Canticle for the Workers

Normally at Planned Parenthood I have to sidewalk counsel. I say “have to” because I don’t actually like to.  I’d much rather everybody leave me the heck alone so I can focus on praying.
Super saintly, right?
Anyway.
A while back I actually got to do just that: stand around and pray. Other counselors showed up and (bless them!) took right over, and I was free to wander at will. So I paced back and forth, reading my June Magnificat in peace and feeling grateful for the silence, and the early-morning shade.
Shade. Suddenly it struck me that nearly all the shade was from the building. That building is so massive that, in the mornings, nearly the entire street is deep in shadow.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
How chillingly appropriate.
But then, so is the next part:  “I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
At the time I was standing beside the employee parking lot entrances, and so I naturally begin thinking of abortion industry employees…and of all the things their hearts maybe fear. 
Fear seems to be a hallmark of the abortion industry, even among its own workers. Many former abortion industry employees mention hearing that if they tried to find work elsewhere, no-one else would ever hire them, since abortion work was a black mark on their records. They are frozen in place, convinced they are unable to leave, sick at the thought of having to stay.
I got back to “focusing” on the morning prayers, and since it was a Saturday, they were prayers honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The next verse to catch my attention? “Behold, your Mother.”
St. Josemaria Escriva wrote a meditation on the Wedding at Cana which I can only describe as endearing. He talks of our weary, cheerless souls and says to Our Lord: “Your Mother will by now have said to You, as at Cana, ‘They have no wine!’”
No wine of joy, or peace.  No wine because we refuse to approach the Vine as the only source capable of quenching our thirst.
My thoughts returned to the employees – “Lord, they have no wine…” No wine of gladness or love, because perfect love casts out fear, and in that place, surely they are afraid.
The next part of morning prayer was the Canticle of Zechariah. I’ve read it many times, but right then, I was seeing it in a new light. It struck me as the perfect prayer for those feeling trapped in the abortion industry. When you get a chance, find the whole thing and read it. Until then, think about the workers as you read this:
“He has come to His people and set them free…He would save us from the hands of our enemies and the hands of all who hate us…He promised to show mercy…to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear.”
There’s even a part for the workers who have already been set free, and who reach out to help the ones still caught inside:
“You will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
The dawn from on high will break upon us
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Praying for the workers. It’s important.
Think about it.
Then let that change the way you think of them, treat them, talk about them. And not just the workers, but the volunteers too. The escorts. The clients.
There’s already plenty of fear around there. Threatening, ugliness, condescension…we say we want to change things, but too often we contribute to the shadows surrounding abortion facilities. The only thing that casts out fear is love.
Not a flimsy tolerance, but real, strong love. If you’re not sure what that looks like, a great place to start is turning to Our Lady, and asking her to go to Jesus and say to Him, “They have no wine!”
Now, as then, we will see He gives only the best to those who ask. Because when you ask for more love, you’re asking for more of Him. And that’s really what He has wanted to give you all along.
To learn more about an amazing new ministry formed especially to help abortion industry workers, click here.
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