Suffering with those who suffer…
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:26
We sure have been reminded of this a lot lately, haven’t we? Still reeling from the Las Vegas shooting, where 58 people were killed, and 546 injured… yesterday we were hit with the senseless tragedy in New York City. These sad events bring us to our collective knees.
The question on many of our minds is, “How do we respond?”
I read a quote from Dorothy Day this morning which seems very relevant to our world today. She wrote:
The stink of the world’s injustice and the world’s indifference is all around us…
Compassion – it is a word meaning to suffer with. If we all carry a little of the burden, it will be lightened. If we share in suffering of the world, then some will not have to endure so heavy an affliction. It evens out. What you do here in New York, in Harrisburg, helps those in China, India, South Africa, Europe, Russia, as well as in the oasis where you are. You may think you are alone. But we are members one of another. We are children of God together.
Did you know that Dorothy Day may one day be recognized by the Catholic Church as being a saint? And… she had an abortion before her conversion. Her’s is a beautiful story of redemption. God wants to use all of us…scars and all.
For the past 36 days, hundreds of individuals have come to our vigil at Planned Parenthood to pray, witness, and suffer in small ways.
During that time, approximately 300 tiny babies have been put to death behind those doors while we were outside praying.
While I was there for my shift on Monday, I watched as a passerby…noticing our signs…stopped for a second in front of the doors of Planned Parenthood, and made the sign of the cross.
As Dorothy Day said…”We are members of one another.”
I was struck by a another quote this past week from Barbara. She wrote in her shift report last Friday, “Thank you God for this opportunity to love you out loud!” I LOVED that! That is exactly what we are doing when we witness and pray publicly…we are loving God OUT LOUD!
So, why should we suffer with those who suffer? Why not avoid suffering when we can? If it doesn’t directly affect me or my loved ones…why should I care? I will answer this with another quote. This one is from St. Catherine of Siena. She wrote:
Then we rise up with immense desire to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Everything we do we direct to God. We do everything for the glory and praise of His name…this is how we progress from being merely servants to friends. That is how we progress from slavish fear and self-indulgent love for our own consolation to true servanthood, true friendship, true filiality.
I can’t fool God. He knows how much or how little I love Him. It doesn’t matter how much I say it or don’t say it. He knows. When I pray in front of an abortion clinic, there is no other reason for me to be there other than love for God. I can be sure that I have no ulterior motive. I will not get human praise, riches or power. In fact, I will probably get exactly the opposite.
If you worry that your love for God is either slavish…or self-indulgent…come to the vigil. There is nothing selfish about praying in front of an abortion clinic. God already knows how much you love Him, but maybe you need to prove it to yourself. We need someone today (Wednesday) from 6-7 pm so shift manager Joe won’t have to stand alone. On Thursday we need someone from 2-3 so Carolyn won’t be alone. Please let me know if you can come.
And join us this Sunday at 6:30 to officially CLOSE OUT our 40 day vigil at Planned Parenthood! Fr. Jason Charron, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church in Carnegie will lead us in prayer. Then, join us in the Welcome Center at Catholic Charities (corner of Ninth and Liberty) from 7 – 8:30 for a fun time of pot-luck food and celebration! I hope to see you then!
Now, here are the reports from today:
Kathy L. 7-9
A rainy, dark, and cold morning was brightened and warmed by Dianne’s and Peg’ s cheerful morning greetings. I copied their example to passersby by saying “Good morning, choose life,” which was received with a nod, smile, or silence. Only one negative comment from a young woman. Even the pp security guard said “Good morning.” A gentleman, on his way to mass, said that he would pray for our cause.
Peg and I spent time in quiet prayer for awhile and then together offering up the baby picture prayers provided by Jeannie. Bill H stopped by briefly.
Cathy Z. 9-11
A relatively quiet shift – a few people went in and a couple and individuals came out, no one took the info cards offered or wanted to talk. Many thanks to Kathy who stayed overtime from her 7-9 shift to be with me until someone came. A real sacrifice given the cold and rain! Dave, from St. Bonaventure, came alone as his family was sick, and got right to praying. Shortly before 11 Anna Marie and her husband arrived to share the next shift with Hank.
Hank reported that he had a peaceful shift, spent praying with the wonderful folks from St. Mary and St. John (Export and Delmont). Thanks to everyone who sacrificed and suffered in the miserable weather today!
Tears from Heaven falling on Planned Parenthood. That’s how I chose to view the rain on the sidewalk during my shift. Can we imagine God’s sorrow at what His creations have wrought through abortion? My shift was relatively quiet, with little foot-traffic in and out of PP, just several workers and clients. I was joined by steadfast prayer warriors Bob, his wife Annamarie, and Christina from the combined parishes of St. John/St. Mary’s churches in Delmont and Export. We prayed the Rosary, receiving only positive comments and thumbs-ups from passersby. At the end of the shift, a Lutheran pastor, whose ministry is the college campuses in Oakland, joined us for a final prayer.
Barbara and Richard 3-5
What a sweetly chilly 2 hours Richard and I spent praying downtown this afternoon. The rain misted us continually and felt refreshing.
As we arrived, a couple from Delmont, Saint Mary, John Parish was leaving after their prayer witness since 11am. A Pastor with Lutherans for Life came by to join us in prayer.
Anthony stopped and asked if they did abortions there, indicating PP. I gave him our 40 Days for Life handout. He is caring for his 87 year old mother at his home. How wonderful.
Joe and Mike, Knights of Columbus, arrived and Richard and I left for Mass.
Life is good.
Joe K. 5-7
Last shift of the campaign started with a drive by “big hello” from a
passerby even before I could greet our vigil participants.
This evening, I was truly blessed and surprised as I was supposed to be
by myself, but was covered for the entire shift by Bill, Mike, and Jim –
No other comments the rest of the evening, but there was an unusually
number of sirens and police presence down on Ninth – enough that we
prayed for the responders and all involved…
The night ended with faithful Tom & Diane packing up our setup
to re-deliver tomorrow morning!