Man can experience two kinds of hope. First, we have ordinary hope that may or may not stem from virtue. We can hope for good fortune, and we can hope for disaster to strike those who impede our good fortune, for example. The second, supernatural hope, is instilled in us at baptism. As a theological virtue, it orients our natural hopes to the will of God and fills us with the courage to press forward through all of the assaults of the devil and every misfortune.
How Does Christian Hope Work?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this (and more) to say about the special virtue of hope: ...The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the "hope that does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5). Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul..." Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation....It affords us joy even under trial: "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation" (Rom 12:12).
It is God who sustains hope in us. After all, fallen man has no power to lift himself up in hope. The hope of attaining perfect happiness with God at the end of our difficult journey on Earth must have a divine guarantee. However, because the virtue of hope comes from God and is good for us, rest assured the devil never sleeps in his effort to rob us of it.
The Enemies of Hope
Although Satan can't remove from us a theological virtue, he can try to confuse us with lies. Against hope, he tries to sink us into despair. If that fails, he takes a different tack and attempts to lead us into the sin of presumption.
If we can't accept the truth of God's love and mercy, we come to believe that we are unlovable and worthless. We can wrongly think that our sins are so great that God would never forgive them no matter if we admit them with all remorse and sorrow.
If the evil one can't overcome our feeble understanding of our tremendous value to God, then he'll propose that God loves us so much that we can't separate ourselves from His salvation no matter what we do. He'll fill our heads with the idea that once we're saved, we're always saved, so we can go ahead and submit to temptation and continue to sin just as egregiously as we please with no regrets.
Experiencing True Hope
But hope exposes despair and presumption for what they are: big lies. God never created a human He didn't love infinitely and eternally. He desires all men to be saved, even when He knows plenty of us will ultimately reject Him. Furthermore, hope cautions us that our sin signifies a denial of God and does, indeed, separate us from Him. Because God knows well how we are terminally weak, He provides us with the Sacrament of Penance by which we can restore our relationship with Him after we've lost it to sin. The Sacrament reveals a huge sign of hope for us. True hope expels despair and presumption as the sun banishes the night.
Bethesda Healing Ministry offers loving, practical help to restore hope to those deeply wounded by abortion. Please contact us today to learn more.
In part one of our series, we discussed Divine Mercy — what it is, how God manifested His Mercy in Scripture and how He continues to underscore the importance of His Mercy in our times. Now, we'll continue with five ways we can promote Mercy in the world, put our trust in Jesus and obtain Divine Mercy through His Holy Mother, Mary.
Five Ways to Promote Mercy: 5 Wounds
As mentioned in part one, Jesus chose the humble nun, Sister (now Saint) Faustina to broadcast His urgent exhortation to all people to avail themselves of His Divine Mercy and call it down on other poor souls. He had many things to say to His servant, many instructions on how to approach Him for Mercy. One method is to appeal to His five wounds in the following ways.
1. The Image of the Merciful Jesus
Our Lord asked St. Faustina to commission a painting of Himself showing two rays, one red and the other white, shining forth from His Heart. The white ray stands for the water which "makes souls righteous," as He told the Saint. The red stands for His Blood which "is the life of souls." Veneration of His image, Jesus promised, would cause Him to pour out great graces and protection from the trusting soul's enemies. None who heed His invitation would lose their soul.
2. The Feast of Divine Mercy
Jesus also called for a feast day honoring His Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul II, at the canonization Mass for St. Faustina, proclaimed that the second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be the Feast of Divine Mercy.
3. The Chaplet and Novena
Further, Jesus dictated the prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and attached many spiritual gifts to the faithful who pray a novena of the chaplet.
4. The Great Hour of Mercy
Speaking of the three o'clock hour, the hour of His death, upon deeply contemplating His passion, He relayed, "I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of me in virtue of My Passion” (Diary, 1320).
5. To Give the Mercy We Have Received
Finally, Jesus reminds us that in receiving His Mercy, we must also give true compassion and Mercy to others. True compassion, as defined by St. Thomas Aquinas, is to help people recover from their actions, through God's Mercy and Love, rather than fake compassion, where people are told their actions are okay - "Just Life."
Jesus, I Trust in You
Those who love the Lord know to trust Him, but sometimes it is difficult. Thus, He assured St. Faustina: “The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of my graces into them. I rejoice when they ask me for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow hearts" (Diary, 1578).
Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy
As always, Jesus pours out His Mercy on the world through His Holy Mother, just as His Blood flowed through her hands at the foot of the cross. At the same time that Jesus came to Sister Faustina in Poland, Sister Lucia, one of the three to whom Our Lady had appeared at Fatima, Portugal, received a vision of the Holy Trinity. The words "Grace and Mercy" flowed from the wounds of the Son, thus establishing the correlation between His Mercy and His mother in our time.
For those who are suffering the wounds of abortion, never think that you are beyond God's unfathomable and unchanging Mercy and Love. It is precisely for you that Jesus visited Sister Faustina with the crucial message of His rock solid and unchangeable Mercy and Love for you. Please contact us at Bethesda Healing Ministry to learn more about His Mercy and Love that heals and makes you whole again.
In our previous blog, describing our long-term healing paradigm as rooted in Hope, which is based on a growing Faith in the one triune God. In this blog, we share Jesus' Divine Mercy, which is used in our healing approach.
One of Satan's most successful deceptions has been to convince mankind that the Divine Mercy of God is merely a myth. Despite His Mercy bestowed upon our first parents in the Garden of Eden, He has displayed and announced His Mercy throughout all of history. If Satan spoke the truth, would God not have destroyed Adam and Eve with justified wrath in the garden?
Instead, God has relentlessly pursued sinful man with His Love, with overflows with Mercy. Scripture confirms that God's proven nature is to call for repentance, then to forgive first and often. He punishes only as a last resort when men stubbornly refuse His loving kindness and reject His Love and Mercy. St. John assures us that God is Love (1 Jn 4:8); St. Paul promises that God is rich in Mercy (Eph 2:4); and Nehemiah verifies that God is slow to anger (Neh 9:17).
So, why the persistent confusion? It seems that in this late stage of history, the message of Divine Mercy takes on increased urgency. What exactly is the Mercy of God, and how has God manifested it in the modern world?
Definition of the Mercy of God
Man, in the misery of his sin, moves God's heart to deep pity. Our Creator knows that without Christ, we have no means to help ourselves. Our flesh and pride drive us to sin under the push of the Evil One, and we have no power of our own to turn away. But God did not create man only to hate him in his helplessness. Rather He created us to Love us, and His Love is the very definition of His Mercy. Mercy drives two actions: forgiveness and grace. While these are not Mercy themselves, they form the active, unchangeable embracing arms of it.
Divine Mercy in the Sacred Scriptures
Because God is also just, man, both as individuals and as nations, regularly provoke Him to anger. But Sacred Scripture repeatedly reveals that God desires to pour out His Mercy and avoid dispensing to man that which he deserves. We read, as only one example out of many, from Jeremiah: "Return, rebel Israel…I will not remain angry with you; for I am merciful…I will not continue my wrath forever. Only know your guilt: how you rebelled against the Lord, your God” (Jer 3:12-13).
How Has Mercy Manifested Itself in the Modern World?
We know that Jesus Christ became man to bring the opportunity for repentance to the world and to forgive the sorrowful through His sacrifice on the cross. Although man has accepted this gift to varying degrees since then, as darkness now enfolds the world again, Jesus found it necessary, within the last century, to remind the world anew. In speaking to Saint Maria Faustina, He commissioned her to: “Encourage souls to place great trust in my fathomless Mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach me, for even if it had more sins than are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the immeasurable depths of my Mercy” (Diary 1059). God's Mercy has yet to reach its expiration date. We do well to sink ourselves into the ocean of His love and healing Mercy.
If you have suffered from the wounds of abortion and seek healing, Bethesda Healing Ministry offers a safe place to accept Christ's Mercy. We understand and offer compassion grounded in experience and the unchangeable Divine Mercy and Love of God. Please contact us today. Don't forget to check back next week on our blog to read part two of this crucial blog series.
When you are faced with challenging choices, often it can be difficult to see the effects they will have on your life moving forward. Abortion is one of those choices. Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy can be one of the hardest things anyone (both male and female) must face. This can send many people reeling, looking for a quick answer to their problem. When abortion is chosen, the long-lasting effects can be detrimental. Depression and anxiety are common after an abortion and need to be confronted. That is why we at Bethesda Healing Ministry are here. We strive to help those individuals who are dealing with the aftermath and trauma by offering a safe, reliable and nurturing place to heal.
What is Bethesda Healing Ministry?
Our focus at Bethesda is healing and support. We are a non-profit organization compassionately offering long-term help to meet the mental and emotional needs of individuals and couples who have made the choice of abortion and are suffering because of it. Located in Columbus, Ohio, we meet twice a month to engage in group healing/ministry sessions where everyone involved can share their experience and grow.
As a Catholic-based ministry, we aim to ensure that individuals are met with a family of God. Our pastoral team is attentive to the needs of everyone, including those who call into our anonymous phone line. We’ve been healing and helping with a God-centered focus since 1993.
Open To Everyone
Although we are a Catholic ministry, we welcome anyone from all religions to join us for healing. We provide a confidential and open space where anyone can share their experiences. It is through the love and mercy of God and His beloved Son, Jesus Christ that we are restored and healed and that mercy and love extends to all through our supportive community.
How to Start
Our confidential phone line and companions are always eager to take calls from those looking for advice and compassion. Those who choose to call will receive a free brochure about our services and an offer to attend our next in-person session. You can also request a follow-up phone call or contact our administrative office for any other information you may need.
How Can I Help?
As a non-profit organization, Bethesda does receive some grant money, but primarily survives off of monetary donations. Events do happen throughout the year, giving you several opportunities to help us keep our ministry going.
Bethesda Healing Ministry is all about making sure those suffering from the effects of abortion can recover and overcome the emotional and mental toll that the procedure creates. We provide a positive, supportive, safe and confidential space that anyone can feel comfortable being in. If you are currently suffering from the effects of abortion, we encourage you to contact us and begin your road to healing today.
We at Bethesda Healing Ministry have no greater goal than to provide healing and restoration. To help us continue this great ministry, sign up to play, volunteer, or donate to our golf outing! Here are the details:
Abortion is never easy. It can be traumatizing for everyone involved. While the media may portray abortion as something women and couples easily do, medical professionals and individuals know that there is trauma involved in the decision as well as the procedure and that no one chooses the option lightly. At Bethesda Healing Ministry, we aim to help those who have made the difficult choice of abortion through this difficult time, providing recovery services that include help with depression and anxiety. Our goal is to assist both men and women through the healing process and help restore individuals who saw abortion as their only option.
To financially expand this front-line Ministry's effective long-term outreach to women, men, and families affected by abortion, we are in need of help from our local community, which is why we have created an annual golf outing.
To register by October 19:
Contact Jim Coles, PGA of America Life Member at 805-471-2214 or email@example.com
Contact Laurence J. Mily, Executive Director - Administration, at 614-314-2125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not plan to play golf, you are welcome to come for the day including awards dinner about 5:00 PM and donate using one or all of the following links:
Everyone is welcome at these outings, even if you do not plan to play golf! By donating, you are showing your support for our ministry and the families we care for. Come out, have some fun, and enjoy our refreshments. You can learn more about what we do and the impact we have made on the lives of so many individuals who felt they had no other option.
If you plan to come and stay for the Awards dinner please register with Mr. Mily at 614-314-2125 by October 19, 2017.
For those who can’t make it or cannot help us monetarily, we ask that you continue to keep our ministry and those we work with in your thoughts and prayers. This difficult work is only kept alive by those who believe in its healing. Pray for our protection as we work and help to form a spiritual hedge around those donating their time and skills both during the outing and throughout the year.
Questions about the annual golf outing? Contact us today at Bethesda Healing Ministry for more information.
"Brothers and Sisters! I heard this song on the radio the other day incarpool.. it took me a few days to find it; I want to share it with you. Each time I hear it, I am reminded to pray for our sweet brothers and sisters still lost in the battle for hope and healing. It reminds me, as a post abortive woman, of the feelings, that can be overwhelming, of despair and hopelessness - not as if reliving them; rather, as a reminder of what my beloved savior has done... it is, after all, His story of victory over death lived out in my journey. This, beloved, is our mission: to bring Christ's love and healing to the broken hearted and to remind them that our loving Father NEVER fails, NEVER forsakes them and NEVER loses His delight in keeping His loving eye on them. We have the privilege to journey with them and remind them of the hope that is deep within their souls! Praise God!" ~ Leah
Do you want to listen? Tenth Avenue North - I Have This Hope
The following is a guest post by one of our generous volunteers, Maria Elliott.
In April, several of the Bethesda Healing Ministry leadership members attended a training entitled, “Understanding Abortion Grief, Denial, and Trauma Bonds” given by Trudy M. Johnson, LMFT, author of “Choice Processing and Resolution – FacingGrief After Abortion Without Fear.” Many of the truths and philosophies that Bethesda is built upon were reinforced, enlivening in all of us a renewed spirit. We wanted to share some of the key points with you.
As we all know, life after abortion can often feel like a solitary road.
But you are not alone! Since the legalization of choice in 1973, there has been an average of 1.2-1.5 million abortions every year. Processing your experience individually and with others can lead to present and future resolution and peace.
Abortion grief is real and there are reasons that you feel this grief.
Abortion stops pregnancy but not the bonding and connection. In 2002, researchers Anne Stevens, MD, PhD and J. Lee Nelson, MD published astonishing results of their Maternal and Fetal Microchimerism study. They report that cells traffic between fetus and mother during pregnancy, perhaps as early as 4-5 weeks gestation. These fetal cells persist for years, probably a lifetime in the circulation of normal women.
The bonding between woman and baby is real.
Women and men who have lived through the trauma of abortion are grieving many things: the loss of the pregnancy, loss of relationships, the loss of dreams, and the loss of control.
Yet this grief experienced from voluntary termination of pregnancy is often felt as culturally unacceptable grief. There is no permission or public venue to express feelings or grieve. Women and men often believe, “I don’t have a right to grieve for a loss I was responsible for.” So the loss becomes a secret. And a highly protected secret: one of the event and another of the grief and pain experienced. This secret often lasts more than 18 years!
After holding such a secret for so many years, women and men affected by an abortion experience often conclude, “I don’t need someone to validate my choice. I don’t need someone to condemn my choice. I just need someone to validate my grief. “
As human beings, all losses must be grieved. But often, because of the reasons described above, the grief becomes buried or denied. This buried or denied grief doesn’t just disappear, it comes out in other ways: anxiety, depression, anger, substance use/abuse, and destructive behaviors. Relationships also are greatly affected, for if you are numbing out emotions related to the pregnancy termination, you will also numb out emotions in relationships, leading to issues with boundaries, communication, anger, fear, and shame.
Many believe that denial protects from the pain, but denial stops the grieving process and can lead to deeper and extended pain.
There will be challenges to address the “secret”, but the process of identifying and processing the grief will lead to resolution and peace.
Trudy Johnson describes: “Loss not grieved turns to sorrow in our heart. That sorrow manifests itself as depression or anger. Acceptance precedes change. Accepting that your abortion was a pregnancy loss will give you the permission you need to let yourself “go there” in your grief.”
Bethesda is such a place where you can “go there.” Other women and men who are experiencing the same pain and grief that you do are willing to share your journey with you. For more information on abortion grief, denial, and trauma, please feel free to contact us.
You may also find more information at www.Missing pieces.org and Choice Processing and Resolution: Facing Grief After Abortion Without Fear by Trudy M. Johnson, M.A., L.M.F.T.
“Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are a natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.” -- F. Alexander Magoun
By Nancy Madrid - BHM Volunteer Coordinator
As many of you may remember, this past January, a major blizzard hit the East Coast at the same time as the March for Life. As many braved their way to Washington DC to give witness to the dignity and value of every life, the Catholic schools in the Columbus diocese were instructed to cancel their trips. St Charles Preparatory School was among the schools affected by the storm raging miles away. While the students of “Cardinals for Life, Dignity, and Justice”, St Charles’ prolife group, were disappointed, their director, Mr. Michael Warner, was seeking other opportunities for them to serve and be part of prolife work here in the local community.
So, he contacted us!
I had the pleasure of speaking with these young men at their regular meeting. I gave a brief overview of Bethesda Healing Ministries history and mission, as well shared with them our new promotional video. They were then invited to share in the work of the ministry by being our “helping hands”.
The first task we gave them was to distribute Benefit Dinner bulletin board flyers to all the parishes that had agreed to post them. The posters and parish addresses were provided and they promptly ran with it, forming teams and delivering the posters as requested. They quickly reported back that the task had been completed!
Next, they were asked to assist us by being available to receive and unload all the flowers being donated and delivered to St. Charles for the Benefit Dinner. They carefully unloaded the plants and stored them in a safe location. The following day, they were on hand to help with finalizing the table and room set up for the dinner. These tasks added up to a tremendous help to us and were greatly appreciated.
We are so pleased to have the Cardinals for Life, Dignity, and Justice as part of our volunteer team now. The young men continue to serve the ministry by putting their energy to work at 5 Porticos. They have been to the center three times since the benefit dinner. One day was spent spring-cleaning on the inside (washing windows, wiping down lights, blinds, and walls, sweeping, etc.) Two more days were spent preparing, planting, and mulching all the flower beds. They have made 5Porticos an inviting place, from the driveway to the chapel. This summer they plan to come back to help with some painting and repairs.
Although the young men of St. Charles were halted by the storm, God has used their desire to be part of the prolife work by uniting their energy and talents with Bethesda Healing Ministry. We have been blessed and look forward to working with them in the years to come.
Here is a beautiful and powerful radio show from The Catholic Doctors on St. Gabriel Radio, AM 820. It is worth the listen! The following is a link to the radio show on St. Gabriel and the second link is a downloadable file (right click on the link and save).
Sharing some of the good works of our friends...
At the request of the members of the Catholic Faith community at the Marion Correctional Institute (MCI) of Marion, Ohio, a first-ever Catholic Retreat was held recently at that facility. As we are in the Year of Mercy, as declared by Our Holy Father Pope Francis, the inmates had suggested a theme of “Mercy and Forgiveness” for the retreat. As might be imagined, many incarcerated men suffer rejection or alienation from family members; often being labeled as the “black sheep” of their respective families. Hence, Catholic inmates reached-out to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and / or wives, to mutually immerse themselves together in an experience of this supernatural attribute of God, through this retreat.
Msgr. Frank Lane’s soothing, pastoral counsels opened the retreat with his keynote conference, and later was celebrant and homilist at Mass. Former MCI Warden (and Marysville Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner) Mrs. Margaret Beightler expounded on the teachings and example of Pope Francis, especially as manifested in his recent U.S. visit. All were deeply touched by the powerful witness of Rachel Muha, who has resisted understandable emotions of resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness following the cruel murder of her son, but instead has chosen the Christ like option of channeling her deep sentiments into loving service to the disadvantaged, through her founding of the “Run the Race” Apostolate.
Columbus chapter members of the L.M.C.’s (Lay Missionaries of Charity) were on hand to provide the service of serving a delightful lunch of pizza and pop, complete with lavish desserts (which it was hoped was not the real reason for the inmates’ attendance)! Other inspirational talks followed, interspersed with a praying of the Rosary, and concluding with a time of private audience with the ultimate source of mercy, namely through Adoration of Our Eucharistic Lord, and closing with Benediction.
This post is courtesy of Fr. Joseph Klee. Photo is courtesy of MCI.
Copyright 2016 Bethesda Healing Ministry.
Bethesda Healing Ministry is a non-profit organization
Office: (614) 718-0277
(614) 309-0157 or (614) 309-2651 (24/7×365)
Bethesda Healing Ministry2744 Dover Rd.Columbus, OH 43209