Thursday, February 19, 2015

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 2: Cold opportunities

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
In some areas, a warm 40 Days for Life vigil is hard to find right now.

Of course, if you want to be certain of avoiding cold weather, you could visit a 40 Days for Life location in Australia, Nigeria or Brazil!

But please do keep in mind that the invitation to participate in 40 Days for Life is a call to sacrifice.
Sacrificing your time – and warmth – can make quite an impression on a mom who’s arriving for an abortion.
It’s often the case that the locations with the worst weather have more women turn around and leave without having an abortion. The willingness of strangers to be out in miserable conditions speaks to the heart of women at that most crucial moment.

Your peaceful presence shows a sacrificial love they simply will not get when they enter the abortion facility. Here are a few cold-weather locations where the frigid temperatures help provide an opportunity to save lives.
Columbia, Missouri
“Snow and hot chocolate” is the subject line of the email Kathy, the local leader, sent to 40 Days for Life participants in the Columbia area.
“Great opening rally,” she said, “sometimes sprinkled with snow flurries! We had a wonderful uplifting evening as we all gathered together on the sidewalk, sang, prayed and shared hot chocolate and cookies.”
The volunteers prayed that God would help them be present in Christ’s name to the moms who would be coming for abortion information during the campaign. The Planned Parenthood center this team prays outside of no longer does abortions … but it does refer women to other facilities that do.

“It was pretty dark, but our hearts were filled with love and joy and peace,” Kathy said, as the group “gathered in prayer and thanksgiving for the many blessings God has showered upon 40 Days for Life in Columbia. Below freezing weather doesn’t keep us away!”
Anchorage, Alaska
The Anchorage 40 Days for Life team knows cold weather! They pray daily outside a Planned Parenthood abortion center.
Jon, the local leader, issued a call for prayer to Anchorage volunteers. “May we accept the urgent privilege of speaking gently and lovingly to parents for the most innocent and vulnerable, their unborn children.”
He noted that according to state health department statistics, an average of 30 children die in abortions each week in Alaska.
“When we humbly place ourselves in our Father’s hands to be used for life, unexpected events and grace unfold each day ... which many of you have witnessed,” Jon said. “By making the effort of praying at the clinic we serve as a sign and means of hope and help for desperate parents.”
White Plains, New York
In White Plains, the volunteers for the city’s sixth 40 Days for Life kicked off their campaign with a Valentine’s Day rally.
Father Ralph Berg, the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, who hosted the event, prayed for gentleness yet perseverance in seeking to change hearts and minds to treasure “these most innocent and lovable of children” among us.
Gerald, the local leader in White Plains, also noted that Maria Teresa Rueda recounted a story – in Spanish – of how the mere presence and simple greeting of one individual praying in front of an abortion center caused a woman to choose life for her child at the very last moment.
Today’s devotional was prepared for you by Kevin Burke, executive director of Rachel's Vineyard ministries.

Day 2 intention

May the King of the Universe, who entered this world as a helpless infant, give us the humility to be healed.


My power is made perfect in weakness.

— 2 Corinthians 12:9

Reflection by Kevin Burke

The great mystery of the Humility of God is very near and dear to the mission of those serving in pro life and in a special way, post abortion ministries across this nation.

For those wounded by their participation in abortion, the door to healing often feels like crossing an abyss of great fear: fear of judgment, fear of being torn apart by the pain, by self hatred and rage at those who hurt and abandoned you, and manipulated you in your time of temptation.

For men in particular, entering the unknown waters of emotional vulnerability, so necessary to healing calls for a different kind of courage that feels deceptively like weakness.

The door to healing is humility.

It is born in the inability to no longer control the pain, to live with the consequences of that tragic decision to reject life. The hearts cries out, “I have committed a grave offense against my Creator and I am consumed by regret, grief and sorrow!”

During these forty days let us pray for all who have participated in abortion and with love call them to healing and reconciliation. With healing these women and men can become as John Paul II proclaimed in the Gospel of Life, “the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life.”

Jesus proclaimed, I am the Vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). To bear the greatest fruit, the branches must be pruned. Each level of pruning of the vine requires a deeper level of humility so that we can abandon ourselves to His will.

This is not a lofty theological concept as much as it is an earthy experience of pulling weeds, tilling rocky soil, pruning and healing the vines. “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps” (Matthew 16:24).


Lord, during these forty days, we ask that with each day of this sacred vigil, everything in us that separates us from your perfect will would be pruned from our hearts and souls.

In this blessed freedom may we experience a powerful anointing of your Holy Spirit. Filled with confidence and trust may we proclaim with the mother of Jesus, “Let it be done to me, according to your Word.”

Printable devotional

To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share:
For life,

 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life
PS: Just as a quick reminder, here’s the link for finding a 40 Days for Life vigil near you (there are 252 of them!):