When asked, "Do you wish you had never done it?," in my experience as a priest, all women and men have said, "Yes, I wish I had never done it."
God’s Divine Mercy is particularly experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The sin of abortion is one that many women and men carry with them for years and years without receiving absolution and forgiveness.
Many may not know what Pope Francis has done to make forgiveness and reconciliation readily available. From my experience as an Idente Missionary and as a priest commissioned as a “Missionary of Mercy,” allow me to share with you the following five reasons to confess the sin of abortion.
These reasons will highlight God’s Eternal Mercy and exactly what the Holy Father has done so that those who have procured an abortion receive compassion, forgiveness, and liberation as soon as possible.
1. God’s Divine Mercy. Psalm 136 states, “God’s mercy endures forever.” St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, Chapter 5, says, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” In the second chapter of Letter to the Ephesians, we read, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.”
Our Eternal Father never stops loving us. He is always running towards us with compassion and forgiveness. Pope Francis, in the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, issued at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy wrote, “I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
When we confess the sin of abortion, we are trusting in the Father’s Eternal Mercy made one of us in the Lord Jesus and given to us in the Love of the Holy Spirit. God’s Divine Mercy “is patient … is kind … it bears all things … it endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13, 4, 7). God’s mercy has no limits, no end; it’s eternal!
2. There Is Hope. King David repented of the sin of adultery by praying with these words of Psalm 51, “Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.” When a woman or a man is asked, “By committing abortiondid you purposely want to hurt or reject God?,“ most say no. Some, as Pope Francis has stated, choose abortion with a “superficial awareness,” without realizing “the extreme harm” that such an act entailed. Very few choose abortion for its sinfulness. Rather, they do so because, as the Holy Father highlights, “they believe they have no other option.”
When asked, “Do you wish you had never done it?,” in my experience as a priest, all women and men have said, “Yes, I wish I had never done it.“ This is a true sign of repentance, and this is another reason to confess the sin of abortion. When we are honestly and sincerely repentant before our Eternal Father, we weep, and we wish we had never done it. We face the truth of our actions. This leads us to hope!
3. Forgiveness. The Letter to the Hebrews Chapter 8 states, “For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more.” Chapter 43 of the Book of Isaiah reads, “It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.”
Pope Francis states, “The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father.” When we confess our sins to the priest, without fear of hell or desire of heaven, but out of sorrow and hatred for our sins, and due solely out of love for God, then God does not remember our sins. Our sins are wiped clean through the Blood of the Lamb, through the Blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9, 14).
We were dead in our sins and now through the absolution received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are once again alive in the Lord Jesus. This is so significant that Jesus said “even the angels in heaven rejoice” when a sinner repents (Luke 15, 10). Forgiveness sets us free!
4. Universal Availability. Pope Francis in that same Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, quoted previously, states, “lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life … May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”
This means that women and men can approach any priest and seek pardon and reconciliation for the sin of abortion without having to obtain absolution directly from their local bishop. Priests commissioned as Missionaries of Mercy, diocesan and religious order priests in parishes, in monasteries, in sanctuaries, in seminaries, in basilicas, or in cathedrals, all can forgive the sin of abortion.
After the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has made it possible for God’s Divine Mercy and forgiveness to be universally available and immediate. How then, can we not seek forgiveness, when forgiveness is just a priest away!
5. Honor. God’s mercy and forgiveness in no way lessens the seriousness or gravity of procured abortion; rather it brings it to the Cross of Christ where all sin is crushed and redeemed. In seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with God in the Sacrament of Confession, women and men are also seeking forgiveness from and reconciliation with the child or children they have lost through procured abortion.
Women and men therefore honor their children by seeking forgiveness from God and by trusting in God’s Divine Mercy, for I am certain that being with God these innocent children have also forgiven their parents and will embrace them in heaven with mercy and compassion.