Anne Lastman A Reflection “Peter,” The Holy Father, Pope Francis, without breaking the line of…
To forgive means to be able to see the humanity of the other. Distorted at times. Discoloured at times. Disfigured at times, but still humanity. To forgive someone who has wronged does not mean that what was done was acceptable or should go unpunished but rather to cut the chords which keep on binding the wounded one with the one who has wounded. It is these toxic ties, which continue to re wound. The chords can be cut using more violence or by forgiveness. Violence adds to the wounds a new dimension of pain. Forgiveness says “no more. you have no more power over me. You cannot harm me again” but refrains from hurting the other. Again this adds to the dimension of humanity of both the victim, and the perpetrator.
That’s why forgiveness is healing especially to the wounded. Compassion and forgiveness means sharing with another their load, walking alongside, so that humanly speaking the load is lightened. The prisoner chained in pain is still a human person in pain and chained but who still needs bandaging.
Remembering that a post abortive woman/man will suffer from lack of self esteem. Her own dislike of herself. The barrier, which existed between herself and everyone else. Her sense of having “lost” herself. Her belief that she is not worth living or helping. At times even her own comments “I have killed my baby…I am a murderer I don’t deserve anything” Her continual need to “disappear” to a “safe place” (mentally) when life difficulties arise and in that place she cannot see her life experience and her decision. Her compulsive need to wash her hands (sense of feeling guilty and dirty) and her lips (because she agreed and said YES to the abortion) All these need to be recognised as signs that she cannot forgive herself and needs help in this area of her life. To begin to forgive herself so she can forgive others who “forced” “encouraged” “urged” “made” her have the abortion. Even the medical profession who carries out these procedures.
Over time much has to be spoken about and explored and forgiven and then let go. Many losses discussed and wept over and let go. Loss of security. Loss of normal life without abortion in the history. Loss of femininity, loss, of confidence in mothering, loss of motherhood, loss of place in family…many losses.
But most importantly helping the woman to see herself as good person beginning from when she was a child. To see that little girl, that continued to make progress and grow, and that the abortion, terrible as it was, has given her a new but different opportunity at life. An opportunity to begin again but as a different person (a mother) because now she has known suffering and loss as only a parent can know, and has come through it, not without scars, but different because of her suffering. She cannot go back to a time pre abortion, but she can continue in another but equally good way. The Way of forgiveness. The Way of Jesus.