Another Chapter of God's Work in the Vineyard
October 16, 2014
A sudden and unexpected wailing of despair echoed through the parking lot as a woman approaching the retreat entrance crumpled against a wall. It was as if a lifetime of pain which was so carefully hidden inside of her had erupted at the door. I held her and asked her to breathe. To breathe in God and breathe out all fear. Within a few minutes, she walked through the door holding my hand.
She was followed by another, very young woman, who said she wasn’t sure how she could do this. She had locked the doors of her heart the day of her abortion and no longer had a key. I handed her a key and asked her if she was willing to give the key of her heart to God. We placed the key in the chapel and let the retreat begin.
This retreat was packed to capacity and richly blessed by the presence of our faithful priest who comes from another diocese to remain with us the entire retreat. I have never seen Jesus so present among people as when he sits in the dining room with them during meals and visits with them. He shares his stories of when he was growing up on a ranch and then laughs joyously at the stories they shyly share with him. I know without a doubt that Jesus is making Himself known to them through this priest. He makes them feel accepted and welcome, just like Our Lord did with those who were outcast. He sees no differences in them and loves them just as they are. He listens to their pain and wipes away a tear as he listens, and then walks at their side as they hand their hearts to God. He always ends his stay by telling the retreatants that he is now officially the godfather of all the babies lovingly remembered on the retreat.
As the retreatants shared the blessings they experienced on retreat, the young woman with the 'key' smiled shyly and looked over at me and said…”here is my key. I found it and I gave it to God,” and she placed it in a cup in front of an image of The Divine Mercy. I could hear an audible crack splitting the wall of denial as she walked away. She was not alone, as so many others described their journey towards healing, towards mercy:
“I knew where my babies were, but I had no peace. Now I know their mission is to draw me closer to God. I don’t have to cry anymore, I know where they are AND I am at peace.”
“I am taking a new woman home with me (spoken by a radiant male retreatant embracing his smiling wife at the end of the retreat)!! How can I ever begin to thank God for this?”
“I am so blessed God called me here. I thought I was okay and now I know what it really means to be free. I have forgiven from my heart and not just with my voice.”
“I am so grateful there were people praying for us to come here. I have never felt so much joy inside of me!!! I want to go forward and use this heart which is now open and ready!”
“The people who were praying for us fought the devil for us. And God won! We have a new life starting now and it is thanks to their prayers that I made it here! The void inside of me has been filled with God!!”
“It used to be that I would want to run when I heard the word abortion or pro-life. Now I can listen and I can pray! I didn’t know how to pray before! Now I know God is there and He is listening! Before I didn’t think He could hear me. Now I can hear those words and know their chains in my life are gone.”
“Before coming here, I would look at the birds and envy them. I wanted to be light like they were. I searched for someone to blame for the weight inside of me that tied me to the boulder of guilt and shame. I didn’t know God. This was no coincidence that I came on a retreat where there was a priest here the entire time. I met God in him! I felt God moving inside of me for the first time!!"
As we close this retreat, we are assured all is well in the Vineyard and God’s harvest has once again been abundantly plentiful with new life surging forth in the hearts of all those who attended. New joy is pumping through their hearts, and new hope fills their souls as they plan to find new ways to get to know God and walk in His ways. Hearts are unlocked forever with keys found and given to God.
The laborers in the Vineyard have taken up their tools, and begin to work the ground once again, preparing for next time, for His work, in the hearts of the suffering. May our hearts remain dedicated to Him as we prepare the ground for those He sends us.
Praise be to God!
Abortion AfterCare-Healing / The Rachel Ministries Director
Catholic Pro-Life Committee
If you or someone you know is suffering from a past abortion, there is hope and healing.
For more information, visit www.racheldallas.org or www.projectjosepdallas.org.
Tags: Rachel's Vineyard, Project Joseph