I have felt the overwhelming power of prayer in my life many times and am convinced of its saving nature. The heart, the source of who we are, is also the source of all prayer. As the catechism states (#2563) “…. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.”
On the days that I am at Aaron’s, I am paired up with Carol Seward, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee’s Director of Sidewalk Counseling. Carol counsels and I pray. It’s a good match. Both elements, praying and counseling, are necessary to ensure that all the graces available to save the lives of the babies and women inside are fully present.
At Aaron’s, you can stand at the far end of the sidewalk and look into the windows where the actual abortion procedure is performed. This is the best place to pray. Although the mill usually keeps the shades closed, it is sometimes possible to peek in and try to make eye contact with the people inside.
The sidewalk counselor, by contrast, will stand at the opposite end of the sidewalk, where the cars pull in, to talk to the people as they go inside. It is best to stay out of the way of the counselors and let them do their jobs, so I keep to the far end of the sidewalk.
On this particular day, I had been standing in my usual spot for about an hour, when I noticed Carol waving furiously at me to come and talk to her. Next to her were two women, one in her 20’s and another older lady who might have been her mother. As I walked up to them, I saw that the younger lady was crying. I did not recognize them nor had I ever seen them before.
Carol said to me, “This young lady was inside on the operating table getting ready to have her abortion when she decided to look out the window. She saw you standing there praying the Rosary and decided on the spot that if someone was willing to stand there and pray for her ,someone she did not know, then that must mean she was not supposed to have this abortion.” She got off the operating table, put her clothes back on and came outside with her mother to speak with Carol.
The young lady’s name was Anna. It turns out that her mother, Maria, had been trying to convince her not to have the abortion but had driven her to the mill in an attempt to be supportive. Maria said she told her daughter at the sign-in window inside the mill that she should not do this. Anna was very reluctant to have the abortion but felt compelled because she was graduating college in the fall and did not want the child to be in the way. She told us that the pressure from her mother, plus seeing someone standing outside praying for her, someone she didn’t know, forced her to get dressed and leave the abortion operating room.
We talked to them for a little bit and re-assured them how what good news it was that she was expecting her first child. She was 8 weeks along and Carol showed her an 8 week baby model accurately showing what was growing inside of her. Anna and Maria were fascinated at the detail shown on the model and asked questions about the baby’s development. Neither one of them was Catholic and did not want one of our rosaries, but reassured us that they were good Christian people and now looked forward to having the child.
Anna’s baby is due in November. I hope I get a chance to see her (or him) when she is born. But if not, then I will be happy knowing that the power of prayer saved the life of this innocent child, that Anna listened to her heart rather than her psychic drive and that the Kingdom was advanced just a little bit further.
Labels: Sidewalk Counseling stories
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