Without God

When I began Sidewalk Counseling I was perplexed by the fact on how can one approach women entering the abortion facility. The order goes something like this if I can recall from my training with Mr.M : Woman, abortion, baby, God i.e Talk about her- her issue,fear, concerns and the situation forcing her into the abortion center, then talk about the effects of abortion- physical, mental, emotional and relational then move on to talk about the baby- giving the scientific data about the child in the womb. Like, the developmental milestones. finally, talk about God. I was amused about the fact that one can  talk about God to a random stranger. I am dumb, after all it’s America. But what’s the connection between God and abortion? Can one try to be pro life without God? Can there be an end to abortion without God? For the matter of fact, will there be an end to euthanasia or any kind of violence without God? Can someone make sense without God? The answer is ‘NO’. It’s as simple as it sounds. Sorry folks!

You can try to use science at sidewalk, you can use psychoanalysis at sidewalk, you can use highly complicated and time tested methodologies to do good effectively and stop abortion but at the end of the day nothing works as much as Prayer, sacrifice, Mass or Eucharist to end abortion. I am very arrogant in presenting this truth because abortion is not a product of failed social system or political agenda but it is the result of evil. It might be hard to digest this fact and I will not be surprised about that considering the status of our secular society. It’s funny to see people discussing empirical methods and strategies to do sidewalk counseling, well they are doing good but remember the old verse : The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.- Proverbs:21:31 . Its very sensical specially when you see how God chose the most unlikely: the shepherd to fight a giant, the stammerer to lead people to promised land, the infertile to give children as many as stars, the widow, the  persecutor, the fishermen, the tax collector. Ordinary men for extraordinary tasks. Sometimes even broken men for mind blowing jobs. Yet people think they can end abortion without God, only with the help of science, logic and law. It’s nothing but foolishness.

People can try and do good but they cannot end abortion. A good no. of catholic organizations do not want to keep up neither their catholic identity nor bring God in their Sidewalk counseling approaches. The reason behind this might sound reasonable at first i.e; not to turn off people by speaking about God. However a grave mistake is committed here of trying to save the body and simply not care about the soul. That’s simply not a ‘save’ at all.

In training with Sister. Dorothy who has been in the ministry of Sidewalk Counseling for more than 20 years I was introduced to a different strategy. Monstrance and IncenseShe tries to talk about God as soon as she can. No avoiding God, No keeping God for last. This makes much sense because The Servant of God Fr. John Hardon once said: “There’s no stopping Abortion without The Eucharist.”  Many priests in the Pro-life mission like Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Imbarrato have explained the reason behind this. Eucharist is Christ giving his body and blood for mankind out of love for ‘other’ and abortion is the opposite: taking the life of the other for oneself. It uses the same phrase used in Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: ‘This is my Body’. Abortion is a sacrilege, a mockery at God. And how one can expect to combat this with techniques of Psychology and Biology? Will people stop committing abortion just by showing the videos of fetus inside the womb happily sucking the thumb? No.

Cardinal O’Connor said it perfectly: “The Culture of Death will be converted to Culture of Life…only by the spiritual life of those created in the image and likeness of God”. And for this reason The Sister’s of Life whose charism is to defend the sanctity of human life encourage their co-workers to deeper spiritual life with frequent communion, and close touch with sacraments. Especially Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Without Mass, Rosary and Sacraments one cannot combat the evil of Culture of Death even if one is a world renowned Psychotherapist. I can bet my life on this.

If you are involved in active Pro-Life ministry like Sidewalk Counseling or Praying in front of clinics or volunteering in any least way to promote culture of life, then you need a very deep spiritual life. The struggle is much greater and the enemy much more schematic than you can ever imagine. Especially with things like Satanism and ritualistic abortion it’s humanly impossible to fight abortion by oneself. We are in need of grace, extraordinary grace, to combat the culture of death.

We had a wonderful opportunity to be with Sisters of Life this weekend to revive our soul to continue the battle for the next one year. I wish Catholics all over world involved in pro-life ministry had the opportunity that I had. Fr.John Hardon used to say : Remember even by simply being present before the abortion clinic after the reception of Sacraments opens the door to graces which works in its own ways for the conversion of souls. Encourage fellow catholics about this to combat the Culture of Death. We have to speak to our fellow Catholics about being channels of grace for those who are in need of them especially those who follow culture of death. Mother Angelica said: “If Catholics were truly Catholic, the world would change overnight.” Being silent and minding one’s own business does not help. The least people can do is hurt our egos by mocking us, making fun or talk behind our back and the most they can do is harm the body. None can touch the soul which is labors for God alone. Ultimately it’s the soul which is going to face the judgement and go to heaven. Not the image, status, vainglory. As Christians we are called to go out of our way to do good like the Good Samaritan. As Pope St. John Paul II said Let’s not be satisfied with mediocrity.

“At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.”

The Greatness of Smallness

I have been doing Sidewalk counseling for the past eight months and I’ve never had what they call ‘a save’. I’ve never encountered drama, I’ve never been heroic, I’ve never had any eye-opening experience. I’ve never spoken to any women other than one single mother who eventually gave in to despair and went ahead with the abortion. I stand there among awesome people who work for God tirelessly saving a soul a week from abortion. Like Mr. M. Sometimes it’s disheartening. But that’s the work of devil. However I cannot say I’ve never really made an impact.

A lot of times I used to feel ashamed of looking at the sub-normal level of my role at the sidewalk and wonder what in the world am I doing here, doing nothing. I was always afraid of being insignificant and not making a difference, of not just failing but being average. I always felt uneasy with my presumption of people’s expectations of how I would be at the Sidewalk. I had thoughts about people mocking at me to consider it was ridiculous for me to think of becoming a Sidewalk Counselor.  If you have had moments as these better don’t let them stop you from standing up for the unborn, the dying, the terminally ill, the abused or the vulnerable; because, we share something fascinating and you will understand the greatness of smallness by the end of this post.

Everyone must have had an idea about the jewish holocaust. The monstrosity of evil couldn’t triumph over good and it was the great time of sanctity, sainthood and stout heartedness. Saints made best use of this time to show their love for God and neighbor. But among the 2579 catholic clergymen who were imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp Fr. Karl Leisner wants to tell us something very profound.

Dachau concentration camp was the result of deep hatred Nazi’s had towards the Church and a strong evidence that World War II was not a political event but a spiritual one. I would love to look at your face when I tell you that there was Holy Sacrifice of Mass and secret ordinations happening in the middle of a concentration camp among all the intensity of agony. Smuggling flowers for the altar and passing secret messages of prayer times, having a person to look out while singing hymns and breaking bread. Satan would have felt a terrible blow right on the face while looking at people making vestments secretly managing to find altar cloths, rusted old table and bringing hosts. Everything at the cost of immediate death or torture. How on earth would someone smuggle flowers for Mass when they knew they would be shot? isn’t that small thing look great now? Letting go of one’s life while picking flowers for Holy Mass where Christ would be present in body, blood,soul and divinity for others amidst the horrors unleashed by evil forces. And now it makes sense when St. John of the Cross said: At the end of the day we will be judged on love alone”.

In the middle of the institutionalized and widely accepted and celebrated human torture was a day of complete magnificence in Dachau. A secret ordination for Fr. Karl Leisner. A taste of heaven in hell. Fr.Karl was suffering from tuberculosis while he was in camp and lost hope of being ordained. During this time  Msgr. Gabriel Piquet, Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand in France was transferred from the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace to Dachau. He worked along with Cardinal Faulhaber and the Bishop of Muenster and the arrangements for ordination began. Father Karl celebrated his first Mass on Dec. 26 — the feast of St. Stephen the Martyr, but it was the only Mass he would ever celebrate. He died in a sanatorium in few months after Dachau was liberated. Now does this one Mass look small, tiny, meager or trivial or does it look great and glorious? Fr. Karl was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II. How about that !                                                                          

We have to remember that “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – vincent van gogh. We don’t have to be or become great. The essence is in littleness. The only third woman b8890a28dc0a2139138607cc656d104eto become the Doctor of the Church revolutionized spirituality with this concept. Because the perspective of God is so different from the way we see and measure things. While organizations can go flurry over how many saves they had, how many turnarounds they achieved only God can see how much love you carry in your heart to try and do something for these little ones. While numbers serve great purpose and can be used to encourage people, no one should lose spirit because they couldn’t make statistics. let me tell you that sometimes the littlest  things take up the most room in your heart. Winnie the Pooh didn’t say it but St. Therese of Lisieux did. God can see through you and again sorry but i’ll have to quote her again: “You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” -Saint Therese of Lisieux

So never be afraid to be little, do little, it is the Love that matters most. So next time you see or hear someone being low in spirits because their actions weren’t supposedly great or dramatic or the outcome of their efforts weren’t huge or brilliant or that no woman changed her mind from abortion or no child was saved or no worker left the abortion clinic or no souls converted tell them that still it looks great in sight of God. Because even we adults would naturally be carried away by how a child shows it’s love and there’s no doubt God will be pleased by our little effort and who knows He might be going around saying “oh look what my child did today!” in a proud fashion of a father and His grace will make impossible things possible. The more we are little the more God can work through us. Because at the end of the day we will be judged on love alone.

And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them,… – Mathew:18