Last week’s prayer vigil kicking off our local 40 Days for Life campaign was a wonderful, prayerful experience. Fr. Eric led us in the pro-life rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, & a prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe; heck, we even sang a couple of hymns – all in downtown Beaverton, OR! Practically speaking, I was worried our kids wouldn’t hold out for the whole deal, but they were real champs – not a meltdown among them. My middle daughter was practically shouting the “Hail Mary,” but at least she was shouting the right words.
All told, I think there were nearly 90 souls in attendance. Not bad, considering it was a work/school night and I’m sure there were plenty of other activities people had to choose from. And yet, after the candles were blown out and my little souls were tucked snugly in their beds, I was a bit disheartened. “Why are we only doing this for 40 days?” I lamented. “Babies are dying EVERY day! Shouldn’t we be doing this EVERY SINGLE DAY?” Why wasn’t I standing outside the abortion clinic every day?
I felt embarassed and ashamed. Maybe the way I felt that night was something like the way Jesus’ apostles felt when they fell asleep at the wheel that night in the Garden of Gesthemane. Jesus found them all conked out, and said to Peter,
“So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:40-41).
Upon further reflection, however, I am reminded that the Body of Christ has many parts. We cannot all be the hand, or the eye (or, in my case, the spleen) – see 1 Corinthians 12. In the Church, there are many different gifts and callings. Not all men are called to the ordained priesthood. Some are dads, some are living the single life, and quite a few aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing. In turn, not all priests are called to monastic life, while some are better pastors than administrators, and vice versa. Many women are wives and mothers, and some are busy chasing those guys who don’t know what they’re doing yet. Other women become religious, some of whom teach, or work caring for the infirmed, and some are hidden from the world, praying for souls and serving Christ in one another.
I could then get into the sub-callings within each vocation. My point is, because of our stations and seasons in life, we can’t all devote endless hours to prayerful vigil outside abortion mills any more than we can spend countless hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel. Our children (and husbands) need us to be home every once in a while!
I’m not going to give up hope that some day I can devote more time to the pro-life activities beyond the confines of my home, but as long as I have these little souls who are entrusted to me, I am doing everything I can to raise future pro-lifers, including showing them that, even if only for 40 days, it’s important to pray for life in front of an abortion mill on a school night.