The Lord encounters us ever anew, through the eyes of the men and women who reflect his presence.
- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas est.
In last month’s newsletter, I wrote to you about our low turnaround rate while sidewalk counselling in downtown Montreal. Most women and couples who come to the abortion facilities either dismiss our intercession or are unaware of it and carry through with their abortion.
Since this publication of that newsletter, I have received many heartening responses - by phone, email, or snail mail. Thank you to all those who called and wrote consoling and supportive words.
In addition to these, Our Lord has consoled me in yet another way.
Shortly after the publication of that newsletter, I came across an article by the Italian actor Pietro Sarubbi, who portrayed Barabbas in Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ”. ("He played Barabbas to Jim Caviezel's Christ and the encounter changed his life")
Sarubbi’s message is timely as it illustrates how God uses eye contact to touch souls.
Writing about the scene in which he, in the role of Barabbas, briefly meets Jesus’ eyes just before descending the stairs after being released by Pilate, he shares:
While I was playing Barabbas, the Holy Spirit used one man to look at another man. Now it’s clear to me; it was perturbing and unsettling then... Later on, I read (Pope Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est, in which there’s a phrase that expressed very clearly what had also happened to me: "The Lord encounters us ever anew, through the eyes of the men and women who reflect his presence."
The Italian actor and teacher then adds:
This is precisely God’s method: to look at people through the eyes of other people. This explained what was inexplicable to me; I could not imagine that a simple actor playing Jesus could look at me in a way that turned my soul upside-down. From that moment on there was a change in my personal, human, and professional life, because when you’re captivated, you’re captivated in every way.
Sarubbi's experience encourages me to become docile to Our Lord and so allow the women and couples I meet to be captivated by Him and be transformed.
And transformed to what? Sarubbi continues:
And from that moment on an entirely human challenge begins, because there’s no magic wand that transforms you; you remain exactly who you were, but you fall in love with Christ, and your life becomes an attempt to live up to that love. You remain with your sin and your smallness, but you’re enriched by the hope that through prayer you can walk without fear in a new direction.
Allowing the women and couples through me to encounter Christ and so bring love into their lives in hope and in a new direction.
Lord, may we be ever humble to allow you to increase in us so this he transformative love fosters a culture of life.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Quebec Life Coalition