“Return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is He.” (Joel 2:13)
Tomorrow is the first day of Lent. Are you ready? I’m not! It always makes me a little anxious as I consider what I will do, how I will encourage my children, when I can fit in more prayer, and on and on. Thankfully, as I read from “The Word Among Us” magazine, I got a new perspective for looking at Lent.
They write, “The last thing anyone wants to do is reduce this season of grace to a to-do list. Your heavenly Father is ‘gracious and merciful.’ He is calling out to you so He can bless you. Our works during Lent are meant to arise from a heart that wants to know a deeper freedom from sin and fear – a heart that is looking to God for more of His love. We don’t do them to prove ourselves to God or convince him to bless us. We do them because they can help us feel the presence of God. We do them because they can change our hearts and make us more like Jesus.”
So take a deep breath, soften your heart, and keep it open to the Lord this Lent. He will use whatever effort you make over these next 40 days, no matter how small, for your good and the good of others.
Need some ideas of ways to “return to the Lord”? Here are a few:
1. 40 Days for Life begins TOMORROW! – There are four aspects of this worldwide campaign to end abortion: prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach. See “Upcoming Events” below to find out more about this mission which has had amazing results in converting abortion workers, closing abortion mills, and saving babies. Vigil locations are in Downers Grove, Aurora, and, for the first time ever, in Wood Dale (Kick-off Rally tonight, Tuesday, at 6:00 pm, 203 E. Irving Park Rd). Please pledge to spend at least one hour this Lent at the location closest to you. It can be very hard for the site organizers to make sure that a vigil is manned every vigil hour of every day for all 40 days. Each location is run by a courageous local volunteer, NOT a member of the 40 Days for Life staff. So please help these faithful organizers by signing up today at www.40daysforlife.com . Click on “Locations.”
2. Life Advocacy Day in Springfield, March 26– Visit your state Congressmen in person and make an impact! You will be provided with all the background to speak with authority on the issues. See below for details.
3. See the “41 Ways to be Pro-Life” document under the tab "41 Ways to be Pro-Life" Choose one thing that you will do this Lent to promote LIFE.
4. Vote in the primary on Tuesday, March 18 for solidly pro-life politicians. The primary is so important! Choose who you want to vote for in November TODAY; otherwise, on election day in November, you may end up having to choose between the lesser of two evils. Go to http://illinoisfamily.org/actions/voter-guides/ to see a voters guide that shows where the candidates stand on key issues, like same-sex marriage, rights of conscience, pain-capable unborn child protection act, parental rights, and more.
SPECIAL PRAYER INTENTION
Maria and Laura’s father Frank is in kidney failure and will be undergoing kidney transplant surgery this Friday, March 7. Maria will be donating her kidney for him. We ask for prayer for healing and full recovery for Frank and Maria, but also prayers for our entire family, especially Laura and our mom, who will be called upon for much support. Thank you so much!
VIGIL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THIS WEEK
Please see the vigil schedule (under the tab "Vigil Schedule") for days of the week and times when faithful people will be praying outside of Chicago-land abortion facilities. Be especially aware that every day during the Lent 40 Days for Life (Saturdays and Sundays too!) you can join a vigil in Downers Grove, Aurora, and Wood Dale.
News from the last two Thursdays’ Forest View vigils:
** On Thursday, February 20, we estimate that EIGHT children died at the hands of a “doctor.”
** We were sad to see this high number of deaths, the highest we’ve seen at Forest View on a Thursday since early last November. However, even on days like these when it seems that our presence is fruitless, we can see that our presence has indeed borne fruit when we look at the many Forest View employees who have quit. We recently received a copy of the renewal documents for Forest View from a wonderful woman, Jean, who helps at the Pro-Life Action League. From these documents, it is clear that many of the workers have left the deadly business of abortion. Some of these we knew by name, like Ramesh, Amber, and Brenda (see below!). Others we only knew by face. But still we rejoice and pray that it was through the intervention of God that their hearts were touched and they sought a new life-affirming career. For more evidence that Dr. Goyal’s abortion empire (He owns 6 mills in Illinois) is crumbling, read this interesting article by John Jansen: http://prolifeaction.org/hotline/2014/goyalmailing/#more-36801 There is also a link in the article where you can see the renewal documents with lists of employees names. It is very helpful if you pray at a one of Goyal’s clinics so you can reach out with love (and by name) to the employees.
** On Thursday, February 27, we estimate that again FIVE women chose death for their unborn child.
** One of our 7:00 am counselors, Dawn, was able to speak to the friend of one of the women. The friend told Dawn that she was there to be supportive. Dawn explained to her that the best way to support her friend would be to get her out of the abortion mill. Dawn told her about the devastating mental and physical effects abortion has on women. Read more about the traumatic effects here: http://bloodmoneyfilm.com/blog/post-abortion-after-effects . Sadly, the friend could not break free from the bonds that kept her quiet, silently witnessing to the death of a child.
Pray for These Forest View Employees
- Nancy: Office manager and post-abortive woman
- Dr. Goyal: owner and operator of Forest View and 4 other suburban and 1 Chicago abortion mill
- Samantha: Was “just answering phones” as a way to make money for culinary school 3 years ago when we first met her. Now she has quit school and appears to be thoroughly invested in the business of abortion.
- *Carmen: New employee, cashier, Catholic. Has Women's Center and Project Rachel cards to give to women inside the clinic. Pray she will be inspired by the Spirit to hand them out.
- *Amber: New employee, Nurse’s assistant, Phlebotomist, Finds abortion “interesting,” refused abortion for her own unplanned pregnancy. Not listed as an employee!
- Brenda: She is no longer listed as an employee at Forest View! Praise God!
- *Marisela: She has been sarcastic to us in the past, often sent out to bring unsure women back in.
- *Lisette: New employee, beautiful young woman whom we spoke to for the first time this week.
* starred have a copy of the Abby Johnson letter. You can print a copy of the letter here: www.attwn.org/wp-content/themes/attwn-child/images/attwn-onepage-lightbackground.pdf.
“So they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.’” (Mark 10: 49)
This verse comes from the story Jesus healing a blind man named Bartimaeus. The apostles tell Bartimaeus to have courage and go to Jesus, for Jesus is calling him. What an amazing thing for this man to hear! The One who has been called “Wonder Worker” and “Messiah” is now calling him personally to Himself. However, the apostles’ role in this story is one that cannot be overlooked. They were the ones sent to bring Bartimaeus to Jesus. Indeed, Jesus counted on the apostles to go bring this blind man to Him just like He relies on each one of us.
That is one of the main reasons we need to pray at the abortion clinics. It does take courage to stand up in front of a clinic and pray, but Jesus is depending on us to be there for those who are “blind” to LIFE and say to them, “Jesus is calling you.” We pray that their eyes will be opened to God’s love and the gift of His blessings, no matter what the circumstances.
But you don’t have to be at an abortion clinic to be like the apostles. Is there someone in your own family or circle of friends whom you have been avoiding talking to because you don’t know what to say or know they disagree with you? Maybe today you are being called to minister to that person who is blind to some aspect of their own life: a bad relationship, a hurtful habit, a lukewarm attitude towards God, misinformation about the upcoming election. “Take courage” and “stand up” for the truth. God will be with you.
And in case you’re feeling like the “blind” one today, we hope you find an “apostle” in your life whom you can talk to about God!
*The upcoming election may be difficult to discuss with friends, but we have an obligation to do so. Get the information you need by printing out the Family Research Council’s Voters Guide (http://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF11L04.pdf ). Share it with your friends!
*If you are Catholic, you can also share the “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.” It does not discuss any candidates, but it explains the 5 “non-negotiables” of the faith: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual marriage. It clearly states that voting for candidates who support any of these issues is a sin. Finally, here is a link to a 3 minute video that is very powerful and should be shared with every Catholic. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd
UPDATE ON A RECENT BIRTH
I was blessed to meet Veronica’s little miracle, baby Eliana, last week (see attached picture!). The whole family is doing wonderful! Yet, Veronica told me that she sometimes feels guilty because of what she almost did. I assured her that God loves her for what she DID do – give her daughter LIFE! Still, this had an effect on me: If someone who did not have an abortion can still feel so guilty about the attempt, how much worse is the suffering of the post-abortive woman? Please reach out to those who have had abortions and share God’s love. Here is a phone number and website for help: 1-888-456-HOPE, www.AbortionRecovery.org
News from the last two Thursdays’ Forest View vigils:
** On Thursday, October 18, we estimate FOUR infants were killed inside a place called a “medical center.”
** One couple in their 30’s told me that they already have two children and don’t want a third. I told them about the Women’s Center and the financial assistance, but he said they have enough money. “It’s just too much work” to have another the man told me. Personal choice is the reason that 98% of women give for aborting.
** One woman chose LIFE! Felicia and her friend came out of the clinic just after the doctor arrived. They both got in the car, but then the friend got out telling me that Felicia was keeping her baby. I asked if we could help, and the friend said that Felicia was “good, very good!” I gave them information about the Women’s Center and a pair of pink hand-knit booties (Still could use some blue ones!) and they drove off smiling. Praise to God for this save brought by prayer.
** On Thursday, October 25, we estimate that FIVE women allowed a “doctor” to murder the child in their womb.
** Again, we believe there was a save! I saw the big white Cadillac SUV pull in and got to the car in time to hand the young girl (about 15) in the passenger seat a brochure. She took it, but then her mother pulled it out of her hand and hustled the girl inside. I could see the confusion in her eyes. A little while later a different woman, Gail, who was not there for an abortion came out of Forest View for a cigarette. I began talking to her, and she told me that she too is pro-life. I asked Gail to go back into the clinic and give a Rosary to the young girl. Gail went back in, Rosary-in-hand, and ten minutes later the young girl and her mother came out and left! Pray that they will never return to this place of death.
Today’s reflection is taken from the “40 Days for Life” devotionals: http://www.40daysforlife.com/getinvolved.cfm
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Reflection from Carmen Pate:
I am confounded to see how the battle over the issue of life is perceived more often in churches today as political rather than spiritual. Ironically, the enemy has used this twisted perception to silence many in the body of Christ. We must see the battle for what it is and if we are to be prepared to face the spiritual enemy on the issue of abortion, we must daily "put on" the armor God has given us:
*The upcoming election may be difficult to discuss with friends, but we MUST put on the armor of God and do so. Get the information you need by printing out the Family Research Council’s Voters Guide (http://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF11L04.pdf ). Share it with your friends!
If you are Catholic you can also share the “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.” (click for link) It does not discuss any candidates, but it explains the 5 “non-negotiables” of our faith: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual marriage. And clearly states that voting for candidates who support any of these is a grave offense.
News from the last two Thursdays’ Forest View vigils:
** On Thursday, October 4, we estimate THREE innocent lives were lost.
** One handsome young man, Frank, brought in his fiancé to kill their unborn child. He said it was “bad timing.” How sad that this new couple is going to begin their married life by murdering their first child. Frank was also ignorant of fetal development and told me that the baby was “nothing” since she only missed her period one week ago. I gave him a fetal development brochure and he was amazed to see that at this point his 3 week-old baby already had a heartbeat and developing eyes and ears. He promised he would try to talk to his fiancé, but they did not come out until after the abortion. Please pray for this young couple.
** Keep praying for the male nurse at Forest View. He has been very friendly lately and we are so hopeful that God will bring him to a new life-affirming job.
** On Thursday, October 11, we estimate that FIVE women made a “choice” that they will never forget.
** This is the third week in a row where the number of abortions has been 5 or lower. We do not know why, but we praise God for the reduction in numbers!
** Many people driving by have been honking and waving in support of the unborn. It is such an encouragement to those of us out there praying, but we also know that our presence is encouraging to those driving by. Too often we pro-lifers can feel that the world is “against us,” but hearing those honks and seeing those friendly waves reassures everyone that we are a vast community of pro-life brothers and sisters!
Our vigil update writer: