Mt. 6:26: “…Are you not of more value than they?”
I set the alarm last night two different times for the 1:00AM and 4:00AM feedings. Forgive me for a moment, but this is not about the nurturing and care of infants in the middle of the night that all parents have experienced. Darlene and I are somewhat removed from those days. Rather, this is about farm life and the newborn lamb that has taken up temporary residence in our kitchen. We are currently concerning ourselves with the practice of bottle-feeding livestock when barn life has gone sour. The lamb was born to an ewe who freshened for the first time and can’t quite manage two lambs at once, so one is thriving in the barn with the mother, and the other is coming along nicely in the farm kitchen. This is not an unusual event at our house leading up to Spring. We also have a goat kid in the barn on a bottle because the nanny goat has damaged ligaments in her udder. And we have a week-old calf also bottle fed, given to us by a local farmer, because his dairy cow mother died a few days after his birth. This has been our life for several decades, since we left the suburbs, for life in the country to raise our large home-schooled family in what we hoped to be a healthier, more wholesome rural environment.
There are so many poignant lessons about life learned on the farm that have greatly benefited our children. One of the greatest lessons learned is that life is precious, of great value and sometimes very fragile. There are some rewards and benefits to chores related to caring for the animals on a farm: including food for the table, financial gain, and sometimes blue ribbons at the local county fair. Our children have all experienced the highs and lows that go with the success and failures of raising farm projects. The respect and dignity due human life and the proper understanding of the gifts in nature that God has given us has been foundational in their understanding of faith, family and farming. Understanding the value and dignity of all life is a priority and much has been written and studied concerning the inter connectedness of life on this planet. Man’s dominion over animals and His need for them has existed from the beginning. In modern times there has been an explosion of legislation to promote, protect and enhance life on this planet. There is one exception in the most critical and most exceptional of all life: Human life in the womb is not afforded the same protections.
In the book of Genesis, we learn that God has given man dominion over all animals. And in His image, man was created (Gn. 1:26-27). How did it ever go so wrong? As a culture we have strayed so very far from the design God has for His creation. The great gift of life and the eternal bond between mother and child has been broken. We at 40 Days for Life, Pittsburgh, pray before a facility that kills 3000 pre-born babies each year, destroying one life and inflicting terrible injury to their mothers, leaving them in a complex and lifelong physical, emotional and spiritual wreckage. In Mt 6:26 our Lord said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? The Mystic and Stigmatist St. Francis of Assisi’s devotion and love of God was expressed through his love for all of God’s creation. But he knew also the evil in the world and the sinfulness, failings and weakness of mankind. A quote attributed to Saint Francis states “By the anxieties and worries of this life Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there.” And so, it is that the dullness of hearts has hardened so many against what is the most precious of all gifts; the gift of life, the human life conceived and brought forth from the womb.
We will not, we cannot rest until this ends. It is unacceptable that protections that are given to other creatures created by God are not given to the most vulnerable of all. It is our commitment to turn the tide back to a life-giving, life-sustaining culture that respects, supports and promotes the dignity of life as it was intended by Almighty God from the beginning. In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II wrote, “…we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and “the culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”
May God bless and protect all who participate in this 40days campaign,
Thank you to Saint Matthias Parish, Saint Matthews parish, and all the faithful shift mangers, shift buddies and all who prayed with us today and contributed to this report. May God bless you for your witness for life.
Tuesday shift Managers reports:
Beth and I, parishioners of St. Peter’s in Steubenville, OH, were there at 933 Liberty Avenue at 7AM. We missed seeing Diane and Tom! Anthony came onboard around 8AM. He kept from freezing by pacing back and forth while wearing the cute little baby face picture across his chest. It served as a conversation starter to a local sorority on their way to spend breakfast together that morning. (The weather was a bit chillier than expected; it was definitely slightly snowing at times!)
Kevin, Linda, Beth and I prayed in the colder than we thought still winter weather, but the doors of PP stayed open for the usual amount of sadness and business as usual. Not much foot traffic, just one lady telling us to get a job. Is there any job more important than saving innocent life from death? We’ll just keep trying.
God bless Kim, Mike and Carol from St. Matthias Church who are spending over 4 hours on the sidewalk today!
Kim told me that a young woman, “C,” who was passing by during our vigil in October and accepted help for her pregnancy, is doing well in Oklahoma with family and is expecting a daughter.
There were a lot more negative comments today than usual, all from teens and very young adults. It is sad to behold these youth who are already filled with so much anger and contempt. May God transform their hearts.
When you have a chance, check out the lovely sign that THERE Ultra Lounge posted in the window! They list “a Few Truths in Life.” Truth #5 is – Protesting Planned Parenthood makes you a TRASH HUMAN! There is a little side note….Don’t be that person! Ironically, Truth #1 is – THERE Ultra is inclusive. I wonder if they’ll welcome a “Trash Human” who wants a beer??? Bottom line – I’d rather be a “TRASH HUMAN” than part of an organization the destroys baby HUMANS and throws them in the TRASH!
On a lighter note, a young woman went in with her mom – the mom took a brochure. 20 minutes later they emerged – the young woman was holding an ultrasound picture. They wouldn’t engage with us but let’s pray that she won’t be returning.
1-3: Mike Report coming soon.
We prayed the rosary and stations of the cross together. We were joined by seminarian Dan. Bob, Claire and John joined. Fairly quiet.
5-7: Larry , Report coming soon.