How Divine Mercy heals the effects of abortion. By Bryan Thatcher, MD and Fr. Frank Pavone.
Abortion, Forgiveness and Living Divine Mercy
I would like to share some thoughts with you on the difficult issue of abortion, forgiveness and living the message of Divine Mercy.
Lately, I have been reviewing literature on the effects of abortion, and I'm amazed at how much is written on the aftermath of abortion and the ripple effects on all involved. There are many areas of healing needed in post-abortive families: the woman who had the abortion, the man who may have encouraged her to go through the procedure, the parent who told their daughter that abortion was the only way out, and even siblings who are angry at their mother for ending the life of their brother or sister.
We know that killing an unborn child is wrong, yet the difficult decision faced by the woman and the feelings of confusion, helplessness, despair, and anxiety are well understood by many of us. In his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life, paragraph 99), Pope John Paul II had a special message for women who have had an abortion:
The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of Mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord.
In the book Crossing the Threshhold of Hope, Pope John Paul II writes:
... We are witnessing true human tragedies. Often the woman is the victim of male selfishness, in the sense that the man, who has contributed to the conception of new life, does not want to be burdened with it and leaves the responsibility to the woman, as if it were "her fault" alone. So, precisely, when the woman most needs the man's support, he proves to be a cynical egotist, capable of exploiting her affection or weakness, yet stubbornly resistant to any sense of responsibility for his action ...
There are two facets of healing, including post-abortion healing. One involves knowing that God forgives you; He died for you and His blood delivers you from all your guilt. The other is knowing that as God forgives you, you are made clean and do not need to walk around wearing a cloak of shame. In paragraph 1443, The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
During His public life, Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness; He reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at His table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God's forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God.
For Catholic men and women, the Sacrament of Reconciliation must be at the heart of the healing process. We must come to know and understand the forgiveness of God and others. However, we must also learn to forgive ourselves. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, your sin has been forgiven and you have been made new in Christ. We must trust in God and turn the children over to the care of the Great Physician. Below the Image of the Divine Mercy are the words, "Jesus I Trust in You." Let us strive harder each day to turn our worries and anxieties over to Him; for He can turn our sadness into joy!
I implore all of you, but especially those who have been caught up in the evil of abortion, to come back to Him, the Merciful Savior. And also know that God loves you as you are, and that He came to heal the sinner, not the upright. Reflect on the words of our Lord to St. Faustina: "The greater the sinner, the greater the right to My mercy" (Diary, 723).
Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy.