Wednesday, September 24, 2008
40 Days for Life
How do we defeat abortion? Pray. Pray. Pray. Today, the Fall Campaign begins around the country and Canada. Hundreds and hundreds of people will pray at abortion facilities, some around the clock. Our nearest facility will have prayer warriors there from 7 AM to 9 PM. This is a peaceful way of protesting this terrible atrocity while imploring God for an end to this holocaust.
I hear that a lot of people are tired of hearing about abortion, and having abortion as the only issue to vote for. Face it, we're all tired. But that doesn't mean we give up. Nearly fifty million babies since Roe v Wade. Think about that astronomical number. I went to our diocesan pre-campaign workshop and met people who are going for the first time and are naturally apprehensive. I understand those feelings as I felt them the first time I prayed at an abortuary. There are feelings of vulnerability, ineffectiveness, powerlessness in face of such a huge task. But God takes what we can give and transforms it in ways that we cannot see, or possibly may never know. We may never know the change of heart that may come over a woman's heart when she sees a line of people in prayer. The change of heart is the work of the Holy Spirit. And if you are willing to be a vehicle of grace for one hour of one day, you have staked a claim for God right there at the line of battle.
A story from two months ago. Our Respect Life group had invited Fr. Peter West of the Priests for Life. After his presentation, one of the ladies that works at our local Birthchoice relayed a message that just a few hours before our workshop, a young woman got off the abortion table just before the procedure. She thought that if those strangers standing outside the facility took the time to pray there, then what she was about to do must be very bad. She went to Birthchoice, had an ultrasound and saw her baby. People simply by standing there in an attitude of prayer, no confrontation or bitter discourse, was the arrow that pierced her conscience.
Please consider praying at the nearest facility to you. Visit the national campaign website: www.40daysforlife.com. I know people who drive for hours to pray during the 40 days at least once a week. If you can't travel, consider being a prayer partner of someone who is standing at the clinic at a particular hour. E-mail the area coordinator if you can, to let him or her know that is what you intend to do. Lift that person present in prayer.
Don't know what to pray? Bring your rosaries. Pray the complete cycle of Mysteries. Pray the Litanies. And even if the facility workers come out with posters mocking you, it's not you they are mocking. It's God whom they mock. Know that when they do that, you are in enemy territory and what a great thing it is that you stand in witness. I keep in mind this: Blessed are you when men revile and persecute you for my name's sake. Rejoice and be glad. (Matt 5:10-12). Read the passage and realize that God is your vindicator.
Go with friends. Go with your family. We take our children with us and make it a day's excursion with our friends. After we pray at the facility, we head down to the nearest Perpetual Adoration Chapel to decompress before our Lord.
Our diocese has a youth brigade that prays once a week. One of the children in this group has Downs Syndrome. It's an inspiring sight to see these young people with their rosaries praying through the Mysteries with composure, intent, and best of all, love.
I think of all the babies destroyed, their souls passing from this world without anyone to acknowledge their precious existence. Perhaps this is what motivates me to go there, to be there to mourn for them.
Here is a podcast of one of my reflections from the Lenten campaign.
Click to listen