Wednesday, March 12, 2008

JOHN 8:11

No matter how much I may believe in a certain principle, there are certain things that I am not capable of telling another person. Sometimes you not only have to have the right message, but you also have to be the right person.

What follows is peak into the spiritual jouney of one Catholic woman. It is her journey, but it might speak volumes to someone else and so I asked her if she would mind having it used as a guest blog and she agreed readily. Please keep her and all struggling with like issues in your prayers today.

Several months ago this blog featured the priest’s frustration at dealing with young couples preparing for marriage who roll their eyes and sigh as he explains the Church’s teaching on premarital sex and birth control. Thirty-two years ago, I was one of those young people. I am still married and have 4 wonderful children, but I recently realized that even after going to Confession and being forgiven by God, I had not forgiven myself for these sins.

So I went to Adoration and in front of the Blessed Sacrament, bared my soul to God. The first day I talked to Him about birth control. Not only did my husband and I use artificial contraception, but I took oral contraceptives. I knew birth control pills were abortifacient, but I chose to pretend that it didn’t really count. Of all the things I have ever done in my 54 years on earth, this is the one I regret the most.

Catherine Grace and Benjamin Douglas
And how many more
Poor souls conceived and then destroyed
By my selfishness.

And yet my selfishness is my loss.
What could be more intimate than nursing a baby,
Giving of myself to one who is helpless without me
Giving what only I can give,
Holding that gift from God
Looking into its tiny eyes
Counting its tiny fingers
Comforting a new creation
Not quite comfortable in this world

I’ll never be able to do that again.
Yes, I will have the chance to hold a baby
But not flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.
I will have a chance to feed a baby
But never suckle it at my breast.

More than a sexual union
I think that this is the intimacy of the Eucharist…
God, reaching down
Looking us tenderly in the eye
And feeding us from his body and blood.

I had a chance to share in that mystery four times,
But how many more could there have been?

And even that is selfish, Lord.
What about the poor innocent souls
Who never got to live out their purpose in life.

I’m sorry

One might have found a cure for cancer.
One might have been Pope.
One might have been a sport hero worthy of being looked up to.

I’m sorry, Lord.

I have taken innocent lives.
I have had abortions
I have murdered.

What have I done???

Oh, God, save me from the snare of the fowler
The snare that says I know better
The snare that says I’m OK because everyone does it.

Every sin is communal
Someone’s beloved never got to be born.
Someone’s best friend never took his first breath.
Someone’s favorite teacher never got to preschool.
Someone’s spiritual director was never even baptized.


Please don’t be like my friend who says that sorry doesn’t help. I can’t go backwards. Believe me, I wish I could.

How do I make amends?
How do I go to those saints in heaven and repay my debt?
How do I contact all of those people between the ages of 10 and 30 and say that I’m sorry that because of my selfishness and fear, someone important in their life won’t be there when they need them?

I cannot even look at You. I am so ashamed.

Look at me.

I pounded those nails. Worse than that, I jeered at you with the crowds. I was caught up in the fever of the day.

Look at me.

Can this be healed, Lord, it is so big?

You’re already forgiven. Come to me and be healed.

I cannot even look at you. How could I approach you?

Come. My mercy shall wash you clean.

Here is your God,
He comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
He comes to save you
- Isaiah 35:4 -


Adoro te Devote said...

Thank you for posting this, thank you for telling this story. The more people who are willing to speak to this atrocity the more willing someone is to come across it and realize the evil of contraceptives, and the damage it does for life. Many lives.

Fr. V., you remember my post on this, I think. I'm crying now...there just isn't any way that this kind of thing will go away. And what's so damaging...even though we can go to Confession, even though we trust in God's mercy, there is something missing. Because we can own up to our past actions, but we don't know for certain if a child was ever conceived, or how many. And so we can't be specific enough. We can't answer for each and every one, or be certain there was one. Because we don't know. And it's impossible to accept full responsiblity no matter how much we want to...because it's too intangible.

Every other sin...we know. But's not like gossip that affects others. This is murder. But we can't step up and give a number, realize a concrete reality...because this evil goes so deep it even robs us of our ability to properly repent.

Anonymous said...

Fr, give this lady a hug from us.

Anonymous said...

Aw, and one from me, too. I'm so sorry that she's so sorry. She has put it into words we all need to hear.

This evil's source is a sly dark angel who not only says to God, "Non serviam!" but while looking at us, God's children, adds "and neither shall you." We are led to believe that even an abortifacient can be an act of compassion, i.e., "I/my husband will crumble under the burden of supporting/raising another child." That's the same false compassion/confusion at work in euthanasia. The concern may be valid, but there is a God way to live, procreate, and die--He hasn't not covered everything in human life. We have to find the God way, and it would help, not least of all in the instance of birth control which is such a major issue, to hear it from the pulpit-- rather than in one pamphlet handed out in the one day of pre-Cana "Toward Marriage" prep.

I was older, husband was overworking; life was hard with two teens, a toddler and an infant and others living with us, and our taking care of elders. I made my choices (bc was always a foregone conclusion but its means was always left up to me). Well, I'll tell you, the only thing more shocking to me than the day I realized the very same as this woman (after having fooled myself that barrier methods were not totally foolproof and that God thus still had a chance to spark a conception--"I'm not murdering anyone, just blocking"), was hearing from the other side of the confessional screen that day I finally brought it into the light, "Whoa, whoa, hold on.. this is a decision you and your husband make, not one that just the Church makes.."

I'm not passing the buck. There are others on the other side who aren't even mine whom I did not defend into life.. but we need to hear about the life and death issues. We need to be catechized, not only that we live a God way in all things, but can pass it on, too.

Anonymous said...

ps.. may God give this woman grandchildren just like ours who thrill our hearts, who show us God's own mercy in every breath, who have brought our most tender and humble parenting into play, again-- and so greatly that we get to see the joy of it in all the kids' eyes. God's mercy is as perfect as His justice, and He is indeed Love.

adoro said...

Give her a hug from me, too, please.

eileen said...

I shouldn't be surprised when reading a Catholic priest's blog, but I am. You are relaying information on subjects that must be talked about by Catholics. As "just me" said, there are so many priests who would say contraception is "between you and your husband." You tell the truth here and this woman's story is and has been repeated by so many Catholic couples. Add my husband and myself. For approximately 6 years of our almost 25 years of marriage we were contracepting. We justified it by saying we were using *our* conscience to do what was *right* for our family. It didn't help when I was enabled into using the pill by my then physician father-in-law (RIP). I know, sad. When I heard the truth from a Catholic friend about the abortifacient property of the pill, we finally started looking at NFP. Thanks to God's grace we are parents to 6 children, 3 of whom I believe would not be here if I continued to contracept. Thanks, Father, for sharing this woman's important story. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to share our story to precana couples as part of our parish precana team for 7 years. The team has since disbanded, and we attend another parish. Needless to say our children will hear the message from their parents, and more importantly, they will listen.

A Simple Sinner said...

These somewhat painful and humbling comments only underscore something I have said for years...

Ignoring the moral reality of this situation does no favors to anyone... and often will only prolong the problems thourgh habituation.

A young couple I know and count as friends were - with no difficulty - able to live together "on the pill" and still marry inside a Catholic Church which they chose for its appeal as a backdrop to photos. They had not been members and as far as I recall have not been back since...

Ask the bride - raised Catholic and 13 years of Catholic school - her thoughts on the Catholic Church - she will tell you it is all bull spit. But nothing beats an old church for wedding photos.

How many generations must we accomadate by avoiding the "hard sayings" before we realize this is suicide?

uncle jim said...


"Here, let daddy kiss it for you.

There - see ... it is all better now."

Thank you Father, for sending us your Son.