Monday, November 9, 2015

Hope and Healing After Abortion: God's Mercy Endures Forever

Pope Francis’s recent call for mercy and forgiveness for women who have had an abortion has many people wondering at this seeming change of Catholic Church policy. But as someone who has personally experienced the lasting grief and regret of abortion and also found healing and hope through the Church, I can assure you that Pope Francis is simply renewing the same message of mercy that the Church has always offered: a message of repentance, confession of sins, and restoration.

The new start that Catholics are blessed with each time we confess our sins is just the beginning of the Divine Mercy of Christ that flows from His Church. But sin has consequences, and the consequence of abortion is the loss of your child. When that truth becomes clear, the hidden grief and haunting regret of abortion can wreak havoc in a woman’s heart and soul. The day of that loss is often burned into the memory, while unrecognized trauma may lead to mental, emotional and physical problems. In my case, although I had been forgiven, the wound in my heart remained, so I was deeply moved when I read “The Gospel of Life” by Pope John Paul II and found a message that spoke directly to me:

“I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your … painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was… terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope … give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same merciful Father you can with sure hope entrust your child. …As a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life.” (§99)

To know that the Church and the Pope recognized the wounds of abortion and were reaching out to women who suffered silently meant so much to me. I hope that, in the same way, women who hear Pope Francis’s invitation will respond, and many who felt they could never confess the sin of abortion will overcome their fears and find grace, healing, and forgiveness.

A few years after reading the Pope’s message, I learned about Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, a Catholic and Interdenominational Christian post-abortion healing ministry. I attended a retreat and experienced profound healing and peace. These weekend retreats, available worldwide, provide a small group setting with others who grieve an abortion: a time to share our sorrow, encounter God’s mercy through scriptural exercises, and receive spiritual and psychological counsel.

Knowing the importance of overcoming the traumatic effects of abortion and wanting others to find the same healing as I had, I later volunteered with Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, then in 2010 developed The Healing Light Retreat, a day-long Catholic retreat based on the same principals. I encourage anyone who grieves an abortion to take time for a healing retreat. Don’t be afraid to turn to Jesus and let Him heal the wound in your heart.
For more information about healing the wounds of abortion, please visit:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

40 Days for Life Kick-off Rally

The next 40 Days for Life prayer campaign to end abortion begins Wednesday, Sept. 23rd  continuing each day from 7 AM until 7 PM until Sunday, Nov. 1st at noon.

The Kick-off Rally was wonderful, the speakers were inspiring! Much thanks to Karen and the 40 Days event team for organizing. Fr. Mac led the opening prayer, followed by campaign leader's Winnie Zeamer's introduction. Our worship music led by Kara & Kellen was awesome!
We heard from Cheri with an update about the Pregnancy Resource Center, Hope Medical - slated to open Oct. 1st - please pray for an MD to take on the job of Medical Director - and from Lenette of Imagepoint about the new mobile ultrasound coming to the Tri-Cities thanks to the Hope Outfitters campaign last spring.

Pastor Jim Mailloux of First Baptist in Richland gave the keynote address, witnessing to his own change of heart and call to become active in pro-life work.

Lydia Veder, the organizer of the Protest Planned Parenthood event in Kennewick last month, shared her personal story, giving witness to God's power in her life.
With some inspirational closing remarks, the rally came to an end. The wind did not cease, but after hearing Lenette speak about the whirlwind of prayer that closed the Cedar River abortion clinic in Yakima, we didn't mind!
Here the link to news coverage from KEPR TV's Hannah Vogel:

Friday, September 18, 2015

If You've Had An Abortion, There's Hope!

This exact message has been in my heart, as I have written and spoken about healing the wounds of abortion., but this video says it so perfectly. Please listen and share. You never know who may be needing to hear this today.

"A message from Feminists for Life to women who had abortions --and others who participated in abortions: We understand that you were told it was legal and thought that made it right. You were raised not to inconvenience family and friends with your pregnancy. Maybe... your school or workplace was unsupportive. Perhaps you were abandoned or poor. Maybe you had other mouths to feed. No matter the reason, no matter the situation, if you regret your abortion we want you to know that you are not alone. You are welcome here."

Listen to -- and share -- this message of hope and healing from a woman at Stanton Healthcare who understands too. Check out the listings at the end, and visit the links on my blog.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Evil Unveiled

In the first of a series of undercover videos released last month by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Medical Director Deborah Nucatola talks with people posing as representatives of a fetal tissue procurement company as she eats lunch. Between sips of wine and bites of salad, Dr. Nucatola says, “…most providers will do this under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps…we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m going to crush above, and I’m going to see if I can get it all intact.”
In another video released last week, Melissa Farrell, Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, states, “We are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

In yet another clip, a Planned Parenthood doctor and a technician look into a glass dish containing “tissue samples.” They poke around in the dish with tweezers as the camera focuses in to reveal a tiny leg and other body parts, listing aloud the parts they observe: kidney, heart, liver. Finally, turning the joy of birth upside down, someone exclaims, “Another boy!”
And my local newspaper has little to say about it, beyond an editorial or two buried in the back pages. Nothing has appeared on the front page that could be construed as critical of Planned Parenthood. The mainstream news media is virtually silent. Language is carefully guarded to mask the reality of this gruesome end result of legalized abortion. Legal action is initiated against the Center for Medical Progress instead of the purveyors of this horror, Planned Parenthood. The President proclaims God’s blessing for Planned Parenthood. Perhaps more shockingly, the churches are strangely silent as well. Even the pastor at my church fails to condemn – or even mention - the barbaric practices that are being unveiled almost daily. What has happened to our society, when even this plain and horrifically detailed evidence of the barbarism of abortion is ignored or glossed over?
I put down my coffee and push aside my breakfast, sick to my stomach, and pick up my pen.
We are staring evil in the face, and we must not flinch. We will all stand before God and have to answer for what we knew, and what we did to stop this horrific reality. Reporters, politicians, doctors, mothers, fathers: every one of us will be called to account. Children are being slaughtered and sold for parts. Women are being exploited and used to increase Planned Parenthood's "revenue stream." This is happening on our watch, in our country. It must end.

Join us as we pray, fast, witness, and provide a voice to the voiceless, the helpless unborn child. 
40 Days for Life Fall campaign begins Sept. 23, 2015.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Persecuted Church

Christianity seems so commonplace in this country that many forget how truly radical Christian beliefs are. The very idea of God becoming man so scandalized the once glorious angel Lucifer that he rebelled against God, too proud to worship Christ in the lowly guise of a man. Even now, Lucifer rages against Christ’s followers. This rebellion takes shape today in the bloody attacks of Islamic terrorist groups against all who do not believe as they do, often singling out Christians with a special vengeance. With stunning frequency, videotaped murders of Christians appear online, while reports of cold-blooded massacres of hundreds of innocent schoolchildren, university students, churchgoers, or Sunday shoppers pour in. Countless victims are kidnapped, raped, enslaved, or murdered in the name of Allah.
Facing the reality of this horrific violence is difficult. I cringe at the bloody photographs that appear on the news and avoid watching the videos released by the terrorists. But recently, after hearing about an ISIS video showing the beheading of 21 Ethiopian Christians, I watched a video response: “Who Would Dare to Love ISIS: A Letter From the People of the Cross.” This beautiful short film, linked below, included a clip from the ISIS video.


I watched as the 21 men were led across a beach by masked assassins, not one among them begging for his life or pleading for mercy. As the men were forced to kneel before their executioners, the camera paused momentarily on the face of one young man, eyes closed, praying silently, his countenance reflecting great peace. Not one of those young men was overcome by hate or fear: not one gave in to the demand to deny Christ. The clip ended before the beheadings but those brave men all died that day. Yet even in death, they were victorious.  

The slickly produced ISIS video, intended as a propaganda tool, will surely backfire, touching many hearts as it did mine. The visual evidence of the courage of these men and others like them may wake up Christians everywhere, even in our peaceful and often complacent country. As in the early days of Christianity, the faith and hope shown by these modern martyrs in the face of death will convert hearts and minds, perhaps even winning the hearts of their persecutors for Christ.

We may never face death for our faith but the day will come when we must decide if we will stand with Christ – or deny Him. Jesus warned, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you… in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”(Jn. 15:20, 16:2) In preparation for this spiritual battle, we must arm ourselves with prayer.

Recently in Nigeria, where persecution by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram is severe, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme was praying the rosary in his chapel, distraught by the violence decimating his people, when Jesus appeared to him in a vision, holding out a sword. As the Bishop reached for the sword, it became a rosary. Jesus gave it to him, saying, “Boko Haram is gone.” (see link below for more details about this vision.)
In this battle, Jesus shows us the path to victory. Will we take it? Trust in Him, pray always, and take courage. He is calling you to follow Him to the glory of the Cross. Even in the darkest night, the Light of Christ shines, and the darkness has not overcome it. This battle is the Lord’s, and He has won the victory.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By His Wounds, We Are Healed



In times of deepest sorrow, Jesus is with us.

It’s been said that God created man because He loved the stories. In fact, He was so caught up in the story of mankind that He himself entered into human history, in just the same way we all do. God became a child, entrusting himself to the care of a mother and father, in a little family that faced all the hardships and joys of any human family, thus showing us how we are to live, love, suffer, and die. With silent strength, Joseph accepted the task of watching over Jesus and Mary. Mary, chosen to bear the Son of God, accepted her mysterious fate with grace, from the exultant moment the child was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, until the moment a sword of sorrow pierced her heart as she watched her beloved Son die on the cross. Confronted with mysterious events they could not understand, Mary and Joseph trusted in God’s plan, obedient to His will.

Like Mary, a mother’s greatest joys and her deepest sorrows are intimately bound up with her children, with whom she shares an eternal bond of love. Like Joseph, a father’s greatest call is to be protector of his family; his deepest desire, to see his children “grow in wisdom and stature.” This natural inclination towards parenthood and the desire for our children’s welfare is truly written in our hearts and in our DNA. It is also true that when a parent experiences the loss of a child, sorrow pierces the heart like a sword, whether that loss occurs before birth due to a pregnancy loss like miscarriage or abortion; or later, with the death of an older child. In the case of the unborn child, we sometimes fail to fully acknowledge the impact of the loss. Grief is buried: unexpressed and unresolved, it can negatively impact our lives and relationships. The traumatic loss of a child deeply impacts the very essence of God’s intention for men and women, almost invariably leaving a profound wound that is difficult to heal – but nothing is impossible with God.

If we allow Jesus, who lived in that little family and at the same time was One with the Father in heaven, into whatever hidden grief we hold in our hearts, He can transform our sorrow into joy. He knows what it means to laugh and to weep, to rejoice and to mourn, to be betrayed and abandoned, to lose a friend to death, to feel compassion for a woman mourning the loss of her only son – and to suffer and die. The wounds in His hands, his feet, and his heart are evidence of His humanity, and those wounds remain visible even in His glorified Divinity. His scars, like our own, provide strength. Only Jesus, fully Divine and fully human, can heal our deepest sorrows. As Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote, "Scarred men come for healing only to scarred Hands! Only a Risen Jesus with scars can understand our hearts.”
Read this article on Catholic365:

By His Wounds, We Are Healed


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? (A Letter from the People of the Cross)

Love conquers hate, light overcomes darkness, and death is no more.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Please watch.

Blogging for Catholic365

Catholic 365: Spreading the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Please visit my page on Catholic365, a wonderful online forum for Catholic writers covering topics on faith, life, and "what's going on."

Find it at the link below:

Catholic365: Author Nancy Marie Murray

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Great Romance - Marriage in God's Plan

There is much talk in our times about marriage - 
what it means; who can marry; why or why not?
These questions represent a new challenge to Christians to clearly teach what marriage is meant to be and why we should preserve the true meaning of marriage. 
Throughout scripture, from the first scenes in Genesis to the last moments of the Book of Revelation, we can find the meaning and intention of God for marriage,
meant to be a beautiful reflection of Christ's love for us, His Church.

Following God's Will Brings Profound Love

(Tri-City Herald Spiritual Life Column, January 2015)
In the beginning, God spoke one Word into the eternal silence and thus all creation came into being. In all the vastness of creation, only man was created in God’s image. The first man, Adam, given authority to name the animals and finding none among them like himself, became deeply aware of his solitude. St. John Paul II, in his Theology of the Body, states that Adam’s experience of “original solitude” reveals man’s uniqueness as a rational being. He alone “possesses the power of knowing… the visible world.”  
Determining that man needs a suitable companion, God created woman from Adam’s pierced side as he slept. On seeing his feminine counterpart, Adam exclaims, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”  Designed to unite as one flesh, the two become participators in God’s creative action, bringing forth new life, together reflecting God’s image.
Because free will was necessary for mankind to truly mirror God’s image, this gift was given to humanity from the beginning. But Adam and Eve, in choosing to disobey God’s command, allowed sin and death to enter the world. Exiled from Paradise in consequence, mankind has lost something irredeemable - until God Himself redeems the loss.
So begins the great saga of human history. God, the Lover of His people, continually calls His often-wayward Bride back to fidelity. The story, woven throughout the Old Testament, is fulfilled in the New, when God sends His Son, born in accordance with His own design for the human family, to the simplest, poorest, yet holiest of families. Their only riches are spiritual and their great dignity flows from humble obedience to God’s will. In their care, Jesus grows in wisdom and grace as any child does, until the long-awaited time comes when He will sacrifice His life for His promised bride. The victory over sin is won on the cross. As He sleeps the deep sleep of death, the Church is born of blood and water flowing from His pierced side. But death has not won, our Savior lives, and the great romance culminates in the heavenly wedding feast of Christ and His Bride, the Church.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians takes up this theme of marriage in reference to Christ and the Church. In response to God’s command that “the two shall become one flesh” men must love their wives as their own bodies, even “as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.” Marital love is intended to reflect the mystery of Christ and the Church.
Whether married, single, or in religious life, we are all called to live in accord with God’s plan for self-sacrificing love, in purity and holiness. Following God’s will allows His profound love and joy to permeate our hearts, bringing perfect peace despite life’s trials. But this interior joy only hints at what is to come. The soul’s longing for divine union with God will only be realized in eternity, when, having united our will perfectly to His, we, like the Bride in the Song of Songs, will hear the voice of the Bridegroom calling, “Arise my love, and come away, for see, winter is past and the rains are over and gone.”


Nicholas Kristof's Birth Control Advice Hurts Women and Demeans the Poor

Photo from     My response to a New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof promoting birth control for teens was ...