"Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.”
“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as ‘Lord and God.’” -Pope Francis (DM Sunday 4.16)
The Fruit of the Heart
Saint Faustina Kowalska's diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, tells of words spoken to her by Christ: that were instrumental in my journey to healing.
“Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than asked. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. “
I know that this is true. This unfathomable encounter with Mercy changes us forever and calls us to action.
In the words of Pope Francis “Mission is not fruit of a program or agenda. Rather it is the fruit of hearts who themselves have known Divine Mercy.”
I can't help but reflect on the fruit of my heart that has been blessed, in spite of my terrible sinfulness, to know intimately the Divine Mercy of God.
With the realization of the great gift of healing I was given by God, and the freedom it bestowed on me from shame, guilt, anxiety and a host of other issues, came the desire to make known the availability of His mercy for others suffering as I had. I knew that mercy was there, not just for me, but for everyone.
And so, the Entering Canaan Ministry was born with the support of the Sisters of Life, based on my healing experience. As the Israelites made their way to the Promised Land God promised he would always be with them as they faced the many battles they needed to go through reach their destination. So too, with healing from abortion.
Using the challenges I faced in my own healing journey and the means I used to work through them both spiritually and psychologically, the ministry was formed. It is as multi faceted as life itself, not done in one swift swoop but as with the Israelites, through a journey of suffering and healing into the heart of Christ who reveals His love, mercy and forgiveness and aides us along the way. Through trust in this tangible Mercy which He freely gives, we find the courage to continue each time we are tempted to quit or give up hope. We are called to believe even when all belief seems impossible.
This experience of personal healing called us to pave a way for others who were suffering because we knew the graces were there for each of them as well. It has been amazing to watch His mercy touch countless souls over the years and heal them to the core of their being as Entering Canaan continues to grow across the country and the world.
Of course, “Entering Canaan” is not the only ministry to do this, but God’s mercy is the same in each. That "fruit of the heart" which has known Mercy intimately, and then shares it with others who know through personal experience, the hope of healing given through Christ.
Entering Canaan was named to be a “journey” into the Promised Land. A road to the merciful love of Christ which would free those who came to us, not only from their sin of abortion, but bring them to a lasting relationship with Christ, the only true healer.
As companions on this journey, I always see our role as loving them into the arms of Jesus. We work in the heart of Jesus which is the heart of the ministry. We dwell and act in that heart which is then, by His grace, reflected to those we serve. We invite them to take the risk and step out in faith promising to be with them the entire way, no matter how long it takes. We value their individual journey and the healing they need. We pray that they could depend on us to be there for them as they face their demons of abortion and learn the very real dynamics of post abortion stress helping them to move through the pain to an understanding of the love of God while giving them the tools they need to heal. Of course, this includes sending them to priests and professional counselors, as we see the need, but we’re always there, encouraging and supporting them.
I know what it is like to step out on that journey. I often say, “if you want to know what hell is like, ask someone who is post abortive”. They know what hell is like. They live in it each and every day. There is constant pain, depression, struggles to temptations of all kinds: despair, drugs, sex, violence; the list goes on and on. That complete darkness, loneliness, feeling abandoned, unloved and lovable; feeling unforgivable, no worth and even worse, feeling evil and alienated from life in spite of what you have made it look like to others. Feeling like there is no way back and being doomed to hell forever. Such is the post abortive world for those who suffer.
Through the invitation to this journey, we step into this world with them. We ask them to take a huge risk, to step out into the darkness with a promise of hope. A promise that God is there loving them and listening to their pleas. They may not able to hear Him or feel Him but we do, and we will keep telling them what He is saying until they are able to hear Him themselves.
It can be a huge risk for those who may have felt abandoned by the people who supposedly loved them. But it is a beautiful journey whose promise is fulfilled when traveled the way God intended, full of many emotions, ups and downs, often times consuming, but eventually leading to the love and mercy that saves us from our sins.
This is why I love the saying, “Take up the Joyful Call of Mercy.” This joyful call found at the foot of the cross where we surrender our misery in trust, and allow Christ to fill our deep wounds.
This joyful embrace, that uses our worst sin to bring us back to Him and our own aborted children to teach us of Christ’s love and mercy.
Many for the first time, learn they are loved and so are able to begin to trust in God and His love for them. We strive to be a sign of God’s love for them. Abortion is not who they are, but something they did. Each soul entrusted to us is unique and valuable
We are all sinners in need of His mercy. We can never make up for our abortions, but the beautiful thing is we do not have to because He already has.
I have learned the journey does not end in this life. It can sometimes be very difficult doing this work. There are many spiritual battles and attacks, but it is through this same fruit of the heart , this intimate exchange with God, that I persevere. It is mine to cling to, to trust, to grow into deeper union with, and to continue to spread the message of redemption.
The book of Joshua (21:43:45), tells of the end of the journey.
"And so the Lord gave Israel all the land He had sworn to their fathers he would give them. Once they had conquered and occupied it, the Lord gave them peace on every side, just as He had promised their fathers.
Not one of their enemies could withstand then; the Lord brought all their enemies under their power. Not a single promise that the Lord made to the House of Israel was broken; every one was fulfilled."