TORONTO, December 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Because I work for LifeSiteNews, I saw Mary Wagner get arrested at an abortion facility December 12 while trying to persuade women to choose life for their unborn children.
I wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Saturday mornings are precious, especially so close to Christmas. I had, or so I thought, better things to do. Because, inexcusable though it is and hard to admit, abortion had become an abstraction for me, or, I prefer not to think about its reality.
And although people assume it’s hard to work at LifeSiteNews, because we write about dehumanizing, distressing, and sometimes horrifying events, I think it’s easier to report on such issues than to read about them.
After all, to report on something requires that one step outside the action, observe, and take notes. It part of the job to distance oneself. Then, once it’s reported, it’s done. Deadline met, on to the next assignment.
But something a little different happened the day Mary Wagner got arrested. By her actions, she essentially said, if you are going to kill these children, you have to deal with me, in whatever way you see fit.
Now she and Linda Gibbons are confined to jail to protect our society’s “right” to offer mothers the “solution” of killing a problematic child.
That they are so treated jolts me into facing, at least for a bit, what happens in an abortion facility, day after day. It makes abortion less of an abstraction for me.
But then again, I need jolting all the time to be reminded of what is true. And this brings me to Christmas.
I haven’t been at LifeSiteNews yet a year, but apparently a Christmas reflection is part of the job. I’m much more at ease with disinterested observations and reporting than public reflections, particularly about my faith, because I’m far from an exemplary Catholic.
And admittedly, I regard Christmas as a problem to be solved, and more specifically, the vexatious problem of getting from A to B.
Because, being single with no dependents, I’m the one who makes the seasonal pilgrimage, if not to my parents, to some home, somewhere. The folks I know are generally Christian, and true to form, one or several among them invariably and charitably invites me to bask in the warmth of a family hearth at Christmastide.
But getting there, as they say, is half the fun.
Christmas travel is hellish, involving as it generally does: trains that mercilessly leave before the sun is up; inescapable, swarming crowds; cumbersome luggage crammed with oddly shaped gifts and every just-in-case wardrobe item imaginable; interminable, glacially paced queues; cramped bus or train aisles; cantankerous, eccentric, or garrulous travel companions; and all this accompanied by undercurrent of nervous tension that every connection is made, every detail remembered.
And where are the keys, the gloves, the bleepedy-bleep boarding pass, and wait! Where’s the cell phone? In the purse? The knapsack? That stupid wheeley-thingy?
I was thinking of all this as I made preparations for this year’s pilgrimage, quailed and seriously considered bailing. Was it worth all the stress? Then a thought, so clear and direct it was like a little ping signifying an incoming text, interrupted my dark ruminations.
I thought of Mary, not Mary Wagner, but the Mary.
Now, one can tend, as I do, to minimize the sufferings of the Holy Family. After all, they are not called the Holy Family for nothing. Mary was full of grace, and unshakeable faith: She knew God was in charge. She is the Mother of God. And for temporal affairs, she had steady, kind Joseph, who had the guidance of timely dreams and angelic assistance.
Still and all, there they were: scarcely a denarius between them, the Virgin Mary swollen with child, forced by command of cruel Romans to travel to a tiny desert town bursting with haggard travelers as inconvenienced as they: pushy, hungry, vexed and unwelcoming: No room, no room for you. Move along.
For not-so-spiritually-attuned people like me, it takes seeing Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons being carted off to jail to jolt me out the world of abstraction and to remind me that abortion is the violent death of a child, an irreparable wound to a mother.
And it takes the concrete reality of a slightly inconvenient journey to jolt me out of the abstraction of Christmas.
I am reminded that we suffer from original sin, and that babies are killed in the womb. I am reminded that Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons will be in jail for Christmas for trying to protect them and their mothers from the violence of abortion.
And I am reminded that Mary and Joseph on that night so long ago ended their journey, hungry, spent, broke, but through the mercy of a tired innkeeper, warmly sheltered in an inglorious dwelling behind an inn. And there arrived the infant Son of God, and shepherds came shyly trembling to worship Him, and the sky was lit by a glorious star, and all the angels sang.
And so reminded, I will gladly make that supposedly inconvenient journey so I can celebrate with friends the night when God was born of a woman, when He came to save us from our sins, and when everything was changed forever.