“Mineralogists who study the world’s rarest gems have never been able to identify anything more astoundingly mysterious or indescribably beautiful than the human eye. If you peer deeply into human irises, they seem to contain whole galaxies; nebulae and interstellar clouds; expanding and contracting with the dilation of the pupils.”“THE CHOSEN” Christmas special, “Monologues that Wrecked Us” (Watch HERE)
Today’s Gospel reading is from John 9:1-38. It is the story of Jesus restoring the sight of a man who had been born blind. As I reflected on the words in this scripture, I could see in my mind’s eye, the transformation of this man’s eyes. They went from being clouded and dead to clear and full of light, as in the picture above. It reminded me of a monologue from “The Chosen’s Christmas Special” (quoted and linked above). As I prayed and reflected on this Gospel reading, I had a few thoughts that I would like to share:
First of all, I thought about those whose eyes have been opened to the reality of abortion:
Carol Everett (author of “Blood Money”), came to mind first. She had operated a chain of lucrative abortion clinics in Texas while still claiming to be a Christian. Her eyes were blinded to the sin of abortion because of the buried guilt of having aborted her own child. But one day, as she sifted through the remains of an aborted baby, her eyes were miraculously opened. She noticed that the baby had intestines. She had told herself that the babies who were aborted were never intended by God to live. They were “mistakes”. It suddenly occurred to her that if God had not intended this child to live, He would not have given this child intestines! It would never eat food, so therefore, the intestines were unnecessary! Carol’s eyes were opened.
And of course, there is Abby Johnson, (author of “Un-Planned”). She saw, with her own sin-clouded eyes, that little baby boy on the ultrasound screen…as he tried to move away from the abortionist’s probe, lose the fight for his life. Abby’s eyes were opened.
Melissa Coles, (from the documentary film “I Lived on Parker Avenue”), gave her testimony at our fall Kick-Off event a couple years ago. She told us that as she laid on the abortionist’s table, she turned her head to see the shiny stainless steel medical cart beside her head. In the reflection of that cart…in an instant…flashed the appearance of her son. She saw the baby that she was about to abort reflected back to her as a grown man! In that instant of clarity, she bolted upright and ran out of that room. God opened her eyes…just in time to save the life of her son.
So the obvious question is…why doesn’t God open the eyes of everyone who is blind to the evil of abortion? Why does He permit it to continue to wreck lives and souls? Jesus’ disciples asked Him, at the beginning of this scripture reading:
“Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him.”John 9: 1-3
Could it be that God sometimes permits evil so that His goodness and power may be made manifest in our response to evil? Surely God is bringing good from the evil of abortion, as His Body, the Church, gathers in united prayer, fasting and witnessing during 40 Days for Life. Many souls and lives are being saved, conversions are happening…and those of us who are joining this fight are being strengthened in our faith and perseverance. We are becoming less selfish. Less soft. Of course, in my puny human mind, I would much rather there be NO abortion for us to gather and pray against…but He is God and I am not. I trust that He has a plan, and that He is using us as part of it.
Another thought that came to me this morning is this; the significance of the mud that Jesus used to smear on the blind man’s eyes. I wonder if the mud…a mixture of dirt with Jesus’ saliva…symbolized our sinful nature being “kissed” by Jesus? I imagined Jesus gently kissing the eyes of those whose blindness He removes. This gave me the desire to pray for the PHYSICAL EYES of all those who work at Planned Parenthood, as well as those who are scheduled for abortions. Along with praying for them as individuals…let us pray for their EYES…their actual eyes to be transformed! Look at the picture above and read that quote again about the remarkable aspects of the human eye. It truly is miraculous! Pray for miracles to happen in the eyes of all abortion workers and victims. And pray that the tiny eyes which God is now forming will soon see the light of day as they gaze into the loving eyes of mom and dad on the day of their birth.
Women’s Choice Network is one of the amazing organizations here in Pittsburgh that helps to save precious lives from abortion by offering moms and dads the help they need to choose life! CLICK HERE to watch an interview of Executive Director, Amy Scheuring by Fr. Jay Donahue as part of his weekly series on YouTube.
Now, for today’s sidewalk stories:
Charlene, Peggy & Beth 7-9
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! Happy Spring…although Peggy, Beth and I were still bundled…it is the sidewalk!! As we are nearing the end of the campaign, I just want to say that I have Faith that PP in Pittsburgh will close. Not like “we know how the story ends”…but just thinking about this year and how 40 Days has grown: moving to the 365 day presence, the Sunday prayer walk, beginning and ending campaigns with Jesus at the door of PP, caroling at PP, Priests on the sidewalk, Nikki’s leadership and all of the prayer warriors sending prayer after prayer to the gates of Heaven. My feeling of Faith grows. “If there was no hope, I would have told you. If your prayers were fruitless, I would have told you.” ( John 14:2). Charlene, Peggy, &BethCharlene
Katie, Sharon & Terri 9-11
The beautiful weather seemed to bring people out of their shells a lot more today. Terri, Sharon and I spoke with a guy and girl who were there with their friend. They were more interested in a general discussion about abortion, and weren’t willing to go try to get her to come talk with us. At least two people told me they know someone who is pregnant and took literature for them. I told them it’s really important to try to get them to go to a pregnancy center and see their ultrasound. After my shift was over, two young guys walked past the pray-ers from St. Bernard of Clairvaux and one yelled something disparaging, so when they passed me I said “You can stop and talk with us!” So they did. I was expecting it a very harsh conversation based on what he yelled, but it ended up being surprisingly pleasant. One of them knows someone who might be pregnant, and I gave them both literature and explained the help available (I’m kicking myself for not remembering to give them a pregnancy test!) and we also talked about the harm that abortion causes to so many people, as well as my own story and the joy of having a child, planned or otherwise. When I was about to leave two girls stopped and we started talking about clothes and our tattoos and piercings, and one said she was thinking about becoming a PP escort. I gave her a resource card and explained that we were there to help people with alternatives to abortion. We comiserated about the “yellers” who sometimes show up and I made sure to stress the fact that they weren’t affiliated with us and that we’re quite distressed by their behavior as well. We agreed that the world would be a much better place if people would have more respectful conversations with people they disagree with. Thank you to Eugene, Dennis, Irene, Lisa, Cheyenne and Bill from St. Bernard!Katie
Barbara & Katie 11-1
Terri, Sharon and Katie greeted me as I arrived. I am blessed with Katie as my Shift Buddy. Father Tim’s parishioners came and filled the Pittsburgh pavement in front of downtown Planned Parenthood. Their “home made” prayer guide is full size, easy to read, weather proof and chock full with every prayer a person could wish for. They raised us up! We spoke for a while with a woman who accompanied another woman who went in for an abortion. This woman felt bad about that abortion. As we talked she told me some of her story. She has a lot to be proud of. Like everyone else, there are things she wishes she could undo. We talked about God and the Prodigal Son. It felt like a blessing to talk about God’s love with her. She is valiant. Katie beautifully witnessed the whole shift, vigilantly offering pro-life beauty. Megan came, gathered pro-life information and crossed to the corner across the street. She returned to Diane’s supply station at least once for info refills. Elsie, with her arms full of beautiful things, came and so did Chris. Life is GOOD!Barbara
Chris & Elsie 1-3
This was a blessed day for me as I welcomed three first-time prayer warriors. Joining me today were Bridget and her husband, Dave, from St. Sebastian, and Tom from Sts. John & Paul. Bridget was carrying on a tradition started by her father in the 70’s in Rockland County, NY. Moved by the Holy Spirit, he started praying, alone at first, in front of the local abortion clinic. As time went by, more and more people joined him. Faithful shift buddy Elsie continually passed out literature to passersby and tried to engage women leaving PP in conversation. Ever-present Katie was there for the last hour of her 5-hour shift. We prayed multiple Rosaries, reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries.Chris
Virginia & Claudia 3-5
It was a beautiful day for St. Patrick’s Day and for Dave to pass green-colored rosaries to people. Many were quite receptive, all went. We also had some encouraging words from passersby and even from a lady in a car. Virginia had a gentleman ask her to remind him how to pray the last line to the Our Father, which he had forgotten. Also, a longtime volunteer from St. Philip was there & she saw 3 teenage girls who had gone into pp to get reading material but she gathered extra courage and attempted to pass our material to them as well. Overall, more blessings than not.Claudia
Joe K 5-7
The End-O-Day / St. Patty Day Vigil Extravaganza started quietly as Michelle from Bridge City Church arrived ready to hand out info and pray.
Only a small trickle of 933 “employees” were exiting “Hotel California” – where not everyone that enters are as fortunate to “check out any time”…
One young couple passed us, expressed support and after a building or two did an about face to return. This couple (B. and C.) expressed their support and indicated that they were trying to have a baby… Right away – Michelle invited them to join us in prayer for them and led the prayer!
Jim joined shortly after providing a bit of encouragement and sharing!
We were then joined by the rest of the Bridge City Church Crew of Annie, Beth, and Linda.
I’m just so grateful that people heard the call out to “Adopt a Shift” and acted on it to make sure that I was not alone – God bless you Bridge City Church Crew!!!
Another couple passed by and expressed their support for us as well as expressing their “unhappiness” with a drive-by car that shortly thereafter was “hurtling” unkind remarks in our general direction…
John, a Navy vet and grandfather stopped by for a while to support us. He hasn’t been to the sidewalk in a while, but he’s coming back…
The shift passed quickly as faithful Tom and Diane came to reclaim the vigil for tomorrow… some “disassembly” and “assembly” required :-)”