Why would a successful hospital administrator give up a 31-year career to accept a full-time position in the pro-life movement? I made that choice based on an unexpected and totally remarkable encounter with Jesus, The Divine Mercy. In the spring of 2001, my wife, Peggy, came home from a meeting of the Parish Council at our parish, she said, "The ladies wanted me to ask you if you would give a presentation on The Divine Mercy." I accepted the request.
I decided that I would need to read St. Faustina's Diary. I divided the book into increments that averaged about seven pages per day, devised a 100-day reading schedule, and committed to reading it every day during my early morning prayer time. During the Gospel reading, one morning, I listened attentively as the chaplain read from Luke, chapter 21. It is the story about the rich people making their offerings at the Temple. Then the widow places only two copper coins in the treasury, where Jesus says to his disciples, "I assure you, this poor widow has put in more than all the restÖíAt that moment, in that chapel, in the middle of the Mass, time stood still for me. I heard His voice clearly in my head. It was not audible, the way I imagine it would sound to someone who experiences locutions. But to this day, I remember it as if it happened a moment ago. The Lord said to me, "What are you willing to give?" Caught a little off guard by the question, I responded, "Lord, what do You mean?
At that instant, a notice in our parish bulletin from the day before came into focus in my mind. The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation was looking for a new executive director. "But, Lord, I have a family to take care of. Surely an organization that relies on the charitable donations of others cannot possibly compensate even its executive director the way a big hospital like this takes care of me." "But, Lord, if I were to work for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, I would have to commute to work every day!" (each time he objected the Lord asked "What are you willing to give?" . He finally changed His line and chided me, "So, let me get this straight, you are whining about commuting and babies are dying every day."
When Mass ended, I picked up the Diary to read the day's assignment. I believed this would be a good distraction from the disquieting dialogue a little earlier. The passages he read were:I understood that we should take great heed of our interior inspirations and follow them faithfully. (Diary, 756 ) then I suddenly saw a crowd of children. ... When they saw me they surrounded me and began to cry out, "Defend us from evil." Jesus looked at me graciously and said ... "You are to defend them from evil." From that moment, I have been praying for children, but I feel that prayer alone is not enough. (Diary, 765)
I knew that leaving Holy Spirit Hospital was going to be the toughest move I would ever make in my life. But I learned the true meaning of complete trust in Jesus. It is easy to say "Jesus, I trust in You," when things are going well, and when you are comfortable. However, it is something else when it means turning your entire world upside down. But I must give all the credit to the Lord and His divine plan. It has been three years since I made the move. I have never looked back.