We pray for God's gift of strength as we strive to protect human life during these 40 Days for Life.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
-- Matthew 6:25-26
Billions of dollars are spent each year on diet plans. But Jesus tells us to stop worrying so much about our bodies, and instead to trust in God's care for our physical needs.
What would happen if the people who had started on a low-carb diet this year had instead gone on a diet of heavenly food? For non-believers that diet would include trusting in Christ for their salvation, and for believers it would include a renewed prayer life, a new Bible study, or even a spiritual fast. This diet doesn't include giving up on certain kinds of foods. What this diet includes is giving up on anxiety by resting in the loving arms of Christ, trusting that He will provide.
Such a spiritual diet also frees us from our worries, and allows us to freely praise Him and serve others. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
This promised provision teaches us the inestimable worth of our lives. He will not allow us to go without. This intimate knowledge and care for human life on the part of our gracious God is what motivates us to seek for the preservation of human life in all its stages.
Loving heavenly Father, help us to see the worth of all human beings by the way in which you provide for us. We would ask that you provide also the faith, grace and courage to enable us to protect that which is so precious to you. Through Christ our Lord, amen.
Lutherans for Life
Pro Life quote of the day: "This country is in desperate need of saints, of men and woman who, by their very existence in a profound communion with God, will be 'portals' of divine grace for this beleaguered country. It is just and noble (and necessary) to fight abortion on the levels of politics and media. But that is not enough. You can't overcome the Beast on his own terms, in his own arena. The only thing against which the devil has no defense is holiness. It disarms and destroys him, and lays waste all his insidious plans. Only divine grace can reach a hardened heart - not cogent arguments, irrefutable logic and scientific fact, or political prowess, not even an appeal to someone's basic humanity. And grace flows through the prayers and sufferings of the saints."
-- Abbot Joseph
This video has particular relevance to the 40 days for life campaign: we are praying that we will hit tipping point during this campaign.... leading to transformational events in the UK and the beginning of the end of abortion here.
If you've learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let's watch a movement happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and dissect some lessons:
A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he's doing is so simple, it's almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!
Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it's not about the leader anymore - it's about them, plural. Notice he's calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.
The 2nd follower is a turning point: it's proof the first has done well. Now it's not a lone nut, and it's not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.
A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers - not the leader.
Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we've got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we've got a movement!
As more people jump in, it's no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there's no reason not to join now. They won't be ridiculed, they won't stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you'll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they'd be ridiculed for not joining.
And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made! Let's recap what we learned:
If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.
Be public. Be easy to follow!
But the biggest lesson here - did you catch it?
Leadership is over-glorified.
Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he'll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened:
It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.
There is no movement without the first follower.
We're told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.
The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.
When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.
I’m so grateful to you that your ‘witness’ persuaded me into showing up at the Vigil today. I’m not sure if I mentioned, but I had never done anything like that ever before. I felt nervous as I arrived and I had little idea what to expect, but of course everyone was very welcoming and I felt ‘bedded in.’
I do often feel rather timid when it comes to speaking about my faith in an unsympathetic environment. But having prayed for almost 2 hours in the street in the presence of total strangers and getting strange looks and a little bit of abuse (“I’d flamethrower the lot of you”!) I realised why so many people say that being involved with pro life work (and especially vigils) was THE thing that energised their faith. In a sense one is so ‘metaphysically exposed’ that one can’t really dodge the question ‘why aren’t you doing more about your faith?’ leading on to ‘what are the obstacles to Grace within me?’
But as I say I don’t want you to think that I was just standing there engaged in profound introspection! I also prayed for an end to this all. With all the advances in medicine etc I think sometimes you have to pinch yourself to remember that something so crude and evil is just rolling on.
I’m not really sure why I’ve written all this, but I thought you might be interested in my impressions, maybe I just needed to TELL someone, and of course I wanted to thank you again.
Pray for those who work in the abortion industry, and for those who have repented of committing abortions and have resolved to defend life.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."
-- Luke 23:46-47
"Those of us who have participated in the killing of unborn children are the Centurions of today. We have dropped our swords against the unborn child. Now we must recognize the depth of our guilt and deal with the ramifications... To revitalize our humanity we need to forgive and be forgiven, to reconcile and be healed."
These words come from a brochure of the Society of Centurions, an organization for former abortion providers. These words convey in a beautiful and moving way what is happening across the nation as hundreds of abortionists and their staff members experience repentance, conversion, and healing.
How does this conversion begin? Dr. Philip Ney writes, "The factors that changed their opinion on performing abortions, in the following order of frequency, were: evidence of the infant's humanity, a spiritual experience, personal distress, evidence of the mother's distress, scientific articles, being accepted as a person, a personal relationship with a pro-lifer, pro-life pickets." (The Centurion's Pathway, p. 77).
The journey is not easy. But the Jesus who heals us calls us to face the truth of what we've done, make restitution where possible, and engage in the hard work of mending relationships. Let's pray for the Centurions; may their numbers increase!
Lord, we thank you for those who have repented of committing abortions and have resolved to defend life. We too repent and resolve. We repent of every instance in which fear has made us silent when we should have spoken. We repent of the ongoing bloodshed in our land, and for thinking that we can deprive the unborn of protection but keep it for ourselves. We resolve that we will advance the cause of righteous candidates for public office, and that we will be more afraid of offending you by our silence than of offending others by our speech. We resolve that we will proclaim your name to the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Pro life quote of the day: Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls.
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
That we may use these 40 Days for Life to plead for God's mercy and grace upon all those involved in the sin of abortion.
Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Gather the people, notify the congregation. Assemble the elders; gather the children and the infants at the breast... Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, "Spare, O Lord, your people."
-- Joel 2:15-17
The toll of abortion cannot be measured. We hear estimates of almost 50 million innocent victims, but that's only one aspect of the harm that has unfolded in abortion's wake. There are also the mothers and fathers of these millions, as well as the grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. Unborn lives destroyed. Lives of the living shattered.
It's overwhelming and depressing, but even in the midst of such unfathomable darkness, the church teaches us to have hope. Yes, it was indeed Calvary that followed Christ's 40 days in the desert, but without Calvary there would have been no Resurrection - His victory over death that opened the gates of heaven to those who believe in and follow Him.
The psalmist encourages us to go humbly before God as we seek His will: "A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me... Give me back the joy of your salvation and a willing spirit sustain in me... O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise" (Psalm 51:12, 14, 17).
We are called to be God's messengers; or as the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians: "We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20). That is the true message to all we encounter at the abortion centers and in our communities who have been deceived by the Culture of Death. We don't bring condemnation; we bring God's good news.
Lord, we ask for the strength, courage, wisdom, determination and stamina to carry out this mission according to Your will. Guide us, we pray, as we go forth and proclaim Your truth, always doing so with a spirit of love and compassion, as was demonstrated to us by Your Son, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, amen.
Communications Director, 40 Days for Life
"A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer." Blessed Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 100.
If you feel you want to help promote the 40 days for life campaign which starts this Wednesday, here are some simple things you can do:
1. Get your parish to put an announcement in the bulletin - speak to the parish priest. The announcement could be in each bulletin over the 40 days period.
2. Ask your parish priest/ pastor to make an announcement after Mass/ service. You could then collect the emails of anyone interested in taking part as they leave.
3. Ask if you can place some flyers or put a poster up at the back of the church. If you need flyers, email me the quantity and we will get some to you ASAP.
4. Ask if you can speak after Mass/service about 40 days for life. A sample talk is attached or you can just say the short announcement. If you do this, it is a good idea to hand out the flyers as the congregation walks in, and collect the contact details of those who want to take part as they leave.
5. Promote 40 days for life on facebook - invite your friends to events, get onto our facebook page, link to our website.
6. Tell your Christian friends, speak at prayer groups.
7. Reach out to churches of all denominations - just walk in and speak to the boss!
8. Get involved in outreach - door to door outreach on the first 4 Saturdays 11am-6:30pm, handing out the magazines in the week of the 3rd October, 4-6pm. Contact Beata (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to find out more.
The 40 Days for Life Campaign was launched in London on 22nd September,outside the 'Marie Stopes' Clinic in Whitfield St. The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during 40 days of prayer,fasting, and peaceful witness, with the purpose of repentance. To seek God's favour to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing the end of abortion.
The campaign has three components
Prayer and Fasting: To join together to access God's power through fervent prayer and fasting.
Peaceful Vigil: Standing for life through 40 Days peaceful, public witness at the abortion site, with street counsellors.
Community outreach: Taking The Pro-Life Message from London to the UK through the media, church and school outreach, petition drives and public witness
'40 Days' began in America in 2004 when David Bereit with his wife and another couple were fervently praying, seeking God's Will for how they could best impact their local abortion clinic. They were led to a '24 hour' peaceful prayer vigil over 40 days at the abortion site, and the results were amazing. A 28% reduction in abortions in that local area. The campaign generated intense interest, and the numbers increased at the site daily, many came for the first time.
Why 40 Days?
God has used the period of 40 Days throughout history to bring about major transformation.
Noah experienced transformation during 40 days of rain.
Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai.
David was transformed from Goliath's 40 Day Challange.
Elijah transformed when God gave him 40 days strength after one meal.
Nineveh transformed when the city remained faithful for 40 days.
Jesus transformed the world following 40 days in the dessert.
Disciples transformed after 40 days with Jesus after the resurrection.
In 2007 the 40 days campaign was launched Nationwide in America, and in September 2010 it launched here and in Europe.
The track record results since 2004 are very encouraging
13,000 Church Congregations have become involved with 40 days for Life Campaign
400,000 individuals have committed to pray and fast to end abortion
Many individuals with an abortion experience in their past have found healing.
14 abortion clinics where 40 days for life campaigned outside their doors have closed down and gone out of business.
Dozens of abortion clinics have experinced sharp setbacks, cutting down on hours and closing down for days at a time.
Through the media 1,500 news stories have been given prominant coverage about the 40 Days for Life Effort.
92% of 40 Days for Life participants reported that they grew spiritually and personally through their involvement in the campaign.
Many people have turned back to God with renewed HOPE.
My own experience during the last 40 Days has been remarkable. For the last three years I have been closely involved with The Helpers of Gods Precious Infants and Our Lady's Good Counsel Network, regularly participating in vigils outside abortion clinics. The numbers on a weekly basis have always been very small. However, whilst I have seen God work marvels with small numbers, the power of this campaign has demonstrated to me how much more God can work with the increasing number of generous souls who joined this campaign at the site for 40 Days.
The foundation of this Campaign is built on prayer and fasting. It is through the intercession that we have seen the fruit. Whilst it is important to pray at home and in Church, especially before The Blessed Sacrament, it is also vital to pray and witness at the abortion site. It is not only the babies and their mothers and fathers entering the clinic who need our prayers, but all those who work in the clinic, who mistakenly think they are serving women. We pray for them with God's Love and Compassion, for the 'Light of Christ' to touch them and begin working in their souls. It is also important to 'evangelize' the passing public with the truth of when 'Life' begins. So many are misguided in their thinking and understanding. By informing the public, especially the youth, with good literature and well researched articles exposing the truth we can begin to change our current secular culture of death to one of life!
In recent years the number of abortions world wide has reached unprecedented levels. The statistics are shocking, more than 50 million babies per year. One quarter of a million in this country alone, and 94% of those abortions are funded by the NHS. Our silence will not arrest this holocaust but fasting, prayer and peaceful witness will!
Over recent years, on a weekly basis, there have been just a few of us at the sites. However, the difference I encountered over the 40 Days Campaign as a street counsellor, when our numbers were significantly increased was remarkable.
Two ladies with whom I engaged in conversation turned around in their thinking and made the decision to keep their babies. One had booked her abortion for the following week. Many of the mothers and fathers entering the clinic are totally unware of the development of their baby in the womb. The workers in the clinic make it a policy not to show the mother the scan of her baby. Many are unware of the dangers involved, especially with the abortion pill (RU 486), which is rapidly on the increase. Most mothers are blinded to the fact that by eliminating one 'perceived' problem by abortion, they can ulimately create many more in the long term. More than 65% of women feel coerced into abortion as they see no other alternative. Many of the women and men entering the clinic brush you aside, sometimes in an aggresive manner, but a surprising number of women and sometimes men will engage in conversation. Some feel relieved to speak to a stranger about their plight. It is so encouraging to be able to offer them leaflets, telling them of the 'truths' they will not hear in the clinic. Also offering them support with organisations such as Our Lady of Good Counsel, and reassuring them of continued prayer. There was one lady who marched straight from the clinic over the road to where the intercessors were praying and said "How can you help me?" She kept her baby!
With all the encounters over the 40 Days Campaign, there were many unconfirmed reports of women changing their minds and keeping their babies. These reports are unconfirmed because the mother has not felt comfortable giving her telephone number to us, which is totally understood and respected.
One lady worker connected to the clinic, left her job during the 40 Days after being counselled outside the clinic.
In our public witness it is important to 'evangelize' the passing public, with leaftlets and magazines telling the truth about when 'life' begins, the scientic facts and testimonies from women and men who regret their abortion, and all the numbers of support groups available.
We heard about one women, in a dillema about her pregnacy who had made the decision to have an abortion. She picked up a discarded leaflet on the pavement with the words 'Are You Pregnant?' She called The Good Counsel Network for help. She kept her baby.
Many of the passing public who engaged in conversations were very difficult and painful encounters. Some were complete 'open heavens', with the Grace of God. One young man said he and his girlfriend had an abortion a year ago, and he deeply regretted it. He thinks about it everyday. He said he was no longer with his girlfriend, often the case when a couple make the decision to have an abortion. His pain was very evident and though he did not fully believe in the existance of God, he allowed me to share about our belief in a loving God who offers forgiveness and longs to heal his pain. It was humbling when he allowed me to pray for him. He said he felt comforted, and I gave him a rosary and prayer cards explaining how to pray Our Lady's Rosary for healing. He then asked for one for his girlfriend, as he is still in touch with her. I was then stunned when he said 'I wish you guys had been outside the clinic when I came with my girlfriend, I could be a Dad now!' It felt like God had spoken directly through him! I assurred him of our continued prayers for him and his girlfriend.
Another lady, who wanted to pass by on her bicycle stopped and looked at all those on the opposite side of the street praying with their heads bowed. She asked me 'Is this a funeral, can I pass?' It was difficult to know quite how to answer her question honestly. When I explained what we were doing, her eyes filled with tears and she said she had an abortion 18 years ago. Her honesty and her vulnerabilty were humbling. I was able to tell her about Rachael's Vineyard and Our Lady's Good Counsel Network for healing. She thanked me and said she had never really spoken about it. I gave her the prayer cards, a rosary and beautiful words of comfort from Pope JP II to women suffering the wounds of abortion.
These and other amazing and humbling encounters were the result of God working through all the fasting and prayer to reach a confused, wounded and broken society.
Many seeds were sown, for God to begin working with, even in the most difficult and painful of encounters.
There were more than 316 cities all taking part around the world at the same time. Many more cities have expressed an interest in joining the next Campaign.
The First UK Campaign began with 350 volunteers and grew to a thousand by the end of the 40 Days. Many came for the first time, from as far as Scotland and Cornwall. All ages from teens to those in their eighties. Some came as groups from different churches, some came as husband and wife teams. Some came for one hour to several hours. Quite a few young people came in the evenings to pray and sing hymns.
Many of those who came for the first time were very nervous, but so encouraged by seeing God at work during the vigil, that they came back again and again, bringing their friends.
May we encourage you to consider joining us for the next 40 Days Campaign, details are below. There is a great need for this work to grow, and we need more people to join us. Just recently The Society for The Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) asked us to join them in an awareness campaign outside Stratford Station, as a new abortion clinic has just opened it's doors a few minutes walk from the station.
Sadly, East London, and our county of Essex in particular, has the highest number of abortions in the UK.
We will be showing a documentary on 'Being Human' in September at St. Augustines Parish, date to be announced shortly in the news letter. Please do join us to learn more about this wonderful work, and please bring someone with you.
"Let us not grow weary of doing good for in due time, we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up" Gal 6 vrs9
"They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles wings. They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint."Isaiah 40 vrs 31
Finally may I quote Father Frank Pavone Head of 'Priests For Life' World wide, who recently said:
" My dear brothers and sisters we must not grow weary in this difficult battle, we must 'Fight the good Fight' and remember we are going FROM VICTORY TO VICTORY!
The Next 40 days for life will begin September 28th in Central London, Bedford Square and/or Whitfield St.
Pope John Paul II's Compassionate Words to those who have had an abortion..........
I would like now to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourself over in humility and trust to repentance. The Father of Mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitely lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.