“But it shall not be so among you.” Matt. 20:26
Jesus’ words to his disciples tell us that he is calling his followers to a different way. We are to be DIFFERENT from the rest of the world!
As I was working on a friend/client’s hair a few days ago, we were discussing the reality of abortion having always been a part of human history. She mentioned that she had read about the ancient Roman’s practice of leaving newborn babies to die of exposure on the city walls, and how it was the early Christians who first began to rescue these little ones. Before there were Christians, the only ones to “rescue” these babies were slave traders, who would take them and raise them in order to sell them as slaves or prostitutes. I am no historian, but I know that the roman civilization was very advanced in many ways. Their art, architecture, aqua duct system and roadways were amazingly innovative and sophisticated. Their legal system is the basis for our court and law system today! But as “civilized” and “advanced” as their culture was…they saw nothing wrong with leaving their unwanted infants to die on the wall. They were not lawless people. They took great pride in having just laws and enforcing them fairly, (as long as you were a roman citizen, of course!) Their sense of justice was probably not offended by this practice because they didn’t actually “kill” the children themselves. They didn’t have to watch them die or anything upsetting like that. The wall was far enough away that no one could hear the pitiful cries. All that was needed was a few callous individuals who could do the dirty work of carrying them away and abandoning them on the wall. Does this sound familiar?
But in the midst of this culture…there began a movement that was DIFFERENT. Jesus taught a DIFFERENT WAY. The early Christians in Rome did things that made absolutely no sense. They began to rescue these babies. Not to sell them or to make a profit. But to SAVE them. Why? They had nothing to gain by doing so. It was a completely selfless action.
This conversation with my friend has stayed with me all week. I have been thinking about how people can be “just” and law-abiding…advanced and civilized, and still think abortion is okay. Everyone wants just laws and an orderly society, because we all selfishly want to live in a world where we will be treated fairly. We don’t want be stolen from, defrauded, abused or killed. But, since laws are made by people who are already born…lawmakers have no fear of ever being aborted. Therefore, abortion will always exist in the world. That is the way of the world. Always has been, always will be. But we needn’t be discouraged, because this world is not our home. WE are called to be different from the world! As Jesus reminds us in the Gospel reading today…”It shall not be so among us!”
Recently, I have been really encouraged by the faith, hope and love that our 40 Days for Life blog writers and shift managers express in their blog reflections and shift reports. It is wonderful to see us, as a pro-life family here in Pittsburgh…putting all our trust in the One who can end abortion. Thanks to all of you for putting your FAITH FIRST! This movement is really hard. There is always the danger of pride, self-righteousness, cynicism and discouragement creeping in at every moment. There is the temptation to put our trust in our own abilities and efforts…and to look to politicians and laws to solve this problem.
Just as the early Christians selflessly rescued the roman babies, we stand in front of the “wall” at 933 Liberty Avenue…the place where 3,000 babies are brought to die each year. We go there hoping to rescue some…and hoping others will join this “new Way” that Jesus established 2,000 years ago. It is our love for God and all of his creation that drives us. We put our trust in God alone. We put our faith first. And we know who wins in the end.
Before I go to the shift reports from today, I want to share a link to an important video which was recently put out by Sidewalk Advocates for Life. In it, three former abortion workers talk about their experience with the pro life movement and the impact it had on them while they were inside the industry. The video is 23 minutes long…so just save it and watch when you have time. I share it because I believe it is so tempting for us to trust in our own abilities and actions, and to forget that God is the One in charge. I encourage you to watch this when you can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2GhKLWPJZs
So, now…here are the shift reports from today:
Marshall subbed as shift manager this morning from 7-9 am. He wrote:
The last day of February, and we are now looking forward to March. With March comes to the newness of Spring. It was a quiet 7 to 9 am shift in front of PP. Peg and I counted two couples that entered. Prayers for the staff, those couples and all those who end up supporting that place merely because of their job such as delivery drivers. Peg and I prayed the Glorious mysteries with Mary who was there early for the 9-11 shift. I also studied some for a midterm tomorrow in Grad. Therapeutic techniques. Thanks for Nikki and Lisa giving Peg a notice as I was late due to some heavy traffic. God bless. Marshall.
Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11. Her parish had adopted that time slot. Here is a photo from her shift:
My fellow parishioner, Mary, and I spent a fairly quiet two hours. A few people went into PP. One couple who came out did accept the resource card and “Everyone’s Biography”. A young passerby took them as well and then said her friends should see it as they were having kids, so she took three more to share.
Hank was the shift manager from 11 am – 1 pm and wrote:
It was a windy but comfortable 11-1 shift and I was joined for the entire time with the Guardians For Life, so the wind might just have been the movement of the Spirit given the power of their prayer. Indeed, Fr.Tim led the group in prayer throughout the shift with the rosary, Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross and other prayers as well. A considerable amount of literature was distributed and for the most part warmly received and we greeted all by-passers with a smile and a good morning/afternoon. There were no abortions today so most of the traffic was employees entering and exiting. They were all kindly greeted and of course prayed for as well.
Jeannie was the substitute shift manager from 1-3 pm…she wrote:
What a joyful day on the sidewalk — I expected to be alone. BUT Praise be to God I was joined by Mary from Saint Teresa of Avila, Joe from Saint Bernadette in Monroeville and SA Kathy, and during my second hour John and Mimi Joined us. What a crowd!
For the first time ever, I saw a woman with an infant come out of Planned Parenthood. What a joyful site to see new life alive at that threshold. I’m not sure what she was doing there, but hope springs eternal.
Barbara and Richard report from the 3-5 shift:
Jeannie, her friend Mary and two Knights of Columbus, were praying at PP when we arrived. Mimi, stayed for another half hour.
At three we were joined by Joe, McKeesport Knight of Columbus and shift manager for the 5-7. He planned to stay for 4 hours. Another Knight was due at 6.
We have come to recognize and speak with commuters who line up for their bus to go home.
Twice we spoke to a young woman who came out of PP. She declined help. Later she and two other women came out and left.
We had a chance to discuss witnessing for life and volunteering in our parishes. It was a fruitful evening.
Richard and Barbara 3-5 Shift managers
Joe K. 5-7pm…
Pre-shift observation… Had a young women (Ms. Virginia Slim) try to grind-out her cigarette on the 40 DFL Sign – maybe she was confused – and thought this was one of those city garbage cans that have an attached container for cigarette butts… Or, maybe she was just virtue signaling her approval for snuffing things out??? Regardless, wished her a better day, then cleaned off the sign…This is the second week in a row with a cigarette incident – last week’s shift had a young woman slingshot one over my cranium…Maybe we should have tighter cigarette control laws / background checks…
OK, serious shift report stuff… It was in doubt that anyone would show up for the shift, but God provides (as of course He always does)…My brother Knight from Council 955, Mike, joined me for the beginning of the shift and stayed through the end. We were also joined by Ben from Trinity and Brian from St. John Fisher – this in-doubt shift was bountiful, prayerful, and blessed indeed!
Mostly positive comments this evening (except for Ms. Virginia Slim). We shared, and prayed throughout the shift and Ben also led us in prayer near the end of the shift for 933’s leader Kim E. During the shift I noticed that a big make-shift sign had gone up in the door window of 933 and the lights were still on throughout the shift – the hand-written sign said “Gardening Class – Come in”… Seems a bit ironic – “cultivating life”? Made me think of Matthew 13:5-9 “The Parable of the Sower”…
“Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.”
But just on the outside of the 933 golden arch where the 40 DFL takes up residence is where we there is hope (and help)…
“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
We finished the night as humble and faithful Tom & Diane packed up day 15 for tomorrow – God Bless you 2…!!!