“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This verse of the Sacred Scripture is taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans in today’s missal.
When I asked the Lord for some inspiration to write this day’s blog, and I received the initial set of photographs from the first shift of this Saturday, it was an almost automatic reaction from a line from the film, The Last Samurai. The last battle scene is a final stand between old traditions held by men like the Samurai warriors, lead by Katsumoto, played by Ken Watanube whom has made an ally of Capt. Nathan Algren, played by Tom Cruise and the new ways of the young Emperor of Japan and his modern forces.
Earlier in the film, Katsumoto discussed an unfinished poem with Algren which is finished as Katsumoto lies on the bloodied battlefield and watches the cherry blossoms fall gently to the ground in the distance. When in Algren’s embrace, perhaps like Our Lady held the Lord after the Crucifixion, Katsumoto, ends his poem with the line, “Perfect, they are all perfect.”
The pictures and stories of all the 40 Days for Life peaceful and prayerful street warriors in our modern day battle of defending life as a gift from God, whom were on the street today, are pictures and stories of witnesses in the process of seeking the perfection only given through the grace of God. We hope our efforts seen by our Triune God along with the angels and saints as a good witness in Christ. May the Lord inspire us to continue this battle until the scourge of abortion is in the past. Interesting enough, when remembering the line from “The Last Samurai,” I had replaced the word “perfect” with the word “beautiful.” Perhaps, in the kingdom of God, they are quite similar words.
The wonderful verse of Sacred Scripture bears hope and strength for us to finish this current campaign strong and armed with God’s truth for his faithful witnesses. There is no condemnation for those in the Lord. With only a handful of days remaining, may we centered in God’s unconditional Love to lead women and men who come to PP into a better option and a truthful hope.
They (and the child with the mother’s wombs) are all BEAUTIFUL to the Lord!
Link to scene in The Last Samurai
Tim writes from the Saturday 7 -9 AM shift:
Saturday mornings are wonderful. Crisp and dark with the promise of great things to come.
We stand out on the fairly empty early morning streets and those going into the clinic on what is usually a busy day for abortions must walk thru us, our guardian angels and our prayers without the normal weekday crowds surrounding them.
I was blessed today to have the faithful from St. Alexis in Wexford , St. Ferdinand in Cranberry and the Bellevue Knights of Columbus join me in witness and prayer.
Betsy and Jill came again in the Choices Pregnancy Services mobile sonogram showing that help and other options are available. Every vigilant sidewalk counselors Meredith and Virginia were present to offer assistance as well. Daily vigil attendant Bill H was present and stood in on my selfie.
Many were arriving to join in on the vigil as I was transitioning my shift to Marian with the faithful on both sides of the arc and across the street.
Peace and joy. Tim B.
Marian writes from the Saturday 9 – 11 AM
We are one body… but many parts. Many people, representing several churches in the Pittsburgh area and beyond, came to witness today. Called by name:
Paul, St. Ferdinand; Charlie, Amy and John from Assumption; Tom and Carol from St. John XXIII; Alice, Julia, Marty, Mary Anne, and Mary, Chris from St. Alexis; Diane- St. Aloysius, Cresson, Pa; Gale- St Francis of Assisi- Johnstown, Pa; Dorothy- St. Benedict, Johnstown, Pa; Gabby, Mike and Anita from St. Michael’s in Wheeling, WV.; PJ – St . John Cabot; Nina, Avery and Kelsea from Three Rivers; Jeff, Anita, and Kathy from St. Thomas in Bedford- walking by and stopped. Sarah- from Point Park University and her sister, Laura who is visiting for the weekend from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia. Sidewalk Advocates for Life- Judy, Nick and his wife and baby. Several children and two babies made powerful witnesses this Saturday morning. Bill and Bob stopped by to pray as they do daily.
Tim graciously took pictures so please look for your picture. If I forget to name anyone, please forgive me and know that God knows you were willing to drive through traffic (2 hours with construction from Wheeling) and give up Saturday morning cartoons or sleeping in to be in front of PP.
PP had many of their pink vested escorts today. Pink, the color of breast cancer survivors- I guess the information on the connection between breast cancer and abortion is lost on them.
PP refused help for a young man who told us a rodent of some sort (stories varied) had scratched him. Since PP is advertised as a health clinic, we sent him in there after Judy and other witnesses convinced him he needed to seek medical attention. PP sent him out in a very short period.
Sidewalk Advocates, Judy and Nick, came to his assistance. Nick and his wife drove the young man (limited English with a large suitcase) to the nearest hospital to be checked out. When I asked the large male adult escort (who walked out of PP right after the young man) why PP would not help, he said to me “why don’t you?” My answer was Sidewalk Advocates for Life were already doing it.
PP was busy today. Most refused to accept any brochures of assistance. However, while watching eye movements, the new sign attracted a lot of attention. Many people looked at the baby models as well.
One woman with a (age approximate)12 year old boy said she did not think it was necessary to have the models out, as she did not want to have to explain abortion to her son. She walked by the area at least twice so I think as Lucy would have to do for Ricky, “She would have some “splaining” to do.” An older man (all done up in his biking gear) asked Diane, Dorothy, Gale and I if we were vegetarians. We all said no. His concern for the health and well-being of animals was more important to him than the health and well-being of the human babies.
Meanwhile, pro-life families witnessed with their children and babies today!
So many names and as many stories of why the time is taken to witness. Two young women, Laura and Sarah are sisters. Sarah was excited to find pro-life witness here in Pittsburgh. As a theater major at Point Park University, she was looking for a pro-life group. Today she brought her sister, Laura, visiting from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia. Laura is president of Hawks for Life. The hawk is the mascot for St. Joseph University. The motto of the school is “The Hawk will never die.” Laura’s group witnesses in front of the abortion clinic on Locust Street in Philadelphia. Sarah was happy to hear that the University of Pittsburgh has an active pro-life group who frequently witness in front of the abortion clinic in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh. Young woman make powerful witnesses for the young women and men going into the clinics.
Another group who came today are long time pro-life witnesses in Word and deed. Diane, Dorothy and Gale came from the Johnstown area. They witness in front of the PP clinic on Franklin Street in Johnstown, Pa. On Thursdays, from 4 pm to 5pm several churches (all denominations) hold a prayer vigil. These women are actively involved in the Gabriel Project that is a pro-life ministry that offers tangible assistance to pregnant women. I will put a link to their organization on Tuesday’s blog.
Dorothy told me there is a “yellow brick road” right where they witness. With two names of Dorothy and Gale, and a reference to the Wizard of Oz- well, I knew that my presence on the sidewalk was affirmed today.
The spelling and grammar check on the computer warns of passive voices in writing and encourages the writer to consider revising the content. I would not revise a thing about the witness on the sidewalk in front of PP today. Prayerful, peaceful, two sides of the street with witnesses, male, female, older, younger, children and babies, young caring women… God bless us all!
Marian (sub. shift manager this morning from 9 am to 11 am)
Patty M. checked in today from her 11 – 1 shift with a few photos of street witnesses on this cloudy with a little rain Saturday.
Today was my first substitute shift manager position. Even though I was a little nervous, it was fine. Unity Church, my home church, had a vigil from 11 -1 today as well. Today, Barb P. came from that church to stand with me. Thanks Barb!
Gabby, Mike D., and Anita S. from St. Michael’s from Wheeling, WV prayed from 11 until noon. It is amazing, as well as a sign of their dedication, for them to come all this way to stand and pray for life.
Judy and Marian from Sidewalk Advocates stayed until almost 1:00 p.m. Thanks ladies, you made a wonderful presence. Thanks to Bill H., who stopped by the shift. While he was there, he also took a picture.
There were several volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh, whom passed by the street to clean up litter. We thanked them for their presence.
We saw a few couples go into PP and a single woman as well. Although it was heartbreaking, Marian handed out literature to them.
Thanks to all!
Patty M. (sub for 11 -1 shift)
Jeff B. reported on his 1- 3 shift
I showed up at 1 to relieve Patty who was standing with her church – Unity Community Church in Plum. Folks from St Ferdinand were already there, and Beth from St Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills was on the sidewalk again today. Later on, parishioners from SS John and Paul showed up to participate in our wet weather witness.
Cars passing by included one “thumbs up” and one “finger up”. Some people in this day and age don’t like to be reminded that they may be just living for themselves and not as God had planned for them. Some people’s moral values and identity include the pro-abortion abomination against life, and to acknowledge that they are wrong would be devastating to their sense of self. They lash out at us when they are forced to revisit their self-serving convictions. Without God in my life, I could easily be one of those folks, so I offer prayers of thanks for the thumbs, and mercy and forgiveness for the fingers.
Closing out this excellent day with eight more to go…Jeff B. (sub for 5 – 7 shift)
Two beautiful witnesses of God’s eternal message of LOVE and LIFE!