I have to admit it. I am a fan of Super Hero flicks. And the best of those movies (for me at least) tend to be the origin stories. In other words, the story behind how the previously weak or powerless individual rose to feats of super human abilities.
Certainly the story of the sickly and small Steve Rodgers becoming the muscular and indestructible Captain America is inspiring. However, in my opinion, the best origin stories involve some form of redemption for the hero. Seriously, who among us doesn’t love a great tale of redemption? In the world of Super Heroes it is hard to beat the story of a millionaire, playboy and all around bad boy Tony Stark. The consequences of his willingness to sell military weapons to anyone with the money nearly cost him his life. His transformation into Ironman is first born out of desperation but then places him on a trajectory towards becoming a force for good in the world.
In our faith, it is easy to look to the example of Saul/Paul as the perfect story of redemption. He transforms from a primary persecutor of early Christians to one of our faith’s greatest proponents. In our own 40 days for Life community, one needs to look no further than Abby Johnson, whose origin story unfolds so beautifully in the book ‘Unplanned’ as she switches from Managing a Planned Parenthood Clinic to becoming a Champion, a Super Hero, in the Pro-Life movement.
So where are you in the arc of your origin story? I only ask since there is no denying it. You are a Super Hero. Don’t think so? Let’s take a closer look. A Super Hero is willing to place the needs of the many above those of their own. They are willing to sacrifice in the hope that they can defeat the forces of evil and save the lives of the innocent. So now you are smiling a little because you know you have to agree with me up to this point. However, you are stubbornly willing to point out that Super Heroes also have supernatural powers like the ability to fly, have bullets bounce off their chests or at least have the super intelligence required to build repulser beams that are embedded in their metal (Ironman) suit. We don’t have any Super Powers you protest. Of course I beg to differ. We have the greatest Super Power of all. We have this amazing, unlimited capacity to Love. In fact, we have so much Love, that we are willing to stand on a dirty city sidewalk in subfreezing temperatures, while people look at us with disdain and all manners of precipitation fall upon us and yet we still express it. We have such an overwhelming compulsion to demonstrate our Super Power that we need to physically be present for two people we have never even met before (a mother and her unborn child). In the end it will be that Super Power of Love that will win this war between good and evil. When we eventually fully harness that Power, it will win the hearts and minds of even our greatest critics. Then they will awaken to see that they have been deceived by the ultimate super villain and have simply been acting blindly as one of his minions. It is then, when victory is won, that you can cue the closing credits and listen for the uplifting notes that appropriately accompanies this Amazing story of redemption.
Now the good news is that in this real life action film, you will not need to get fitted for a Spandex suit (huge sigh of relief), figure out the length of your cape (no capes!) or wonder how to keep your mild mannered alter ego a secret. In order to step into the starring role you just need to sign up with your team or individually and commit to a time slot in the schedule to witness, pray and hopefully save some lives at 933 Liberty Avenue. To sign up go to: https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved/