Do You Have Time For Beauty?

JOSHUA BELL PLAYS DC SUBWAY

JOSHUA BELL PLAYS DC SUBWAY

“As an experiment,

The Washington Post

asked a concert violinist—

wearing jeans, tennis shoes,

and a baseball cap—

to stand near a trash can

at rush hour in the subway

and play Bach

on a Stradivarius.

Partita No. 2 in D Minor

called out to commuters

like an ocean to waves,

sang to the station

about why we should bother

to live…..” excerpt from “Bach in the DC Subway” by David Lee Garrison

 

On a cold January morning in the L’Enfant Plaza Station of the subway line in Washington, D.C. one of the worlds best violinist, Joshua Bell, played for 45 minutes on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. It was a social experiment to see whether or not people would stop to appreciate beauty.

Over a thousand people passed him by as he played some of the most intricate pieces ever written for violin. Just that week he had performed at a theater in Boston, which sold out even though tickets were selling at $100 a seat. So how many people stopped to appreciate this free concert? Only seven.

Among the seven that stopped to receive the beautiful self-gift of his heart being poured out through his violin was a 3-year-old little boy. The boy tried to stop and take in what I can only describe as achingly beautiful music, when his mother can be seen on the YouTube video pushing him along, forcing him to move for what I must assume was a very important play date. Most of the children that walked by kept their face towards him, listening to the sweet sounds of the strings even though they were being marched away in the opposite direction.

Jesus says we must be like little children to enter into the Kingdom of God. I am not sure he was talking about the children of the 21st century. The children of the 21st century are quite different than those of even 20 years ago. Today those children are either on their phones, iPod’s or gaming device and on their way to select soccer, baseball, gymnastics, football, hockey or the like. Some how an appreciation for what is beautiful is being lost or perhaps replaced with “more important” things. However, as human beings I believe what sets us apart as unique and unrepeatable persons made in the image and likeness of God is that we create as well as take in beauty.

The Sistine Chapel, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, the Eiffel Tower are all examples of beautiful things man has created. Beautiful things elevate our minds and cause us to transcend this world to contemplate the divine. Beauty will save the world or at least that is what Dostoevsky has famously declared.

This social experiment done in Washington D. C. reminds me of the time I left the Theology of the Body Institute with a busload of other attendees and was dropped at the airport. After getting through security I began to look above my head to see which direction to go for my gate.

Several of my class attendees were with me and had gravitated to an interactive light puzzle projected onto the wall. It was at least six feet tall and at least 10 or 12 feet long. I watched as they moved the pieces by touching them and sliding them around. They laughed and giggled and played with this beautiful wall mural.

The truth is that I would not had even noticed it if I had been on my own. Was it because they were in there 20’s and I was in my 40’s that I had not even thought to try it? I went over to the puzzle and took my turn moving the pieces around. The entire time all I could think was “Why don’t I stop and look around more? What else am I missing?”

I made a decision right then to pursue what is beautiful. When it snows I tilt my head back and watch the flakes cascade down to my face. I pulled over on the side of the road and watch the sun setting. I get out of my car and take my shoes off and walk through fields with thick lush grass and I even lay down on a beach at night to behold the stars. I make time for beauty.

Do you have time for beauty? You and I are called to pursue what is beautiful, true and good, but are we? Perhaps the question we have to ask ourselves is that if we do not have time to stop and listen to a world class musician playing the most intricately written music on the best instrument ever made then maybe we need to re-prioritize our pursuits.

 ORIGINAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE WITH VIDEOS

 

How to Overturn Roe Vs. Wade

“I survived Roe Vs. Wade but Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive me!” were the words proclaimed by a young 12 year old girl named Zoe at the Youth Rally held in the Hyatt Regency this year at this years March For Life gathering in Washington DC.

While at the March For Life in Washington DC this year I encountered many, many amazing pro-life speakers and apostolates. However there was one person in particular that moved me to tears and made my heart rise into my throat as she spoke. “I survived Roe Vs. Wade but Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive me!” were the words proclaimed by a young 12-year-old girl named Zoe.
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As I listened to her passionate cry for an end to abortion and listened to the cheers of the huge crowd united in purpose and passion echoing her, I asked myself this question. What can we do to ensure that Zoe’s children do not have to grow up in a country that does not protect unborn children? This is the answer I came up with.
unity
We must Unite, Encourage and Unify In Our Purpose. The opposite of that is to Divide, Discourage and Distract, which is what the enemy does to pro-life ministries and apostolates.

We Must Unite

The enemy divides us using Selfishness. It causes persons to say “do it my way or no way” because my way is best. Lack of Fellowship says you go your way and I’ll go my way because I will not share any of my resources. This is why we still have not found a cure for breast cancer. The labs have patented their research; they do not share their work or their findings or their resources to accomplish their common goal. They are competitors and not co-workers. However, I would propose that it is in sharing that we would cover more ground and get faster results. Together we can be much more powerful than working alone.
encourage

Let us be Co-workers not competitors. When we disassociate ourselves because someone has hurt our feelings or slighted us, we allow ourselves to separate from the pack. It’s like a lion that separates a gazelle from the pack. It is easier to attack when it is on it’s own. We are divided and eventually we fall from disappointments, discouragements, distractions and division. We are all flawed, so it is not easy to work together but if we want to overturn Roe Vs Wade, we must find a way.

Blessed Mother Theresa said that when Christ draws us close to Himself, the thorns on His crown will pierce our forehead as He leans in to kiss our cheek. There is suffering in this life and I am guessing that in Pro-life ministry there is a lot of suffering. Why? There are two reasons. One, many people in the pro-life movement are part of the walking wounded. They know the pain and ache of abortion and that’s why they want to help bring an end to it. Secondly, because Christ suffers in seeing the murder of the innocent unborn and the lack of reverence for life by those that participate in it. If you give your life to be with Him in this battle, your going to suffer with Him. So what are we to do? Bear one another’s shortcomings patiently, love one another and He loves us and finally we should embrace the suffering that comes from this work, knowing that we are perfected in suffering.

We Must Encourage

It is in the encouraging of one another’s success and helping others that we become encouraged. It is in giving that we receive. Each ministry and apostolate plays a part, no matter how different, and that part is crucial in this battle. We are many parts but we are all one body. My leg cannot hear and toes cannot see but I need my legs and I need my toes. There are so many ministries involved in this pro-life movement and all of them are necessary and none are more important or better or worse than another.

Well, actually they are all the “best” in their area. Those fighting in the political arena are much better at it than a sidewalk counselor and a ministry training side walk counselor is better at that than a ministry that works with politicians to create pro-life legislature, both are important and necessary.
Wherever God has called you to fight this fight, be encouraged because it is the MOST IMPORTANT PLACE YOU CAN BE. We need you all right where you are at, but we need to unite so we can encourage one another and help one another in our fight.
from god

We Must Unify In Purpose

Finally, we need to unify in purpose. What is the goal? It should be to save souls. Our goal is to bring Christ to others in and through our own life. Each and every person is a unique and unrepeatable person, created by God, with an immortal soul. Isn’t our goal to save souls? When we realize the goal is to save souls we remember to be charitable in every thought action and deed.

When we remember the goal is to save souls, we remember that Shawn Carney of 40 days for life sat in his kitchen with David Bereit and said “what can we do to bring down the number of abortions?” Through their exploration of that question they began an apostolate that is one of the most successful initiatives I have ever seen cross denominational lines as well as borders to countries, in closing down abortion clinics. Their focus on the goal of saving souls, allowed their hearts to love Abby Johnson right out of being a director of Planned Parenthood. Now, the fruit of their efforts has brought Abby into the pro-life movement and she is now focusing on the goal. She too is now working to bring more souls out of the abortion industry.

Does it matter if there are abortion clinics on every corner in America if no works in them and no one ever goes in? We must Unite, encourage and unify in our purpose and then we will become the Culture of Life, Love and Truth that accurately reflects the face of God.

Thank you Zoe, you reminded me that God raises up people every day to fight for Him and I am confident that Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive your generation just so long as we all work together toward our common goal.

How about a Pro-life conference on the 40th Anniversary of Roe Vs Wade to showcase where we have been and what we have done so we can educate and train those that attend so we do not have 40 more years. I would love to see a pro-life conference out of Chicago (make it central) that features pro-life speakers helping others to unite in purpose and resources.

We have now created so many great ministries we need them all to come together and network. Have them donate the speakers fee’s so that everyone can come. Have it be a weekend conference so there are speakers Friday Night through Sunday. Some people can come just for Saturday or all of it, they can pick which parts are suited to their calling in this war.

The cost of tickets could cover the event. There could be a teen rally going on simultaneously. There can be several workshops to choose from How to start a blog, how to use media, how to raise money, how to get volunteers, how to do sidewalk counseling, how to support your legislatures, how to start a pro life high school group, how to write a book, how to make a movie, how to start a support group for healing etc.

We could have keynotes as well as workshops in different areas. Here are some examples of the kind of speakers it should have.

Father Pavone speaking on faith and politics
Avede King; Abortion as Genocide to African Americans and Hispanic Communities
Abby Johnson: How to Convert the Workers of Abortion Clinics
Shawn Carney/David Bereit: Coordinating 40 days for life in your area
Mnsgr Reilly, Helpers; Side Walk Counseling how love and prayer converted Bernard Nathanson
Pam Stenzel: Conceived by Rape sharing our personal stories to convert hearts
Rebecca Kiessling: Conceived by Rape
Jason Jones: Being Present in Hollywood
Spirit Juice Studios: How to Make Films that are pro-life
John Morales: Father Hearts
Fr Tadeusz Pacholczyk: Fetal Stem Cell Research and Medical Ethics
Bobby Schindler: Euthanasia
eduardo verastegui: Being a Pro-life actor
Dr. Janet Smith: Contraception Why Not?
Damon Owens: Theology of The Body understanding the meaning of fruitful love
Lila Rose: Uncovering Scandal through Investigating journalism using New Media
Vicky Thorn: Project Rachel offering healing after abortion
Jeannie Hanneman: Elizabeth Ministries Establishing a pro-life presence in Churches (rose program)
Christina King: Our Lady of Guadalupe as an Icon for Life, Love and New Evangelization
Will Goodman: Sidewalk Counseling
Fr. Chris Crotty: Fathers of Mercy Priest Spiritual Warfare abortion as a demonic sacrament
Fr. Grob: Spiritual Warfare
Zac King: Ex-Satanist and knowledgable about abortion as sacrifice