By Fr. Justin Clemente | September 27, 2022
This past Thursday, I was out supporting and ministering alongside the various Christian groups who offer help outside of the abortion clinic. It’s been awhile – Brooke and I have been busy with our own pro-life ministry (Clive!). As you know, it’s kept us busy! On that Thursday morning, I had intended just to catch up with folks and then pray in front of the abortion clinic (or, as its falsely and misleading called, Hagerstown Reproductive Health). But, God had other plans.
I was standing with a “Love Them Both” (that is, mom and baby) sign in my hand, when Ruth approached me (not her real name). We knew each other through the Wednesday Soup Kitchen and our Day of Outreach. She stopped, looked at the sign, and in a very low voice, uttered these words: “That’s a hard one.” “Why is it hard?” I asked. I knew the answer. Long ago she had had two abortions under incredibly broken circumstances. She went on to have other children with the man she is still married to.
She looked up and said, “You already know, Lord.” As she told me some of her story, she said hadn’t told anyone about her abortions in a long, long time. Today we see women boasting about how good their abortion was, but there was no boasting here – only dark shame. I asked her if she wanted healing and an assurance of God’s forgiveness. She said she did. In a moment of wonderful divine appointment, I was able to connect her to the post-abortion healing ministries of the Hagerstown Area Pregnancy Clinic (HAPC), pray with her, anoint her, and ask the Lord to begin his healing work in her. She chose to step out of the shadows into the light. God’s healing presence was tangible on the sidewalk – what a moment!
It is in the places where we most acutely feel our sinfulness that God’s grace can be most fully magnified. Friends, at the foot of the Cross, there is always enough mercy to cleanse the deepest, darkest sins. It is my prayer that Ruth will walk out this healing process, and choose to go on to surround herself with women in whom God is doing the same loving, healing, and restoring work. All to Christ’s glory!