My friend, Erin (along with many of my other friends), is a faithful participant in 40 Days for Life. I've seen her standing in the cold and the rain day after day praying in front of the abortion clinic that we used to pass on the way to work. I told her once that I felt guilty about not standing out there with them but that I would rather throw myself under a bus than do it. I thought she would probably be irritated with me after that, but she just kind of chuckled at me.
But today, I decided that was going to get myself out to the Life Chain and as much as I really, really did not want to do it, I did. This is the second time I've participated, the first being at least twelve years ago. It was a perfect day today. I don't know if I would have gone had it been raining, so I'm glad it wasn't.
When we arrived, I was glad that we had come because, as you can see, there weren't a whole lot of people there, although there were more than you can see in this picture--maybe thirty. Of course, this is north Mississippi, so there weren't tons of people to draw on.
Standing there for an hour, I found that pretty soon I lost consciousness of the cars passing by and even the other people standing around me and became lost in my thoughts. For one thing, although I was sure I should be there, I wondered why we were there. I wondered if demonstrations like this do any good. Could it possibly make any difference? Everyone seems so intransigent on this issue. Everyone has chosen sides, and knows all their lines. Could this group of not particularly lovely people standing along the side of the road nudge anyone's conscious?
But then, are we to do nothing? Should we just sit complacently while the culture of death decimates the next generation? So, I'm doing this one thing, and remembering what Charles Williams says about building an altar in one place so that fire can come down in another. I'm trusting that God can take this sacrifice of mine, which may have no discernible value, transform it, and use it for his purposes.
This morning at Mass, we sang the hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, and I noticed for the first time that we have replace the second verse. When I was young we used to sing:
Praise to the Lord, let us offer our gifts at the altar.
Let not our sins and offenses now cause us to falter.
Christ, the High Priest, bids us all join in His feast,
Victims with Him on the altar.
I don't know why that verse was removed. Are we no longer willing to be victims with Him? Did someone think it was to harsh--that it's better to sing about God's love for us and never think about all that unpleasantness? The problem is that it is impossible to be with Him and separate ourselves from His suffereing. I think it's time that we started singing that verse again.