Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me, there is strife, and conflict abounds." These are things the prophet Habakkuk says to the Lord in Habakkuk 1:3, which was the first reading in Mass today. I have been asking God the same things as Habakkuk.
Today's readings were tailor-made for what I've been turning over in my mind since we participated in keeping vigil outside an area abortion clinic this week. I haven't felt so understood or encouraged by scripture in quite a while -- but I'm sure that says more about my practice of reading it rather than its qualities.
I felt so disheartened watching the women and men enter the clinic, knowing what was about to happen. It was a plunge into the ugliness of the world...a world that says it is a good thing to kill an innocent human being if that being will be an inconvenience to you. I was able to pray strong prayers outside the clinic, but I have been haunted by the memory of those women. All I know of them is how long a ponytail was, or what color shirt they were wearing. But...how are they doing after all this? And how many more tiny people are scheduled to die tomorrow?
After I came home, I didn't know if it would be good to go back. I'm not outwardly very emotional, but internally I am. While I was there, wisps of doubt come upon me- maybe the only thing I was accomplishing by being there was making the experience of the women going in more horrible than it already was. Maybe I should just pray from home so as not to disturb them, because people were definitely disturbed by our presence; spinning their tires in anger, cursing at us, covering their faces.
But today in Mass, reality set in: someone has to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I'm not standing there on the sidewalk to point a guilty finger at people who have come to a decision that is legal, I'm standing there on the sidewalk because so far, no one else has stood up for the other, smaller person that is also going through the doors of the clinic. If their own parents won't protect them, who will? I need to always remember today's second reading, "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7)