Sense of Life. Articles in English. Do Not Say “No” to Life!.
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Do Not Say “No” to Life!

I am one who said “no” to life. A terrible thing to admit, but at the time I did not realize the horror of the evil I was committing. I was then far from God and His Church. Driven into a professional career, steeped in the idea of developing the field I was working in, I lived in the conviction that professional success was all-important; and so the thought of yet another child terrified me.

Do Not Say “No” to Life!The doctor, who was aware of my professional and domestic situation, decided the matter for me. “You must do ‘it’ for the sake of your children,” he said, as if what I had conceived was not a child or a person. I fastened on to that false philosophy, for I found it convenient. This way I could continue believing that my career was “assured” for the “good” of my children. Not wishing to sacrifice my career, I sacrificed my child. I was then deaf to God’s warning: “Though you gained the whole world, you strayed from God and in the end gained nothing.”

Now, as I write these words, I cannot imagine how I made that decision. I lived my life at a feverish pace, working from dawn to dusk, without reflection, always under pressure. My mother devotedly carried out the duties that should have been mine. I never dared to tell her that I meant to abort my child.

God gave me a sign to turn me from my course of action. My little daughter had a hysterical crying fit to hold me back. I failed to read the sign. I would not allow myself to consider the enormity of the evil I had decided on. After all, I had a “right” to make that decision.

When I returned home, something snapped deep within me. I cried for many weeks. A sense of great emptiness overwhelmed me. A rankling thorn entered my heart. But after a while, my “glamorous” professional duties and the daily difficulties of making ends meet in what was then Communist Poland smothered the voice of my conscience. And yet, as things turned out, I never realized my planned career. Now in hindsight I see that our family stood in great need of that child. I believe that if we had had it, many things would have turned out differently. We would have been better off and happier.

In time I grew to appreciate the horror of my sin. My marriage broke down; or rather, it just ceased to exist. I went through the motions of living — like an automaton. An ever-growing emptiness took hold of me and I fell deeper and deeper into despair. God in His goodness forgave me in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but I could not forgive myself. As the years went by, I grew more and more remorseful. The very mention of abortion was like a lance in my heart. The sight of a small child invariably made me ask: “Why did I not allow my child to laugh, to run about, and to love. God! Why?” I felt that I could no longer love anyone. A wall grew up inside me, separating me from my loved ones, even though it may not have seemed that there was anything the matter with me.

Once, while traveling abroad with my husband, I attended a special church service for parents who had lost children through abortion. Along with the priest presiding over the service was a nun and a young woman who gave a talk. I did not take in everything she said, but I understood that she too was a victim of abortion. The parents were asked to entrust to God the children they had not allowed to be born. A group of people, both men and women, prayed with the priest. After the service, the nun and young woman fashioned an effigy of a bundled-up infant from a bouquet of white flowers Walking up to each pew, they offered it to the participants to hold in their arms. When it came to my turn, I imagined I saw my own child’s little head among those white carnations. I pressed the bouquet to my bosom, as though I were accepting the child into my mutilated womb — a womb that had become an empty coffin. Dear God, what an awful truth!

It was then, in that church, that I named my unborn child. I realized that it was alive and rested with God. After the service, they undid the bouquet and handed everyone one or two carnations. They also gave us long white candles, which we could light while praying at home. That same day, or rather that night, I “reconstructed” my child in my mind. I imagined its sex, its eyes, its hair. I embraced it in my arms and grieved. I began to awaken the love and humanity that had died within me. The lighted candles gradually melted, guttered, and went out. The dying flames brought home to me the reality of what I had done — and I despaired.

But it was then that I opened a Catholic magazine, which I had picked up at the church entrance. It contained an article entitled Turn to Christ, and it was addressed to a woman in exactly my position. That phrase “Turn to Christ” resonated within me like the voice of hope. It expressed the world’s profoundest truth. Turn to Christ, whose blood was shed with the blood of your murdered child. Turn to Christ, who willingly accepted torment and death on the cross for our sake. Turn to Him, who came for us wretched and wayward sinners, and whose heart is rich in grace and mercy to all. Turn to Christ. Entrust your child to Him. With humility and love, restore to Christ that Sacredness, which is the human being, and which belongs to God. Confide the soul of your poor child to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the maternal arms of the Immaculate One.

I came to understand so much that night. I understood that my child rested in the arms of God, that he (or she) was a person, an immortal soul. That knowledge deepened my realization of my sin. I began to pray to my child and beg its forgiveness; to pray to it just as I pray for the souls of my loved ones, whom the Lord has called to Himself. I cannot restore my child to life. But God, the Lord of life and death, lives. The Lord of Redemption and Rebirth! How marvelous is the depth of our faith! How marvelous is the gift of Christ! How terrible is the world without Him! How great is the grace of His mercy!

I cannot give life back to my child, but I can spread good in the world. I can see the face of my child as the face of Christ in the eyes of every person who stands in need of help. I can fight for every child that is threatened or unhappy, for every person I encounter. I know that God’s mercy and forgiveness are boundless, but the enormity of my sin places a special obligation on me. I have to strive to make amends. And there is always prayer — the prayer of a weak and sinful person who can do nothing without the Lord. The humble prayer of one who opposed the will of God!

God is healing my soul with His grace, but the sorrow will remain with me to the end. That sorrow overflows whenever I hold the warm hand of a little infant. It overflows whenever I read about a mother who accepted her child with love — even when her own life was threatened. My sorrow overflows whenever I think how different my life and the life of our family would have been, if I had not aborted my child. I envy those real women and mothers. Lord, I shall stand before You like Mary Magdalene. Allow me at least to wash Your Sacred Feet with my tears!

Whenever I hear our women’s rights advocates talking about freedom of choice and the right to abortion, I cannot but think of the desolation and suffering that those who fall for the patent lie that the fetus is not a child will have to bear for the rest of their lives. Neither time, nor lies, nor self-deception can silence the voice of the human conscience.

The politicians who call abortion a “right” lead into tragic error those who in their immaturity guide their actions by what is legally permissible, but who in fact commit one of the gravest sins of modern times. Entrenching abortion as a constitutional right subverts the credibility of all the rest of the provisions contained in such a document. Our physicians, who, instead of saving lives, destroy them, are no less complicit in this tragedy.

We lock up in prisons those who commit crimes of passion, and they must pay for their crime for the rest of their lives. But our modern order raises to the highest positions of power and dignity those who contribute to this assault on the weakest members of our society and to the moral suffering of so many people. They bear responsibility for what takes place in people’s souls — the souls of those who breach the inalienable laws of God. They would do better to thank God for the gift of life, for they too would not exist if their mothers had said “no” to life, as they urge other women to do.

In his encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II makes a special address to women burdened by the memory of aborting their child. He urges them to come together in defense of other children and their mothers. “Through your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life….[Thus] the “blood” of the “martyrs” (for that is what your unborn children are) will be able to bear its fruits.”

There are many ways of defending life, from publicly witnessing to our painful experiences to rendering direct assistance to mothers and their children, both financially and by volunteering our time. Prayer is of paramount importance, especially the rosary offered up for unborn children and their parents. We can also adopt an unborn child spiritually, praying that it be brought to term and bring joy to its parents. Another way is to contribute regularly to the mission funds and by supporting a child in the Third World. The knowledge that there is one child in the world that does not go hungry and has its basic life needs met can be very uplifting. The good that we do enables us to pass from despair to life. It fills our hearts with hope and love, which we can convey spiritually to the unborn child whom we denied this love. This way we can sincerely tell it (him or her) that it is loved through the deeds carried out in its name. By doing good to others, we build ourselves up. It restores joy to the heart — a heart that offers its love to the unborn child that abides in the heart of the Most Merciful God.

I pray that my witness will prompt future mothers who experience doubts to chose life in all circumstances and thus chose the great joy and boundless happiness that comes from accepting the new human being that God has granted them. “For truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).


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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

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