And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. [So] cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”Luke 13:6-9
The point to Jesus’s parable is that we better do what it takes to bear fruit…before we run out of time.
Cultivating the ground requires backbreaking work to smash up the hard soil and make it more receptive to air, water, and nutrients. In our own lives, we need to break out of our familiar routines and comfort zones to make ourselves more receptive to God’s grace and direction.
Fertilizing is a great way to help something grow, but…well, it smells bad. The thought of standing on the sidewalk exposed to raw emotions and natural elements might also make us figuratively hold our noses, but the fruit it bears makes it truly worth the suffering it entails.
Cultivating and fertilizing can mean the difference between life and death. Let’s take advantage of the time we’ve been given and do what it takes to bear fruit. Come and pray at PP to help those most in need of God’s mercy. Come and pray at PP to help yourself, most in need of God’s mercy!
7-9 AM +++ Richard, Nikki, and Greg
This morning was very cold, windy with a little bit of rain and a little bit of snow. Don’t you love April in Pittsburgh!? The escorts were there, there were four of them and they braved the cold the same as us. They must have the same passion we do, I guess they believe in their hearts that they are helping women, like Abby Johnson did at one time. We pray for them. If they ever change their hearts and minds, they could be a mighty force for good! I thought it was going to be a busy abortion day because of their presence but thankfully it wasn’t. I stayed until 10:15 to be with Beth, but when Terry arrived to pray I happily left the vigil in their capable and prayerful hands. While I was leaving, I could see that the abortion business was picking up steam and I saw quite a few couples headed towards the doors. I was able to get information into one of their hands at least a block up from Planned Parenthood and then another one in the parking garage. Before I left I did see one car pull up with a young man and a young woman inside and they looked like they were getting ready to get out, but when they looked up and saw us they pulled away and left. I really do believe that on days like this when the escorts are out in full force and we don’t see very many people coming in that God is using us to save lives that we may never know about. Two prayer requests: please pray for our Friday 7 to 9 shift manager, our beloved Barbara, who is having health issues. We love her and want her to get healthy! Please also pray for our 9 to 11 manager, Michael, who lost his beloved wife last spring and is requesting prayers. He is going through difficulties right now. This is what our pro-life family is for. We lift each other up and pray and support each other! I thank God for our wonderful pro life community here in Pittsburgh!Nikki
9-11 AM +++ Beth and Terry
11 AM-1 PM +++ Katie and Elsie
I didn’t remember to take any pictures, but let me just start out by saying that any day you give away your main go-to rosary, 2 bottles of holy water, a meal and a laminated quote from Pope Benedict is a successful day! I had planned on briefly leaving the shift manager position in the more-than-capable hands of Elsie so I could run to confession, but shortly before I was going to have to head over to St. Mary’s a man stopped to talk to us. “Joseph” thanked us for being there and told us about how helpless and shaken he was and still is due to the loss of his child to abortion a few years ago. We talked for a few minutes, during which time he mentioned that demons were real and I said I know (oh do I know!) Towards the end one of the vigil participants from St. Ferdinand gave him a prayer card with a picture of Our Lady, and, tapping it, he said, “my favorite woman.” He said goodbye and went up the street, and I started wishing I had exchanged numbers with him in case he wanted to talk some more sometime about everything he’s been through. He had been crying, and I felt like it helped him to talk even for that length of time. Long story short(ish), he came back towards us and he ended up joining me for Stations (there was no confession today; I’ll have to go to one of my parishes tomorrow) and he spent most of the time kneeling and crying in front of the Tabernacle. Afterwards I was approached by a FOCUS missionary who recognized me from the sidewalk, and we ended up going to Chipotle and talking about our lives and journeys for a long time. “Joseph” is currently experiencing homelessness, and the FOCUS missionary offered him a room at his place, to which “Joseph” replied that he would really appreciate a shower, and the missionary told him a couple more times over our time together that the offer of a place to stay still stands. He gave me a ride home, and “Joseph” was still with him, so I’m hoping the Holy Spirit will move him to take him up on it. Please pray for him; he’s one of those “ALMOST” Catholics, and I believe he’ll be welcomed into the Church sooner than he thinks. Sorry for abandoning my post, but sometimes you’re presented with an opportunity to do good, whether that’s leading someone towards life or towards God, and you just have to take it. Plus I knew Elsie and the St. Ferdinand crew had it all under control for the last 40 minutes or so of the shift.Katie
1-3 PM +++ Elaine and Donna
We had a cold day today but peeks of sunshine helped. Thank you to Bernie, Kathleen, Bob & Ed for praying and witnessing today. Special thanks to Bernie for filling in when I had to leave. I was able to have a couple conversations with people stopping to look at the baby models. Bernie handed out some information too and said the traffic was light today. One woman walked by early in the shift and told Bernie to “F” off. Some young people were laughing at us and shaking their heads. It’s sad how so many are deceived and believe the lie of abortion. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.Donna
Blessings For Life,
3-5 PM +++ Christine
The weather changed frequently from dark and snowy to sunny- reminding me of when we turn to God how quickly the storms are calmed and peace is restored. Praying that this happens for the men and women who were leaving that building- huddled from the cold, refusing any help. Peter E. was a powerful witness- thankful he was there to calmly yet effectively respond to three people who were openly drinking and questioning the beginning of life. At conception the body receives a soul- they could not argue and walked away. Arlene joined us for the Divine Mercy Chaplet as we prayed for all souls leaving that place today. Meditating on the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, our hearts were again centered on Jesus- who lovingly took upon Himself our sins, so that we are not burdened but may have life in Him.
5-7 PM +++ Pat and Bill