40 Days for Life
Father Knows Best
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”
The Lord God is our Heavenly Father, who not only WANTS what is best for us, but GIVES it to us. Even when we don’t realize it or understand it.
Jesus tells us in the above passage that human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. MOST of the time, this is true. Just look at these examples in the images below. We can imagine little ones asking their loving dads to help them, to teach them, to love them.
What is so beautiful about human fathers is that they are meant to be images of God our Heavenly Father. Even when they fail to do so, they are still called to that in their very being. And if all of these human fathers shown above can do so many loving things for their children, Jesus reminds us how much MORE Our Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
During 40 Days for Life, we too can ASK and PRAY that the Holy Spirit come into our lives anew. When we do this, we not only have the power of God working mighty deeds in OUR LIVES as pro-life advocates, but He can work mighty deeds in the lives of all passersby on the sidewalk, all of the abortion workers for whom we pray, and all of the abortion-vulnerable men and women who enter Planned Parenthood. God CAN and DOES do mighty works! Let us continue to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. May we TRUST that God in His goodness will work powerfully to do what is BEST for ALL of His children, and bring them to FREEDOM, JOY, and LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
Diane, Peg, Cathy, Mar, and Richard expertly set up the sidewalk for our Thursday vigil. Cathy and Mary belong to the newly organizing Catholic parish, Lower Allegheny Valley Catholic Churches. The sun came out, the sky was blue and a gentle breeze refreshed us all. Bill came. It was great to see him. This is the first time we have seen him this fall.
Very soon after, Suzanne joined us. Her preschool granddaughter lives with her and she took her to preschool this morning. Today is her first witness day with us. She felt the Holy Spirit suggest that she join us. Talking with her we learned that she is not new to prolife. “I learn things from the internet,” she said. Reporting that she does not belong to an organized religion, Suzanne and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer.
Today is an abortion day at Planned Parenthood. It is hard to realize that people schedule a visit here and leave their legally killed baby behind. All of the workers appear normal before they go into the building. All of the parents appear normal before they go into the building. When the people come out of Planned Parenthood, they appear unchanged. Loving each and every person, God searches each heart, hoping for a whisper of an opening. He longs to return them to the path of LIFE. “More tortuous than all else is the human heart.” Jeremiah 17:9
Thursday 9-11 shift – Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, joined by other friends and a couple of God’s creatures.
I didn’t get last week’s blog report done, so I’m including it in this week’s (I will keep it short). So, just so you don’t lose interest before you start, I thought these pics might hold your interest. Last week Meredith, Chuck and I held down the vigil. We had a lot of positive, affirming people pass by, which was encouraging. We were later joined by Priscilla from St. John the Baptist Ukrainian, who stopped by to pray the rosary before continuing on her errands. We were also joined by Daniel from St. Joseph to pray the rosary as well. In the beginning of the shift, there was a young man who was extremely agitated and was hurling verbal abuse at us. In the midst of his rantings, he disclosed that he had aborted 3 babies of his own. That explained his angry and abusive spirit. Join us in praying for God’s mercy on his life.
We were able to engage two couples that day who seemed to be on the fence and were willing to listen to information about other options and reasons for not having the abortion. But sadly, we did not see them change their minds before the end of our shift. We still see their faces and each time they come to our minds we will pray for them. Side Note: towards the end of the shift the mounted police came down the street. It was a blessing to see them; they were so beautiful. The officer on the last horse is Shannon, a friend of mine.
Today, we had Meredith, Pastor Joe, Kathy, Lynn, and myself. We engaged a couple who got out of the car in front of us. A very tragic situation. They were seeking an abortion. Long story short we were able to talk with them at length and pray with them a couple of times. We saw them head through the doors. We don’t know the outcome, but she did not come back out during our shift.
Shortly after we arrived, a large butterfly flew up to me, landed on my leg and proceeded to crawl upward along the zipper of my coat. I’m assuming it was the color of the coat that attracted it??? I love nature because it’s so close to God’s heart. The butterfly is the symbol of life…new life. And we are speaking LIFE in the Name of Jesus over the culture of death at PP and in the City of Pittsburgh!!!! And I believe the butterfly was God’s message to us…the culture is shifting to LIFE!!!! Hallelujah!!!
It was a sad day at Planned Parenthood, as many days are. For me, it was mostly sad because I met and spoke with (and hopefully consoled) a father whose child was killed there today (it was the man Judy spoke about in the report above). It’s a terrible thing, that reality. And there are no perfect words to say to make things better. But he seemed to genuinely appreciate the kindness and concern he received. But his life will never be the same. And of course, neither will it be the same for the mother or their family. I pray that he allows himself to grieve.
Some other people walked past with their “one-liners” they like to cast out toward us. My husband mentioned some ideas for responding to one person in particular who passes every week and says the same disgusting line. But in response to that line, I simply replied, “Have a nice day.” I told my husband that it does not seem prudent to engage someone in a discussion who is so angry. But I also told him, “There are SO many hurting people out there.” And this person is one. I pray that that hurt can be healed.
Lastly, there was another woman who talked to me who is post-abortive. She first was confused about why we were there– whether we were promoting abortion or not. When we told her that we are there to pray for an end to abortion, her tough demeanor seemed to soften. She said that she had had an abortion a long time ago, and that she had been forced into it. She said she had been far enough along in her pregnancy to find out that the baby was a boy. She said her son would have been twelve this year. I was able to give her some post-abortive information, and she seemed really thankful.
So much sadness. So many people living with this pain. But we can help. We can talk to them and give them resources. We can pray. We can love.
Cecilia (sending on behalf of Carolyn):
The weather was just beautiful today. It was nice to see Shift Manager, Carolyn, and her smiling face. We thought that we might be alone a few days ago, but several heard the call and joined us. Praise God!
Thank you to Beth from Precious Blood Church for signing up to let us know that she would be there. A young man, Marcus, who spoke with us was impressed to see her reading her Bible. I was blessed to have members from my Parish family, St Joseph in Cabot, with me. Thanks again to our priest, Father Jim, for coming down a second time to the vigil. And thanks to my good friends, Joyce and Patti for making the trip with me too! Mike was there with us from the beginning and joined right in with my parish in praying the rosary. He even stayed into the next shift. Cletus, from St Anne, stopped by since she was in the area, and spoke with us for a while. She talked about the garbage being taught to our kids in school in Health class, etc., and the other immoral stuff that is pushed on us in the world today. She planned to return to catch Helen. Donna from St. Kilian and Marianne from St. Alphonsus stopped by for a short while, then decided to go to
St. Stanislaus to continue to pray.
PP had too much traffic today. One young couple came out and stopped by the bookstore. I was able to speak with the man at first. He said that the time was just not right for them. But you could see the sadness in his eyes. I gave him a Rachel’s Vineyard pamphlet and he asked if they helped men too. The girlfriend came over and seemed to appreciate the resource. I told her that she would probably have a lot of emotions going through her after this and RV may be able to help her. Prayers for repentance and healing for this couple.
Another lady that exited PP was waiting for her husband. She went in for an ultrasound because she was told she was pregnant, but PP informed her that she wasn’t pregnant, so she was confused. So I gave her our yellow card and said she could go to one of the CPC nearby for free help. She said she was on the pill, so I gave her info about that and suggested NFP.
Many other encounters today. I should write them down but then this report would be too long. I am thankful for all the pray-ers that come to the vigil. The support is there as we reach out to those passing by. God hears, and we pray hearts will be changed and lives saved because of the faithfulness of so many.
A beautiful day in the city! Mike from the 1:00-3:00 shift stayed an extra hour to pray. Paula, Vicky, Mary Catherine and Ann came from Aspinwall. Mary Catherine and Ann are truly an “extra effort” mother-daughter team. Mary Catherine has to park the van so that Ann can scoot out and onto the sidewalk in her wheelchair. Then Mary Catherine has to leave and park the van. At the end of the shift it’s the same pattern in reverse.
Nothing is sweeter than the prayers of the rosary as we see PP employees leaving for the the day. I wonder how many of the people in those long lines waiting for the buses to eastern and western suburbs pray with us, even if we don’t see them.
As we got close to the end of our shift, a poor lady spat her dislike for us on the sidewalk where it barely missed Mary Catherine. We’ll pray for her, too.
The evening shift began with Mary Catherine and her daughter Ann of St. Scholastica, and Sharon of Epiphany. After Mary Catherine and Ann left, we were joined by Jim from Holy Child in Bridgeville.
The evening was busy with passersby but quiet for us; some people walked by with a smile and some with a frown or shake of the head. I’ve noticed how so many people walk by with earbuds or headphones, oblivious to us and to what’s happening on this street, in this place that we stand vigil before, day after day.
I recall also being oblivious, for too long, to what was going on in abortion mills all over the country. I was always prolife but didn’t feel there was much I could do about stopping abortion. But one day several years ago while I was downtown, waiting for an event at the library, I went for a walk and discovered people standing, holding signs, and a prolife display. I realized that this was Planned Parenthood and these people were there to protect the rights of the unborn. I had always shied away from this kind of conflict, but in talking with these people, I realized they were peaceful and loving, open to answering questions and dispensing information to anyone who needed help. They asked me to join them but I still didn’t think I could be “out there,” in full view of the world, aligning myself with a very unpopular cause. However, the thought stayed with me and it seemed unfair to let other people do all the work, so before long I got the courage to join them, sign and all, in public prayer and peaceful protest-and it seemed right. We may not be able to stop abortion today, or next week, but knowing the lives of some children will be saved, and maybe the truth will get through to just some people, is worth being there.
May we remember to trust in the care of our Heavenly Father,
and to see His love reflected in our human fathers.
God bless all fathers, all mothers, and all families.