Our Lady Of Guadalupe, Pray for Us
By Chris Sparks (Oct 18, 2013)
To mark the annual 40 Days for Life pro-life campaign that began Sept. 25 and runs through Nov. 3, the following is the third of a four-part series that looks at the message of Divine Mercy and life issues. In part 3, read an interview with Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, the director of the Holy Souls Sodality, about the souls of aborted children.
What does the Church teach us about the souls of unbaptized children, especially those lost through miscarriage or abortion? Where do they go?
Well, it doesn't really matter whether the child is stillborn or if it's aborted. It's still a soul that's in need of redemption. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us:
The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He himself is not bound by His sacraments ...
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused Him to say: "Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. (1257, 1261)
Since a child who dies so very young probably was not baptized, he or she still is in need of prayers so that he or she might enter into the fullness of heavenly glory.
Will the children who've been aborted ever forgive their parents?
Absolutely. The children who were aborted don't have any personal sin. So it would seem only natural that they might be much more open to forgiveness than the average person would be. It's one of the sad realities of our lives that if we commit a sin, don't repent of it thoroughly, and fail to enter into a plenary indulgence to remove the stain of sin in our lives, we usually replicate those sins over and over again.
We turn to those sins of our past, not because we find them so highly enjoyable, but because we haven't repented of them. An aborted infant has nothing to repent of and so is more likely to be open to God and God's grace.
Can the souls of aborted children intercede for those still on earth?
Absolutely. One would make the assumption that, with a limited amount of prayers on their behalf, they would pass into heavenly glory. I don't mean to imply that they are angels of any sort. I often hear [people call deceased children "angels"] and I think, "They have no understanding what they're talking about." Angels are separate beings from human beings. Angels don't have a body. An aborted infant has a body and it has a soul.
Once they enter into heavenly glory, they're part of the Church Triumphant, and although they may not have reached the full potential of the sanctity to which God was calling them, they nevertheless over time will grow in holiness and be intercessors for the Church Militant, those of us who are here on earth.
Will God forgive the sins of those parents or medical workers who abort children?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, there have been abortionists and abortion assistants who have repented of their sins and have resumed the life of grace that was their baptismal birthright. I've met a few, and I think most people are aware of some of the more famous members, like [Norma McCorvey,] the woman who was involved in the Roe v. Wade incident. Just because one at one point in one's life might be pro-choice doesn't mean that one remains fixed and can never change and grow and realize the error of one's way.
How can Divine Mercy help defeat the culture of death?
Actually, in the Diary of St. Faustina, entry 186, Jesus tells Faustina that if she desires the grace of conversion for someone, she needs to pray a particular prayer for them. That prayer is "O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you." It's the prayer that can be found in the Diary in entry 84 and again in 187.
And Jesus says that if we say this prayer with a firm purpose of praying for the grace of conversion for another soul, He will grant it. We need to pray this prayer with faith. We need to pray this prayer with contrition. But He will grant to the soul for whom we pray the grace of conversion.
I've seen it in my own life. I've prayed for particular individuals that were close to me, both friends and family, and to a lesser degree, I've prayed for people who are distant from me, people whose lives are known to me because they're in the public forum, and I've seen the grace of the prayer change their lives. So I honestly and sincerely believe in this promise of Christ that we find in the Diary. I highly recommend that people familiarize themselves with that passage at 186 and the prayer at 187.
What opportunities does Divine Mercy Sunday or the Chaplet give to former abortionists or parents who have had their children aborted to make reparation and to do penance?
[If we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday], Jesus promises us the extraordinary grace of the forgiveness of our sins and all the punishment that's due to them. It is a plenary indulgence, so to speak, directly from Christ for those who will go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and honor His Divine Mercy. There are numerous places in the Diary where Jesus notes the fact that even the devil acknowledges the justice of God. But Jesus' mercy is an attribute that people find difficult to truly have faith in, to truly have confidence in. And repeatedly He tells us to trust in His providential care, to fling ourselves, so to speak, into His arms as an anxious child might fling itself into the arms of its loving mother in a moment of anxiety.
I think all too often we take that promise of Christ lightly. We don't appreciate its Biblical roots. When Jesus was about to suffer His Passion, He looked out over the city of Jerusalem and He said, "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... how I long to gather you to Myself as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings" (Mt 23:37; Lk 13:34).
It's a very tender and, one could even say, maternal aspect of God. God desires to shower us with his mercy. God wishes us to accept His love. Sadly enough, too many people make so many bad choices in their life that they find it difficult to realize that God would forgive them, love them, and receive them into His innermost Heart if only they would repent and be open to His love in their lives.
How do the Marians memorialize the unborn victims of abortion?
The Shrine of the Holy Innocents, which is the shrine at the lower level of the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine here on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., is a shrine in which people have memorialized their stillborn children, their children who died an untimely death due to accidents or illness or whom they have aborted.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose image is in that shrine of the Holy Innocents, was the one who crushed the head of Satan, the serpent, when she crushed the head of the ancient God of the Aztecs who required the sacrifice of living souls. It is said that, in the Aztec temple, as many as 10,000 people were sacrificed in a given day. And she overcame that horrific bloodbath. It was precisely because of her visit to Mexico as Our Lady of Guadalupe that the entire nation was converted in a matter of a few years, even though the Franciscans had been struggling as missionaries before then and had had very little success.
I think the same is true for the United States today. I think there has been sadly very little success on the part of many people who are struggling to advance the cause of respect for human life from conception to natural death. I think that, once again, we should turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of the Americas, and ask her to demonstrate her power and her victory over evil by crushing the head of the serpent, who so ardently desires these sacrifices of life.
How can the Holy Souls Sodality, of which you are the director, help people to continue down the path of post-abortive healing?
One of the most important movements in the Catholic Church for healing the hearts and souls of people who have been involved in abortions is the retreat known as Rachel's Vineyard. And I think in a certain sense the Holy Souls Sodality could become like a second step in the healing process after Rachel's Vineyard.
I sincerely hope that more people will open their hearts to the greatest act of charity possible: that of praying for the souls who can no longer pray for themselves. When we do any charity whatsoever to the Holy Souls in purgatory, we in a sense benefit from it because once they enter into heavenly glory, they remember us more perfectly than we remember them. Their gratitude for our prayers will not be undone. And they will show gratitude for us by serving as our intercessors before our heavenly Father.
To learn more about the Holy Souls Sodality, see here. To learn more about the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, see here.
To read the second part of the series, see here.