We are a very visual people. At least those of us who have been blessed with the gift of sight.
It is arguably the most powerful of all our senses.
When we see something beautiful we are drawn to it. We can’t keep our eyes off of it. We are captives of our own sense of sight.
Conversely, if we come upon an accident scene, while curiosity may first draw us to look, once the scene becomes too graphic we avert our eyes. Lest we see. Of course not looking doesn’t change the reality before us. Instead it seeks to protect us from being forever changed. For once we’ve seen, we cannot un-see.
St. Francis of Assisi knew that.
He sought to make the unimaginable beauty of St. Matthew and St. Luke’s nativity scene come alive to the people of Grecio. To help them see it.
So 1200 years after the first Nativity scene in Bethlehem St. Francis made it visible with the Christmas creche. It was his gift to the town and by extension to the Church.
He did so that all might better see the miracle of the Incarnation such as it was that blessed morn. Complete with manager, straw, ox and ass. And sensually all that the latter would imply. But it is the sense of sight which would permanently etch that image on the mind’s eye of all those who would see. Making it real.
Ironically it is the very same reason we go to the streets of our towns with the graphic images of what an abortionist does to an unborn child.
That others may see. To make abortion more real.
For we are a visual people.
Many avert their eyes. As if not seeing somehow changes the reality before them .
And make no mistake about it, abortion minded parents, grandparents and Deathscorts are not the only ones who avert their eyes.
Plenty of us who know better avert our eyes by never leaving the comfort of our churches or daily lives. Lest we see. ‘There is none so blind that will not see’, or more profoundly in the second century words of Tertullian, “People who cannot see what really is are the very ones who see what is not.”
For all the pro-life work I did beginning in 1973, it was 7 years before I finally made it to an abortion mill. But once I saw, I was forever changed. And three years later, when I held in my hand the perfectly formed arm of a 12 week old unborn child which had earlier that day been ripped from her chest by an abortionist, I saw and was again forever changed.
It is the same reason a technology like 4d Ultrasound is so effective at turning abortion minded parents and grandparents from their deadly intent. They see and are forever changed. For once they’ve seen they cannot un-see. As a consequence we know from Thrive and other pregnancy aid centers that over 90% of those who see change their minds. And a child is spared a most violent death.
4d Ultrasound makes visible what was the earliest of Christmas Creches: the womb.
I think St. Francis would get a kick out of that.