Sunday, December 4, 2022

Find Healing That Jesus Promises

Good books teach us, help us, change us and stay with us.
God’s Mercy Awaits You: Find Healing after Abortion – written by Good Shepherd Sister Patricia Marie Barnette – is a book that offers all the above and gives readers a profound sense of hope. Published by Pauline Books and Media (www.pauline.org), a publishing arm of the Daughters of St. Paul, the book was released just as the worldwide pandemic was seizing the country. Sister Patricia melds more than 30 years of counseling experience into this 170-page book that teaches exactly what the title says: Mercy.
The handsomely published book has many praising endorsements of its effectiveness of sharing the message of hope. “Abortion can leave those who experience it with the belief that they have committed an unforgivable sin, with no hope of peace and salvation. But God is Mercy himself and longs to heal us if we seek him out in sorrow…. Although we are not our abortions, their impact is deep…. God is waiting for you! Seek him out in the pages of this book and you will find he has always been there,” Ms. Bonapartis, Director of Lumina/Hope and Healing, writes.
Sister Patricia uses anecdotal stories that are sprinkled throughout to give insight to the fact that every woman’s and their loved ones’ abortion trauma is different. One of the great strengths of this book is the myriad of stories that Sister shares while protecting the identity of the individual.
Another helpful aspect of the book is the ample use of Scripture, many times not often cited, yet so very poignant. “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you…. Plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11-14) When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me… and I will change your lot.” She also does not just offer the Scripture texts; however, lists Scripture reading citations designed to encourage a reader’s own seeking into God’s Word to discover the restorative powers of many passages in the Bible.
Moreover, Sister Patricia offers reflection questions at the end of chapters, along with tips to help offer healing and ways back to the Catholic faith, which many struggle with after abortion.
In an interview at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg, Sister Patricia shared some of her journey of writing the book, which began six years ago when she was in a Catholic bookshop and saw a number of books written on a variety of topics. “I said to myself, I can do that, I can write a book,” Sister Patricia said. “I wanted to write a book about God’s mercy and abortion, and I wanted it to be from the Catholic perspective because I really had not seen one.”
“To help the person who is seeking healing, I wanted them to be able to connect. I just did not want to offer facts. That is why I included the stories, because they are all real stories, and I wanted to make it about life…. To give them hope that ‘I can be healed too,”’ Sister Patricia said.
“Until a person can accept that forgiveness from God, they are really stuck,” she said. “The grace of forgiveness is always there, but there is an element of timing also… many women have gone to Confession but still do not feel forgiven. The sacrament is efficacious but they do not experience it. So timing has a lot to do with it when they get to the point to really receive God’s forgiveness…. It is important to go to…somebody who is trained in post-abortion healing ministry and are neither condemning nor act that it is no big deal. You have to be open, receptive and non-judgmental to the woman, and that is not always the case, unfortunately, and it can be a barrier.”
Sister Patricia was born into a Navy family at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and said she considers her hometown to be West Palm Beach, Florida. She is currently living in Danville here in the Diocese of Harrisburg. She wrote the book over a number of years, due to mission work and assignments that required her professional time away from writing. During a sabbatical recently she was able to finish the book with the help of an editing friend who gave advice and edits to help her as a first-time author. She finished the entire manuscript prior to seeking a publisher – that truly takes a leap of faith for any writer.
“The message for any woman or man or family is to not be afraid, to come forward for help,” she said. “There are people to help, people who care, and God wants them to be healed and live that life of peace and joy that Jesus promises.”
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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