How is it that the Lord chose this Scripture for us today? It is not coincidence, I know that much. The Lord knows what He wants us to focus on each day.
Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
There is a book that I read with my husband and children a long time ago, entitled The King of the Golden City. There is a scene in it which describes a soul at the crossroads of the road to eternal life and the road to eternal death. The road to hell is filled with attractions and temptations… an easy and fun party awaits those who follow this path. But its END is eternal death. The road to heaven, however, is dry, barren, and desolate. It is unattractive in every way. But THIS road ends in eternal life. The book portrays this in such a convincing way that one cringes at the thought of having ever even pondered going down the road toward death.
Let us have this same mindset as we reflect on the Lord’s exhortation for us. We must CHOOSE life. We are not on the path to life automatically. We must choose. Sometimes, we don’t LIKE to choose. We want someone else to make the decision for us. But in this circumstance, the Lord respects our dignity so much that He allows us to choose. Will we choose life? Life for the abortion-minded men and women downtown? Life for the little ones in each and every womb (no matter how conception took place)? Life for our beloved elderly, in need of our help? Life for ourselves? Will we choose the path that leads to life for ourselves? If we do, our WHOLE lives will be put in order. Things may not always be easy, but let’s face it… nothing worth having IS.
Let us always choose LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
My first shift of the 40 days was a very peaceful one! I arrived at 7am to find two dedicated sisters in Christ already there, from St. Peter Church in Steubenville, OH. Diane had already set up her amazingly organized sidewalk materials (see photo):
Here is a photo of these three wonderful ladies:
Tracy and Beth had driven an hour to stand for four hours on the sidewalk! They were seasoned prayer veterans, I could tell…and did not need any direction from me, so we all three positioned ourselves at various spots around the circle and prayed silently. I was surprised at how much peace I felt this morning! I was perfectly warm and comfortable, and after the sky lightened, the few snowflakes falling were very beautiful and were landing gently on my face. I had no trouble keeping my mind and my heart focused on the Lord, I felt all safe and snuggled close to Him. As I meditated on the baptism of Jesus, I was thinking of all those workers inside who had been baptized. I pleaded with God to call those who have been made His own out of that place. As I meditated on the wedding at Cana, I imagined Jesus transforming that abortion clinic into a life-affirming center, as He transformed water into wine. As I thought about Jesus’ preaching of the Kingdom and the call to repentance, I imagined all those inside being brought to repentance. During my meditation on the Transfiguration of Jesus, I thought of the dazzling whiteness of His holiness, overwhelming the darkness inside that place. And as I meditated on Jesus giving us His very body and blood so that we could have eternal life…I thought about the selfishness of abortion…the taking of someone else’s body for the convenience of another person. I prayed that pregnant mothers going into that place will be selfless…and will offer their own bodies, for a time, for the lives of their babies.
I was marveling at how much peace I had during my silent prayer…and then my friend Lisa K. texted me telling me she had been praying for me during the first half-hour of my shift. AHHHH! So THAT was it! I forgot that I had texted her last night to ask her to pray for me during my shift today…and I offered to pray for her during hers later this same afternoon, as we were all advised by Fr. Jason this past Sunday to do.
So I definitely recommend to all who are coming to the vigil…ask someone to pray for you during your scheduled time! I had so much love and gentleness in my heart, that when women walked by giving me the finger (two different times) and another woman told me to “go home, PLEASE!”…I very tenderly asked God to bless them and told them that He loves them.
There seems to be a change in PP’s scheduled hours of operation. They seem to be open for business now on Thursday mornings. Many single girls went in during my shift. I know our witness is being seen and is effective! Thanks to all who are sacrificing time on the sidewalk and to all those who are praying and fasting!
Bill showed up right on time for his 9-11 shift…here is a picture of him:
Your sister in Christ,
The first thing that struck me today as I approached PP was… Where is everybody?? I am used to seeing Marilyn and Beth Ann joined by many people (or at least several). But this time, it was only the two of them. This made me feel sad. In fact, the word “desolate” kept coming up in my mind. But I’ll get back to that. I was wondering whether MY shift would be “desolate” as well.
But what a team we have. Marilyn and Beth Ann stayed with me until Shift Manager Pat checked to see if I had someone to pray with me. I didn’t, so he stayed. God bless you, Pat!! Then Dean came to pray with me at 2. Thank you, Dean!!
So we were small in number, but I just realized that the desolate road, the unattractive road- the one I mentioned above after the Scripture- is the road that leads to life. So THAT is the road I want to be on. Even if it SEEMS to be desolate. The company of others who will pray with me, and the presence of the LORD Himself, make it all worthwhile.
I was amazed to read about Nikki’s “imaginings” as she prayed the rosary. I, too, had a similar experience, but only in reference to Nikki’s imagining that PP had become a life-giving place of happiness. It happened as I was pondering the sign that says, “Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.” It perturbed me a little, as I thought, “Hey, this doesn’t seem fair. I LOVE my city. And Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be what Western Pennsylvania is about.” So I began to imagine the place being transformed into something helpful, hopeful, even joyful. It was a beautiful thing to envision, and I dwelled in that image as much as I could, praying for PP to someday turn into a place that is True, and Good, and Beautiful. May it be so.
We saw one couple come out of PP, but most of the exits looked like employees. Dee and I prayed the Luminous mysteries. It felt so natural to pray at that place in the middle of downtown.
A young man came along and took a good look at the fetal models. He asked about their ages and how they look at earlier stages. I told him about how bones grow, and I showed him on his jaw how the baby’s ear starts out low and moves up the side of his head. He thanked us and said, “God bless you.” Just one prayer like that makes the day for me. Another taller, louder young man said, “Thank you. Keep up the good work.” Again, joy in our ears.
Finally (and I’m just echoing Dee, I’m sure) a group of boys and girls I’d tag as 11-12 looked at the babies. I keep one in my purse, but my purse was in the trunk of my car–alas. One of the boys knew the ages of the baby-models. By then one of the men with us made a positive, surprised, complimentary “wow.”
The most difficult part of the trip was leaving downtown at 5:15. I’m glad I don’t work there every day.
Our theme for this campaign is GENTLENESS, May we always share the gentleness of Christ on the sidewalk, and everywhere we go.