Promoting the culture of life outside of an abortion clinic can often feel like promoting your corner shop outside of a new Tesco. Disheartening, Futile, and even a bit embarrassing. I know. I've been there many times, and despite your best efforts and fervent prayers you see countless lives lost and damaged by abortion. Despite my rather odd comparison there is one thing that's different - very different. I'm quite sure the poor soul who had just finished his time outside the Tesco, would vow to never go back; not for promoting, not for groceries, not for electrical's, not for clothes, not to book a holiday or get a key cut or any of the things you can do at Tesco's these days. When you leave an abortion clinic the only thing you want to do is go back, to pray harder, to witness more lovingly, to save one more life.
40 days for life started on September the 28th, and will be primarily composed of 40 days of non stop (apart from at night time) prayer and witness outside of hundreds of abortion clinics worldwide, including in London, and for the first time ever Birmingham. Hundreds of lives have already been saved through this campaign, and no doubt God has amazing thing in store for the future. Many of you will have already heard of 40 days ( for those who haven't), and I'd love to share a few of my experiences so far.
|This photo is actually not from 40 days, but it is outside the Calthorpe Clinic|
I think this 'pull' comes from the women. When they go in, they always go in with a hardness. It's understandably said that they go in to do the easy bit, the spiritual abortion, and the emotional rejection of the child has already happened. It's therefore no surprise that only a few will stop and talk and much fewer yet will decide to keep their baby. But what's most significant is that fewer yet come out with the same mindset as before they went in. In fact speaking to the women as they come out from my experience is so important, and so very effective - they come out ready to listen. In the words of one lady as I offered her the number for free post abortion counselling: 'thank you, I suffered from mental health problems after my last abortion'. It says it all that I have experience so much gratitude from women after their abortions - abortions DO damage women as well as their babies!! When we have created a culture of life they will be happy to listen beforehand.
The reaction from the public can often be very disheartening. This isn't because they shout things like 'child molesterer' out the car window, as one woman did strangely enough did today, but because the majority response is apathy and indifference. Something I once heard about the French during the War rings true, 3% resisted, 3% collaborated, and the rest did nothing. A few do support us, and this is wonderful. A few shout crazy things of little relevance. Most just look bemused.
For me personally 40 days has been awesome event. When I'm there I know God is there with us, and in particular his Blessed Mother. 40 days has also taught me how to pray. I don't mean new prayers, but what it means to trust in God. God does listen to our prayers! He does notice our fasting! Just last week I found out that the clinic has lost a big contract (how disgusting is that that they compete for contracts to kill people) - which is one step closer to a locked door. It's also been inspiring. I decided on the first day that I would sign up for about 5 hours to help fill in the calendar and make people feel more comfortable to sign up themselves. Was that a mistake! I arrived, I must confess that I was late, and worried that I had left someone on their own. There must have been at least ten people there when I arrived! What a joy to see people so enthusiastic for defending life! One lady who must have been over 70 was there for about 6 hours that day... what an inspiration. I can promise you that you would meet some fantastic people there too.
I would just like to encourage you. Abortion is not an issue we can let settle itself. The unborn child has no voice but yours. The women have no way of hearing a positive life affirming message without you. The abortion worker have no hope of conversion without you. The passers by will never realise they are driving past a clinic which kills thousands of babies each year without you. Most of all, when you meet Jesus on that fearsome day, he WILL ask YOU what YOU did to help his little children. I pray to God that you will say that in the Autumn of 2011 you help to make 40 days for life the most successful pro-life campaign ever.