Giving birth to God…
As I write this, it is Tuesday, October 11th, and in the traditional Catholic Missal it is a special day to honor the maternity of Mary. Since we are all about seeing mothers choose life for their babies, I thought it would be fitting to write my blog post about this amazing truth of our faith…that Mary gave BIRTH to GOD!!!
I love to meditate on the annunciation of the Angel, Gabriel, as he appears to a humble teenage girl and asks if she will be the Mother of God. I imagine she must have felt completely overwhelmed at that moment. Never mind the fact that she was in the presence of an angel…(that would be overwhelming in itself!)...he was informing her that she would give birth to the Savior of the world! Mary had no intention of being with a man, so she was confused as to how this would happen. She must have realized the implications of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy in those times. She knew she could have been abandoned by Joseph and stoned to death. And yet…she said “yes”. God was born through her “fiat”…her YES!
When we say “yes” to God…He is born in us too! Both spiritually, figuratively and sometimes even literally! Take the beautiful baby in the picture above. Seven months ago, his mom was in a desperate situation. I won’t go into the details, but it was a very difficult position she was in…and having this baby was going to cause a huge problem in her life. Thanks be to God, when she arrived at Planned Parenthood during the Lenten 40 Days for Life last spring, there were loving prayer volunteers who came alongside her with promises of assistance and friendship. “N” chose life for her son! The members of Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene had a baby shower for her (which I was privileged to attend), and I met her other beautiful children…who were so excited about the approaching birth of their new sibling. Many members of our 40 Days for Life/Sidewalk Advocate team have helped her along the way, especially our dear Meredith who has befriended her and who is accepting donations for this family. If you are interested in helping “N” in any way, please contact Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wonder if on that day that “N” showed up for her abortion at PP…if those who were scheduled to pray on the sidewalk had decided just to pray at home…where would baby “C” be now? Imagine this lovely woman in the photo above with empty arms right now. Her other children deprived of the joy of holding their new baby brother. Their family would have been robbed of this precious gift of new life. Just like Mary, those volunteers that day said “YES” to God! Even if they had felt fear about going to the sidewalk, unsure of what awaited them there…even if their schedules were busy and maybe they weren’t feeling quite up to it…they said YES. And because of their “fiat”…this baby is here.
Our schedule these 40 days is far from being filled. You would think that with such an amazing victory as seeing Roe vs. Wade overturned this past June, we would be seeing people come out in droves…full of enthusiasm for the pro-life cause. Not so. Church sign-ups have declined as well as individual volunteers. Life is busy, and the sidewalks are rough. We don’t know what will happen when we are there. But neither did Mary. She didn’t know what would happen to her either. We can’t let fear or love of comfort stop us from being there to pray and witness…so that God can be born in us and through us. So that miracles can happen.
I encourage YOU to say YES to God, and to make room in your schedule to come and witness at the vigil (preferably as a regular weekly commitment)…contact Donna Goss at email@example.com
Speaking of “making room”…there is one last thought I wanted to share. Sometimes we are so busy that we just can’t seem to find time to do the things we know God wants us to do. It can be difficult to make room for God. Did you ever hear the saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum“? It is a law in physics that says that un-filled spaces must be filled with something. In the spiritual realm, if a space that was meant to be filled by God is left empty…it will not stay empty…but will be filled with something else. It is tempting for us to try to reserve some empty spaces in our lives…to be filled with pleasure or our own selfish desires. But in reality, it never works out that way. It is a trick of the devil to think that we can be happy without serving God. The things that will rush in to fill that void will only bring us misery. We are filled with joy only when we are careful to reserve a space for God to dwell and work in our lives every day. Fit Him in somewhere…no matter the effort that it takes to do it!
Lastly, I would like to ask you to pray for Fr. Tony Gargotta. He has pancreatic cancer which has spread to his liver. We are praying for a miracle of healing and believing that God can heal Fr. Tony if He chooses! Fr. Tony is still feeling well and is in active ministry. He was one of the priests at our Mass and Eucharistic Procession on September 27th. Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.
Now…on to today’s sidewalk reports…
7-9 – Charlene, Peggy & Beth
Day 15 of the Fall campaign…Peggy, Beth, and I observing some signs of the time:
First, we only had 2 customers. Both couples and both from Ohio. Peggy spoke with one couple, parked and waiting for their appointment. Peggy gave literature and told them about a video and they seemed receptive and nice. But they went in. The gentleman came out, didn’t want more literature. He drove away but not before throwing our literature into the street. So much for “receptive and nice.” Secondly, we noticed someone was photographing us…both the 40 Days stuff and the front of PP. He came to talk to us and said he was a foreign reporter from Syria. He lives in the US and his company is headquartered in DC. He is trying to get a handle on the political pulse of pro-life and Abortion. He has already spoken with PP and will come back to talk to us. But our shift is over so someone else will have to educate the Syrian newsman. Oh, one more thing. Beth asked him if he was pro- or con- abortion. He didn’t answer. It was a day filled with signs of the times. Remember, “Swimming against the stream is hard but you are never alone”. (Hebrews 12)Charlene
9-11 – Elsie & Linda
Today Howard from St. Scholastica church joined Elsie and me on the sidewalk for our shift. There was a steady stream of people going in and out of PP. There were a number of people passing by on the street who were wearing lanyards from the Materials Handling event that was in town. I had a delightful conversation with a young man from the Czech Republic. He supported our cause and told me about his three young sons at home, named John, Peter and James, after the Apostles. He asked if it was true what he saw in the movies, that sometimes American couples don’t name the baby until AFTER he/she is born. I told him it is quite common. He said in his country, a couple has to provide the government with the names for the baby BEFORE the baby is born. Interesting! One woman exiting Planned Parenthood was not pregnant, but accepted a Free Resources brochure for a friend who WAS pregnant. Please pray for this unknown woman that she accepts the gift of life.Linda
11-1 – Katie & Terri
Katie and I had this shift together. We were thankful for Donna, Bertha, Marilyn, Michael and Cheryl who offered prayers on the sidewalk. They are from Precious Blood and Saints Martha and Mary parishes. Most entering the doors of PP did not want to talk, but we did get information into the hands of a few, as well as those passing by on the street. Two young men from Iowa stopped to talk. They were in town for a conference. They were both conservative and did not approve of abortion. They said that they used to be quiet about their views, but now they do speak up. They knew about 40 Days and were happy to see us there. I remembered the homily that my priest gave on Sunday about how we can easily pray during the day. One way is to stop and think of something to thank God about during our day, even if our day isn’t always great. I thank God for those who come to witness and pray for the precious babies and their parents.Terri
1-3 – Chris, Judy & Beverly
During my shift, Judy, my Shift Buddy, and Katie tirelessly offered pro-life literature to passersby. Bridget, from St. Mary Mother of God in Freeport, prayed Rosaries with us for an hour, joined by Cynthia from Saints Martha and Mary. Later, Cynthia and I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Also on the sidewalk praying were Beverly, from 4th Presbyterian Evangelical Church, and several other women. A man stopped by and told us that he had recently been released from jail after serving 28 years. One of our Sidewalk Advocates gave him a bag of granola bars and walked with him to 7-Eleven to buy other items he needed, as he was living in a tent in the woods. The love, compassion, and help that 40 DFL prayer warriors offer to everyone on the city streets is truly inspiring.Chris
3-5 – Eileen, Michelle & Steve
It was quiet. Lots of kids at that time. Littles ones were drawn to the baby models. Two teen girls stopped and one asked a question about abortion and requested a baby model to show her mom, who is pro-abort. Brave daughter.Michelle
5-7 – Joe K & Nikki
Finally, my first shift of the campaign. Thanks to all for thoughts & prayers!!! The shift was supposed to be short on attendees, but many faithful answered the call – God Provides! Initially I was joined by Alex. Then George briefly stopped by to pray while on his way to an event supporting Ukraine. Next, John and Ray from Catholic Men’s Fellowship arrived for the last half of the shift. A passerby, Red, stopped, thanked us, adopted a sign, stayed a while to share and pray with us. Overall, a bit of foot traffic, but lots of vehicle traffic / noise this warm evening…
A couple of positive comments and only 1 angry / hurting person…
The night ended quietly – packed away for the new dawn (tomorrow.)Joe