When I was a child, I dreaded hearing these words…spoken to me in a sing-song fashion by my mother, as she came in to wake me for school. Naturally a night owl, I did not like waking up in the morning. Mornings were dark and cold, and having to face the cruel world and the mean kids at school were not something I looked forward to. My bed, meanwhile, was warm and cozy and that is where I preferred to remain.
I am no longer a night owl, and I have no trouble waking up early…but the words from today’s epistle reading made me think of my early years and the trouble I had facing the early morning hours. This got me to thinking about our current situation in the world, and how we may be tempted to (figuratively) remaining in our beds with the covers pulled over our heads:
Brethren: Understand, for it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe. The night is far advanced: the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 13: 11-14
This Tuesday at 7am will begin our FIRST EVER “round the clock” prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood! We will pray for 40 hours straight, begging the Lord to move our Supreme Court to do the right thing, as they hear the Dobbs Vs. Jackson case, which has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade! We literally will be “rising from sleep” as many courageous Christian men will be giving up sleep and comfort as they pray throughout the night! (In a protected area.) We have all 40 hours covered (with the exception of the 10pm hour on Wednesday) with at least three people per hour, but I hope and pray we will have MANY more during the daytime hours on Tuesday and Wednesday!!! Please don’t feel the need to sign up, just SHOW UP! Offer your prayers and sacrifice of being out in the cold to our Lord and ask Him to deliver us from the terrible evil of abortion and to remove this guilt from our land.
Our priest this morning gave a wonderful homily about the season of Advent. He spoke about the fact that Advent is actually a penitential season, but it is different than the season of Lent in that we are to be joyful in our penance…because we are awaiting our beloved Savior’s arrival. While the secular world is already beginning the celebration of Christmas…and by December 25th they are exhausted and ready for it to be over…for us, as Christians, it is different. It is not a time for celebrating yet. An analogy came to me during this morning’s homily. Imagine that all the most important and respected people in your life were coming to your home for a party next weekend. Would you begin celebrating now…or would you be working hard to clean the house, to prepare the food and do everything you possibly can to make the event as perfect as possible? THAT is how we should be during this wonderful season of Advent. It is penitential yes. It is a very busy and stressful season. We offer the stress and the suffering with JOY for those we love, and to the Lord. We allow the joy we feel in our suffering to be a LIGHT to those who don’t yet have the light of Christ in their souls.
This got me to thinking about the value of our prayers on the sidewalk. Of course, our priority is to save lives from abortion and to save souls from this dangerous pit that so many unknowingly fall into. But just as important, (I believe)…is to be there to shine as a sign of HOPE to those who are in despair! For the past two weeks, during my Wednesday morning shift at PP…I had the privilege of being a light of hope to people who were looking for it. Last Wednesday it was a school bus driver who had parked her empty bus right in front of PP. She was sitting in the driver’s seat watching as Pat and I prayed. She opened the school bus door and called out to us. She thanked us for being there, and wanted to tell us her story. Her daughter had recently aborted her twin grandbabies, even though she had offered to take the babies if she would choose life. Out of fear for her life (the father of the babies was a murderer and would have come after her)…she chose abortion. It was not what she wanted. She felt she had no choice. The grandmother/bus driver needed to talk and to be reassured that God is merciful and ever eager to forgive. She was so thankful for our presence and our prayers. It was a gift to be used in that way. The Wednesday prior, as Cathy and I stood and prayed…an inebriated young man came up to us with tears in his eyes. My “rosary for the unborn” had caught his attention. This is the rosary that has tiny babies inside each clear tear-shaped bead. He looked like a working man…probably a family man. It seemed to me that he must have been facing some sort of tragedy that caused him to try to escape the pain with alcohol at such an early morning hour. He cried and thanked us for praying, and kept looking at my rosary with tears in his eyes, saying over and over again how beautiful it was. It was a privilege to pray with and for him.
My point in telling you about all of this is to say that even if God does not choose to use us to save a life from abortion…He WILL USE US to be lights in these dark days, when so many are suffering and losing hope. Our brothers and sisters who don’t yet have the gift of faith in Jesus Christ are going to suffer terribly when the comforts and pleasures of this world are taken from them…as they are already beginning to be. We, who are so unbelievably privileged to have the ROCK of GOD to stand upon…although we may suffer…we will never lose hope. And so, we are called to SHARE that hope with those who don’t yet have it! God did NOT light our lamp so that we could remain under a bushel basket. He lit our lamps so we could be set on a lampstand to give light to everyone in the house! Our city cannot be hidden, but is set on a mountain for all to see! It is true that some will hate our light, and will try to persecute us. But we need to be there for those who are lost and stumbling in the dark, and who are looking for the Light.
I ask you to please consider coming out to PP anytime from 7am this Tuesday until 11pm on Wednesday as part of our 40 Hours for Life mini-campaign.
Also, we need to add prayer coverage for this Thursday, as we have discovered that it is an abortion day at PP. So far, we only have two people there from 7:30-9am, with no one after that. If you are able to come on Thursday, please contact me to let me know.
Thank you and may God bless you!
Your sister in Christ,