Does God still talk to man with signs and wonders? Or did He stop communicating with his children 2,000 years ago? Are miracles a thing of the past, or are they taking place as often and potently as each plea is voiced? It appears as though God is still in touch with his creatures in a profound way. He did say that He would never leave us or forsake us. Surely, this means that as a loving God, He would no less warn us of his heartache over our disobedience than would any parent with a child hovering perilously over the edge of an abyss.
And the edge of an abyss is where mankind is taunting God from. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to give women a constitutional right to an abortion, a staggering 50 million (by some estimates) babies have been aborted in the United States . The innocent and powerless are mechanically scalded, pulled apart and discarded. What part of the Fifth Commandment forbidding intentional killing don’t we understand? “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you,” (Jeremiah 1:5) This holy formation of the human does not sound like the description of a discardable blob. Furthermore, it is not only the believer who is repulsed at the wanton destruction of human life.
Nat Hentoff, a Village Voice columnist and jazz critic, refers to himself as a “Jewish atheist civil libertarian pro-lifer.” He deplores “this disrespect for human life that is abortion, (because) it has led to a much deeper and more dangerous disrespect for human life, in terms of euthanasia and so-called assisted suicide.”
However, not all are coarsened by society’s decaying conscience. There are those who are living quiet lives in conformity with their churches’ teachings on the sacredness of human life and the dangers of artificial birth control. They are, in a spirit of generosity, totally open to the gift of life as God chooses to give it. The Davis family of Indiana is one of these.
Michele Davis was, like many of her Catholic counterparts, a lukewarm Catholic. Her faith was not the highlight of her life. It had its place for an hour on Sunday, after which life returned to “normal.” Things changed dramatically, however, when, in 1996, her son Andrew was miraculously healed of what doctors thought was rheumatic fever. The miraculous healing prompted Michele to begin attending Mass daily, studying her faith, praying regularly and encouraging her family in a spiritual revival. A dramatic transformation was taking place and Michele was learning the meaning of stepping out in faith and trusting God, notwithstanding doctors’ dire predictions. Because Michele had a history of stroke-level blood pressure, she was warned about not having any more children after the birth of her second child, Andrew.
As a practising Catholic, however, Michele was not prepared to use any means of artificial birth control, nor was she aware of the safe, risk-free and almost 100 per cent foolproof method of natural family planning, which is a church-approved means of regulating the size of one’s family. When Michele became pregnant with Amanda, her third child, she nearly suffered a stroke and was strongly advised by her obstetrician to undergo a tubal ligation during the emergency C-section. Davis said, “No.” She felt that she could not agree to a procedure that would prevent future pregnancies.
After a move to southern Indiana, Michele returned to her hometown with her three-month-old daughter Amanda to attend a healing service performed by Father Peter Rookey, known as the miracle priest. When Father approached Michele, he threw up his arms and said, “Thank you, Jesus, what a beautiful baby boy. Praised be to Jesus, what a beautiful baby boy.” Michele had no idea of what the priest meant. She was holding what was obviously a female baby.
One week later, she learned that she was pregnant with her fourth child.
When the time came to have an ultrasound, Michele’s new doctor, aware of her medical complications, told her in no uncertain terms that she would have a tubal ligation with this upcoming C-section. Michele’s answer was the same. “No.” “Why not?” asked the exasperated doctor. “Because I’m Catholic,” responded Michele. “I guess you’ll have to change religions,” the doctor replied. Michele’s response was equally brief. “I’ll just change doctors instead.” With that, Michele drove to a third new doctor and another ultrasound. There was no more talk of a tubal ligation.
During this two-hour ultrasound, Michele noticed that it was 3 p.m. and began silently to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a popular Catholic devotion in honour of the hour of Christ’s death. The technician, meanwhile, was pointing out the baby’s knees, legs and feet, volunteering the information that the baby’s feet looked like those of a Down’s syndrome child. Pensively, Davis went home with copies of the ultrasound images.
Showing her husband Greg the images, Michele pointed out the legs, knees and feet marked by the technician, but Greg’s eyes were riveted on another image. There below the baby’s leg was a image that resembled the crucified Christ.
As Michele was later to recall, the image of the baby was clear on the monitor itself, but on the printed ultrasound picture, the legs seemed to disappear and in their place appeared a crucifix. This image has provided spiritual food for thought for the many who have seen it. Michele’s belief is that the image appeared on her ultrasound as a miraculous sign to tell mankind that a baby is a precious gift from God, a gift to be treasured, not disposed of.
Three years later, Michele gave birth to one more child on Sept. 24, a day after the birthday of Anthony.
A strong pro-lifer, Michele believes that Christ is saying that He is being crucified in the womb with every abortion.