“…I do not seek my own will but the will of the One who sent me.”
When I read Tim’s heartfelt blog post from day 20, I really felt his pain. He wrote about God giving him a “do-over” after he felt that he had failed to say the right words to a woman who clearly did not want an abortion…but who went into Planned Parenthood anyway, in tears. When she came back out minutes later, Tim was overjoyed at having a second chance to say all the words of encouragement that he felt he had failed to say the first time. He got his “do-over”…but sadly, the woman still went back in.
When I reflected on today’s Gospel from John 5:17-30, I was struck by the phrase, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.” It’s true that Jesus has the authority to raise the dead. So, He could have saved that woman’s child from abortion if it had been his will, right? That is what is so difficult for us to understand and to accept. I mean, I know God gives us free will, and that woman who was crying as she entered Planned Parenthood was using her free will to take the life of her unborn child. So, that wasn’t God’s will that the child should die…it was hers.
I have been thinking about the POWER and AUTHORITY of God lately. To be honest, I usually tend to think about God as being very loving and gentle. I have never had a “fear” of God, and that is probably good. But it struck me during my prayer time a few days ago that GOD OWNS HEAVEN. It is HIS. It does not belong to us, and we do not deserve it. Death is ugly, terrible, difficult and horrible (I’ve witnessed it twice)…and that is what we actually deserve. Eternal life in Heaven is blissful, paradise…all light, love and beauty!
But we cannot do anything on our own to get from ugly death to beautiful life. Only the amazing power and authority of God can do that for us! Thankfully, God is GOOD and he loves us, and so he WANTS us to be in Heaven with him, so he made a way through the sacrificial death of his Son, Jesus!
Abortion is ugly. The building at 933 Liberty Avenue is ugly. How can we keep from despairing when we witness injustice and the taking of innocent lives? How can we stay encouraged and keep fighting the good fight?
I think the only way we can do it is to take our will and cancel it out. Replace it with God’s will…make it our own. Then he can work HIS POWER in our life!
Now for today’s stories from the sidewalk…
Sue D. had the 7-9 am shift and wrote:
I was greeted today by Diane’s smiling face. She already had everything set up and was talking with Peggy and Marian when I arrived. It was another quiet Wednesday. Some employees entered PP and maybe 2 clients. Peggy is a really great prayer partner and we covered the building and sidewalk in a rosary, divine mercy and chaplet of The Holy Face. Jim came as a SA before leaving for work. We handed out several 10 week feet pins, a child who stopped to look at the baby models was happy to have one! Bill stopped and we sang him “Happy Birthday” to try and make him smile…he had a second pin on today that said “I ❤ Life!” ~Sue
Cathy reported on the 9-11 shift:
The morning started out with Peg, who stayed a few extra minutes until Elsie arrived. A woman came storming past knocking down one of the sandwich boards, and was headed for the other one but we were able to stop her, though not her tongue which shouted out an expletive. I don’t know if she was the same one who has done this before. Elsie arrived shortly afterward and things were pretty quiet. Hardly anyone went inside, though Elsie thought she recognized, but wasn’t sure, one of the doctors go in the building. Around 10 a group of people from St. Bernard’s and St. Thomas Moore in Indiana PA arrived, with prayer books and got started with “Come Holy Ghost” A passerby said we should keep our prayers in church. Apologies to the group: Lisa, Irene, Lois R., T., Michele, Dennis, & Bill – for not posting the picture – technical difficulties
Cil managed the vigil from 11-1 and wrote:
Let us build the City of God…. The wonderful group from Indiana joined me at the vigil in singing this song that I’ve been humming all week long. I do believe that we are there for that purpose, His purpose … to turn “night into day”, “tears…into dancing”. May we continue to be “a light for His people to set their hearts free”! We know we can because “the Lord our light and our love” has “conquered the night”!
SM Cathy took a picture of Lisa, Irene, Ray, Theresa, Michele, Bill and Dennis from St. Bernard and Lois from St Thomas More before she left. These dedicated prayer warriors came all the way from Indiana on this beautiful day and spent the whole vigil time with me. What a blessing to have the rosary, divine mercy and other prayers all throughout my shift!
SM Elsie stayed well into my shift to reach out to those passing by on “the other side” of the half circle while I tried to catch ones passing by on my side. It is nice when both sides are covered.
Nothing too eventful my shift. Mostly positive feedback and many said they will or are praying when I asked them to “please pray” as they walked by.
One young man did go off on an angry rant as he quickly walked by. We really couldn’t understand much of what he was saying except that he ironically said to “keep praying”.
Another man yelled out that he was against abortion… that 5 of his children were aborted!
The workers at PP came and went with their lunches. I told them that we could help them find better jobs…where babies aren’t killed… but nobody seemed interested. They ignore us. I pray they realize they can do so much better than PP.
A delivery guy delivered, among other things, saltines to PP…as if that will help the Moms feel better after PP rips the lives from their wombs. 🙁
The PP door guard looked out more frequently than normal and up and down the sidewalk. He is friendly enough.
A police car pulled up near us and the officer got out and went down the street (to get something to eat?). After he left, a couple officers came past us on bicycles but kept moving. It’s kinda nice to have them coming around.
SM Bill came by briefly to pass along some info. But that was it until SA Joan arrived to stand with Chris for a portion of his shift.
Chris arrived with a friend and he was still all in one piece after his ski trip! It was nice to see him!
Thanks to the Email pleas for support, I was joined by four prayer warriors during my shift. Two members of my parish, Diane and Sharon, joined me. At first, we had our coats on due to the shade on the sidewalk. Shortly thereafter, the sun made its appearance around a skyscraper, we shed our coats, and we were nice and warm. Joan, a relatively new Sidewalk Advocate, was there when I arrived and stayed through most of my shift. What a delight to meet her. We were joined by Ken and we were praying the Rosary on each side of the infamous “circle”. The only foot traffic I saw in and out of PP were workers and delivery people. The more than a few positive comments and “God Bless Yous” were welcomed by us and returned in kind. Barbara and her husband, Richard, as always, arrived early and we had a warm chat.
Barbara and Richard wrote from the 3-5 shift:
Chris and two friends from his parish prolife group gave us the sidewalk. Standing tall for the McKeesport Knights of Columbus, Joe and Mike arrived. They stayed and prayed with us. Then, they got ready to cover 5-7 with Joe as shift manager. It was a blessing to share company with them on a lovely afternoon.
And, last but not least…the final shift report of the day from Joe K.:
Blessed with a tremendous sun-splashed late afternoon shift that was shared with my McKeesport Knights of Columbus brother, Mike.
All was extremely peaceful throughout the evening… In general, not much from passerby’s. No driveby’s, no negative comments, just a few gentle smiles…
Regular, Jim, stopped by on his way home. A young lady stopped to look more closely at the fetal models. She accepted the offer of “Watch me grow!” flyer and then moved on. The mother and 4 joyful children that always pass by stopped today and dipped into the little bin for some treats (with mom’s permission, of course). Noticed a bit more a police presence this day around our area… Finally, Bill H. stopped by on his way home and got another “Happy Birthday” serenade.
As the sun tuned-out, Diane arrived and packed away the supplies – now ready for another opportunity for us to make a difference…