Monday, December 10, 2007

Pray for those who persecute you

During the 40 days for life there were several people who would take the time to slow down or even stop and explain in very kind terms how they felt abortion should be legal and available to all. Ok, who am I kidding, there wasn't a single hour when we weren't cursed, yelled at, had objects thrown at us, or were charged with vehicles (although that did only happened once). There was a reason I loved the 3am hour, it was so quiet and peaceful, perfect for prayer.

One day as I prayed I saw a friend's car pull into the parking lot. I hadn't spoken to him in ages and was thrilled to see him again. It turned out he wasn't so thrilled to see me. He reported that he "flicked us off" every time he drove by and insisted that Planned Parenthood did many good things for poor women. I told him that there were other places that provided these services without doing the abortions. I tried to explain, but he just walked away.

Later, as I thought about my friend I realized that there is no one I know of in his life who is Christian, or if they are, they wouldn't be praying for him. He's got a nice job, a comfortable apartment, and friendly demeanor; you'd never know that he was hurting and in need of prayers. I used to pray for him, but as the years have passed we moved apart, I suppose you could say he "fell off the bottom of my prayer list." The Lord had brought him to my attention a lot lately, but I always felt like I had too many people to pray for. I'm sorry to say that it was easier to say a general prayer for all sinners than to pray for him.

I was reminded of what Christ said to us, "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me, whatever you fail to do, you fail to do for me." As I listened to the screams and curses of the others I realized that they are like my friend, hurting and suffering and desperately in need of our prayers. For them to feel so much hatred and anger, means they at one point knew love. By refusing to pray for them I'd failed Christ.

The next time someone curses you, consider that you may be the only Christian in their life. There may be no one else petitioning for their conversion. The Lord will pour out his graces in their lives through our prayers. Would you deny them your prayers and the chance to know His Mercy and Love? Will you, in turn, deny our Lord?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ecumenism during 40 Days for Life

When I originally posted the novena for the 40 Days for Life campaign I was not planning on having a major involvement in it outside of prayer. Being extraordinarily shy I didn't feel capable of calling people, going out to the vigil itself or anything else they needed help on. As attested by my Nerd Test, I'm good with computers and books, not with social interactions with large numbers of people.

Well the Lord had plans for getting me very involved with it and I'm still shocked over how much I did. I spent several hours praying outside, with people yelling at me, on a busy street, nearly in tears, shaking like a leaf. I've held debates with people on the streets, called people on the [most certainly evil] phone, petitioned for others to come out, sang and prayed. I was constantly amazed at what the Lord was accomplishing with our [often pathetic] efforts.

Being a part of such a tremendous prayer movement was amazing. I wasn't looking towards the abortion clinic closing or X number of babies being saved, but towards a change in hearts. Such a change cannot be measured in numbers, but is known in the depths of each individual; sometimes not until years later.

One thing I brought away from it was a tremendous respect for non-Catholic Christians. Up until this point most of my contact with other Christians has been either in the form of anti-catholics or Sunday Christians. The Christians I met during those 40 days were neither, but were instead people who loved God deeply and were willing to go the extra mile to communicate that love to others.

There were many things that impressed me and that I wanted to bring into my Catholic life. Like the ability to pick up the Bible and feel comfortable reading it or the ability to just pray whatever is on your heart to pray and not feel self-conscious about it. One day we did a meditation on the Our Father where we "translated" what was being said. Other times they pulled out scriptures and were comfortable just flipping through them. Many different forms of prayers, all brought together in such beautiful ways.

As I was leaving one day I realized that I was terribly weak in prayer life, and pitiful in my knowledge of scriptures. I was amazed at the abilities of these people who were lacking so much in their faith, yet were able to accomplish so much more. I realized that they were like amputees who, having lost their legs, had strengthened their arms to compensate. I realized that I can learn a great deal from them, even as I prayed for their return home.

I also realized that they would probably find offense in that analogy, so I kept my mouth shut and instead just learned from them ways of prayer lost to most modern Catholics. And I pray for them, that they may one day return home, for with the strengths they have gained I can only begin to imagine the great saints they have the potential to be.

The conversion of hearts had happened, and the hardened heart of stone was mine.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

God's sense of humor

I'm sure I've lost all readership I started to build up, something about not posting for several months will do that. Well I've decided to start posting again; we'll see how long this lasts.

Recently my temp job ended and I had to look for a new job. I love looking for jobs; so much so that I avoided it like the plague for several weeks. The Lord will provide right?? You would think that procrastinating like I was I would have posted a lot. No, that would have admitted it, instead I lurked on other blogs and cleaned my apartment.

Well, the Lord took care of me anyway and provided me with another job. I'm scanning scantrons. You know, those little bubble sheets for exams like the SAT and GRE's. YUP! My day is currently filled with seven wonderful hours of fixing sheets for people who don't realize that you're supposed to fill IN the bubble, not circle it.

Wasn't that so nice of Jesus to make sure I had work? the past hour I've applied for four REAL jobs and I'm searching frantically for others...

While He looks upon me with laughter.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Movie of the Month Club

This month's movie club movie was a true classic, The Creature from the Haunted Sea. That is it's title right?

Sweet, I remembered it, that's impressive considering I watched it two weeks ago and tried to forget it as much as humanly possible.

Well, the movie started off very cliche and I spent the rest of the movie wondering if it would get worse. Of course it did. I learned a very important lesson from this:

If a something starts of cliche, then moves through bad to worse, don't bother staying for act three in hopes that it will improve.

This lesson turned out to be highly useful. My friends and I recently went to a "religious" conference that started off cliche, moved to bad and then to worse. Remembering my experience from this film I choose not to stay for act three, yet my two friends did. When we got together later that night it was clear from their stories that I made the smart decision in leaving. Infact my friends both wished they had left earlier and really wanted to take showers to feel "clean again".

However, I did stay for act three of the movie and, with that, I should really try to find a religious meaning in it. To my shock, I found that it was truly a religious film with a very deep spiritual message for us all.

Near the end of the film, Mrs Bad turns to Captain Bad and proclaims her undying love for him. As an aside, I refuse to rewatch the film to remember their names; now that some amnesia has set in I refuse to fix it. Right then the monster appears and attacks Mrs Bad while Captain Bad tries to make his cowardly escape, only to meet his doom in the end. This struck me as a beautiful allegory of our first parents' fall into sin.

In the second chapter of Genesis we learn that man was given a commission to cultivate and protect the garden of Eden. Yet, when the serpent came to tempt Eve, he remained suspiciously quiet. He allowed her to take the full brunt of the attack out of cowardice and fear; threw her to the monster, so to speak, in hopes of jumping ship and saving his own skin. Yet in the process, he lost his own life and the lives of all future generations.

Then there is the "animal noise couple", of which "animal noise guy" gave his life so his gal would have a chance to swim to safety. Although I think she dies in the end, it's still a reflection on how Jesus gave his life for us that we may all be saved through baptism.

Afterwards I praised God that it was over and begged that Manos, Hands of Fate and Cave Dwellers were not on public forum. So you could say the movie brought about an increase of prayer in my life.

And thus I learned the second part of that first important lesson:

If a something starts of cliche, then moves through bad to worse, don't bother staying for act three in hopes that it will improve. Yet, all works out for the good for those who love God and he can bring good out of evil...even if you dash your foot against the stone.

Yea, we're still trying to find significance in that conference, the closest I can find at this point is that we'll have plenty to laugh at for weeks to come and I'll have material for several posts and maybe get my blog started again.