Dear Friends, I just heard from Shawn Carney and David Bereit of the national 40 Days for Life leadership team, and I am VERY excited about what they shared with me:

http://2012definingmoment.com

In 2012 — the 40th year of legalized abortion in America — we have unprecedented opportunities to save lives, impact eternal souls, and restore our nation … And you are invited to attend a one-time-only teleconference and web simulcast event this Tuesday night, April 24, at 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific) that will reveal how the rest of this year can be a DEFINING MOMENT for our efforts to end abortion. During the FREE event (which you can attend by phone or via the web) you’ll discover:

The stunning results of this spring’s 40 Days for Life — the most successful campaign EVER — and how these accomplishments point to even bigger victories in the months ahead … Why the rest of 2012 is crucially important, and how the pro-life movement is positioned to achieve massive, life-saving success on multiple fronts … The groundbreaking strategic initiatives about to be unleashed to help mobilize more people, change more hearts and minds, and save more lives than ever before … How YOU can help make a profound impact on ending abortion, right in the community where you live … and some exciting surprises!

This is the great news we’ve been waiting for, and there’s no charge to attend — however there are limited spaces available, so REGISTER NOW at:

http://2012definingmoment.com

On that page, you’ll also see a short, three-minute video that Shawn and David made for us at the U.S. Supreme Court, explaining what’s about to happen. This is going to be GREAT, and I hope you can join me on the teleconference or web simulcast Tuesday night!

For Life,

Disciple

Planned Parenthood has their own version of 40 Days for Life, well, not for Life. I guess it’d be 40 Days for Aborting Life. What I really want to know is…who do they pray to? :/

Read more at LifeNews: Planned Parenthood’s Prayer Vigil Parody: Planned Parenthood’s 40 Days of Prayer for Abortion Condemned.

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal WuerlSo much has happened in the last few weeks, even the last few days (including the air conditioner in my car konking out yesterday–thank the Lord the dealership was able to repair that this afternoon and for far less money than I’d expected). I’m hoping now to get some work done for the blog, which has been sadly neglected during 40 Days for Life. I started several posts and they’re sitting there in my poor little also-abandoned writing app, waiting, waiting, waiting for me to get back to them and write more than a the barest outline of a draft of a note and get them posted. I’ll be picking up this week where I left off in Cardinal Wuerl’s book, Seek First the Kingdom (see other posts); finishing my write-up for the rally for Religious Freedom (see part one); sharing some thoughts (with photos) on the wonderful pro-life film, October Baby (see other posts, only mentions so far); writing an account (also with some photos) of a trip I took with friends today to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville; and working on some other projects that are still in the idea stage.

May your observance of Holy Week bring you closer to the Lord and fill your heart and mind with grace upon grace. Peace be with you. See you soon. :)

October Baby, Every Life Is BeautifulWent to see October Baby last night, loved it! I’ll tell you more about that later. Part 2 of the rally post will be up later also (see rally post Part 1). Right now I’m too pooped to do much more than this. I’m emotionally drained. Why? Because after Mass this morning (yes, I’m keeping my commitment to attend Daily Mass; pray for me!) a friend stopped as I knelt making my thanksgiving after Holy Communion. She was on her way out the door and wanted to tell me that abortions were in full swing over at Planned Parenthood, so we headed over there.

They’re usually closed on Saturdays but they were closed a lot this past week; they sure made up for lost time today. Their parking lot was packed. So sad. But a church had adopted the day as part of 40 Days for Life, so we had the sidewalk covered with prayer volunteers while there were women inside making the worst decisions of their lives. And ending the possibility for some lives to ever reach the point of making any decisions at all. Ever.

40 Days for Life, Pray to End Abortion

There were women outside the abortion mill, waiting for sisters or daughters or friends who were inside. Many years ago I was one of those women sitting in a car while a friend went inside to make the worst choice she ever made. Strange, isn’t it, how people always call it a “choice” but my friend didn’t feel like she had a choice at all. She felt trapped and terrified and horrible.

I haven’t seen her in years now. Don’t know how she manages to look into the eys of the kids she already had, knowing that there was another one who they will never know. Who she will never know. Who will never know what it means to live or breathe or exist outside the womb that held him until the moment the abortionist tore him apart and vacuumed him out of what should have been the safest place in the world for a little baby waiting to be born. Waiting to be held. Waiting and imagining the face that goes with the voice he’s been hearing as he grows. Never imagining the awful fate that awaits him.

God, have mercy on us. Forgive us the horrible evil that people do in our world. Your world. You have made us for Yourself, You have given us Life and offered us Love and Truth and Goodness and Beauty. And we have chosen to rip each other apart. We have chosen evil and sin and death instead. God, forgive us! Have mercy on us all. Amen.

Every life is beautiful, Go see October Baby, in theaters now

What if Mary had not said Yes? What if Joseph had turned away from Jesus and Mary?On Monday and Tuesday of this week two parishes had adopted the days so the sidewalk outside the abortuary was covered with a blanket of prayer. A veritable shield of prayer. I think there were two saves that day and I witnessed one of them. Since we had so many there, volunteers were able to talk with the couple while others prayed, and a few minutes later were able to lead the couple all the way to a place where they could get real help without leaving the vigil site unattended. And did we pray! We were filled with joy as we watched the cars pull away heading to a place that welcomes and cares for life, leaving that place of darkness behind them. Praise God! We all knew that He was working mighty works before our eyes. God is so good!

Tuesday was quieter while I was there. There was a moment when a police car came up. Two girls had gone in together (one was very young and the other was older, but I’m so old now that they both looked young to me), and the older one kept coming back outside then going back in. Finally the girls came out and the police did, too. We don’t know what was going on there but we need to definitely keep both of those girls in our prayers and any other life that may be in the picture.

Later a sour-looking woman drove up, probably in her fifties, maybe older. A. approached her with a brochure and the woman told her that she was there to make a contribution to Planned Parenthood and was going to contribute every day that we were out there. A. told her very pleasantly that she was going to continue contributing to God. (Good on ya, A.) We prayed for her and I’ve added her to my ever-lengthening list of folks who show us kindness and who show us hostility during the vigil.

Wednesday was quiet the whole time I was there. One couple drove down the street slowly and parked around the corner and went in while I was walking up the street with my back to them and without me speaking to them. When I realized they were out of their car, they were nearly to the door. I felt so bad about not speaking up that I prayed that they would come back out really soon, for any reason at all, just come back out real quick and I said I promised that I would speak to them and offer them the brochure with the ultrasound coupon in it. As I prayed for them, I grabbed some brochures from the cooler.

Then, almost as soon as I finished this prayer, the door opened and they came out and walked down the steps. “Here goes,” I said. I had promised, after all, and God did send them back outside. So I offered the brochure to them but the man said, “We’re good.” So I continued praying for them. They got in their car and sat there talking for a long time. I kept walking up and down the sidewalk, praying the rosary, and sometimes I would nod in their direction, sometimes not, as I reached the corner and turned to walk the other way. They sat there a really long time and I prayed for them the whole time, pleading for them to choose life and not to have anything to do with Planned Parenthood.

At last the engine started up and the car backed out and they drove away. I don’t know what choice they were facing. But I know they left that dark place. And I know that several people are praying for them tonight because I texted some prayer warriors about them, but please keep this young couple in your own prayers, too. May they choose to welcome life into their hearts and their home, now or whenever God so pleases to grant them this gift. And may they be drawn closer and closer to our precious Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, in Whom we all move and live and have our being. Amen.

Peace be with you. You and I may not see each other out on the sidewalk but we can keep each other in our thoughts and prayers. And please pray for the couples I mentioned (and all others like them) that they may resist any pressure from those around them and the temptation to reject the beautiful gift of life! May Christ Who is the Light of the world enlighten their minds and fill their hearts with His love and joy. Forever. Amen.

What if Mary had not said Yes? What if Joseph had turned away from Jesus and Mary?

[The following is a report from my participation in 40 Days for Life, Days 17 and 18.] Friday was abortion day at Planned Parenthood in Birmingham. On Friday afternoon the truck came to pick up what is (euphemistically, I suppose) called “waste material”. On the side of the truck it says “Protecting People. Reducing Risk.”

Protecting folks and reducing risks. Uh huh.

Ironic, isn’t it? And just a bit sickening. The most defenseless ones of all were certainly not protected and the risk they were in was neither reduced nor even acknowledged. So much for the “compassionate choice.” I’m sure you’ve heard that argument. “It’s compassionate to save a child from possible suffering.” By killing him before he even has a chance to take his first breath outside his mother’s womb? Don’t make me vomit.

Today was a quiet day on the sidewalk. The only person who stopped to talk to me today was someone who seemed familiar at the time, but I couldn’t quite place her. Until later when I remembered the first time we met. She did exactly the same thing to me today that she did that time, during the first 40 Days for Life campaign in which I ever participated back in 2009. She stopped her car in the middle of the street, rolled down her window and said, “I want to ask you a question.” Now this was simply a deception on her part because what she really wanted to do is what she proceeded to do. “Why are you encouraging women to have babies they can’t take care of? There are (blah blah blah, fill in the blank, insert your favorite non-reason here).” And it went downhill from there. She listed the same lame excuses you’ve heard over and over and no matter how many times those excuses are repeated, the repetition of them will not ever make it right to kill a baby. Not ever.

This one got me, though. “Why do you want a baby to come into this world without a daddy? There are so many people in prison now who didn’t have daddies.”

Oh, yeah, I love this one. I replied, “I didn’t have a daddy, or a mommy either. At one time, anyway. I’m adopted and I’m very glad that I’m standing here today to say this to you because someone gave me a chance. And I’m not in prison. I’ve had a wonderful life, thank you very much.”

She went on with her litany, unable to hear or think about what I’d said because she did not want to hear or think. She did not want to ask me a question or hear my answer. She wanted to feel better about some choice she made at some point in her life and she wanted to make me feel useless or worse, even terrible. But it didn’t work. I knew whose voice I was hearing. I knew that the attack was not against me. I’ve learned to recognize the voice that says these things. I’ve learned to recognize his way of acting and thinking. I’m learning what to do when I find myself suddenly face to face with him, and that is to remember that this kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

So I did not argue with her. I did not continue the conversation with her. I told her to have a nice day and then I turned away and picked up where I had left off praying my rosary. Only I  said a special prayer for her and mentioned her (and others like her) at the beginning of the meditation on each Mystery. I don’t want to get into an argument or a yelling match with someone who is under the ancient enemy’s power. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. And I don’t want to give him an opening into my own heart and mind.

But there is one thing I wish I’d thought to tell her before she drove away this time. I wish I had told her that I’m glad she was not my mother. Maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t think of it until later. But maybe I’ll remember it if I ever see her again.

Peace be with you and keep praying. We are making a difference and our ancient enemy is profoundly disturbed. Thanks be to God!

I’ve been a Catholic for nearly sixteen years now and I still remember that first Lenten season as a very special and wonderful time in my life. I was received into Holy Mother Church at the Easter Vigil of 1996 and I still get tears in my eyes when I remember it. I loved the Church then. I love her more now. And I love Christ. There was a time when I thought I’d never be able to say that, and that I would never want to say that. But I fell in love with the Church and the Church led me to the Lord. I can truly say now what I said wanting to mean it all those years ago: I want Christ to draw me closer, ever closer to Him. I want to sit at the foot of the Cross and gaze upon Him, upon His beauty, in the sanctuary.

My heart is full of joy and consolations tonight. Ever since I made the commitment to return to Daily Mass, God has been pouring such grace and so many graces into my soul that I can hardly bear it. Grace upon grace upon grace, many consolations. He has deepened my ongoing conversion, He has shown me so many things, taught me so much. At every turn He has shown me something new or has revealed a depth I had not suspected was there. He has led me to places, I’ve been there at exactly the right moment and I know His hand guided me. Oh, when I listen to Him, when I let Him lead me, it is truly marvelous what He will do. He is teaching me, showing me how to become, how to be, a true disciple.

I have so much to learn. Such a long way to go. So many obstacles to remove, barriers to loving Him the way He wants me to love. So far to go…

I know it’s Lent, a time of penance and entering into the sorrowful mysteries of Christ’s Passion. I know I’m supposed to be making a retreat with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and we’re supposed to be meditating upon those sorrowful mysteries and focusing on them, trying to really enter into them and not feel too much joy right now so that we can feel that joy at Easter with all the more intensity. But at this moment my heart is so full of joy that I cannot keep it from welling up within me and overflowing and bubbling out all over the place.

"Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"

And yet at the same time I am aware of so much suffering around me. I’ve been praying at two different abortion mills during Lent (during the 40 Days for Life Spring campaign and at another mill in town that is a year-round vigil site) and so far I’ve only missed three days. I’ve talked with so many people and they’ve shared their stories with me. Stories of opportunities lost and lives lost and dreams turned into nightmares… My heart suffers and breaks along with theirs. And when I hear their stories of turning around, of changed hearts and minds, love wells up within me and I know this must sound sentimental or “emo” or silly to some, but it’s much more than that.

I feel this same love when people don’t agree with me and even look down on me for being religious, being Catholic, being any sort of Christian at all. For being pro-life. For leaving Buddhism to become Catholic. “How could you?!” They think I’ve taken a giant step backward. I know I’ve made a quantum leap forward. If Buddhism helped me grow more compassionate than I already was and gave me insight into myself and others, Catholicism has expanded my heart and mind to such a degree that the world now seems a completely different place than the one I knew before. And every day when I hear the readings at Mass it is as if the Lord were speaking directly to me and every word seems to come straight from the mouth of God. It has all come alive for me. The studying has become living, living has become studying, and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight because the Lord has shown me so much that I feel like I’m on fire.

I hope you’re having a good and fruitful Lent as you prepare for the celebration of Easter. May the Lord richly bless your Lenten efforts and pour out upon you the riches of His grace and give you peace. Amen.

And, Joe, if you’re out there, I haven’t forgotten our conversation or what I said I’d do. I will post what I can as soon as I can.  And even though you told me you don’t pray, know that I do and I’m asking for blessings and graces for you, too. Peace be with you.