Help Me

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Beloved in Jesus Christ,
In 1983, Ann Marie Cosgrove was going with her boyfriend to an abortion clinic. She writes about her experience. She says, if I went through with the pregnancy and had the baby, there was no guarantee that my boyfriend John was going to stick around. So I felt that I just had to make this decision and then move on with my life.
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John accompanied me to that place. Secretly, I remember wanting so much, just to hear him say – to have him turn to me and say: ‘Let’s just leave.’ I waited. He never said it. The counselor told me that there would be some sadness, but that it would go away. But it doesn’t.
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The next thing I knew, I was on the table. I was so scared that I started to shake. I looked up toward the ceiling and said, ‘God forgive me for what I am doing.’ When the doctor started the machine, I said ‘Help me.’ I felt darkness enter me as my baby’s life was being ripped away. I remember thinking that I would never be the same.
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From there, my life spiraled down. I started drinking, smoking crack cocaine. Whatever relationship I had with John ended the day my baby died, he hadn’t protected my family.
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Friends in the Lord, this is how the devil works. He lures us into sin little by little to try to destroy our life and the life of others. With Anne, it began with immodesty and sex before marriage; had she listened to Jesus’ commandments and remained pure, none of the rest would have happened. The devil tries to lead us, first by small sins, then big ones, until we don’t even remember where a Catholic Church is. He wants to pull us away from God.
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But Jesus never gives up on us; as long as we are alive, he wishes for us to return to him and begin again. One drop of his blood can destroy even the biggest sins, but we have to turn back to him.
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Christ has given us the rescue sacrament, to bring us back, it is called Confession. Our parish tries to offer confessions a lot, because we want to help people. People go to confession every month because they want to keep doing better; they confess their venial sins, sometimes mortal – because they want to convert their heart more to Jesus Christ.
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Other people confess because they are in big trouble; they are far from Jesus and have been living a life of sin. These people are like so many in the Gospels, who wish to leave the evil path, and walk the path of hope. When they experience the mercy of Jesus, they go away overjoyed and ready to live again.
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They are like the leper in the gospel today who Jesus healed. This man has this terrible disease, but Christ’s power takes it away, cures him. The disease is a symbol for sin. But Jesus does not heal him directly; he tells them, ‘Go, show yourself to the priest.’
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The Lord does this still now. He wants us to go to the priest, confess our sins, and hear the words of forgivness: ‘Go,show yourself to the priest.’ And the priest will say, ‘I absolve you of your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the  Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’
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How does it feel to come back to Jesus? To know that you can begin again? To be cleansed of your sins? Listen to Anne Marie Cosgrove tell the rest of her story: She says, ten years later, my mother was dying. My little brother began to pray the Our Father. Mom prayed with us and then she died. In that moment, I felt God calling me back. I remember telling God. ‘My plans aren’t working, I give up. I want the life you have planned for me.’
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On what would have been my mother’s birthday, I discovered the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I prayed it; I felt the mercy of Christ. She says, I went to the priest for confession, knelt down and said, Bless me Father for I have sinned, ten years ago I had an abortion. That was the beginning of my new life. She says, I told Jesus, ‘After what you did for me, I’ll go anywhere and do anything for you. I love you.’
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Friends, this is October, it is Respect life month. We pray for an end to this sick thing called abortion, that doesn’t help anyone: it kills a baby and wounds a mother.
And we pray to Mary. Mary, help those who have done very bad things; help them to find the mercy of Christ and live again. And Mary, pray for us, that we ourselves will follow only the path of Jesus and of goodness, because that is the path to heaven.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. John of  God]

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