Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, all special events, would stir the memory of a horrible decision I made when I was 19 years old. Old enough to know, but, still so young. Then, denial. Maybe it didn’t happen, maybe she wasn’t pregnant, or it wasn’t wrong. It’s not illegal. Everybody is doing it! Then, the pang of regret hits again…Bob
For over fifteen years now, Lumina has been holding retreat days for men who are suffering because of a past abortion. Both Father Mariusz Koch, CFR, and I, have been humbled by their honesty, and moved by their willingness to share this deep sorrow they experience through the loss of their children by abortion.
The decision to begin retreat days specifically for men came after seeing a need to give them a safe place where they could share all the dynamics they experienced without fear of hurting someone more (like the women). At the retreats they have the freedom to speak about the behaviors and feelings they are struggling with, with other men who understand. While it is good and necessary to bring men and women together at some point in the healing process, we have found that having their own place has been very beneficial to those we serve.
Some argue it is good for the women in healing to hear the men, and so it may be, but as good as that may be, they are present for their own personal healing and deserve their own place where they feel free to express themselves without the fear of hurting others.
I am so proud of the men who have come to the retreats. They are reclaiming their fatherhood and not buying into the claims that they have no rights. They are courageously acknowledging ways in which they failed, or perhaps working to forgive those who took the choice of fatherhood away from them. Others are coming to gain an understanding of post abortion so that they can help a spouse or girlfriend who is suffering from a past abortion.
Men have just as much of a right to their children as women do. Some may have been selfish in the abortion decision , some may not have been given the opportunity to have their child, but all deserve to come to know the love and forgiveness of Christ who is Mercy Himself. This Father’s Day, may we pray that all fathers of children of aborted babies feel the love of their children through the unconditional love of Christ who longs for their healing.