The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Touched by Grace

The past few days have been enlightening for me in that I'm trying deliberately to "just do" some things and not think and think and think and retreat to my room and write and debate in my head the things that should be simple, that are simple.

One of the things I'm talking about is this...the little angel from my first Rachel's Vineyard retreat, about which I have endured much self-induced drama and ridiculousness.  For some reason, let me rephrase, by the Holy Spirit, this morning after Mass, I picked it up from my dresser and brought it down to our lovely Christmas Tree adorned with all of the special ornaments we have collected over the years, and placed the little Angel on a branch.  No fanfare.  No sneaking down when no one was looking.  The girls and hubby were eating breakfast.  One of my girls asked a few questions, "Why are you putting that on the tree Mommy? You didn't do that last year."  And from the little one, "It's pretty Mommy, it should be there every year."  Out of the mouths of babes as they say.  Then to reinforce my braveness, I snapped a picture.

It is pretty. I should have done it last year.  It should be there every year.  It should be here every day.  She should be here every day, and she is, my Grace.  And this morning, I, symbolically anyway, brought her to the middle of our living room and placed her for all to see.  I brought her to the middle of our lives. Even though the girls don't know the whole story behind the little Angel, she's here. Even though my hubby is not her biological father, she's there for him to see.

The last couple of days I've been reading and reflecting on some of my favorite scripture...
"So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.  But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little. He said to her, Your sins are forgiven.”
She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.
When the woman realized that she had not escaped notice, she came forward trembling. Falling down before him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been healed immediately.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Some common themes I cling to, sin much, get forgiven much; Jesus does not condemn; and my faith can and will save me.  Also common in these three pieces of scripture is the power of the healing touch of Jesus.  No, the scripture doesn't say that Jesus touched any of these three women physically, but in movies or other portrayals, Jesus almost always is shown reaching out his hand to the woman, helping her up out of the dirt and dust, touching her face, wiping a tear... and he releases her from everything.  Reminding myself what the touch of Him can do is a very healthy thing for me to focus on and I'm grateful that through the sacraments and our Church, I'm able to seek out that touch of grace whenever I feel the need.

It's been a learning curve, but I've recognized that I am constantly in need of reinforcement of the truth, even though I know what is true and what isn't.  I also need to constantly redirect my thinking to try and straighten out my crooked mind.  I'm starting to accept the idea that this need for help isn't a bad thing, it's my thing. More recently I've realized that I don't need to be in crisis to seek it out I can be a perfectly well adjusted Catholic woman, wife, and mother, and still be a complete Catholic geek and tear up upon any entrance to a Catholic Church or Chapel.

This need for constant affirmation of the Truth of our Church and of scripture has led me exactly to where I am now and let's face it, there are a lot worse things that I could be in desperate need of every day of my life.  I used to think, in error, that I was constantly seeking and needing proof.  I don't need proof, I know what's true, I just need the signs and symbols of that truth, every single day of my life and some days more than others.

So this Christmas, though I'm sure some melancholy will visit me in the quiet hours of the night, I'll refocus my thoughts on the above and on the Canticle of Mary.  Though she was chosen to bear Christ the Lord, her words echo truth for all of us.  ...He has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness and done great things for me and holy is his name.

The Canticle of Mary.
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Merry Christmas Grace. I miss you.


  1. Truly "the Mighty One has done great things" for you too! Have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas...

  2. Reading this entry was something I think I really needed. Thank you for sharing this. It truly touched my heart.

  3. Glad to help Tatum. Gives me courage to keep writing. : )