Today is the day that we remember St. Bartholomew, who is believed to be the same person as Nathaniel. Remember him? He was the disciple that Jesus saw under the fig tree, and who immediately proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God. Every time I think of Nathaniel, I think of the scene from “The Chosen” that recounts this event in such a profoundly moving way. (CLICK HERE to see the 2 min. clip)
St. Bartholomew (Nathaniel) was flayed alive and then beheaded for following Christ. There are even some statues of him that depict him holding his own skin in his hands. It sounds gruesome, but many saints are depicted holding the instruments that caused their deaths. Of course it is the same with our Savior. He is depicted on the cross, where He died for our sins. Did you ever wonder why the instruments that caused such torment are now a cause for honor? It is because they are a sign of triumph! Triumph of good over evil! They remind us of how God is able to take the worst that the world can throw at us and turn it into the most glorious victory!
I am reminded of an insight that I received while at a daily Mass a month or so ago. I was sitting right behind a young mom who was struggling to keep her young family quiet and in their seats during Mass. She looked tired and frazzled. Her baby was fussy and the toddler was climbing out of the pew, while her older child tried to help. She had two young sons up on the altar, both serving the Mass. I thought as I watched her struggling, “Wow, she is blessed!”. She may not have felt particularly “blessed” at that moment, but it occurred to me that she had chosen to do the most important job there is in the world, which also happens to be the most difficult…that of a mother. She is doing the hard work now, but will reap the bountiful harvest later in life. This is in contrast to how the world tells us we should live. We are told that we should have as much fun as we can while we are still young enough to enjoy it…and then…when we have everything in order….maybe have a kid or two.
If you could look up my high school yearbook photo from 1982 you would see a smiling girl with a very bad perm with the profound life goal of “I want to always have fun!” captioned below. Yes. Really. That was my life goal at 17. To have fun. It didn’t work out so well for me. By the time I was 19, I had a baby and was divorced by the time I turned 21. Throughout my 20’s I was a single mom struggling to pay the rent, had a second child and went through a second divorce before I even turned 30. Tons of fun. Thanks to the mercy of God, I was found by Him and got my life on track after that…but my husband and I suffer and struggle to this day because of the mistakes we made in our younger years.
The insight I had while watching the young mother in the pew in front of me is that we can not avoid suffering in this life. It is impossible. We simply choose to suffer for the RIGHT things, and we will be blessed…or we will end up suffering for the WRONG things. It is MUCH better to suffer for the right things. I wish I had known that when I was 17.
So what does this have to do with 40 Days for Life? Well, it is true that if we choose to go to the public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood to publicly pray and witness and try to save a life that we may suffer persecution. But it is a cause worth suffering for! I cannot report any details about couples who come out of that place and tell us they changed their minds (because of the Planned Parenthood staff that reads this blog)…but BELIEVE ME…IT HAPPENS!!! It just happened very recently in fact! We should not be afraid of suffering if we are doing it for a good cause, because we know that God will take our suffering and bring something very beautiful out of it!
Life is busy and it is hard to find time for everything. But we must choose one or two causes that are the most important and make them a PRIORITY in our lives. Witnessing and praying at abortion clinics is mine. You may have another very important cause that you make part of your life, but if you don’t…WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
We need volunteers who are willing to be “shift buddies” for our shift managers for the following times during the fall 40 days (Sept. 28th – Nov. 6):
Mondays 7-9am (with Sue D)
Mondays 5-7pm (with George)
Tuesdays 3-5pm (with Virginia)
Wednesdays 1-3pm (with Chris)
Wednesdays 3-5 (we actually have NO ONE…so we need TWO volunteers!)
Saturdays 1-3 (with Kathy K)
Saturdays 3-5pm (with Billy)
Sundays 9-11 (with Pat).
Please contact me at email@example.com if you are able to help out with one of those shifts from Sept. 28th through Nov. 6th! When I think of our wonderful shift managers/buddy duos whose dedication and willingness to suffer make 40 Days for Life possible, I am reminded of the Gospel from Luke 10 that says:
“After this the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”Luke 10:1-4
I think that verse describes our 40 Days for Life team perfectly. We go out in pairs, like lambs among wolves. We are praying to the Lord to send more laborers into the harvest, because indeed…the harvest at Planned Parenthood is plentiful! Will you answer His call?
Our Kick off Mass & Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood will be on Tuesday, September 27th. Here are the links to the flyers for more details (please spread the word!):
Kick-off Flyer: Fall_22_kick_off_Mass_and_Eucharistic_Procession_flyer-2.pdf
Campaign Flyer: Fall_22_flyer_40_DFL-2.pdf
Bulletin Announcement for your church: BULLETIN_ANNOUNCEMENT_40_DFL_Fall_22-2.pdf
Lastly, I am doing something I almost never do. I am asking for donations for this fall campaign. I cannot write in this blog the reason that we are trying to raise money, but our team knows. If you are able to donate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you the details and tell you where to send the check. Thank you for your generosity!
Your grateful sister in Christ,