“And I understood that the greatest attribute is love and mercy. It unites the creature with the Creator. This immense love and abyss of mercy are made known in the Incarnation of the Word and in the Redemption [of humanity], and it is here that I saw this as the greatest of all God’s attributes” (Diary 181)
The Birth of Mercy
( Advent and Christmas seasons)
I can still remember it as if it were yesterday, making Christmas stockings for my nieces and nephews the Christmas immediately following my abortion. That was over 40 years ago, yet I remember those stockings vividly; the materials, the graphics, the pain of sewing them together as I thought of my son who would be missing from the Christmas celebration.
That agonizing pain did not leave as the years went on, although I must admit, I went into such deep denial, I was not aware that my lack of joy was a result of my abortion. Society did not acknowledge my pain and grief, and so, in order to survive, I pressed them into the recesses of my mind, and like everyone else, denied their existence.
Over the years, no matter what my situation in life, Christmas was a time of turmoil, a dreaded event, even with the birth of other children. Many Christmas eves were spent crying, as I set up toys, not really understanding why I was feeling the way I was. This was supposed to be a time filled with joyful expectation, but I was anything but joyful.
When I finally found someone to help me through my healing process, I began to see the reason for my sadness and everything began to make sense. My “no” to life became magnified by Mary’s “yes”. I also was all too aware of the absence of toys that would never be brought by Santa and placed under our tree for my aborted son. The emptiness of the space at the family holiday table seemed to scream at me. There was no room for the birth of Jesus in the stable of my heart. It was deadened because of my sin.
In time, through counseling, prayer and a great spiritual director, I learned to take my eyes off of the “me” in Christmas, and instead turn my gaze to “Him”, Jesus Christ. As healing came, I meditated on the mystery of the Incarnation instead of my abortion, and instead of focusing on what was missing in human terms, I turned my gaze to the spiritual, Mercy Himself!
Instead of a dreaded holiday, Christmas became the opening chapter of the means of my salvation. God come to earth as an infant to take our sins, even my sin of abortion, upon Himself so that we may be saved. Mercy Himself was born and through His life, death and resurrection the gates of heaven were opened to repentant sinners
There have been over 53 million abortions in the United States since 1973. As the Catholic Bishops call for increased outreach to those who have experienced abortion, let us be ever mindful of the countless women and men who have not yet found healing and with St Faustina proclaim to them, “How great is the Mercy of God contained in the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God!”!
Jesus we trust in you!
“In this way God shows that He is merciful towards humanity, and filled with love for us. He is God-with-us: do you believe this?” Pope Francis (General Audience Vatican City, December 18, 2013)