This is going to be a difficult 40 Days for Life, no doubt about it. With the winter weather storms, sickness, and cancellations due to many reasons…it is going to be a struggle to maintain our 12-hour sidewalk prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood. But, we are going to do our best!
Yesterday I was feeling a little frazzled and my mind was having trouble staying focused. I kept getting messages about schedule changes and cancellations, and I kept imagining myself having to put aside all my other responsibilities to my family in order to fill in on the sidewalk every day…all day. Because, you know…everything depends on me. I am all-important to this mission of ending abortion, don’t you know?
I hope you got the sarcasm in that statement. But truthfully, that is one of my faults. It is actually pride that makes me think that everything depends on me. I am working on “letting go and letting God“…as the saying goes. In fact, a story came to my mind that reminded me of the proper attitude that I am to take during these 40 days. I can’t remember who it was that told me, but I remember the story well. True story:
A religious sister, a Nun who lives in small community in Lawrenceville, was making a trip to Pittsburgh and was nervous about finding a place to park. (This was before Covid). So, she simply prayed and asked God to provide a parking spot for her. When she arrived in town, she approached the entrance to a parking garage that had a “FULL” sign in front of it. When the attendant asked her, “Do you have a parking spot reserved?“…she answered confidently, “Yes!“. The attendant let her in. She had a place to park.
This story is funny, I know. Some people may think that she was being dishonest in her answer to the parking attendant. But I don’t think so. I think that she simply had the faith that Jesus asked us to have…the faith of a child. She TRUSTED God to provide…and so He did. That is the story that I am going to try to keep in mind when we have the inevitable cancellations and gaps in our schedule. God will provide! I know He will!
Now, about tonight’s Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood. It is going to be bitter cold and windy for sure. As long as Bishop Waltersheid is up to carrying Our Lord in the Monstrance, the procession will go on. We will provide candles for everyone to carry, as it will be dark. I wonder…will our candles stay lit in the bitter cold, windy night? This is a question that I believe symbolizes our entire 40 day vigil. Will our light of faith continue to burn brightly on the dark and bitter sidewalk at 933 Liberty Avenue for 4o straight days? Or, will we get worn out and worn down?
I honestly don’t know, but I know that we will do our best. If our flame gets blown out for a short time, we will relight it and continue on. We will struggle to remain close to our Lord during the passion of these 40 days, as did Mary and John…even to the foot of the cross. We will fight against the temptation to run away in fear, abandoning our Lord in His Passion. Surely we will face rejection, mocking…we may be spit upon and fall, bruised and wounded along the way. But if we can struggle through these 40 days, WITH LOVE (that is the most important thing to remember!!!)…we will eventually make it to Easter and will see our Lord, risen and radiant! Better times are on the horizon! Easter Sunday is on its way!
The verse that I have been really thinking of lately is this one:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians: 1-13
So in summary, we will indeed have to suffer throughout these 40 days. But if we cannot suffer lovingly…with no bitterness or resentment…we would be better off not suffering at all. 40 Days for Life is not perfect. Our vigil and efforts are not perfect. But we try and we strive, in love. There will come a day when this will all pass away and all will be made perfect. Abortion will be a thing of the past, and all human life will be honored and revered, as being created in the image of God.
Until that day, we struggle on. I look forward to our united struggle in Christ, as we encourage and support one another.
With love, in Christ,
Your sister, Nikki
P.S. Here is a link to a POWERFUL Pro-life sermon that is sure to motivate and encourage you! It honestly is the BEST sermon I have ever heard! May God bless this priest! I hope you can listen when you have time!