“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” Luke 11:29
As I reflected on this verse from today’s Gospel, it occurred to me how BEDRAGGLED Jonah must have looked as he dragged himself onto the shore of Ninevah. After spending three days in the belly of a fish, he must have looked and smelled pretty bad! He was sent by God to preach repentance to those wicked Ninevites…but why would they pay any heed to someone like Jonah? Certainly he didn’t look very impressive as he staggered into their town, all slimy and smelly! But amazingly…THEY LISTENED! They repented! And, they were saved.
I find myself wondering lately if God is going to send our world a sign…to make everyone believe in Him. I SO want Him to do this! Maybe something in the sky or some supernatural occurrence…I don’t know…just something that no one can miss. But maybe that is not how God works. Maybe He likes to use the foolish to shame the wise of this world. Maybe that is why He said we must be like children.
40 Days for Life started with just four people around a wooden table in College Station Texas in 2004. We are small and simple. There are usually just a few people at any one time, holding little signs, wrapped up in scarves and hats…wiping runny noses, praying, singing or just standing silently. While the rest of the world rushes by on their way to important meetings, jobs, school…we just stand there. I wonder, do we look as foolish to the world as Jonah did to the Ninevites? I wonder, are WE the sign that God is sending to call His children back? I for one am happy to be a SIGN…and I thank everyone who came out to be a SIGN today!
There is NO ONE to stand with shift manager Rick tomorrow from 5-6! Please email me at email@example.com or text me at 412-926-9413 if you can help!
Here are the reports from today:
Sue D. wrote about her 7-9 am shift:
I was greeted today by a trio of lovely ladies…Diane (materials manager), Marian and Peggy. Afterwards, Peggy and I separated to pray on each side of the building. It was very quiet there today. A handful of workers entered, but no clients. It gave us an opportunity to really buckle down and “pray hard”.
A young man was standing close by with a camera and asked if he could speak with me. We discussed the purpose of 40 Days for Life and also the opportunity it gives us to offer practical help and choices to women. He respectfully asked to take pictures of the A-frames and baby models. I also gave him a yellow resource card. He gave me his business card and asked permission to post the pictures on his photography facebook page.
We were also joined by Jim for a little while before he had to leave for work. Right before the end of the shift, a woman stopped to look at the baby models and told us how she lost her grandchild (naturally) at 14 weeks and that she got to hold the baby in the palm of her hand. She described the features of the baby’s face and was in amazement at the development of the little child. She thanked us for being there.
Life is Good, Sue
Cathy had the 9-11 shift. She wrote:
There wasn’t a lot of activity going into the clinic, other than workers, but several people came to pray – Rose W., David from Weirton, Elsie, and Fr. R. Gruber and a friend. We had two negative encounters from people who were obviously hurting, and at least three positive ones. A young man stopped to say that he agreed with us and that all PP needed to do was stop the abortions and there would be no issue with the funding! He also said that his parents adopted a girl from Russia. A young woman stopped to tell her story – when she was 15 she became pregnant. Her family was pro-life, but people at her church told her she should abort. She was able to go to a school with other young moms, and had her baby. An older, (not old!) prolife woman said she worked for public housing and their office is where PP used to be on Stanwix. She said that when they first moved into the space, though it had been vacant for some time, it still had flies. She said they had to anoint the space before they could work there.
Cil had the 11-1 shift…here are some photos from her:
I was so thankful for my friend, Joyce, to join me for the ride to Pittsburgh for the vigil. We prayed a Divine Mercy on the way home. It was nice to have Elsie on the right side for some time into the shift while I manned the other side giving away handouts. And Terri stayed in position further down the sidewalk. She was able to engage many in conversation. The “Guardians” and “Knights” quickly took their positions and immediate started into prayer and song throughout my whole shift. We were blessed to have two Fathers with us for a while…Gruber and Tim! Paul brought pictures of “Our Lady” and the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” with him to share with us. Some “regulars” also stopped by to pray with us… Bob & Anna Marie, Beth and Bill.
We got into discussions with a few people. One man was very supportive of our efforts. He said that he was almost aborted. The Drs said that he would not live due to problems with his liver. His mom chose life instead and placed him for adoption. He did have some health issues early on but is doing great and was praising God.
It was cool and breezy on our shift but dry. So we were thankful. The sun finally started to shine on us when Chris arrived to take over for his shift. He is always a “ray of sunshine” on that dreary sidewalk. I pray all went well the rest of the day…
Chris was the shift manager from 1-3. He wrote:
It was a sunny and pleasant, but windy day in front of PP this afternoon. So windy at one point that the sandwich-board sign blew over. What a wonderful sight when I arrived, to see Father Tim and the Guardians for Life praying the Rosary and singing praises to Mary. During my shift I was joined by Iris from my parish (St. John Neumann) and Mary, Bob, and his wife Annamarie from St. John & St. Mary (Export/Delmont).
A little while later Judy, Father Joe’s mother, stopped by to pray with us. The comments from passersby were overwhelmingly positive, with many “God Bless Yous” and “Thank Yous”. Three middle-aged women stopped to talk with us while looking at the fetal models. They said, “God Bless You for being here” and went on their way. They even offered us some pastries! Shortly thereafter, a man in his 20’s stopped to greet us and when we told him we were there for the next 32 days, he said he’d stop by tomorrow to hold a sign and pray with us. There was very little traffic going in and out of PP, a good thing.
Barbara and Richard managed the 3-5 shift:
Today the Women’s march was scheduled for downtown Pittsburgh. Richard and I were joined by Nikki for the 3-5 shift. We never saw crowds of women. However, two angry women did stop by.
One woman noted that since she saw us standing there, praying and wearing our prolife signs, she was going to donate $3 to Planned Parenthood. We were pleasant and said, “God bless you,” and the woman walked on. As she got to the other side of the golden arch, she shoved over our very heavy 40 Days for Life information board.
Another woman stopped and asked me how I felt about hurting the feelings of women who counted on Planned Parenthood for their health care. PP had “helped her sister survive cancer.” I asked for more information about PP and cancer care. Speaking more loudly, she told me to step back because I was too close to her personal space. I stepped back and turned to Joe who had just arrived. Joe, Bill and I said a “Hail Mary” and the woman walked away. I felt that I had failed her.
Going to the sidewalk feels like going “into the deep” as the Bible reference indicates. We give it our best.
Joe K. had the 5-7 shift, he wrote:
Arrived a tad early for the first shift of the spring campaign. Warm, sun shining, and not as breezy as I thought – hmm, not bad for the beginning of March!
As I was settling in for my shift I witnessed the gentleness and patience of Shift Manager Barbara as she was finishing a discussion with an angry young woman. As Barbara and I prayed for this young lady – she became angrier and more spiteful and eventually wandered away… OK, I’m awake now…
I was joined on my shift by Bill and Michelle who heeded the call-out to strengthen our presence – thank you so much for your dedication, sacrifice, and camaraderie.
Early in the shift a woman, “G”, stopped by to briefly tell us her abortion story and the regret and pain that is always there… She asked for prayers, so we all prayed with her and she was given post-abortive information. Please keep “G” her in your prayers.
The rest of the evening was fairly quiet – the positive comments from passerby’s outweighed the lone negative one…
Towards the end of the shift we were joined by Deacon Mike who offered his support. He shared with us that he participates in vigil’s outside of an abortion facility run by the infamous abortion practitioner Martin Haskell (who is credited with “popularizing” the partial -birth abortion procedure).
I’d be remiss if I did not comment on today being denoted by some as a “Day Without A Woman” – my understanding was that there was supposed to be a march downtown, but I only noticed a handful of folks that appeared to be marchers on my way through the city to my shift… I did find it “interesting” that the “Women’s March” web page mentions about this day the “enormous value” that women add to our socio-economic system, emphasizing jobs / careers, but did notice “motherhood” or “parenting” mentioned (even briefly) or discussed. I notice references to phrases like “gender justice” and “women’s rights being human rights”, but what about women in the womb and sex selection abortion…what about their “value” and this “injustice” and their “rights”???