Day 8…Thanks to Dedicated Individuals from Steubenville, St. Bernadette Church (Monroeville) & St. Scholastica/St. Joes (Aspinwall & Ohara)

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.

What sort of emotion do you feel when you look at this photo? Does it make you smile or feel fearful? If we are looking at it in a practical way…of course, we should be afraid. A vulnerable baby, playing innocently right in front of a lion, who if he wanted to, could kill him with one swipe of his ferocious paw. But if we look at it through eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of the protectiveness of God for those who are weak and vulnerable and who put their trust in Him.

This photo reminds me of one of my favorite works of fiction; C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. In “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, one of the children, (Edmund), is seduced by the White Witch to betray his siblings, all for promises of power and prestige. He realizes too late that he has been used as a pawn, and she has no intentions of honoring her promises to him. By this time however, he is trapped and there is no way to escape. Although Edmund gives up in despair, there is One who has not given up on him. Aslan, the majestic lion, (who represents Christ)…saves Edmund from death, just as the witch’s blade is poised to slice his throat. After this dramatic scene, Edmund and Aslan went for a walk, alone. When they came back, Edmund was a totally different sort of boy. He was humbled, contrite and grateful. Where before he had been afraid of Aslan, now he loved Him and pledged his undying loyalty to serving Him.

It’s funny how our perspective changes after we see the evil we have done and feel sorry for it.

Until that happens, instead of trusting in the goodness of God, we fear Him. That is probably why preachers such as Joel Osteen are so popular, (sorry to pick on Joel)…because they portray God as a nice guy who really doesn’t care too much about sin. (Especially if you are willing to send money!) The fact that the god they preach bears little resemblance to the God of the Bible doesn’t seem to matter much. The important thing is that their god is comfortable…not intimidating…and doesn’t ask much from us.

But when, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of true repentance…we understand how BIG and POWERFUL this God of ours is…and how SMALL and PUNY we are in comparison. We understand just WHO we have offended by our sin! We…a tiny little gnat…have offended the creator of all the universe…from the largest galaxy, to the most tiniest, most fragile flower! When, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, this happens…unless we understand his GOODNESS…we would totally despair and flee in fright. But, since he has come to our rescue, and has fought off the evil one on our behalf…even to the point of laying down his own life…we can trust him. We can become like the vulnerable little child in the photo above…and snuggle right up to His Strength.

This is the state that we must be in, in order to fight this battle to end abortion. It is such an over-whelming foe. If we look at it in a practical way, we should be afraid. But, if we look at it with the eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of God’s protectiveness for those who trust in Him.

If God is with us, who can be against us?

Scroll down to read the accounts from the sidewalk today, written by our fearless and trusting shift managers, and to see photos of those who came to the vigil today.

Peg and Mary were the shift managers from 7-9 this morning:

Shift Manager Mary with the wonderful group from Steubenville
Shift Manager Peg with Tracy and Beth from Steubenville

Rose wrote from the 9-11 shift:

Thanks to Rose who subbed for Cathy during the 9-11am shift. Feel better soon Cathy!!!

Filling in for Cathy again this Wed. and so grateful for the warmer weather!  We had many affirmations today and just a few criticisms.  A young girl, “K”, was very impressed with the fetal models and had many questions.  I gave her some info and she talked extensively with Tracy and Beth.  They said she was appalled that she wasn’t taught this info in schools. She left very grateful for all the info we gave her!  It was a delight to see her face light up – what a blessing for all of us.Theresa and I prayed the pro-life intentions and it seemed that whevever we prayed one someone came by to talk to us.  Fr. Tim’s group came early, and they are always to enthusiastic to be there.  I was very blessed to pray for Life today!!!

Vigil participant Tracy wrote:

To add to Rose’s report about Beth and my interaction with a young lady, “K”, at PP this morning: What I failed to add was how shocked she was that in all her 27 years of life the truth had evaded her. 27 years! It is pretty amazing! But, we know full well there are many others who have bought the “Blob of Tissue” lie who are even older than she is!
Keep on Marchin’!
Tracy 🙂

Hank and Judy had the 11-1 shift:

The weather was much better today than a week ago, but there was the usual storm of prayer  when the Guardians of Life are present to petition our good Lord to bring an end to the scourge of abortion.  There were 15 people with the Guardians including Fr. Tim.  We were joined also for part of the shift by Therese from St. Barbara Bridgeville and Lisa and Ed from St.Bernadette. There was a good amount of foot traffic especially during the lunch hour, but not many individuals going into PP.  Several of those passing by gave us a thumbs up, a fist bump, a warm smile, a thank you or a God bless you.  We had the occasional glaring look and one man on a bicycle screamed that we were going to hell for our efforts.  We prayed two rosaries, the Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross and made a joyful noise (we sang) throughout the shift.  Terri distributed a good bit of literature an engaged several individuals in conversation that hopefully will have planted the seed that causes them see abortion for its harmful effects, morally and emotionally, over and above the death of an innocent child.  Praised be Jesus Christ, God-hero, Wonder-counselor, Prince of Peace.

Ed from St. Bernadette
Fr. Tim leading the rosary
Lisa from St. Bernadette with shift manager Judy
Theresa from St. Barbara, Judy and Terri with Guardians for Life
Knights of Columbus

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:

The warmer weather was very much appreciated on the sidewalk.  As always, I was joyfully greeted by Hank, the previous Shift Manager, and Father Tim’s Guardians for Life.  As I greeted Hank, we were told by a young woman walking by, “I wish your Moms had aborted you!”.  Not five minutes later, another young woman yelled, “It’s my *$* $ # body!”  Unperturbed, we prayed Rosary after Rosary and prayed for the two women.  I was joined by non-stop Rosary pray-ers Jerri, Winnie, and Dee, all from St. Bernadette’s, and Marilyn from St. Bernard’s.  Several passersby thanked us for being there.  I also wore what I call “The Sign of Truth” (pictured) that states the number of children, on average, killed each week at PP.  It was good to see people reading the words as they walked by.  There wasn’t much client traffic, but a noticeable number of PP workers going in and out.

Chris wore “the sign of truth”
Three angels from St. Bernadette!

Jeannie was the shift manager from 3-5:

We had a lovely day on the sidewalk today. Lots of positive encouragement and very little negative. We had a couple interesting experiences too. Krista told me that one of the kid on a skateboard had taken one of the roses so I was on the lookout when a young man holding a skateboard came up to me and said he wanted to pray with me. He was a typical teen. He had shaved his head on both sides and had a ponytail in the middle. I was ready for him to begin a verbal assault on us instead of praying with us. Boy was I wrong! The young man whose name is Isaac lead us in a beautiful prayer invoking Jesus mercy and love to end abortion in our country. He even prayed for the workers in the clinic and for each of us standing on the sidewalk!!! Don’t judge a book by its cover! And another beautiful event, the crazy guy came down the sidewalk and was banging Into things and came over to try to push our display over. Out of the bookstore ran a young man who scared off the crazy fellow. The young man said to us “that guy was in my shop yesterday I had to throw him out”. How kind of this young man to come out to try to help us when he saw trouble. Hope is in the air!!

Another great afternoon for my women’s movement. Love it Marilyn  from Saint Bernard’s and Mary Catherine and Ann from Saint Scholastica

A beautiful rose, laying forgotten on the pavement. Just like the beautiful children being forgotten inside this terrible place.

Joe stood vigil for the final shift of the day from 5-7 PM:

Overall a very quiet, actually eerily quiet, shift.

I was blessed once again to be be joined by my shift buddy Lori.
We shared with Jim who stopped by and prayed – thanks Jim & Lori!

Not much car / bus traffic and limited foot traffic today.

933 had a lot of folks entering / exiting this evening – must’ve been
some kind-o-meeting???

Another highlight – a little girl stopped by to look at the fetal models and
eagerly took 2 of the take-home ones with her, but not before picking up
one of the flowers and picking off all the petals before catching back up
with her group…

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