A Knight Who Prays in Troubled Days
Our walk has been blessed with overwhelming support as we journey across America. Random cars have stopped to see if we (random kids in neon pro-life shirts walking on the side of the road) are okay, strangers have heard about our cause in grocery store lines, RV parks, and more and given us donations, and families and communities have opened their hearts and homes to us in support and love. It has been both humbling and a blessing to see just how pro-life America truly is.
Last weekend, we were given a unique reminder of the reality of our mission as we peacefully prayed outside of the abortion clinic in El Paso. Abortions were being performed that day; as a result, the intensity and the awareness of the issue heightened as we saw mothers, the doctor, and even children (with their mother) enter and leave of the facility.
As the sun continued to shine relentlessly, I became aware of a man dressed in black who silently approached us. He looked intently at our group and peered into each face as he walked down and back again. I was leading the fourth mystery of the Rosary as he approached us. Perhaps because I was leading the mystery or maybe because I was standing at the end of our group, I felt somewhat targeted by his silent presence as he continued to stare us down. I tried to focus on praying and sharing the love of Momma Mary.
After what felt like an eternity of uncertainty, he turned on his heels and started walking towards his friend, who was further down the street. His friend started yelling to us and about us. I became very aware of Carlos (our walk leader) who quietly stepped to my side, in order to provide a barrier between myself and the angry men. I felt very protected as this Knight of Columbus stood by my side in prayer and witness. When the men continued to verbally confront us with anger, Carlos calmly left to speak with them in order to attempt a normal conversation in exchange for their yells down the street.
Through the power of prayer and the protection of many angels, I did not feel threatened, although I remained very aware of the situation and heard the angry man’s voice continued to escalate. The next thing I knew, a Knight of Columbus from the El Paso diocese had taken Carlos’ place by my side. This kind gesture, though not necessary for my well being, spoke volumes to me. It showed me that he cared for my safety and for my well-being, even though I was not in direct danger or conflict. His body language affirmed that he was willing to protect our group.
After we finished the Rosary, we started singing Marian hymns, which (in their graceful echoes) oddly contrasted the angry yells which continued to come from the two men. Eventually, Carlos and another pro-life prayer warrior (who had joined him) made their way back to the group and the men left, yelling final words as they crossed the street.
As I continue to reflect on Saturday morning, I remain very grateful for both Knights (Carlos and the Knight from El Paso) who allowed their actions of chivalry to speak louder than any words could have. The entire situation left me more aware and more grateful than ever for the knights who pray in troubled days and do not hesitate to take a stand to protect and defend those around them.
-Jessie Graehler, Southern Walk 2013
(photo from google images)