Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Fence

I have a lot of favorite professors, but this post is about one of them in particular. He more than other professors reminds me of a TAC tutor—he loves his science, loves teaching, and doesn't mind what the world thinks of him. He is very polished and thoughtful. His lectures are a little scatterbrained, but that's also endearing and reminiscent of a few TAC faculty I admire. I sit in the front row and I feel like I got to know him. (I silently notify him when his microphone turns off; I answer questions, I make eye contact.) I wish I could tell you more, but I shouldn't give identifying information.

This past week, he presented the female reproductive system as his last lecture to us. We clapped when he finished; mine was an applause of gratitude and recognition of excellence.

To tell this story, I have to also note that 40 Days for Life ended today. Yesterday was my last shift outside the fence of my local Planned Parenthood. My 9:00 to 11:00am slot encompasses the hour before PP opens and the first hour of business, so I see many staff, patients, and volunteers come in. I identify most with the staff and volunteers, ever since I read Abby Johnson's book.

A volunteer sits outside the clinic door during business hours. When a patient drives in, the volunteer escorts her from car to clinic, swiping a badge to open the door. A fluorescent vest labels each one: "planned parenthood volunteer." Most of the volunteers are youngish women (though one week there was an older, rather antagonistic bearded man).

Yesterday, I looked up from my breviary when I saw a flash of fluorescence through the fence. I noticed that there were two volunteers instead of the usual one. One was a youngish woman, and the other looked like—no, it couldn't be. I strained my eyes through the metal mesh. Impossible. I walked across the open gate to see clearly.

It was my favorite professor. I stood where he could see me for a while, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

How can I describe what I felt? What a stab to the soul! This affected me very deeply—seeing someone I esteem participate in such devastating things crushed me. My whole weekend was blackened. But I realized something, even as I was there outside the fence. Christ was sharing something with me. It must pain Him very much to see a soul as excellent as my professor's refuse Him in such a terrible way. Yesterday (and today, and the next time I see this professor) Christ shares His Suffering with me—I felt His betrayal, horror, sorrow. Christ is pressing me close to Himself, showing me His anguish at sin and his fierce desire to show mercy and love to souls.

Please pray for my professor and for all who are pro-choice.


  1. What a beautiful reflection on your experience. I just love how you put that.

    As always, prayers.

  2. That Sunday, Evening Prayer included these texts, and I thought the Church placed them there just for me:

    You have drawn near to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.
    (Heb 12:22)

    He has no fear of evil news;
    with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
    With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
    he will see the downfall of his foes.
    (Ps 112)

    May we see the downfall of the shadows in the souls of those we love!