40 Days For Life

This lenten season, the Bridgeport Diocese has launched its second, 40 Days of Life campaign. Each church from the diocese has rotated days of hosting a prayer vigil in front of an abortion clinic in Bridgeport. Yesterday was my church’s turn to host. For weeks I pondered the idea of going, not having experienced it ever myself, I felt a slight disconnect. We tend to feel passionately about the things that hit home to us. It is not to say that the rest of what pains the earth is not important, but it is unfamiliar to those who do not experience them. The announcement stayed in the back of my mind though. I unconsciously made the appointment on my calendar, well before committing to it.
It was a warm 50 degrees, the sun was coming in and out, causing me to shed my long wool coat. I came upon the scene around 10am. The Rosary in English was well on its way. I am familiar with the Rosary, but only in Spanish. Thinking back now I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it aloud in English. I stepped quietly behind the group and chimed in at the appropriate parts. I silently watched the woman praying the rosary with a curiosity. What was SHE thinking? Upon completion SHE had let those who had just arrived know that people had already begun to arrive at the clinic. One person who had heard the prayers and read the signs, had left as quickly as they had come. Others who had entered, had yet to come out. SHE went on to explain that the purpose of our presence was to let God’s voice be heard. If someone had come with the intent to follow through with an abortion, their heart and soul might be persuaded to choose, perhaps the harder path. If the harder path was to still follow through, then we were there for them to.  We were there solely to pray. We were not there to voice our opinions, regardless of what they were. We were told that if someone were to get angry and come at us, that we were to remain silent and not provoke a fight. I was a little frightened then at the thought that someone might attack us.
It suddenly dawned on me then, upon hearing her last words, that I found the hesitancy on my part to come to pray that day was that I had always believed I was Pro-Choice. Women have had so many rights stripped of them for the longest of time, that I think sometimes today we take it for granted. Liberties that are available today were not so 100 years ago. These thoughts began going through my mind, when SHE asked me if I would do the Rosary in English. Sure, I had said, ‘but just to let you know I’ve never done it before’. SHE looked at me and told me to take my time, the words were written out for me to follow. SHE went on to explain to the crowd, that we would be alternating the Rosary in English and then in Spanish until 6pm. We were to understand that we were not in a hurry. Prayer should be from the heart, a place of meditation, to truly feel the words that are spoken allowed and to reflect on the situation at hand.
Another young woman from my parish started off the Rosary in Spanish, again I chimed in at the appropriate moments. My mind continued to think about why we were there and what effect it might have on those that came to the clinic that day. There were many honks from passerby cars and a few yells of encouragement. One pair of females, who walked on the sidewalk between us, nodded their heads to us and said “God Bless You.” As we continued to recite the prayer I realized that I was taking part in something much larger than myself. I listened intently, trying to follow along, knowing that my turn was coming up. It ended and there was a five minute break to reiterate to the new comers of the rules and our reasons for being there.
http://parish.ic-olph.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=157
Then it was showtime. SHE squeezed my arm and let me know that it was OK, to take my time; ‘We are not in a rush’ SHE reminded me. I mentally prepared myself with a prayer, for God to give me the strength and allow me to do a good job. I started off strong. I read the words loud and clear; slow and steady. Somewhere after announcing the third Joyful Mystery, an Our Father, and the second Haily Mary, I felt myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion. I felt a deep and sudden sadness for the souls I would not meet; past, present and future. The tears began to flow and I lost my voice. Tears ran for the ones I had known to have gone through with abortion, the ones who might have but didn’t and the ones that would have never thought to. In the back of my head I was thinking, WHAT IS GOING ON? My tears ran in gratitude for the opportunity to know my nieces and nephew, who were bought into the world when my sister’s were young. Tears ran for those who still remember the exact details of when it happened to them. Tears ran for the ghost of children skipping rope and playing hopscotch. What I also didn’t expect was to feel the woman to my left and to my right, strangers before then, step into me on both sides like warriors and take over where I had left off. I didn’t expect the hands that wrapped tightly around my shoulders to offer me comfort. I remember feeling the gentle, firm squeeze in a silent speech, that told me it was OK.
The reason I went to pray yesterday had nothing to do with me. My subconscious knew it all along. My tears continued to flow but I had found my voice again. I picked up on the Fourth Joyful Mystery and each word I spoke aloud took on a different shape, a new meaning, than the words I had spit out earlier. I prayed loudly, in hopes that our Holy Mother, Mary Most Holy, would hear me; would hear us. I prayed with an open heart, so that those who went through with their decision might feel Jesus and be comforted, if only for a moment.
Prayer has always been a part of my life. I look to God everyday for guidance. But, I also remember that has not always been the case. As I’ve gotten older I have learned how powerful prayer can be. May anyone reading this today know personally, or for the first time, the power of prayer. May we take a moment everyday to pray for each other. I ask that you do this now on this Soulful Sunday.
Dear Lord,
My brothers, sisters and I, would like to take this moment to ask that you look over the unborn souls, taken from this earth, by your will or no. We ask that you keep them forever strong in our memory, until we come to be with them again. We ask that you find ways to comfort us, to let us know that everything will be OK. Remind us Lord that anything is possible through you. May you hear all of our petitions today. Peace be with us all.
Amen
Until then,
 PS. The rosary is such a powerful prayer I’ve included this link that translates it into many languages, The Rosary Prayer.

For more information about the Bridgeport 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign,
visit: http://www.40daysforlife.com/bridgeport or contact Christine Murphy at cmurphy1224@comcast.net / 203 438-4866

10 thoughts on “40 Days For Life”

  1. Very nice account… I have never been to a prayer vigil for life myself. I do love the rosary prayer and pray it every morning before starting my day. I can use all the intercession I can get.. Thanking Mother Mary for her prayers to her Son on my behalf.

    1. I think I cried a good portion of that day, I was so emotional that entire day. I remember going home and telling my mom about it. Just thinking about that moment made the flood gates open, it couldn’t be helped. For me prayer has transformed from repetitive words into an open dialogue that I find truly comforting. You’re so right Kesha, prayer, or whatever it is called to whomever is doing it, is powerful! Thanks for stopping by and ALWAYS heed my warnings 🙂

  2. This is a very interesting experience. I consider myself to be pro-choice even though personally I think I’d choose to have my baby. I find it really interesting that the purpose of the vigil was to pray for people regardless of their choice. I find that to be really powerful and Christlike. It sounds like you had a truely moving experience.

    Thank you for including the picture with description of the rosary. I am not catholic and have often wondered “what’s the deal with the rosary” 🙂 Thanks for Sharing

    Stopping by from Flashback Friday

    1. Yes, you and I are on the same page. I know what I would do for myself personally but I’ve always thought that should be someone’s choice, even if it went against what I thought. I loved that aspect of the vigil, something like that is hard to do because you don’t want people to think that you’re judging. To be there and pray for either outcome, I found that to be comforting. I’ve heard the rosary since I was young, it was always done for someone who passed…every day for 7 nights the rosary was done. Its one thing to know about something and its another to understand it fully and I’m starting to get to the understanding part of it. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. As someone who also has always felt pro-choice, but who also really believes that all life is precious, your post really spoke to my heart. The prayer for those who do or for those who do not choose to have the abortion really shows Christ’s love for all of us. Those who make the choices he would want us to make, and those of us who do not.

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

    1. We are all children of God, regardless of our choices; that speaks volumes of his love for us as well! If only more people truly understood that, what a different world this would be. Thanks Kimberly for stopping by and sharing your words with me. I am glad you came.

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