By Kevin Burke, LSW
I would like to suggest a Lenten experience that will bless you abundantly and change your life. If you know someone who has an abortion, or multiple abortions in their history, consider sharing this article with them so the Holy Spirit can speak to their hearts.
This Lenten sacrifice will require humility, courage, and some redemptive, life-giving suffering.
But let me assure you, the blessings to you, your loved ones, and the deepening of your relationship to God and the Church, will make your sacrifice well worth it. The good fruits of this Lenten journey will continue to flow well after the Easter season – and into eternity.
Consider taking a deeper look into how abortion has touched your life.
This invitation is not only for the mother of a child lost to abortion; this is a call to the fathers of aborted children; to grandparents who have lost grandchildren to abortion; to those countless friends and family who, like me, have been accomplices in the death of an innocent child in the womb.
You may have confessed this sin and received the forgiveness of Christ and his Church. This is of course an essential first step. But for some, there is a continued struggle to forgive oneself, and feel a deeper sense of peace and reconciliation with God.
Abortion is a complicated experience of loss. If you have been in any way responsible for (or unable to prevent) the death of a baby in the womb, be assured this has injured you emotionally and spiritually. Often an abortion recovery program is needed to help women and men come to a deeper place of healing and peace.
Programs like Rachel’s Vineyard feature beautiful scripture meditations and special exercises that help you safely open up this painful event from the past. The weekend promotes healthy grieving, and participants experience a peace and joy that only God can bring to the wounded soul.
Catholic retreats include Eucharistic adoration, Mass, and the sacraments of Reconciliation. Gathered with other women and men who have been hurt by abortion, and the guidance of an experienced and loving retreat team, you will experience the “Church at her very best.”
It is natural to feel anxiety about shining light on this dark shadow from the past. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone, and there is safe and confidential help for you.
Here’s a beautiful message from Rachel’s Vineyard site leaders, a past retreat participant, and a priest serving with the ministry: