Friday, April 22, 2011
In His Image
(Pictured: Archbishop Listecki at Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee on Friday April 15th.)
I'm not entirely certain that my Lenten resolution to devote all of my prayer, fasting and almsgiving to the pro-life cause bore much noticeable fruit or saved any lives, but I have to say that this year for the first time in a long time, I stuck to my Lenten resolves better than any previous year, so maybe this was a sign from God that He would help me be true to my sacrifice if the cause was worthy enough. On this solemn and holy day where we see the source of all life suffer and die for our lowly humanity I take a look back at my pro-life efforts this Lent and share some wonderful links that moved me and kept the fires of sacrifice stirring in my soul...
My heart was quickly moved to make my Lenten resolutions on behalf of so many innocent lives lost when I received Fr. Don's email about his experience at the abortion mill. I knew that I could no longer sit back and let others act on behalf of the innocents; I knew that I, too, must take a more active stand.
Despite my best efforts to put together a group from my parish to participate in 40 Days for Life, it was my husband and I and one friend who stood outside the closed abortion mill praying the rosary on a chilly Saturday evening early in Lent. At my next visit to pray at the abortuary, there were only two others praying there. Despite the fact that Dan Miller, who tirelessly works for life and organized Milwaukee's 40 Days for Life campaign this Lent sends out daily emails that led me to believe that no matter when I went to the clinic, I would find a crowd of people praying, my own experience had proved this to be a lonely experience.
I was blessed to help promote and attend a pro-life spaghetti dinner which raised funds for the Women's Care Center which helps women to keep their babies and it was here where I finally met Dan Miller, who I now place near the top of my personal heroes list. For forty days with only a few off, this man stood at the foot of the cross, loving and praying for those affected by abortion-the babies, mothers, and abortion mill employees-with the goal of shutting down the abortion mill. He had great success with 28 lives saved!
Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, my heart was moved and lifted by this beautiful video which I found on Beth's blog, Credo Catholic.
And it was Beth, again, who linked to this heart-wrenching pro-life story on an AMAZING blog- Barefoot and Pregnant-What a Woman in Crisis Really Needs. It's a must read for inspiration and like the above video, it has spread like wildfire around the blogosphere! I highly recommend that you take the time to read Calah's personal story.
Throughout these forty days of Lent, I continued to write about how the pro-life cause was moving me and how I was able to live my beliefs though my work at the WIC Clinic. All of my Lenten efforts, all of my daily living and all of the inspiration I received through personal encounters with others who work for the pro-life cause and through the world of the blogs, have become my own way of the cross this Lent, climaxing in my presence at the foot of the cross on Good Friday morning.
Every Good Friday for the past few years my family and I attended Lauds at our parish and then spent the remainder of the morning gathering all of the donated food that was placed around the altar during Holy Thursday Mass and taking it down to our parish food pantry. This year, I broke that family tradition and together with my sons, John and Joe, I went to Pro-Life Wisconsin's Stations of the Cross. The weather was perfectly fitting for Good Friday-cloudy, damp and cold with intermittent showers, which made the journey to the abortion mill feel truly sacrificial.
After praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and the stations of the cross inside the church, the group of about 100 people walked the six blocks to the abortion mill while chanting the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It was clear that the abortion workers (known as death-scorts by Dan Miller) were ready for us, all standing outside in their orange vests, one of them videotaping us as we arrived. As Dan led us all in praying the joyful mysteries of the Rosary, my sons and I kept our eyes on the door to the abortion mill-Hell with Doors, according to Dan. The death-scorts were smirking and denying the reality of God. Someone called out to a couple as they were walking into the clinic, asking them to turn around and take the help that was offered at the Women's Support Center which was just across the street, which was promptly and sadly greeted with the "finger sign" by the young woman entering the abortuary.
At 11:00 AM, when the rosary was over, my sons and I had to leave to attend and help at the Good Friday Service at our parish, so we weren't able to walk back with the pro-life group with which we arrived, but I felt that our time there was well-spent, standing at the foot of the cross with the babies who were suffering their own crucifixion, standing among the death-scorts who mocked and jeered like the Roman soldiers, and standing with others who love the Lord and long to serve Him by standing up for the sacredness of life, all of which is made in His image.
I learned a lot this Lent. I learned that sacrifice is most beneficial when it is used toward a greater and specific good. I learned that I am more brave than I had ever believed myself to be. I learned that although pro-life efforts can seem lonely and difficult, we are never alone in the good that we do and we can stand up to the most obscene words and gestures with the gentle power of prayer. And, perhaps most important of all, I learned that life does not need the protection of prayer and personal witness during the forty days of Lent alone, but that pro-life efforts are always in need and I will continue to put forth the best I have to offer long after the Easter season is ended and into forever, until abortion is a long-forgotten memory on the face of this earth.
addendum: I just received the following email from Dan Miller and was amazed to read about what happened after my sons and I left "Hell's Doors" yesterday. Prayer is SO powerful and God is SO good!
Day 45 – 4/22/2011 – Miracle on Farwell
Dear 40 Days for Life supporters,
Warning! Are you sitting down?! You need to sit down before you read this. Today at approximately 11:15am, the abortion mill lost all its power. As amazing as that is, that’s not even the part you need to sit down for.
More than 100 people showed up today for Pro-Life Wisconsin’s Stations of the Cross. We can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us in prayer and public witness on this most Holy Day, Good Friday. When we arrived at ‘Hell with Doors’ around 10:30am, we started in right away with the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. We had already prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries at St. Rita’s, so we thought we would mix it up a bit down at the mill. Juggling a Rosary, a bullhorn and the pro-life reflections was not easy, so I fixed my eyes on another vigiler’s Rosary to keep count, wishing I had a third hand. When we were done with the Rosary, another vigiler felt compelled to recite a prayer honoring the Face of Jesus. Within this beautiful oration was an exorcism prayer. As I was no longer on the bullhorn, I was free to float around when suddenly I noticed that the police were in the area. They were not there for crowd control –they were directing traffic because the traffic signals were completely out. I checked the neon sign in the window of ‘Hell with Doors’, and sure enough, it was out as well. Clients started streaming OUT of the mill in a pretty steady flow. When I was able to sneak a peek inside I could see all the lights were out inside the abortion mill! I don’t know about you, but if I were any of the women inside that place, I would not be sticking around for an abortion by candlelight. As the women streamed out, we said, “This is a sign from God that you should keep your baby! God has a plan for your baby! Go home! Love your baby! Have a wonderful Easter!” One young mom smiled and nodded in agreement with our statement! The ‘deathscorts’ were very busy doing damage control, scoffing at our divine implications.
Ok, ok, ok. I guess the Doubting Thomases out there may still find it hard to see the hand of God at work here, but here’s the part that may convince even the Doubting Thomases and the part you should be sitting down for. Every building, street light, traffic signal on Farwell, as far as the eye could see, was without power, save one, whose lights were burning brightly amidst the darkness. That building was the Women’s Care Center.
Behold the mighty hand of God.
See you out there.