Getting my own house in order…
There are so many BIG problems in the world right now, wouldn’t you agree? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of suffering that people are going through? Especially in Ukraine? Do you think that maybe doing something as simple as praying in front of Planned Parenthood is a useless way to spend an hour…while the atrocities of war are being waged against innocent children and families? Could it be that we are like a woman worried about polishing the spots on her silver while her house is burning down all around her? Shouldn’t we put all this foolishness behind us and actually do something to help end the suffering in our world?
I admit that these thoughts have crossed my mind. There is so much confusion right now, and it seems like evil has been unleashed in such a violent way. I have been tempted to try to figure out WHY this is happening…to understand all the intricacies of the political and spiritual workings that are coming together right now. I want to read articles written by bishops and watch podcasts featuring political analysts. I want to know what is coming next and how to prepare for it, and I worry that I am going to make a mistake and do something wrong.
And then I watched an interview of Fr. Jason Charron. He is one of our own. A faithful Ukrainian Catholic priest from Pittsburgh who regularly takes part in our kick-off events and prays at our vigil. He went into Ukraine two weeks ago on a dangerous mission to rescue some orphans. He risked his life in order to save theirs. In the interview, at minute 25:39, after having described the terrible devastation that he witnessed…he was asked, “What can we do to stop this?” Fr. Jason answered with the very solution that I have been seeking:
Bombs come from those bugs that we call ‘sins’. If we are serious about stopping bombs, then we have to be serious first about stopping those bugs that eat away at our souls. Those bugs are called Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy, Greed, Gluttony and Sloth. Left unchecked, they lead to bombs. So these bombs that we see are a manifestation of a man and men who chose not to deal with their sins, and to repent. So the first thing we have to do is to ensure that we don’t become like that, and that we seek to become pillars of light…to become saints. That happens through prayer, fasting, repentance and charity. When we do that, we are part of the solution. We get our internal house in order. The externals come later. So, if you have been putting off your spiritual life and its renewal…now is the time. Because the war is simply a manifestation of the disorder that is in the soul of man.Fr. Jason Charron, interview on “Pints with Aquinas” WATCH HERE!
Thank you for that great advice, Fr. Jason! It helped me to realize how very small I am, and that I need to worry more about the sins in my own life before I try to solve the problems of the world. An analogy that came to my mind is one of a little plank of wood that had some rot in it. This little plank dreamed of being part of a magnificent house that was being built. It was among many other planks that also had rot in them. They wondered why the Builder was not building the magnificent house that they dreamed of being a part of! When they finally realized that it was the rot within each one of them that was holding up the Builder from building His masterpiece…the little planks began to work on getting rid of their rot…individually...the Builder was finally able to use them to build the mansion. So, instead of worrying about when God will end the war in Ukraine…I will FIRST work on getting the rot out of my own soul. I will work on getting my own house in order!
Admittedly, there is not much glory in it for me. No one will notice me as I deny myself something that I want. I guess that is the point, right? No one will thank me for cleaning my bathroom, or for cooking dinner or doing the laundry. I guess this is why the Church proclaimed an obscure young nun from Lisieux, France, who died at the age of 24…a doctor of the Church! She discovered the spiritual power of doing small things with great love. That is what I need to work on. Thank you, Fr. Jason, for reminding me.
The truth is that God hates injustice. Right here in our own city, about 6,000 babies are unjustly killed by abortion each year…3,000 of them at Planned Parenthood. Part of “getting our own house in order” is standing up against this atrocity. We can never go wrong by praying at an abortion clinic. God will always be pleased with that kind of sacrifice, as long as we are doing it out of love for him and for our brothers and sisters.
As the world is quickly descending into darkness, it is more important than ever to let our little lights shine. God will use us however He chooses to use us. Thank you for joining us!
P.S. If you would like to donate to Fr. Jason’s mission to Ukraine, you can mail a check to his Church: Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, 730 Washington Ave., Carnegie PA 15106, and write in the memo section “For Ukrainian Mission.”
Today’s shift reports…
7-9 Charlene, Peggy & Beth
What a beautiful morning!! We had beautiful snow…” onion snow.” My Dad asked God to send it down for us. Well…I am assuming. My Dad died 9 years ago today and he would wait for onion snow, he said it was the last snow of the winter, and then he could plant onions. Onion snow is “ploppy” and wet and the wet did overtake us eventually. Peggy, Randy and I kept praying and Peggy had a system for handing out cards…mine just got wet. The wet, cold, and snow did not keep pro-abortion minded women home. Seven at last count. Why, oh why? But we keep praying because as Jesus says in Mark’s Gospel, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” (Mark 9:14-29)Charlene
9-11 Terri & Elsie
As I was driving in this morning on the Parkway and the weather was getting wintry, I was hoping that it would deter people from driving into Planned Parenthood for appointments. It seemed just as busy. We really weren’t able to have many interactions with people today. We were joined again by Elsie’s son, Gerard. Michelle and her son Joseph spent some time quietly praying near the entrance. What a beautiful tribute to these two mothers to have their sons witness with them! Regular Sidewalk Advocate Bonnie rounded out our group. We noticed last week that a Brinks truck pulled up and went into Planned Parenthood to get a bag of “blood money.” It was also there today. It is so sad that they make big money from doing evil. Elsie handed out gloves and extended other acts of kindness to the downtrodden that passed by on the street, when she wasn’t talking to those inside Planned Parenthood through the window. I am very blessed to know and work with her.Terri, 9-11
11-1 Katie & Sharon
It was a cold, wet day on the sidewalk, and not much of note took place, except for one girl taking resource info for a friend who is pregnant and, thankfully, keeping the baby! We were surprised by the gift of a visit from the always-persistent and hope-filled Judy, as well as the determined Jack from St. Thomas More, who planned on staying 3 hours despite the dreary weather. Thank you to everyone who’s been praying for “K” and “D”, and their babies! Please continue to storm heaven for them; miracles do happen and we won’t give up in this fight for their children’s lives!Katie
1-3 Chris & Claudia
Jack was there praying before I arrived and, shortly thereafter, I was joined in praying the Rosary by Jim, Bob, Walt, Al, and Fran, all fellow Knights of Columbus from St. Raphael Parish. They were there for a 4-hour shift. Joan and Nancy, also from St. Raphael Parish, joined us in prayer a little later. Joan was sporting a heated coat, which we’d never seen before. And she needed it, as it was a chilly day on the sidewalk. During my shift, there were “only” 2-3 couples that entered PP. One man parked in front of the building, to get some food down the street. As soon as he got out of the car, he loudly yelled at us as we were praying. We focused on our prayers and tried to ignore him. We dedicated the remaining Rosary prayers to him, praying that God would grant him peace in his life.Chris 1-3
3-5 Eileen & Jeannie
It was another very fulfilling day on the 3 to 5 shift downtown. I was joined by wonderful members of the Saint Raphael the Archangel Parish who had been there since 1 o’clock. A few of them changed out and more angelic beings came! Since it was all Catholics, folks decided to pray several rosaries & Divine Mercy chaplets . It was really amazing to hear that prayer on the street near Planned Parenthood.
I love being down during this time because we get the school kids to look at the babies and take a pen or a baby or a lollipop.
The handout continues to be very well received and we even got some support from passerby cars.
The best people in the world are on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood. I stand by this. Thanks to all of you who were there with me today. It was a peaceful, prayerful, loving, committed group.
5-7 Joe & Charlie
A quiet evening… Ended up sharing with the prior shift and Tom D. for a bit, then my Shift Buddy “Sockless” Charlie (not to be confused with “Shoeless” Joe”) arrived and we went small and then big with prayer in between some sharing.
Very few passersby, little foot traffic this evening, and no one exiting 933. The rest of the evening passed slowly — almost as slowly as the little breeze we had blowing up Liberty from the Point…