Monday, April 5, 2010

The Path to a Glorious Easter Season: Reflection I

There were many aspects of my faith journey during Lent that led me into the Easter season feeling different. During the 40 days of Lent, I took part in the 40 Days for Life vigil my mom headed up in Richmond. Because Fr. Kauffman, the pastor at St. Benedict’s which happens to be the closest and most supportive local Catholic parish of 40 Days for Life, led a group down to the 40 Days for Life vigil after Friday evening Mass and Stations of the Cross followed by a Lenten supper, it became a new tradition for Kevin and I to participate in all four traditions the Fridays during Lent. (Fortunately, I have an amazing work supervisor who willingly agreed to let me use my accumulated comp time to leave a half hour or more early so I could make it to Mass each Friday.)
It was encouraging to see a group of prayer warriors come together from different parishes, Christian traditions, of different ages to offer prayers, support, and spread the Gospel of Life. Taking part in the peaceful, prayerful vigil to bring and end to abortion helped me feel very grateful for my mom, my dad (who passed away August 10, 2009), and my grandma who have been such wonderful examples of faith, hope, strength, and the pro-life message.
John, a friend who has become a brother to Kevin and me, came to pray at the vigil a number of times this spring after first getting involved last fall. It was really neat to be there at lunchtime when his mom came along with him, then my mom arrived to take the next hour. Two families with parent and child present to pray for mothers and babies was pretty neat. Another day, John brought his brothers Luke and Matt to St. Benedict’s on a Friday. Matt returned with him another afternoon to pray outside the clinic, and I was uplifted by being in the presence of a thirteen almost fourteen year old who is well-educated in and enthusiastic about the pro-life movement.
My Christ Renews His Parish sister, Marshneil came with me to pray in the driving rain one morning. She shared with me a beautiful story about how she encouraged a friend of hers to choose life for her baby. She showed me pictures of her friend’s son. I told her she already understood and was doing what 40 Days for Life is about. She said it meant a lot to be there in person to pray and see people driving in and out of the clinic parking lot.
At the Closing of the Spring Richmond 40 Days for Life Vigil, we all stood under umbrellas in the pouring rain to pray the prayers sent out over the 40 Days by co-founder/National Director David Bereit. We placed flowers from my mom’s garden on the street side of the grounds and each said a private prayer before leaving. It reminded me of a man who used to come to pray at the vigil in past years who would always come with a bouquet of flowers and place it at the side porch of the clinic, as if he were laying it on the grave of a loved one.
Lord, help us to be sensitive to and therefore able to pray for and change the culture of death around us, not just during the gray days of Lent, but all year long. Amen.
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