Year of the Priest: Issuing God's Invitation, Offering God's Healing
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I remember thinking: 'Can this be true? Did I hear him correctly? Can God really forgive abortion?' That Priest was God's instrument.
It was through the words of that priest that hope was born in me.
BRONX, NY (Catholic Online) - When I witness to my healing from the effects of abortion, I tell the story of when my older son was seven and ready to make his First Penance. At a meeting for the parents, a priest talked about God's mercy and His desire to forgive any sin, even the sin of abortion.
I remember thinking: "Can this be true? Did I hear him correctly? Can God really forgive abortion?" After years of suffering, it seemed a foreign thought. However, that evening I left with the first ray of hope I had known in years.
It took time and courage, but I contacted that priest and asked him to hear my confession. The priest was gentle, leading me through the commandments and into the arms of Jesus. He showed great empathy and support. At last, I was on my way home.
I began to see that priest regularly for spiritual direction. At first, all I knew was darkness. It was an effort to do the things he asked of me, like examining my life. I was sure I would uncover what a terrible person I was, but tired of the depression that had become my constant companion, I decided to try. I began going to daily Mass, and spent time before the Blessed Sacrament. I needed so badly to trust in this God I had been told was so good.
I understand now that the fullness of healing must come in God's time, but it was through the words of that priest that hope was born in me. His invitation to the mercy of God was something I had been waiting to hear for years. Instead of the hell I was sure I was heading for because of my abortion, he opened the door to the possibility of heaven.
If you speak to other women and men who are post abortive, you are sure to hear similar stories. The power of the priest to invite, through his words, someone lost in the despair of abortion, back into union with the church through its sacraments.
As a man from one of our retreats relates: "As I sat in a pew in of the church listening to the priest, I started to feel myself opening up to God in a way I never had before. .. It was clear to me that this was the man I needed to speak to about the guilt and shame that had eaten through every aspect of my life for a decade and a half.
"When at last I sat with him, it was difficult to tell the story I had buried so deeply. As I spoke, I watched him, waiting for a look of condemnation to creep onto his face. It didn´t. .. As we talked more, he helped me to understand in a real way the very grave nature of what I had been a party to; at the same time, though, he uncovered for me a path of healing on which I could be accompanied by a loving and compassionate God, and he gave me the one thing that had been completely absent from my life for years—he gave me hope." (Michael) Or a woman: "I remember going on an Entering Canaan retreat with such depression and anxiety, but everyone was so welcoming, so warm, compassionate and merciful. I sensed peace all around me. I am so blessed Father was there that day with the perfect words that would change my ideas and beliefs for the rest of my life. .. Seeing how badly broken I was Father compassionately talked to me. I told him how afraid I was of God and that He was going to severely punish me, then Father asked me, "When you think of Jesus what do you think of?" I said, "He is all love and compassion, I can´t even express with words how I feel about his love." Father responded, "He is God, Jesus is God. That is exactly what Jesus is. He is all love and compassion. God is not a revengeful God. He is a merciful God. Our sins can never be greater then His mercy. He knows how sorry you are, and He has forgiven you." Those words full of love and kindness were fundamental for my spiritual and physical healing. Thank you Father!" Maria To be sure, our priests are our means of reconciling those lost through abortion back into the arms of Christ through His sacraments. May this Lenten season in The Year of the Priest see the return of countless souls. ----- Theresa Bonopartis is the Director of "Lumina/Hope & Healing after Abortion", 1-877-586-4621, firstname.lastname@example.org and the Co-Developer, "Entering Canaan" post abortion ministry.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary. That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.
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