By Kevin Burke, LSW
October 5th is a day Catholics celebrate the life of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the great Saint of Divine Mercy.
In her Diary of a Soul, St. Faustina shares of her intimate encounters with the Lord Jesus, and the power of His mercy. But take a special note of what Jesus says about trust:
All grace flows from mercy…even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery. I am love and mercy itself…Let no soul fear to draw near to Me…My mercy is greater than your sins, and those of the entire world…Come then with trust to draw graces from this fountain… The graces of My mercy are drawn by the means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.
There are some experience of sin, such as sexual abuse and abortion that can attack our ability to trust, and we may struggle to open our hearts and souls to receive the mercy and healing of Jesus.
We often think of abortion in the context of the contentious political and religious divisions that are a fruit of the 1973 Supreme Court Decision to legalize the procedure.
But at the heart of this experience for women and men, are damaged relationships; the relationship between the mother and father of the aborted child; the intimate connection between the mother/father and their child in the womb; and relationships with other family, friends or abortion center staff who were part of the abortion experience.
There are often powerful feelings connected to the abortion event; anger, betrayal, abandonment; guilt and fear of judgement by God and others. There is a natural need to acknowledge and grieve what was lost.
One has to harden the heart to repress the natural pain that follows this intimate physical and emotional loss. That can make it difficult, on a deeper level, to trust others, such as spouses.
But this can also impact our relationship with God.
Many women and men will benefit from the experience of an abortion healing program like Rachel’s Vineyard. As you go through the special scripture meditations and exercises of the weekend retreat, you can safely process the abortion experience (for some it may be multiple abortions.) With the help of the retreat team and your fellow participants, light begins to shine where there was darkness. As the weekend progresses, the heart softens, and is now open to receive God’s great mercy manifest in His forgiveness and healing.
Here is a powerful testimony from Chuck and Linda Raymond who are part of Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. The couple shares about how an abortion loss they experienced as teenagers impacted their marriage, and how they came to encounter God’s mercy and healing on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat:
If you are a mother, father, grandparent, friend or someone who facilitated the abortion of a child in the womb, there are healing programs ready to reach out to you with safe and confidential assistance.
Even if you feel unworthy, and struggle to trust in God’s mercy, step out in faith. God will bless you abundantly.
Here’s an original song and video I pray helps you respond to that invitation to healing.
[Opening Photo: https://www.facebook.com/mariana.antoneag]