40 Days for Life begins on Ash Wednesday. What a perfect way to practice our Christianity in our daily lives! Prayer and fasting are part of Lent every year. Combine these spiritual disciplines with prayerful peaceful vigil outside abortion clinics, and you have a marvelous way to jumpstart your spiritual life. That’s what I experienced last fall when I participated in 40 DFL for the first time. Ash Wednesday is the day after tomorrow and in preparation I’ve been reading John Paul II’s Gospel of Life, Fr. Pavone’s Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It along with his Pro-life Reflections for Every Day, and my beloved Bible. Oh, is that Bible ever dog-eared, heavily marked in and highlighted, filled with prayer cards and bookmarks. It’s one of my favorite companions and its cloth zipper cover is beginning to wear out on one corner.
Here’s the Scripture that is speaking to me right now. Everywhere I’ve turned the past few days, this one has been mentioned. So I’m reading Ephesians 6 this evening as I prepare to face people who think that I am their enemy, who think I think they are my enemy. I’m not. I don’t. Someone drove a car across my path last campaign as I walked down the alley to surround the clinic with prayer. Drove fast and to within a few inches of my unprotected little old lady body, slamming to a stop right in front of me. He opened the window on the passenger side and yelled at me to “keep it over there”, indicating that I was only allowed to stand in front of the building on the sidewalk. Of course, that isn’t true. I’m allowed to walk down the sidewalk just like anybody else, and I’m allowed to pray there too with my rosary in my hands. But I didn’t yell back at him. I knew whose voice it was, speaking those words. I didn’t hold it against that young man. I know who I’m dealing with. Saint Paul makes it clear in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, which I’ve quoted below.
10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. 13 Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: 16 In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. 17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).
18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints: 19 And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel. 20 For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought. —Ephesians 6:10-17, Douay Rheims Bible.
And if you’re wondering what happened with the driver of the car that day, I spoke very softly and very gently to him and I told him that I was on public property and was allowed to walk there like anybody else. He said, “This is our neighborhood!” And I told him that God wanted me to pray there and that I had to obey Him and not him. “That’s very Christian of you!” Then he stomped on the gas and scooted away. “Yes, it is,” I said to his retreating figure, “thank you for noticing!” Then I continued on my way, making the sign of the cross, and shifting my rosary in my hands, and setting off again to encircle that place of darkness with the Light and Love of Christ.
Even if you cannot participate out on the sidewalks, you can be very much a part of the campaign by spreading the word, praying for us, and praying for the conversion and salvation of all those who are involved in any way in the abortion industry and all those who have been wounded in any way by abortion. Thank you!
The snow is coming down in large flakes outside the window at the coffee shop where I’m sitting. Time to make the long drive home. Stay warm, be safe. And peace be with you!