Prayer and reflection
Exodus 90 is a 90-day period of intense reflection, nightly examination of conscience, prayer, fraternity, and aestheticism. It is really a ninety-day Lent, that seeks freedom from our sins, faults, and shortcomings and helps to begin anew with grace, good habits of prayer, Holy hours and frequenting the Sacraments. We benefit by growing spiritually and trying to become the man God intended us to be. A recent reflection from the Liturgy of the Hours from James chapter 4 was part of my nightly examine. Did you ever notice that when you pray and ask for insight into your spiritual progress and transformation, verses in scripture present themselves from multiple sources?
James 4:7-8, 10 Submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight. Draw close to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you backsliders. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high.
This passage from the evening prayer of the Church is perfect for a nightly examination of conscience. At least the verse gives me much to meditate on as I try to evaluate my Lenten journey and my battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil. In the first line, I want to submit to God, at least I say the words often. I have read about trustful surrender and in my heart, I feel the need and the desire to surrender, but there is too much I hold back and that I want to control. How do I give all to our Lord? I am a work in progress. When I think of drawing close to God, the second part of the verse, I imagine Saint John the beloved with his head leaning against the Sacred Heart of our Lord at the last supper and standing with our Lady at the foot of the cross. This is what I would imitate, this is the closeness I seek. I need to be made holy, I need sanctifying grace, I need my Savior to get me there. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you backsliders. The words in this passage inspire me, or perhaps they convict me or maybe even accuse me. I pray that they don’t condemn me. The word “backsliders” concerns me greatly as I meditate on this verse and try to discern what the Lord is speaking to my heart. I know that I am a repeat offender. I thank God for His Mercy and limitless forgiveness. Be Humbled, perhaps here more than any other place is my struggle. So much judgement of the world, the church and my neighbor. I see the plight of the world and of my fellow man and I feel like the Pharisee pointing out my standing in the church and condemning those who have not yet arrived at that point. These words reveal much more that I care to admit. In the present age as we see the world and the church purified, I say well that’s just what is needed that’s just what is deserved. I never want to forget that I am in great need of purification.
I do find great peace and hope in the pages of this blog and on the sidewalk in prayer with the faithful. I find a source of strength and courage in the conviction of those fighting this battle. I stand with the church militant on the sidewalk fighting the good fight against the evils of the present age and by association I believe that my faith is strengthened, and my resolve is made steadfast. I am counting on the help of prolife warriors to continue to shine a light on the path that I must take.
One source of insight into the path I should follow is from The Imitation of Christ: “If thou wilt be My disciple deny thyself. If thou wilt possess a blessed life despise this present life. If thou wilt be exalted in heaven humble thyself in this world. If thou wilt reign with Me bear the cross with me.” Please Lord hear my prayer of faith and bring me to eternal salvation, look not on my sins but on my faith and trust in you.
I will hope against hope that I can pray the psalm of hope and love with the prolife faithful: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
It was a sadder morning. Young ladies started arriving at 8, instead of the usual 8:30 or 9AM. A steady stream of them kept coming about every 20 minutes throughout our shift. Bill, Pete and I offered help, but nobody accepted it. Anthony and Beth joined us. We have to put our confidence in Our Dear Lord who can work miracles.
Thanks to Tracy and Bill for setting up the stuff, everything was ready when Claudia, Anthony, Pete and I began our shift. Usual clientele for Tuesday with nobody stopping for a handout or to talk. Perhaps due to the cold, Liberty Avenue was relatively quiet this morning.
It was business as usual today. And we were blessed to have so many volunteers on the street, including a wonderful Knight of Columbus group from Uniontown.
Our Tuesday 1-3 shift today included three other members of our parish, St Matthias in Greene County. There were also two folks from St. Mary of the Point praying with us. Our Advocate was able to present options to abortion to numerous people walking in front of PP. We were able to pray all 4 mysteries of the rosaries and a chaplet and were blessed with great weather. Kim was able to speak briefly with a girl before and after her going into PP. Hoping she changed her mind because she left so quickly. We were also blessed with a young lady cursing us twice and giving us “the finger.”
The street and sidewalk traffic was busy probably due to the pleasant weather. Young students seemed more numerous, and there was a football game at Garrison Place (alley next to the Gyro Shop.) Workers, including the security guard, start to leave around 4 PM, mostly female, although 2 males also left the building. John was offering rosary beads to passer-byers, several accepted, although no one was interested in the printed literature. Our presence with the signs and prayers are witness to the tragedy of loss of life behind the doors of 933.