Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 26: it's hard to believe

Anyone who has been around the pro-life movement for
any length of time knows that the secular media usually
isn't "friendly" to the pro-life position.

In fact, many media outlets are downright hostile.

Some media outlets have brazenly admitted that their
"editorial position" favors abortion. And other media
outlets are regular financial contributors to Planned
Parenthood and other abortion groups.

With all of that in mind, it is hard to believe some of
the very positive press that has surfaced about 40 Days
for Life.

Here's a great news story from Ann Arbor, Michigan:

And a moving editorial from Knoxville, Tennessee:

And here is one amazing piece that was printed this
morning in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Oct. 20, 2007


"You guys are nuts!" shouted a woman driving past the
Farwell Ave. sidewalk where Francis Dantzman stood.

She was right, in a way. A slight, retirement-aged man
in red-plaid flannel, Dantzman rode his bike from his
home in Mequon on a day of rain and tornado watches. He
was going to ride it home. If he's not nuts, he's at
least daring.

In between, around 3:45 on a momentarily sunny
afternoon, he was holding a sign reading, "Abortion
kills children." He was also holding a rosary, a big,
folk-arty wooden one, praying for an end to the
abortions taking place in the building behind him. He
was praying silently, and he did not interact with
anyone going in or out, other than simply to be seen.

So in a purely materialist sense, the notion he'd have
an effect on the atrocities happening nearby was kind
of nuts.

Dantzman, standing alone, wasn't really alone: He was
part of 40 Days for Life, a series of prayer vigils
that people opposed to abortion are holding in about 90
cities nationwide, including Appleton, Green Bay and
Madison. The vigils began Sept. 26. So far, say
organizers, at least here, there's been someone present
every moment, except for one 15-minute stretch.

Yannick Ratnayake, 33, was in front of the building in
a light drizzle much earlier in the day - about 5:15
a.m. With him were three other men, all about the age
where they'd have to head off for work shortly
thereafter, as Ratnayake would. Some held rosaries; all
were praying. The signs were stacked nearby. At that
hour, there would be practically no one to see them

Being prayerful and present was as much the point as
being seen, said Ratnayake. A father of four, he feels
abortion not only ends a human life, it inflicts
lasting harm on the women who undergo it and on the
society that permits it. Prayer, fasting, repentance,
giving up some sleep - "There's so much redemptive
power in that," he says.

The Milwaukee vigil's been drawing about as many women
as men, say organizers, though the men predominate
during the night. For fathers particularly, says
Ratnayake, it's a chance to show some moral leadership.
If one looks for some sense in why the men would stand
in front of a building that no one would enter or leave
for hours, that might be a reason.

And praying seems to be what the pro-life movement can
do these days. From the standpoint of politics, things
are cloudy. Presidential front-runners in both parties
favor legalized abortion. One of them, New York's
Republican ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani, was in town that
day, not a quarter-mile south. He probably didn't see
the vigilists.

Ratnayake says the vigil is the first time he's
protested anything. Other men said the same. One
mentioned how he was moved by the emotional devastation
still wracking a friend years after her abortion.
Another, Jim Wassel, 51, of Merton, said he felt called
to the issue when he rejoined the Catholic church a
year ago.

"You can't just sit at home and not do anything," he

So, he was in front of the again-empty building at 9:30
p.m., as the rain held off and concert-goers took a
smoking break in front of Shank Hall. A few came to
talk now and then, said another late-night vigilist,
David Prado. Mostly, said Wassel, the men were praying
for the souls of the children killed that day and for
the souls of the people who killed them. Prado said one
evening, a woman walked up, said she'd had an abortion
and asked if she was doomed to hell. No, Prado told
her. They prayed for her, too.

Which tells us why it makes sense to just stand and
pray. If one believes that abortion is a terrible evil,
if one fears that, as Pope John Paul II put it, we're
trapped in a "culture of death," and if one believes in
the reality of a loving God, then repenting and praying
and standing in front of an empty building make sense.
They amount to pulling on a very powerful lever that
can't be seen.

As John Paul also said, "In the designs of Providence,
there are no mere coincidences."

Once, there were eight abortion clinics in Milwaukee,
Dantzman points out. Now, there are two.


Patrick McIlheran is a Journal Sentinel editorial
columnist. His e-mail address is:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


In some cities, the media is trying its hardest to
ignore 40 Days for Life, but in cases like the ones
above, the truth about the impact of this effort is
getting out to a wide audience.

Praise God (and take a moment to e-mail Patrick
McIlheran to thank him for this wonderful story!)

Here's today's devotional...

Daily Devotional by: Carmen Pate


Pray that when those representing Planned Parenthood
and other abortion groups see volunteers for 40 Days
for Life, they see ambassadors of Christ, and may each
volunteer be consciously aware at all times of Whom we


"I...beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with
which you were called, with all lowliness, and
gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one
another in love..." -- Ephesians 4:1b-2


When former abortionist and post-abortive woman, Carol
Everett, was asked what turned her heart from death to
life in Christ, she replied, "It was unconditional
love" shown by a man who prayed daily for her in front
of the abortion clinic where she worked.

He told Carol that "God had sent him" because there was
someone in there that God wanted out. She left 27 days
later and now serves as Christ's ambassador to help

We too have been sent by Christ as an ambassador to
love unconditionally those God seeks to "get out" of
their bondage and sin. What a high calling it is --
much higher than any presidential appointment to
another country.

In his book, "Fishers of Men," Dr. Sumner Wemp
describes what it means to be an ambassador of Christ,
the King of Kings:

>> God has chosen us (John 15:16)

>> We are sent into a world that is not our home
(1 Peter 2:11)

>> Our walk must match our talk (1 Timothy 3:7)

>> We must abide in Him for daily instruction
(John 15:5)

>> Know our purpose -- to seek and to save that which
is lost (Luke 19:10)

>> We are to reconcile others to God with His
authority (Matthew 28:19-20)

>> Do not let kindness and truth leave you
(Proverbs 3:3-4)

>> Our service is to be grounded and rooted in love
(Ephesians 3:17)

Pray that we each will walk worthy of the calling with
which we were called!


Dear Heavenly Father, we are humbled that you have
called us and appointed us to be ambassadors of Christ
in a world that is not our home. It is a calling much
higher and grander than our finite minds can imagine.

We pray that your Holy Spirit will empower us to walk
worthy of the calling. We pray that Your unconditional
love will flow through us onto those who desperately
need Your saving grace.

In the name of Christ who is worthy, AMEN.


Only two weeks of 40 Days for Life remain. Let's pray
like never before!

Your Brother In Christ,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

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