St. Catherine of Siena had a mystical experience in which she was taken up to Heaven where she experienced the fullness of life and joy in the presence of God. After a while Jesus told her "It's time for you to go back." And when she protested He said, "I need you to go back to bring love to the world!" "I am not able to love" she said. Then Jesus took her heart from her, placed His own Heart within her and said, "now you are able to love!"
A lot of the time we are good Samaritans to the people we meet in life; like the man in the gospel our hearts are moved with compassion for the sufferings of others, moved to the extent that we actually do something to help them. But there are times when we feel unable to love as we should and there are times when we are like the priest and the Levite - when confronted with the wounds of another we pass by on the other side and do nothing; sometimes our eyes are shut, our ears and hearts are closed and we don't even notice what's there in front of us. It might simply be too inconvenient for us to notice. We are called to do something about this and Jesus offers us the Heart that will enable us to do it.
In breaking through our deafness, blindness and inactivity we might also need to deal with the fact that we ourselves have been attacked, wounded, left helpless and ignored on the journey of our life. We need to be anointed, lifted up and brought to a place of healing. Jesus himself is the Good Samaritan who brings us the relief and healing that enable us to be wounded healers for each other.
The call to be Good Samaritans also extends to society. We have a duty to be attentive to what is happening to society and to respond with compassionate hearts where the good of society is threatened, as is the case with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
It's an issue that affects not only mothers and babies in the womb but also the fathers and every citizen; it affects the soul of our country.
During the past week Good Samaritans of the Pro-Life Movement were moved with compassion to gather outside the Dail from Tuesday night until Friday morning praying silently for the protection of mothers and babies during pregnancy, praying for the defeat of the the Bill in the Dail. They were subjected to insult and mockery by demonstrators from the other camp. These deserve great credit as do the TD's who voted against the Bill.
It is quite understandable that the Pro-Choice demonstrators celebrated the passing of the Bill but it is chilling that they chanted "one step closer", reminding us of what we were warned about - that this Bill is a stepping stone to more liberal abortion legislation. And we have to accept that in some way our indifference has helped this come about. It is also sad that the passing of such a law was greeted with applause in the Dail.