I am honored.
I was present at a beautiful peaceful prayer vigil outside of Planned Parenthood last Friday.
Vehicles hummed in and out of the parking lot, many of them men with empty passenger-side seats as they looked forward and drove away for a brief time, while the lady (and their child) they dropped off met their fate inside the building.
There was the usual honking, some choice words yelled from people speeding by who become angry when they see people praying outside of a building like this, and my personal favorite shouted from a passing car: “Get a life!!”
Really, that is quite profound… What an encouragement! Yes, that is what we are trying to do!…. get a life! (Even though we all have many other things we could be doing on a Friday afternoon, that would involve actually having a life.)
But besides the usual prayer and honking activity I have experienced outside of abortion facilities over the past 10 plus years, I was witness to something spectacular this last Friday. We were led in prayer by a native French priest.
At his instruction for the prayer gathering, the men stood in an outside circle surrounding the women and children… a fortress of manly protection and a contradiction of what was happening in the neighboring building, where women and children were “dropped off” in drive-through like fashion while lost or cowardly men drove off to grab a bite to eat or wait somewhere else while their woman was left alone under a cruel scalpel, and their child was extinguished before his or her first audible cry could be heard. At least, as each of these cars pulled out of the parking lot, our priest blessed them with the sign of the cross and looked mercifully into their eyes.
When he began to sing a prayer in French, after mostly English prayer, something struck me. The pain of crisis pregnancies and the feeling that “there is no other choice” is not only a Colorado Springs problem, or a Colorado problem, or an American problem. This is a world-wide problem, and his beautiful singing in French made me feel a sudden unity with others throughout the world, of whom I am (embarrassingly) rarely aware most of the time.
And then, that there were two priests there at the same time, as brothers… I felt united and honored to be among them. One of the priests has faithfully prayed outside this same facility for over 15 years, peacefully, compassionately, and committed through rain, shine, and blizzard… going to the streets, where Jesus went, where many priests and pastors wouldn’t dare to walk for fear of ‘muddying’ their clothes. As one friend of ours recently expressed, this facility is too “in their face.” Too real…
I was moved with joy and anticipation at what God has planned… and all across the country, as the now well-known campaign 40 Days for Life launched September 23rd, my anticipation increases. (www.40DaysforLife.com)
Let us continue to pray for mercy and compassion upon those who are affected by abortion… the mothers, the fathers, grandparents, friends, the workers who believe they are helping women, and for those who continually and faithfully pray and reach out to help and offer the Good News of Life to those in crisis.