Three weeks ago, I had my IUD removed. I knew that this was the right thing to do.
I went to confession already, at the time I was unsure if I truly understood the gravity of what I did - but I do know. Slowly from that time, I have had this growing pain inside me. I am filled with greif and guilt over wanting to kill my children. I do not feel as though I am worthy to be fogiven anymore.
I feel so alone on this as my husband does not understand - and most of my friends are not Catholic. They respond with - “You are being to hard on yourself” Which is so unhelpful…I deliberately set out to murder - I don’t really see it as being too hard on myself. :mad:
I am currently considering going on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. The woman that I had spoken to told me that they openly accept those who are dealing with grief because of contraception use. The retreat is in January, but I am scared it is too soon. However, maybe I am just trying to punsih myself but not going.
Remember, you WERE forgiven the moment those blessed words of absolution were pronounced by the priest. Not that it’s unreasonable to feel sorrow for past sins, but don’t let your grief hold you back - God wants you to live a fulfilling and productive life.
Remember that the main difference between Judas and Peter (who both betrayed Our Lord) is that Peter asked for and received Christ’s forgiveness and allowed his soul to be renewed by it, whereas Judas seemingly felt unworthy of even asking for it and remained focused on past sin rather than opening himself to future grace and goodness.
I think the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is an excellent idea. I’m sure they see women in all stages of the grief process including the earliest and the most intense, so it won’t be ‘too soon’.
I took BCPs for about 10 years. Yep, it hurts. I thought of Rachel Retreat as well. Then I lost two that I knew about.
You might want to hold up reading that book I’m sending you. :o
Also wanted you to know that Janet Moreno (sp?) she helps with Priests for Life … well, I think that she attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat because of her BCP use. She mentioned that on Marcus Grodi’s show…maybe you can find it in the archives on EWTN…
A friend of mine was involved in a very serious sin. When I taught CCD he gave me permission to tell his story as a teaching tool, but not reveal his precise sin. Although this is an anonymous forum I will respect that request, but I can tell you I would judge his sin to be far more serious than yours.
He was so upset and shamed by this act of his that he went years without confessing. When he finally went to confession he talked face to face with a priest that was understanding and comforting. The priest did not minimize the sin - he agreed that his act was gravely sinful, but assured him that God accepted his contrite apology and forgave him completely.
More years past and he found this sin coming repeatedly to his mind. He prayed about it and agonized over it. He read up on Reconciliation and knew in his mind that he was forgiven, but he could not really accept that he was forgiven, and he could not release the pain and guilt that he felt.
One day when he was praying for help and forgiveness, it came to him that his problem was not that God did not forgive him, but that he could not forgive himself. He knew God loved him, but something inside him expected God to chastise him, to berate him the way he had berated himself all those years. Once he truly believed that God forgave him as fully and willingly as the Father forgave the prodigal son, he felt better.
Most of us cannot understand the fullness of God’s love and forgiveness - I know that I cannot. We know in our minds that God is merciful, but something in our hearts expects God to treat us the way we would treat others. We should not belittle or dismiss the gravity of our actions. But we also should try to accept the love and forgiveness that is offered to us. Just as we cannot pronounce as good that which God has said is wrong, we also cannot declare unworthy those that God has forgiven – even when that person is ourselves.
There is no doubt in my heart that God has forgiven you. He is waiting for you to accept that forgiveness. He knows that accepting forgiveness can be harder than forgiving others, and He is patiently waiting to celebrate your return to the joy that you deserve.
If you cannot discuss this with your husband, talk to someone about it. If your priest is not the right person, there are other priests, nuns and lay people that will be glad to help you. Perhaps the retreat will be the right place for you to find those people.
This is not an easy thing - but you already know that. But you should also know that the call to forgive yourself is no less important and compelling than the call to forgive others.
I am praying for you. Stay strong on your journey, and keep the faith.
Another thing, do you have Eucharistic Adoration available near you? To go there before Jesus, and to sit or kneel or prostrate yourself on the floor before Him, and tell Him how you feel, let Him heal you.
I know the pain is killing you, but it’s a true grace to be so horrified by your sin. I often lament that I’m not more horrified by what I do and don’t do.
Regardless, don’t let this horror sterilize you. Rather, let it develop you into someone who can be healed from your past.
Imagine yourself as the lost sheep which Jesus is carrying back to the fold. Imagine, if you will, this sheep who feels so alone and hurt and confused, and, as a result, wanders away where the weeds and heavy foliage trap it…and along comes Jesus, our Loving Sheperd, who smiles at us, chastises us lightly, saying, “Silly sheep!” and then scoops us up and carries us home. It’s such a gentle image that I simply melt away in such thoughts of his forgiveness and love.
A little story here.
Some time ago in a far away land, I was a soldier in a war there. After my first fire-fight and the heat was off, we gathered the dead, both ours and there’s. Looking at the wallets, were pictures of family and loved ones… on both sides. What had I done? This so called enemy was just like me, there doing their patriotic duty for the Commander and Chief. I was just lucky and managed to survive… or so I thought. Inside I was dying just like those I had shot. We all got Hit, some with bullets, some with conscience.
Coming home was nice, at first. But it soured fast. Those close to me saw the change and did not know what to do to help. The Priest in confession thanked me for my service to our country as he forgave me… but 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Mary’s does not bring back those I had killed. We were both soldiers and both told to fight the enemy. We were there leaving our loved ones behind to fight a war caused by someone else not either of us. Those that I killed I felt were better off, there journey was over and I was left to a living death.
Yes God is Merciful! Yes God is Just! How does one make amends for taking of life? Needless to say, this is the making of Post Traumatic Stress. It is in the realm of the spiritual and morals. Yes, even though the Priest, Country, Family all thank you for it, something inside didn’t gel. It was like I too had to loose (what I considered) my life in order to make ‘proper’ amends for this sin against humanity. My job, my girl, my friends, family all were lost or distanced as I isolated myself in my own little death. After some time and punishment, I emerged to start all over again. New job, new girl, new friends… same family (they must of been praying for me).
Even after all this time (40 years), it still comes to mind and brings some emotions with it. Especially when I hear someone else is going through it. I am in the VFW where I see a lot of returnee’s pondering this today. If one has a conscience at all, it is a dilemma that one has to resolve in their own way.
Yes, God forgave Saul, but Paul had to bring the Good News to the Gentiles. God Forgave Peter, but he had to be the Rock the Church was built on. Yes, forgiveness is there… but what is it He wants me to do… perhaps what I am doing, helping those in the same boat I was (am) in. Forgiveness is free, but amends are the direct result of that forgiveness. (Amends here meaning change)