We are ready to begin another 40 Days for Life with a Kick-off Mass next Tuesday at 6pm at Divine Mercy Parish, Epiphany Church, followed by a candlelit Eucharistic procession to Planned Parenthood! We will begin the same way we ended the fall vigil…by bringing Him to the place where He is needed the most.
Our procession last November was bitterly cold and the wind was literally HOWLING as Bishop Waltersheid led us up the hill from Planned Parenthood to Epiphany Church. I felt like we were walking with our Lord on the way of the cross…it was so cold and bitter. I remember thinking that God was giving us a heads-up as to what we should expect in the coming months. For 21 consecutive campaigns, He has been with us…sheltering us, as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But sooner or later, chicks grow up and maybe we are at the time when the Lord is allowing us to experience some suffering. I am not even talking about serious suffering…even just standing for hours in the bitter cold is suffering…but maybe there will be an increase in hostility. We will see. Hopefully not, but be prayerfully prepared just in case…and be ready to respond to anger with gentleness and love.
Even though no one in their right mind actually WANTS to suffer, there are times when we must.
I will willingly suffer for my God because I love Him, and because He first suffered for me.
I will willingly suffer for my family because I love them and it is my duty to set myself aside if they are in need. To do otherwise would be selfish and even sinful. There really is not any special merit in suffering for those who love us…as Jesus said.
But suffering for someone I don’t even know? That is hard! How do we do this?
We have to ask God to break our hearts…to allow us to feel His pain when His precious babies are killed by abortion. Once we see abortion and we feel abortion and we hear abortion, and we (as Abby Johnson said)…we SMELL abortion…our hearts break and we become willing to suffer for people we don’t even know.
So let’s begin these 40 days ready to suffer, if God wills it. We will be the light in the darkness that someone needs to see. We will be the voice of mercy that someone needs to hear. We will be the instruments that God uses to change hearts, save lives and save souls.
As I was praying this morning, reflecting on all of the beautiful, selfless people that God has allowed me to know through these many years of being involved in 40 Days for Life…tears filled my eyes when I remembered Sally. I thought of the time that she was standing in front of Planned Parenthood, her frail 80 year old body was shoved to the sidewalk by an angry young man who then ran away. Sally said she felt her Guardian angel gently lowering her to the ground, she was not hurt at all…not even a bruise! Sally didn’t miss a beat after that. She and Al continued to come to Planned Parenthood weekly until Al’s stroke, and then soon after that, God called her home.
I also remembered, with tears, the love and commitment of Jim and Cathy…who have been 40 Days for Life shift managers from the first campaign that I led in 2010, and have never missed a campaign. They are probably close to 80, and drive almost an hour every Sunday during the 40 days for their shift on the sidewalk. One Sunday, about 2 years ago…as they were praying on the sidewalk, someone from a passing car threw a rock and it hit Jim in the back of the head. Cathy had to throw away the sign that Jim was wearing because it was covered in blood. I told her that was too bad….it may have been a relic someday. Jim and Cathy are still part of our team…they never missed a beat either.
I am getting choked up as I type this…literally.
Our 40 Days for Life team members are such beautiful people. I do not deserve them, but that is okay…they don’t mind. God loves using foolish people and I am just grateful that He chose me.
We still do not have a buddy for Joe K. on Wednesdays from 5-7 pm, or for Andy on Sundays from 5-7 pm. If no one volunteers, we will have to end the vigil early on those days. If you can volunteer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can make a regular weekly commitment any time, contact Donna Goss at email@example.com. To sign your group up for a time slot, contact Fran Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come to our kick off Mass and procession next Tuesday…BUNDLE UP! We are a family and we need each other!
Your grateful sister in Christ,