Got Praise?

 We’ve all heard the phrase, “got milk?” This blog attempts to answer a different question.

Prayer (praise) is one of the important Lenten disciplines, but for the 40 Days for Life campaign, it’s one of the 3 sources of fuel that power the engine of this movement.  11,165 babies have been saved by the 40 Days for Life campaigns.

St. Paul said “…so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.”  – Eph 1:12

My husband as the Great Apostle, Christ the King, Westmere
My husband as the Great Apostle at Christ the King, Westmere  (see below for dates of upcoming events)

Can we say this is true? Do we live for the praise of God’s glory?

I struggle with this. I take time for prayer each morning but at other points in the day, it’s hard to calm my soul and let God in….or listen for His voice.  My husband and I often sing praise songs together, but sometimes when he asks me to sing with him, my first thought is; “I don’t feel like it” or “I have something else to do.”

But as we enter into praise, our joy increases and there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.  For as we praise the Lord, our souls are lifted closer to God and ‘heaven breaks in.’  We hope that one day, we’ll be looking at Jesus face-to-face.  But heaven doesn’t have to be a far-off reality.  God wants that for us here and now.  And the more we lift our hearts to heaven, as we do in praising God, the closer heaven comes to us.

Senior Pastor of Schenectady’s First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Larry Roff said, “Praise is the most important reason that we were created.”  And he cited Psalm 102:19;

“Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the Lord.”

We who praise the Lord today are the answer to the Psalmist’s prayer.

Each time we pray the “Our Father,” we pray, “thy kingdom come.”  As we praise God, that kingdom breaks in.  It begins by us spending time with Jesus, who loves and treasures us, and who wants to enter into our everyday joys, problems and other aspects of our lives.

The angels and saints sing perpetual praises to God on the throne. (Rev. 5:13)  When we praise God, we join in their praises.

Our most fervent prayer at Planned Parenthood has been praise!  It sounds ironic because there we are, outside of a place where terrible things are happening.  But as we lift up our voices in vocal praise, ‘heaven breaks in’ on State Street.  We feel it.  Moreover, there is objective evidence.  As people walking by and driving in cars give us ‘thumbs up,’ we realize that they are responding to a grace.  Most importantly, people stop to tell us that they chose to have their child because people were praying outside of Planned Parenthood.

If you’re struggling in your life or you need a reason to praise God, spend five minutes thanking Him for all the good in your life.  Even thank Him for the challenges, for these help us to grow.  After these five minutes, chances are you’ll feel like praising Him.

Here’s a Youtube you can sing with in the comfort of your home…..

Got praise?

[This is part of a talk I gave recently at the 40 Days for Life kickoff rally. Please go to the link to learn more about this powerful national pro-life movement.]

On Wed. March 9, “Visit” will take place at Our Lady of Help of Christians, in Brooklyn at 7:30 PM.    On March 11, come and see St. Paul at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on 1550 Hendrickson St.  It takes place right after the Stations, which begin at 7:00 PM.

Saving Unborn Life in London

The woman across the street had tears flowing down her face…. tears of pure joy.   She embraced Sister Florence, the nun who earlier had given her a pro-life pamphlet.  The four of us praying across the street witnessed this scene with both incredulity and joy.  This woman, having entered the building seeking an abortion, came out with a new resolve to bring her baby into the world.  We watched as Sister Florence accompanied her to the crisis pregnancy center, where she and others volunteer.

“This is the first save I have ever witnessed,” my wife, Maeve, said to me.

I was overjoyed!  After all the years that Maeve has prayed in Schenectady and Albany in front of Planned Parenthood, God made it happen in London, England last October.

We were on the last week of a vacation trip to Ireland and England. From the earliest stages of planning, we were determined to schedule a time to pray with the 40 Days for Life campaign in London.  It almost didn’t happen.  We had limited email and phone capacity during our trip.  So, at an internet café, we emailed the campaign office that we were available the next morning and wanted to join them.  They in turn, left a message with our guest house proprietor, Avril.  With only an address for the abortion mill, we took a taxi there the next morning.

Sister Florence stood in front of the mill, pamphlets in one hand and a rosary in the other.   Stewart, the local campaign director, and Francis, a young man with a thick Belfast accent, prayed across the street in accordance with a local ordinance which mandates that only one person can leaflet directly in front of an abortion millStuart greeted us warmly, but left shortly after to open The Good Counsel Network, a local pregnancy resource center, where he serves as the Director.   Shortly after, Lucia, another Irish emigre, who works as a midwife in London, joined us.

l.-r. Francis, Glenn, Maeve and Lucis

 l.-r.  Francis, Glenn, Maeve and Lucia – right after a woman chose life.

It didn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to make this pro-life work part of our vacation.  We simply intuited that the sisters and brothers in London would appreciate having their American counterparts from “across the pond” join them in their work to save lives.  It cost us little time and effort to join them.  Witnessing a save with Francis and Lucia and knowing that our prayers for this woman were part of her life-giving choice, was more reward than we had expected!

Maeve with the message of love
Maeve with the message of love in 2015

Last year, Maeve attended the annual March for Life in Washington. With hundreds of thousands other people, she braved the cold to stand up for the unborn.  Today, a similar multitude of people will journey to the nation’s capital, sacrificing their comfort, to once again make their voices heard on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.   57 million pre-born children have been killed during this time.  The number of damaged women and men is a number known to God alone(see the photo below if you’ve been hurt by abortion).

Major media outlets ignore the March every year.   Despite this, we know, our faith informs us, that the witness of the March of Life is not without effect.  In the Letter of James, we read;

“The prayer of the righteous is effective.”   -5:16

Neither of us is going to Washington this year, but we will take part in Eucharistic Adoration at a local church to pray for an end to the scourge of abortion.  In addition, we plan on praying outside of the local Planned Parenthood, where I hope that an abortion-minded woman may see our signs, feel our prayers… and choose life!

May the mercy of Jesus, as referred to on the sign below, be a reality for all those whose lives have been harmed by abortion.

There's always healing, love and mercy with Our Savior!
There’s always healing, compassion, and mercy with Him ! (please see Lk. 7:36-50)