Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I would like to share with you the testimony that I was blessed to give at 3 Masses at Sacred Heart Church in Del Rio, Texas on the weekend of April 1 and 2. I send it as my Easter greeting and as a testimony of Our Father's loving mercy, and I pray that it will be a source of grace for each person who receives it.
Gathered in His Hands
When I returned to the Catholic Church in 1992, after a separation of almost 30 years, I came back with heavy burdens on my heart and soul. As a young woman I had had abortions. I came back into the Church eager to receive the Sacrament o Reconciliation.
At my general confession on that blessed day, I felt as if I laid down a bag of heavy rocks. I knew that God had forgiven me for all of my grievous sins, and I have come to trust that, through that sacrament, Jesus took all of those sins away.
For my penance Father told me to name my children and to write a love letter to each of them. It was a penance that frightened me, because, until that day, I had never thought of my abortions as affecting persons, much less my own children.
In spite of my fear, I took my responsibility to do my penance seriously, but it took me about a week to get up the courage to choose names for my babies. As soon as I chose my baby’s names, a very shocking thing occurred. God spoke to my heart with His “still, small voice,” and He told me totally different names that He had already given to my babies.
I realized that God had named my babies at their conceptions, and that scared me, because, in that way, I also realized that my babies were, at the deepest level, God’s babies, and, for a short time I doubted whether God had truly forgiven me, because, I thought, how could He forgive me for choosing to have His babies killed?
But then God also gave me the light to realize that this was His gift to me. In telling me my babies’ names, He was introducing my heart to them. I realized that that gift was a sign of His love.
For months after that, I could not write love letters to my babies, because all I could feel was guilt. Guilt and love do not mix together well. Guilt was a wall that shut out my love. Over a period of years God has removed the guilt and restored my love, and my love letters have been a source of healing.
About a year after I returned to the Catholic Church, one night I stayed up all night longing for my babies. In the morning this healing poem came to me:
A Bouquet of Love
Where your faces should be
were holes in my heart,
empty as robbed graves.
Then God gave me your names,
His lovely seeds,
not dead, just buried.
No, it’s me buried
in this fleshly tomb.
Sometimes I can’t see
that one day we’ll be
a bouquet of love
gathered in His hands.
Jesus gave us these comforting words through St. Faustina:
“I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart (...) before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy” (Diary, 1588).
May Jesus press each of us to His Merciful Heart!
May you and all of your loved ones continue to receive the Lord's blessing in this Easter season!