It was COLD. Though I remember one year when it was only 9 degrees, the relentless wind and approaching precipitation made it bitter this morning, for sure. From Midnight till 1:00 AM, we stood in front of the abortion place: 6 adults and 2 children (with one, the youngest, asleep in the van).
We prayed the Office for the Victims of Abortion and the Akathist to Saint Nicholas, patron of children. In the past, our parish had volunteered for the 5-6 AM slot. Due to my secular job, that was not possible this year.
When we arrived there was a group of folks just ending their stint in front of the killing place. They were loud, laughing, socializing. It seemed odd to hear such chatter out front of such a horrid place. The noise was a source of temptation for me. The Enemy. He never lets you alone, ya know?
They eventually left after we were about 10 minutes into our service. I couldn’t help but imagine that the woman who kept laughing loudly, tempting, was probably a much more faithful Pro-lifer than I. And here I come, for my once a year prayer at the abortuary, and mentally demand quiet. Lord have mercy!
Frigid and facing a bitter wind, we persevered and, eventually, sounded pretty good singing together. We usually hold beeswax candles. No hope, that, this year. The choir sang by flashlight.
The building we faced, FemCare, is a sterile looking place, fenced in, camera ever vigilant. It’s hard to imagine the agony enveloped therein: the emplyoees’ hardness of heart, the horror of the procedure, and the eternal scars borne by the girls and women who exit. Peculiar, ain’t it, how incarnate evil can, on the outside, look so benign and boring.
The slowly cruising police car was a silent reminder that we were being watched. The second time they passed by was timeless … slowly. It seemed to take forever. Probably due to nerves, I sang louder. God bless ’em. They’re just doing their job. Protecting an abortion mill.
Before leaving, we all greeted the organizer of the annual vigil, Mick Hunt of Life Advocates. Mick’s a serious and pious man. I’ve always felt a spirit of serenity in his presence. I wish I were more like him. I selfishly wish he were Orthodox. My conscience convicts me that I should help him, the movement, more. I’ve attended the annual March for Life in DC a half dozen times. I’ve prayed out front of local abortion mills a dozen times. And in between, what? Yeah, I feel a spirit of serenity … and guilt.
Knowing that Mick was hoping to fill the early morning with prayer volunteers, I asked if all the slots were filled. He said, “Yep, we only have one opening … now … till 6 am.” God bless him. He and his family will be there through the night, tending the sidewalk milkjug candles and struggling to stay warm, awake.
Seeing my disappointment that others had not come forth to pass the wee hours, he said, “But it’s all right. I believe it’s important to be here. We’re here for the children. I mean those are our children that are being killed in there … And if we really believed that, that those were our children, wouldn’t we be here for them? At least praying? So, I’m glad we’re here.”
I am too, Mick.
I am, too.