By Sarah J
My journey began many years ago when I walked out of the abortion clinic. I had just aborted my daughter.
There were protesters out in front of the abortion center, so we were escorted out the back door. My ride had driven her car around back to come and meet me. As I began my journey to the car, I passed the large dumpster where the clinic tossed the remnants of my baby.
This is where my walk to Emmaus begins.
I went home that day and tried to be normal, processing the many feelings of relief and guilt. I am not sure why both of those feeling felt so appropriate. As the day wore on the guilt over powered the relief. I vowed that I would never share what I had done earlier in the day. That pain was mine alone.
My Road to Emmaus was full of twists and turns and deeply held secrets. While I know now that it was Jesus walking alongside me, it would take many years to recognize Him.
As I journeyed from the abortion clinic, every day I took a step further away and tried to forget what I had done. I married, got pregnant again and rather than backtrack to the abortion clinic I stayed on the Road to Emmaus. I became a mother to a son.
I was raised Catholic. The day I left the abortion clinic was also the day I left the church. Now that I had a son, I felt a responsibility to have him baptized. I called a Catholic Priest. After telling him what I had done and asking for a time for Confession the priest hung up on me.
I knew that I was unforgiveable and that I was not welcome back.
I did get my son baptized. Four years later I had another son. Once again, I sought baptism. I tried to teach my boys the Catholic faith. I failed. It was hard teaching them a faith I was not able to live out. So, I joined a protestant church.
I began to thrive and grow in God’s word. One Sunday the preacher was talking about a God that I wanted to know. The merciful and compassionate God. So, I raised my hand and said yes to the Lord. I became pregnant. I felt so blessed to have a baby girl since I aborted my first girl.
I began to study God’s word and was beginning to realize that on my Road to Emmaus Jesus was with me.
But something was missing.
I still did not feel worthy or forgiven and I kept backtracking on my Road to Emmaus to my experience at that abortion clinic. I had to talk to someone about my secret.
I wanted to go to Confession, but I had already been rejected. The protestant church kept encouraging me to just ask the Lord for forgiveness. I cannot tell you how many times I was on my knees begging the Lord for forgiveness.
Nothing gave me any sense of peace or feeling of forgiveness. I was not forgivable and even though I went to church I would always be that person with the scarlet letter.
There was another longing in my heart: I desired to receive the Eucharist. When the protestant church had communion on Sunday, I always left feeling rather empty and longing. I wanted to go back to the Catholic Church, but I was not worthy.
I got online and found a program in the Catholic Church called Project Rachel. I spoke with a counselor about my abortion. I did not feel condemned, but accepted and understood. She encouraged me to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. I rejected that idea for several years until I finally had the courage to go.
When I arrived at the retreat, the priest and the team assured me that I was safe. The priest was not going to reject me. I was given the opportunity to share my story without judgement.
The most significant part of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat was that I entered into the Sacrament of Confession. The priest did not judge or reject me.
That evening I was introduced to Adoration. Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament after my confession was the most peace I had felt in many years. The next day when I received the Eucharist during the Sunday Mass, I knew I was home. I had arrived in Emmaus, I recognized Him. The gift of his Body and Blood was given for my sins.
While my journey continues, I know Jesus walks alongside me. The Eucharist is the my center of my life. I find strength in Adoration and daily Mass and frequent Confession.
All are gifts of the Church to strengthen me on my Road to Emmaus.