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Nov 13, 2018

Admonishing the Sinner, Regretting Abortion, and Marriage in Heaven

Fr. Josh Johnson

Fr. Josh answers questions about approaching a loved one about a sin without sounding judgmental, finding peace and forgiveness after an abortion, and the Church’s teaching on marriage in heaven. If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at askfrjosh@ascensionpress.com. You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

 

Snippet from the Show

The gift of community is not only to help affirm and encourage each other, but also to challenge and critique each other in our walk toward becoming saints.


SHOWNOTES

 

Glory Story (1:12)

After speaking with Sr. Teresa Berlin, Fr. Josh felt convicted to discover the areas in his life where joy was lacking. He recognized that lack of joy can be unattractive to people who are looking for Jesus and could be a barrier for some people encountering the Lord. As Catholics, we should be a joyful witness to all, so they themselves become convicted to take seriously the invitation of Jesus in the gospel.

 

Listener Feedback (3:46)

 

 

Admonishing the Sinner (6:45)

Love the podcast! I had the great pleasure of attending Mass with you a couple of years ago at St. Aloysius in Baton Rouge. Your homily directly following the shooting of Alton Sterling was so memorable, and it was actually the first step in my then-boyfriend now-husband’s conversion to the Catholic Faith. For that, I am so grateful. That’s a glory story for another day!

My question is, I know that admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy, but I struggle to speak up to my friends and family. I want to be respectful to them and not make them feel like I am being condescending. How do you “admonish” without being perceived as judgmental? I fear that approaching this in the wrong way could lead to them isolating themselves from me. I also fear that maybe I am being judgmental, and should just let some things go since I am guilty of sin as well.

Your council is greatly appreciated! God bless you and this ministry.

-Elizabeth

 

Marriage in Heaven (14:55)

I have a question on marriage in heaven! As Catholics, we believe marriage is a vocation and a sacrament, and that we are working this side of heaven together to gain sainthood for each other. We see how God created Adam and Eve for each other, and how he sent his only son to earth to Mary and Joseph to make The Holy Family, and even Jesus himself is the Bridegroom to us, his Church, the Bride! Marriage is so deeply rooted with our Creator and such a central part of our faith! Yet, the Church believes there is no marriage in heaven?

For those of us who are married and committed to the hard and joyful work of marriage here on earth- it is so intertwined in our path to heaven, it confuses me why the Church believes it ceases to exist there. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Thank you Father Josh!

-Erica

 

Regretting Abortion (19:19)

Eighteen years ago, I had an abortion. I was married at the time with a 2 year old and a 5 month old baby.  Shortly before becoming pregnant, I had experienced a major traumatic event, was trying to overcome PTSD, had been diagnosed with postpartum depression, and was having some significant difficulties in my marriage.  I remember feeling completely overwhelmed, abandoned, and hopeless. When I found out I was pregnant again, I truly felt as though I had no other choice but to end my pregnancy. At the time of my abortion, I was a practicing Catholic, and my husband and I brought our young family to Church each week.

 I have many regrets around my decision, but the first is that I never reached out to anyone for help. I think back to that overwhelmed young mother, and my heart breaks. No one knew the pain and struggle I was facing. Looking back now, I understand now why it happened, but I can also see how it could have been prevented.  I wish I had been more open about my inner struggles, I wish I had reached out for help, I wish I had taken time to fully consider my situation, I wish I had talked to our parish priest before hastily making my decision, I wish I had never gone through with the abortion.

Now, 18 years later, I still struggle with self-forgiveness.  My heart breaks for what I have done to my unborn child, and it probably always will. About a year after the abortion (and a year away from receiving Communion) I received God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. My question has two parts. First, with such grave sin, how does one find peace in self-forgiveness?  I know that there is no sin that God won’t forgive, but how could I be forgiven for this? And, second, could you explain ‘temporal’ punishment? I can’t help but feel that I will never fully atone for that sin. I fear that when I die, I will be in purgatory for a very long period of time.

I pray that God might have mercy on me, and find compassion towards me knowing all my struggles at the time of my abortion.  I pray rosaries, do extra penances, and have just started fasting for the lives of the unborn. Is it possible for me to even make it to Heaven having committed such a grave sin? Is temporal punishment, atonement, and purgatory inevitable for me because of what I’ve done? I can feel very discouraged about my past, and I would like to know if I can find peace and if there is hope for my situation.

-A Mourning Mother

 

Universal Points (27:38)
  1. Admonishing the Sinner – Relationships matter. Stay in relationship with the person you love and over time God will do his thing whether you get to see it or not.
  2. Marriage in Heaven – The Church is the Bride and Jesus is the Bridegroom.
  3. Regretting Abortion – God’s infinite mercy is available to everyone. Never let your past mistakes dictate our future destiny to become saints.

 

Resources

 


Fr. Josh smiling
Meet Your Host, Fr. Josh Johnson:                            

While Fr. Josh was raised Catholic, he didn’t like the Church growing up. One day, in adoration, he fell in love with Jesus and received the call to become a priest. Now, Fr.Josh is the pastor for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Louisiana, and he is a presenter in two of Ascension’s programs: Altaration, and YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body.

 

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