Pat, Val, and Mike
We had beautiful weather and more pray-ers than I expected. On top of that Val (half of the SB of Val and Mike), noticed that the bar next door wasn’t operating – and late on a Friday afternoon at that. This made for a considerably more quiet and peaceful shift than we’re used to.
It was a nice surprise to see my old SB, Bill, there and get to catch-up with him. And Val and Mike and I had a lot to catch-up on as well – mainly focused on what our kids were doing. We had a nice combination of prayer and conversation. Patrick, who lives downtown, was there for quite a while praying with us, as was Annmarie, who had been there during Jeannie’s shift. I have to say that I was very moved by the quiet, but intense, praying done by Amy, who spent much of her time on her knees. She was accompanied by Vince who also projected a quiet peaceful and prayerful presence.Pat