In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us the greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. The responsorial psalm says, “I am the Lord your God: hear my voice”.
For so many years and like so many of you, I dared not listen to God’s voice, for I was sure that because of my abortions I was unworthy of his love and that he could never forgive me for what I had done. My gods were drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity – they helped to numb the pain I was in and filled my empty life with what I realize today was garbage, distracting me from God, drowning out his voice.
It was incomprehensible to me that God could ever forgive such inherently evil acts. I lived each day in fear, guilt, shame, and darkness – haunted by the memory of my sins. For over thirty years, I ran away, convinced that I was far beyond the grace and mercy of God and that I was surely going to hell. I could not love God because I was too afraid of his wrath to dare listen to his voice – and I hated myself – so how could I possibly love my neighbor?
Nevertheless, the truth is that God never gives up on us – the hound of heaven at our heels, in relentless pursuit, because he loves us just as we are, no matter what. On my journey of healing, I learned that that there is nothing God will not forgive us for if we learn to trust just enough to turn back to Him with a humble and contrite heart, seeking reconciliation and healing. I did not realize it at the time, but this was an act of faith, finding the courage to ask for mercy that I knew I was not worthy of.
As I began to heal from my abortions, I slowly began to trust enough to try to listen to what God was saying to me. He is so generous, that the more I trusted Him, the more He spoke, leading me finally to a place filled with His love and His light. One simple “yes” to God and in this He taught me that He is who He says He is and that His promises are true – and today, I honestly believe that I am indeed his beloved daughter – and nothing can change that.
Now these words resound in my heart and soul: “I am the Lord your God: hear my voice. An unfamiliar speech I hear: ‘I relieved his shoulder of the burden; his hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I rescued you’.” In His great mercy, He rescued me – not because I deserved it, not because I earned it, not because I made up for it, but simply because He loves me.
I have found peace and that is my prayer for you today, that you are given the gift of faith to step forward to find healing in His unfathomable mercy and love – like myself and so many before me. Please do not stay stuck in despair, shame, sin, and darkness any longer – the Lord, our God wants you freed from the burden you carry so that you can be free to love Him, love yourself and in turn love your neighbor.
Do not be afraid. God loves you and He desires your healing so that you can be free to be the person He created you to be. God bless you!