The Aborted Child And Redemptive Love
One of the things I had difficulty with when I realized that I needed to deal with my abortion was confession. I knew I needed to confess and wanted to do so, but found it extremely difficult to just walk into my nearest parish and say, "Bless me Father, it has been 20+ years since my last confession, and I killed my child." Rachel's Vineyard gave me the safe haven I needed to receive the healing I needed and to finally make that confession.
However for many women and men, they confess almost immediately upon realizing what they have done, but it doesn't "stick"; they feel the need to confess the abortion over and over again. The reason for this is that they can't forgive themselves. This is a key piece to the beginning of healing.
I came across this article on the Catholic Education Resource Center site. It is an article called An Imaginary Confession: The Aborted Child and Redemptive Love. It was written by Father Antoninus Wall, a Dominican priest. This imaginary confession takes place between the priest and a post abortive woman. The priest touches on many aspects of Catholic teaching on this topic as related to God's love and mercy, but also brings the woman's child into the equation explaining how the child is an intercessor and has sanctified the woman in her motherhood. Click the link to read the imaginary confession.
The other thing that I struggled with and still do to some extent is my role as a mother. While I do not have earthly children of my own, I am still a mother. Every post-abortive woman needs to at some point accept that role so as to begin and then continue her relationship with her child. I am firmly convinced that while God used one of my earthly friends to bring me back to my faith, it started 21 years ago with my daughters prayers.
For more information on post abortion healing, go to the Rachel's Vineyard website.
Note: After discussing this article by Fr. Wall with our facilitator who has been running Rachel's Vineyard retreats in our archdiocese for over 10 years, I realized that while this imaginary confession raises some good points for someone who, like myself is further along in her healing, it may be troublesome for someone who is walking into confession fresh from an abortion. One point that my friend raised was the priest's penance to the woman in naming her child. While our penances are to be a source of healing for us, they are also seen as punishment. Naming our children should not be seen as a punishment.
So again, while I myself found much in Fr. Wall's pamphlet to help further my healing, it may not be quite so helpful to someone who has not experienced any healing yet. So please read and pass along with care and caution.Kevin Burke is the co~founder of Rachel's Vineyard retreats. His wife Dr. Theresa Burke wrote the retreat for Rachel's Vineyard. They both have written extensively on the many aspects of post abortion syndrome and post abortion healing. Kevin has recently published a book that would be extremely helpful to priests. You can read more about his book, Sharing the Heart of Christ by clicking the Rachel's Vineyard link above.