Sunday, February 11, 2007

Providence at Planned Parenthood and the Pursuit of Happyness

Yesterday, was our Pro-Life committee's official monthly protest at the nearby abortion clinic on Calvert St. (a few guys go every Saturday) But, I went to "Planned Parenthood" downtown with some youth and young adults from the parish I'm assigned to. There was about six or eight of us there. A couple were Steuby grads and the others were from local high schools and colleges.

To my surprise, I found out that this place is rarely protested. At the clinic in downtown Louisville there are 20-50 people there every Saturday and several every day of the week from various denominations. Pro-Lifers are definitely a huge minority in Maryland.

Anyway, a few of us prayed the rosary in a circle 15 feet from the door, a distance arbitrarily determined by the Baltimore Police who I have heard are "on our side." A couple others walked or stood nearby holding signs and engaging the many passers-by that are common in this downtown area. I was in the prayer circle praying with the others for an end to abortion, the closing of this clinic, the conversion of all who worked for it, and in support of our two "sidewalk counselors." Our signs were somewhat bold and ignited many discussions between our group and the people walking by, mostly African Americans. Planned Parenthood typically targets poorer African American communites.

One guy walked past the clinic, and then turned around and looked at one of the girls in our group and asked, "Can I talk to you?" She said, "Sure" and then stepped aside with him. I think they talked for about 15 minutes. She came away from the conversation very excited and I asked her about it after we finished the rosary. She said that he was married and had six children but his wife was pregnant with a seventh and he was thinking about having her abort the child. This guy wanted to talk to somebody and he was probably walking to the clinic to get some information on abortion or to set his wife up for an appointment. How Providential it was that we were there that day when he needed some advice! They talked about his faith and his children and he had a very simple knowledge of and relationship with God but it was innocent and child-like. He asked the ultimate questions, Why am I here? Why is this happening? Why is this building here? What should I do? Our friend asked him to imagine going home and having all of his children around him talking and playing and imagine the noise. But then imagine how you would feel if even one of them wasn't there. How each one is a blessing in his life no matter how hard he may think it is to support them. If he is open to God blessing his life in this way then God will provide for him. They talked about how the abortion industry has exploited the black community and that if he allows his wife to join their number then he would never know what this particular blessing could have in store for him. Should the seventh child suffer because of the six who were allowed to live? What about the possible impact his child could have on the world? I told her later that my dad is one of twelve. His dad was a bartender and his mother was a housewife and they all were raised well and they all worked together to make sure that everyone went to Catholic schools.

She also told him about pregnancy resource centers and the help that is available to him and also talked a little bit about Natural Family Planning. At the end of the coversation his conscience was at ease and he confidantly and happily stated that he would keep the baby. We were so excited and happy for our friend and this guy. It made getting up early, standing in the bitter cold, and enduring the heckling and curse words by a few all worth it.

I was so inspired by that group. These were young, on-fire, couragous Catholics! I'll tell ya, Steuby's cranking out solid, dedicated, Catholic soldiers! They are a real force for the conversion of our country especially as their graduates end up in high schools, universities, churches, Newman centers, seminaries, and religious communities.

After the clinic closed we went to Chik-fil-A together for some lunch and then went and saw The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith and his son.

SPOILER ALERT: The below could give some details away if you haven't seen the movie yet, the real reason for this post is all of the above so you can safely stop reading at this point if you want!

It was a great movie, I really like it. It's a little bit of a downer though. I mean Smith's character is always falling on hard times even though there are some pleasant victories here and there that keep you from despairing too much. The movie seemed a little Pelagian though. He rarely asks for help, not even from his wife (who doesn't support him anyway), his friend, or his boss at his new job. He'll work it out. He'll figure it out. He'll make things right. He'll work harder, longer, quicker. He'll save himself. He never breaks down either, never cries till close to the end. At some of the most horrible situations you would think he would cry - I wanted him too! - but he never does. He just displays this disgruntled, oppressed, Chloe-esque look on his face which in itself carries a lot of emotion. But I'm like "cry man, it's OK!" I guess I needed a release from the drama more than he did! And he never prays, again, until close to the end. At parts it seems as if prayer is the only thing this guy has left, but he still doesn't turn to it. Finally it seems like somewhat of a superficial pursuit. This guy's working and running his arse off to get this huge moneymaking job that indeed would help out big time. And the movie builds up the plight of him and his son to where you're really, really pulling for him to get it. But maybe if he'd asked for more help or prayed a little he could have found "happyness" in his current state in life?

That said, the movie really is very good. It's well acted by both Will Smith and his son (who seems like a natural to me). Their Father-Son bond in real life does a lot for the movie. And the little victories throughout the movie and the huge one at the end are quite rewarding. You can read a more expert review here.

4 comments:

Laura H. said...

Praise God for that man's decision! How wonderful.

About the movie.. although it was good and I would recommend it, I was so bummed that we had so much tension and so little relief! I walked out of the theatre anxious as could be. It was miserable! Haha..

phatcatholic said...

matt,

i saw this article and thought you might like to post it on your blog, or make a post about it:

Factors to Consider When Preaching
http://catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?RecNum=7397

love,
nick

Amy M. said...

Yeah, the lack of protesters doesn't surprise me. You're lucky that there are so many people willing to protest in KY. I know in Maine we have to struggle to muster up a crowd of 20-30. It's really, sad, because we really need to make ourselves heard, but it's hard when we only have so many voices. It's really frustrating.

Jason said...

It was awesome being there last summer during the Ignite Your Torch conference with about 200 teens and all the priests and religious... really a moving experience. Have to confess I haven't been back to pray again, but it's been on my mind a lot more recently.

btw, pray for Dr. Eubanks and Dr. Marshall. They're your friendly neighborhood abortionists here in Louisville. I randomly ran across their names while at work the other day and recognized the address. It was a very surreal moment because I didn't know health insurance would pay for abortions, but they will (except some states have laws against government employees receiving benefits for abortions).