Another blessed day at the 40 Days for Life vigil location.
Spring is definitely with us. Beautiful sun. Warming temps. Snow almost all gone. With such conditions, the streets were chucked with people – motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, dog walkers and minglers in the park, … So it was a powerful day to get our message of Choosing Life out there.
Vigilers were also out in large numbers. First, there was a gentleman and his family – wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and their daughter, who had traveled from St. Hyacinthe to be with us. Next, there were ten or so teens from a traditional community, chanting hymns or giving silent witness. Finally a charismatic prayer group of six or seven adults spent a hour also hymning and praying. So, passers-by got quite a dose of pro-life witnessing.
Yet what impacted me the most on this Saturday was the witnessing done to ourselves. An incident occurred around mid-afternoon between two men in our group. As I watched what transpired and refrained from intervening in the dealings of these two mature men, I could tell it was not cordial. After the storm settled and feelings still raw, they separated and ministered in separate areas of the site – one along Saint Laurent and the near the banner on Saint Joseph.
At this moment grace intervened. The brouhaha was witnessed by another member of our entourage, a person known for her outspokenness, faith, and audacity to both pro-lifers and Free Choicers. Proceeding discretely and separately she approached both men. I'm ignorant of what she had said to either, but not to its effects. One hour or so after the initial incident, I saw both men seated at the picnic table, that has become a small haven for us vigilers, in what appeared to be friendly banter.
The apostle Paul reminds us in chapter 6 of his epistle to Ephesians that the battle between light and darkness rages within each and every one of us:
10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.12For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
May we all be open to the incidious trappings of the evil one working in our own lives and combat him with the armour of God.
p.s. I wish to solicit your prayers for our young “companions” who have been with us for nearly two weeks now. They are planning two events: a picnic today and a “send off” on the last day of our vigil – April 17. Lord, may our presence on behalf of the Gospel of Life awaken within them a conversion of hearts so that they see you as the True God, the True Lord of Life, and not remain blinded to the trappings of the evil one.
p.p.s. I'm pondering continuing the vigil after the Forty days are up. Interested persons are welcomed to contact me to discuss more about this – days, length of time, manner. ...
It sure has been a busy day at the site, with numerous people showing up. Jerome Fernandez and Charlotte L'heureux were both there early and together we got the banner up in record time, Jerry providing engineering insights and Charlotte some elbow grease and spiritual support.
Also, have a good look at the sign to the left. (By clicking on it, it will be magnified.) You may not see it around much longer. Thanks to a generous benefactor, we have received a new banner and it should be ready within a few days for displaying.
Charlotte and I provided the early morning coverage. It was a spetacularly beautiful day. Bright sunshine off-setted the cool temps. Needless to say; we spent much prayer time basking in the sunshine.
Around mid-day, we were delighted to have a group of five prayers arrive. These travelled all the way from Pincourt! After reciting a rosary, they left promising to return in early April.
Another group of visitors were young people. Numbering between five and twelve today, they have been with us since Monday of this week, with as many as twenty present at times. Yet, this groups is different than the previous one. They are countering our presence in front of the Morgentaler facility. With their own signs and waving to supportive motorists, they are advocating the culture of death mis-information.
Yet, I consider it quite a blessing to have these young people there. On the one hand, they elicit much favorable reaction from the motorists; this shows me how much education needs to be done regarding justice to the unborn and the harm that abortion does to women and to others within our society.
It is also a blessing to witness to them about the love of Christ. In the last of the triptich, three of our prayers - Charlotte, Marta, and Emilia, are seen praying in front of them. Further, because of either our peaceful co-existence with them or our more audacious souls such Charlotte and Phillipa who engage them in the occasional dialogue, we get to share the values that Christ encouraged us all to live by.
Finally, as 3 p,m, rolled around and I left the site, three other prayer warriors showed up - Egon, Gregory, and a member from a local religious community.
Thank you all for your support. Working together we are saving the lives of our children and honouring women.
Sunday afternoon at the 40 Days for Life vigil site appeared propitious for prayer. It was a sunny afternoon, a picnic bench provided a spot to sit and meditate, and I was alone. So, I turned to the daily Scriptural reading, the Transfiguration of Our Lord. In no time, I was pulled out of my reverie not once but twice. "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
First, a diminutive young woman walked up to me, handed me a note, and left as quickly as she had arrived. My brief salutation - i.e., Bonjour, was returned in kind but no more was said for she had vanished. On the note carefully hand-written was the following message:
c'est mon corps
ce n'est pas le tien
tu as ton corps
I read it, meditated some, and two insights came. First, I found it odd how infrequently the tiny human being growing within the womb is acknowledged as having its own body. Yes, I have a body as you do. Also, in the pregnant woman, there is a third body, developing and dependent, as we all are to one measure or another. This child has a distinct set of chromosomes from either his father or mother. Sadly this distinct little body is largely forgotten in contemporary discourse.
The second insight concerned how anthropo-centric the note was. My body and your body. Absent was any acknowledgment to the hand of our Divine creator. How sad not to give no thanks to our alpha and omega, our source and our destiny.
Eventually, I returned to my contemplation, but not for long. Again, I was pulled out my reverie though in a more confrontational manner. A young couple stormed upon the knoll where I was seated and began to assail me with diatribes, alternating between one another. She cursed me, he attacked the Faith, she slung a sexist comment at me - the typical ad hominem argument, and he again criticized the Faith. Needless to say, I did not have time for any apologetics for the whirlwind that brought them quickly took them away.
An open docile disposition is a pre-requisite to learning. My prayer is that our society develops this virtue so that it may move out its moral torpor.
The Grandeur of Nature
One of the grander examples of God's creating hand is the weather. During these first three days of this year's 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, we have had quite a varied taste.
At the Tuesday evening kickoff, a dozen or so participants witnessed the pristine beauty of Montreal's Lahaie park. The grounds were covered in a thick coat of mostly undisturbed freshly fallen snow. The air was still and the temps a bit nippy; the passing motorists and pedestrians were soon forgotten to us gathered on an embankment slightly removed from the street.
Quebec Life Coalition President, Mr. Georges Buscemi welcomed us, mentioning that there were another 246 other communities participating in this year's vigil from around the world, ten of whom in Spain. Other speakers included myself, Mr. Lecomte, Andrew Horwood – who led the group in prayer, and Charlotte L'Heureux who added her typical dose of congenial joie de vivre. Yet, the highlight for many by far was the presence of little, two-month old Maximillien Buscemi. Nestled warmly in the arms of his loving mother, Natalia, he brought additional joy to this evening. Finally, in a candle light procession, the group then proceeded into a warm waiting hall where some libations were waiting; fellowship continued for some time.
Wednesday morning greeted the first vigilers with cool temps in the mid-negative teens, with a steady wind blowing. The first order of business was preparing the site. To this end, Charlotte had showed some forethought for she arrived shovel in hand. Working together, we cleared between six to eight inches of snow and using a dandelion-remover, again which Charlotte had brought, to clear the old dug-out holes used at last Fall's vigil. Afterwards, the banner support frame, with some coaxing, fitted into these. At about this time, Carl Brièrre arrived and lent a hand to fasten the banner onto its frame.
Finally, today --Thursday--, we saw it all: steady snow in the morning, freezing rain at mid-day, and rain in latter parts of the afternoon. As for the next couple of days warmer climes are forecasted with some wet stuff becaue of the above freezing temps.
Through it all – snow, cold, and rain–the vigilers come and go. Our sacrifices and our prayers continue and God replies with graces both for us and all those for whose intentions we remember. We are thankful.