FROM A TIME OF MERCY AND GRACE -- TO LIFE

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

“Father, Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). From the earliest days of my studies for the priesthood, these words of Jesus on the Cross had always been a puzzle to me. How could that mob not be guilty of knowing what they were allowing to take place?

 

Many prayerful years as a priest would go by, before experiencing the answer to that puzzling question -- through the years as a teacher of Theology at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia; followed by several years in the Military as a Chaplain; then the night of the soul years where the answer eventually came during my year as a Worker Priest in computer programming at a government installation.

 

This moment had its beginning on January 22, 1984 -- the anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision (Roe vs. Wade -- legalizing the murder of innocent life). That was my first day on the job as a Programmer on 501C3 matters, where I was to be introduced to my fellow workers -- - as they were observing the Pro-Life People marching below them on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

My co-workers were making crude and demeaning remarks -- mocking and describing the Pro-Lifers in coarse expletives -- words that would certainly find approval from the euphemistically called “Planned Parenthood.” During that year, a person had come among them in the love and name of Jesus who had a background in physiology and embryology at University level and shared the life and teachings of Jesus Christ with them.

 

One year later, when the Pro-Life People marched past our building (once known as the Old Post Office building), my co-workers -- none of whom were Catholic -- were now speaking of the Pro-life marchers in glowing terms of admiration and respect -- their once harsh cynicism now replaced by: “These are decent, courageous people…they are right…we should support them.” Those fellow workers had now seen this question of abortion in a factual level rather than in an emotional and ignorant level.

By the end of that year, I had the answer to my question: How could that mob mocking and cursing Jesus not know what they were doing? They simply did not know Jesus -- and one cannot love what one does not know. Once they came to know and love Jesus, their eyes and hearts were opened. It was a most beautiful experience, to see them open to our Lord and therefore to life in the womb.

 

 

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