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.

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