Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Patience and Prayer

It was a day of strange beginnings. I was at the abortuary at 7:00 AM and read from the Psalms before beginning my rosary. It is amazing how appropriate the Psalms are for praying on behalf of babies facing execution. As I approached the sidewalk along the eastern edge of the property (the place where we've been praying day and night) there was a woman bundled in a blanket and sleeping in a folding lawn chair. At least, I thought she was sleeping. As I walked past she opened her eyes and said, "Good morning!" She had been keeping vigil all night alone. Three young men had approached her during the night, much like Nicodemus, and she had converted them to joining us in any future youth rally against the abortuary.
I was soon joined by two other men, one of whom is a Secular Franciscan from Cincinnati, OH. Many people gather at the clinic during the day. A few remain all day, a select few stay through the night.
The Brother Steven has been to Aurora three times in the past month on a mission to have Aurora declared a Peace and Life zone. He carried a banner and prayed as he paced along the sidewalk. He asked me if I knew of a Transitus Service nearby. Transitus is a service held by Fransiscans on the night before the Feast of St. Francis and is a remembrance of his death on October 3rd.
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Francis. I wonder what he would have done. Would he have joined us? He sought martyrdom in the Holy Land. Without harm he approached the Muslim Sultan Melek-el-Kamel of Egypt. No one knows for certain all that passed between them, but ultimately the Fransiscan Order was given the privilege of maintaining the Christian shrines in Palestine.
After praying an hour I began walking back to my car. As I pass the entrance to the facility, my rosary breaks. The crucifix falls to the ground. I pick it up, walk to the car, and drive to Divine Liturgy with the Franciscan. We pray "LORD, have mercy". After Liturgy we return to the parking lot near the clinic. He leaves to try to persuade business owners to support his cause.
A question. I have a question. Did the slaughter of the innocents begin today? Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound....

Psalm 31
1 For the leader. A psalm of David. 2 In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice deliver me; 3 incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me. 4 You are my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead and guide me. 5 Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge. 6 Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God. 7 You hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD. 8 I will rejoice and be glad in your love, once you have seen my misery, observed my distress. 9 You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space. 10 Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; with grief my eyes are wasted, my soul and body spent. 11 My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing. My strength fails in affliction; my bones are consumed. 12 To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends. When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away. 13 I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a shattered dish. 14 I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire against me; they plot to take my life. 15 But I trust in you, LORD; I say, "You are my God." 16 My times are in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers. 17 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness. 18 Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol. 19 Strike dumb their lying lips, proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn. 20 How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of all the people. 21 You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You keep them in your abode, safe from plotting tongues. 22 Blessed be the LORD, who has shown me wondrous love, and been for me a city most secure. 23 Once I said in my anguish, "I am shut out from your sight." Yet you heard my plea, when I cried out to you. 24 Love the LORD, all you faithful. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full. 25 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (NAB)

No comments: