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The mothers often forgotten on Mother’s Day: those who have had abortions

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Today, Mother’s Day, a woman I know came to me in tears, barely able to speak. Her young daughter had chosen today to let her mother know she had just had an abortion.

Please, in your charity, remember this woman, her daughter, and her daughter’s unborn child in your prayers—and hold up in prayer, as well, all those who are living with the aftermath of abortion.

Their numbers are legion—and, in our Catholic parishes, probably even greater than we know. I asked this woman if I could bring her intention to my readers, and ask for your prayers, and she said, “Please do. We need all the help we can get.”

The USCCB website offers these intercessory prayers: 

For all whose hearts ache from the sin of abortion:
that God will soothe and heal us with the balm of his mercy;

For mothers broken by the memory of a child lost to abortion:
that through the intercession of the Mother of God,
the gentle and merciful love of God may heal their innermost being;

For everyone who is haunted by the memory of abortion:
that they might know repentance, mercy, and peace;
We pray to the Lord:

Lord, hear our prayer. 

But for myself, I’ve always taken great consolation in this cherished devotion of Pope Francis, the novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. In any circumstances, through any difficulty, this novena has given me renewed security, peace, and hope. It never fails.

The novena concludes:

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life.

You know very well how desperate I am, my pain and how I am bound by these knots.

Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of His children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life.

No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.

Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot…I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all, You are my hope.

O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution and with Christ the freedom from my chains.

Hear my plea.

Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me

I might add:

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for all mothers who this day are in pain, especially those who are living with the pain of abortion.

Through the intercession of his mother, may God bring grace, consolation and mercy to his suffering, lost children.

Please, God, guide them home to you.

Mercy can seem elusive to so many women in these circumstances.

A few years ago, Theresa Bonapartis, an advocate in post-abortion healing ministry, wrote in these pages of the difficulty many women face in coping with their abortions:

Part of the problem is that most of us can point to few genuine examples of forgiveness in our personal life. All too often, people dispense forgiveness in grudging, calibrated doses. The right words are said, but the heart nurses its hurt. It can’t let go and be free with acceptance and love.

Another part of the problem is being unable to forgive yourself. This is usually the second greatest obstacle to healing after abortion, and sometimes it is an even greater challenge than believing in God’s forgiveness.

Many also find it hard to believe that anyone could be forgiven for their involvement in abortion by the simple acts of walking into a confessional, telling a priest about it, and fulfilling a penance of three, or three thousand, Hail Mary’s. How can this ever equate to, how can it ever cancel out,  participating in the death of your own child? It just seems way too easy. Thankfully, it is that easy.

We can never make up for our abortions, and three or three thousand Hail Mary’s will never be enough. Neither is speaking out publicly or working in ministry or praying in front of clinics.  All of these are good activities in and of themselves. But no one has to “atone” for abortion by doing these. They are not required for forgiveness or salvation. And no one should feel obligated to take part in them unless they do so out of love for God and neighbor.

There is only one thing that atones for the sin of abortion (or for that matter, any sin): the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You can learn more about Bonpartis’ ministry, Entering Canaan, through the Sisters of Life.  

Finally, there is this, Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of Mercy:

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the
heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew
from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness
only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,
the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by
forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its
Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be
clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those
in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought
after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us
with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace
from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may
bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession
of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

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Deacon Greg Kandra
Headlines and Homilies
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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