This week has been quite a tough one for us interns. The build up of difficult cases and long days took its toll on me for sure, and so I just wanted to reflect on the importance of offering it all back to God with complete trust in His plan and His Will.
For me, the most difficult thing is when a woman tells you that she 'doesn't believe in abortion' but she has no choice. It is heartbreaking to watch them, with tears in their eyes turn away from you and walk into the clinic. It is heartbreaking when someone leaves our office in search of an abortion. And it is absolutely soul destroying to watch them walk out of the abortion clinic, sometimes barely able to walk - like lambs lead to the slaughter only this is worse. They walk out of the slaughterhouse. Their lives are expected to go on un-phased while the child in their womb has been taken from them and left in a sterile clinic to be picked up with the rest of the bio-hazard waste on a Friday.
In those dark moments when it seems that the world has completely lost all sense of right and wrong, it is imperative that we don't lose hope. This is when the battle really begins. In those moments of utter despair when the Lord allows us to feel the pain and the hurt, we give it to Him. We ask Him to bless the situation and we ask Him for forgiveness for those who work in the clinics, and all involved. Some of the last words Our Lord uttered from the cross, were , 'Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do'.
One of the difficult things is accepting that God gave us all free will, and so ultimately we all make our own decisions. We can't force women not to abort their children, all we can do is equip them with the truth and the information they need to make an informed decision.
In those times where there is nothing we can do to change their mind, we pray. And we pray hard. Perhaps they will still get the abortion, maybe they'll walk out just after you leave for the day. The fruits of our prayers might never be known, but we can be sure that they are worth it:
Luke 18:1 - Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
This leads me to my next point: where to pray.
Praying outside the abortion clinics is an incredible and necessary witness, however this past week has made me realise how much we need to take time out of the rest of our day to offer everything back to God and let Him take the burden back from us. Usually the best place to do this, is in a Church. One of the sidewalk counsellors told us near the beginning of our internship the importance of going to a Church or preferably to Mass when you've been counselling women. And I see now why that is. Sometimes the sheer immensity of the task in hand just forces you to your knees in prayer. In particular, prayers of petition and thanksgiving. The need for this prayer to be in a Church, in my opinion, makes sense. There are numerous accounts in the bible of Jesus removing himself from the crowds to go and pray. (For example, the first sorrowful mystery of the rosary; the agony in the garden)
For Laura and I, we have found great comfort and peace in attending Mass in the pro-life parish of New York; Holy Innocents. It has been our place of sanctuary many times, especially this week. This beautiful parish is the perfect place to offer it all back to the Lord. Whether during Mass, at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, at the foot of the crucifix, or under our Lady of Guadalupe, the peace in that Church is tangible, and the presence of the Lord is so comforting.
Up the back of the Church is the crucifix, where many people kneel to pray and unite their sufferings with Christ. A painting of this crucifix can be found online where a soldier is crouched at the bottom of the cross, praying. This beautiful image is bears the name 'Return crucifix'. The story goes that, on his way to the world war, a soldier stopped to pray and wished to make right the wrongs in his life. On his return from the war, he returned to Christ and joined a Monastery where he could be close to Him for the rest of his time on this earth. I think of this story often , and try to remember those who perhaps have turned away from Christ. Whether that is family members, friends, coworkers, the abortionists, the list goes on.
Unfortunately, we have been told that this particular church may be closing in September. This would be a real tragedy for New York, and the pro-life movement. If you feel like doing your bit to help save this wonderful church, please join in the 54 day rosary novena to Our Lady of Pompeii. (See attached photo for info. J: Joyful. S: Sorrowful. G: Glorious)
Today we celebrated the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola - founder of the Jesuit order. As a soldier, he was injured in battle, and forced to stay in bed for a long period of time. He read the lives of the saints and was compelled to live a virtuous and holy life, which he did. At the time that he was most physically weak, following the injury, he became the strongest he had ever been, in spirit and in life.
Today, this made me realise that, perhaps those days when we are completely run down and exhausted, the only thing we can do is kneel and pray from our hearts. When we feel so weak and helpless, maybe that's when we are strongest and closest to the Lord. He hears the cries of His people and rejoices in us running to Him. He is a loving and merciful God - how wonderful it is to be a part of this Body of Christ.
I pray that you all have a restful night and awake refreshed in the Lord, ready to continue this battle. We are soldiers of Christ, armed with love and prayer. Let's keep fighting the good fight.
And keep the faith. Trust in Him.
God bless, Vx
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.