The world passed one dubious milestone in the year 1958 – my birth – and another far more significant one with the publication of the article entitled Investigation of Abdominal Masses by Pulsed Ultrasound by Ian Donald in the British medical journal “The Lancet.” Dr. Donald was a pioneer in the field of diagnostic ultrasound, and although ultrasound technology was in its infancy (as Dr. Donald put it: “…we are very far from satisfied with the crude results so far obtained”), it was evident that great things lay ahead.
If only Dr. Donald could see us now!
A colleague of mine recently conceived, and she shared with us the ultrasound images taken in her doctor’s office. I could not believe how the art of ultrasonography has progressed since my two pregnancies 20 years ago. Back then, when the technician presented me with a copy of the ultrasound, she had to explain to me, “Here’s the head, and here’s the left arm,” and I simply took her word for it. Looking at the ultrasonic images my colleague showed us, I could interpret them all by myself – they were that clear. What a priceless gift for the parents-to-be!
Of course, the ability to share ultrasound images with expectant mothers has proved priceless for the pro-life movement as well, for now a woman can actually see the baby whose life she is considering terminating. And that makes her decision in one way easier, and at the same time more difficult – easier because she is making a more informed decision, and harder for the same reason.
When Roe v. Wade went into effect 40 years ago, women who wanted to abort their offspring had it easier. It was easy to convince oneself that what one was doing was not wrong, because what was being aborted was a clump of cells, the products of conception. Nowadays at 2 months into the pregnancy, in other words, about the time that it’s dawned on a woman that she is pregnant, an ultrasound can introduce her to the baby she’s carrying inside her womb. It’s pretty hard to argue with those ultrasound images. It’s a baby, all right, not a clump or a product. And so the people who previously would have convinced themselves that on this side of the womb it’s – of course – a baby, but on that side of the womb it’s – of course – tissue, have had the issue clarified for them. Folks used to suspect that they might be killing somebody. Now they can see that “somebody” for themselves.
None of this would be necessary in a perfect world, but human beings have the most insane ability to deny whatever they don’t want to be true. This is not limited to the sin of abortion, however – hiding from the truth goes back as far as Adam and Eve ducking for cover when they heard the Lord asking where the apple went. If facing the truth can be avoided, human beings will somehow find a way to do it.
“You were gossiping,” your conscience informs you. “You need to go to confession.”
Who, me? Gossiping?
Okay, in the first place, I’m a good person. Everybody knows that. Several people at work have mentioned that I’m a kind of role model to them, and my neighbor credits my influence with convincing her to go back to church. So it hardly seems possible that I was committing the sin of gossip. I mean, define “gossip.” I was discussing my coworker’s marital situation, or lack of it. It’s not like I went looking for people to discuss this with; they came to me. And I wasn’t the one making the snide remarks. Everything I said was strictly factual. And didn’t I end the conversation with a pious “Well, I’ll pray for her; that’s all I can say”? And while we’re at it, define “sin”! It was venial at most. I’m lectoring at the Saturday Vigil Mass. I’d be embarrassed to stand up there and lector after confessing to Father that I was a gossip. What would he think? Other people commit far worse sins, and you never see them at confession! I’m not going to sweat this – I just have an overactive conscience. Maybe I need a vacation….
If facing the truth can be avoided, human beings will somehow find a way to do it….
It seems to me that what we sinners need is some kind of spiritual ultrasound, an experience that would serve to show us what is really going on inside of us, making it much, much harder to deny what we already suspect may be true….
Et voilà! Spiritual ultrasound.
Lay your life out before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and ask Him to show you what’s really going on. Truth penetrates to the heart of the issues that we prefer to keep hidden, and Light illumines the dark corners of the soul. Eucharistic adoration isn’t just about us telling Jesus how much we love Him; it’s also about listening to Him tell us how much He loves us. If you listen, He’ll love you right into the confessional, where you can get some of those wrinkled perspectives of yours ironed out.
Eucharistic adoration will make your life easier, and more difficult – for if you ask Him, Jesus will tell you what He sees when He looks at your heart. Then you will have to make some choices. For those yearning to follow more closely after the Truth and the Light, Eucharistic adoration is waiting. Don’t miss your chance – get your spiritual ultrasound today, and may His grace bestowed upon you be not in vain.
On the feast of the Nativity of Mary
Deo omnis gloria!