Sunday, July 02, 2006

In front of the abortion mill

What’s it like praying in front of an abortion mill? What do you think when you’re there?

Family Planning Association of Maine was on a road that didn’t seem to have anything other than warehouses – creating a cold, industrial feeling that explains why it’s often called an abortion “mill.”

At the Planned Parenthood in Manhattan, it poured rain – like the tears of the angels.

In front of Brooklyn’s Ambulatory Surgery Center – yes, the mills are often hidden amidst other places of “medicine” – a young child aimlessly dropped newspapers out of the back window of a car. As they littered the ground, no one seemed to care – had the nearby killings scrapped all semblance of dignity from the surroundings?

Outside the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Barre, VT, all the flowers were dying – an appropriate reflection of the activity inside.

Maybe it’s most abortion mills’ blending-in with their surroundings that leads me to grow distracted or bored. It helps me to realize how passing folks could be oblivious to the grave nature of the spot.

I have to remind myself: I’m standing in front of the cusp of life and death. When these moms walk into that building, they’re descending into a place that will kill their child.

I especially get frustrated with men who volunteer for abortion mills to “escort” women into the building. Do they think it’s noble, chivalrous, laudable to guide a mother to the place where her child will be killed, where she may incur lifelong physical, emotional, and spiritual scars? Ugh. They're making men look bad.

Yet I wish I held a sign that said “Our prayer is an invitation to accept God’s mercy.” Maybe that would help people not to think that our prayer amounts to condemnation. On the contrary, the onus lies on all of us.

Think about what we pray. It’s not “have mercy on them,” but “have mercy on us.” Our Father. Give us our daily bread. Pray for us sinners. Forgive us our sins. They’re all plural. In our prayer, we’re acknowledging that we’re all part of the problem. We all need to help build a Culture of Life.

Using Msgr Reilly’s stand-in-a-circle method also helps to show that we’re not praying at the folks entering the mill, but praying with them.

I think about all the other things I could be doing on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping. Or taking a nice, fast-paced four-mile jog. Or flipping through the newspaper over a bowl of a yogurt and granola. Or playing Frisbee with my eight-year-old sister and thirteen-year-old brother. Or buying a green pepper for mom at the farmer’s market in downtown Beaver.

What difference am I making?

More than a bodily tragedy, abortion underscores a great spiritual battle: Human persons, with the dignity of being created in God’s image and likeness and a hope for Heaven, are being marginalized as expendable objects.

“For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” May God transform me and soften my heart so that I may better be an instrument of His mercy.

I pray that He might work through me, as I am spiritually and bodily prayerfully present at the height of the fight, to help bring about the triumph of a Culture of Life.


Anonymous said...

Amazing. You all are modern-day Peters and Pauls. God bless you all!

earthie said...

Blatantly using your post to send love to Maeve and to tell her that the wretches are praying for her and so proud of her! May the Holy Spirit guide every step, every word and every interaction, especially within the team itself. May the evil one not find anything to attach to in you all, for only together can you do what you are doing. May you each undergo a profound conversion. We all benefit from it in the Body of Christ. THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this....sometimes God only knows the (particular) impact we're having while in front of the "mill" on each occasion we make make the effort to be a prayer presence.
Mary Tholotowsky

Lindsay said...

I just wanted to let you know that your code is off in this entry (it's treating all the text link one giant link).

Also, know that I'm praying for all of you, and hello to my fellow Terps among you. :o)

Rosa de Lima said...

Hello All,

I just wanted to say hey and let you know that I am praying for you. We received your thank you cards for the house and the CDA... thank you for your work. Also, haha this is the best story. It kind of plays off of the blog about the chance encounters. Last Friday I was working at my Ice cream job and a gentlemen asked if we accepted American Express... I said, "sure come on in." He had a very thick accent but I could not place it for some reason. Then he returned with 5 other men ranging in age from early 30s to late 50s. Anyway, I helped some of them with their icecream and then the same guy said I will pay for all of these orders. He gave me the credit card (American Express ... none the less) and after I swiped it I took a closer look at the name. Now, let me explain... I usually don't look at the names (this may be bad if it is a stolen card but... ehh) I had noticed they all had thick accents and two of them were wearing crosses. Every now and then we have some people in the store with crosses on but two in the same group... that was the cool part... so my religious radar was going crazy. Maybe I sensed the holiness off of them... anyways... the name on the card was "Franciscan Monastary" You can imagine my excitment... the first thing I could think of was Lacy... and then MOE. So I asked if they were indeed Franciscans... because none of them were wearing robes or collars. They said "Yes, and he is a Bishop" Ahhhh!!... a Bishop you guys... came into my icecream store!!!... so I asked why they were here... the friars were here to learn English some are from Jerusalem and some from Assisi... and I asked the Bishop his name... Bishop Giorgio Bertin... I googled him... he is the Apostolic Administrator to Somalia. Even though it was really loud in the shop and I was babbling like a school girl... I quickly told them about you guys and asked that they pray for you... I hope they understood me. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted you all to know. What a gift I tell you. I was ecstatic the rest of the evening. Ok... well... Lacy... I love you and miss you and can't wait to have proper girl talk again. I got a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and my baking is none stop now. God bless... I am missing all of you. Since I am commenting on your post Phill, just to let you know we have lots of mail for you. God bless.

Vicki :o) said...

Great descriptions Phil. I really liked this post, it was very moving.

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.