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Dec 08, 2022 1010 Sean Booth, UK
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Life…Beauty…Light!

Whether you know it or not, when you seek truth, you seek God.

One warm summer day as a boy of nine, I went for a walk with a couple of friends. One of my friends, who was a little older, brought an air rifle with him. As we walked through a cemetery, he pointed to a bird on top of the church roof and asked if I thought I could hit it. Without giving it a second thought, I took the gun, loaded, and took aim. The moment I squeezed the trigger, a cold feeling of death fell over me. Before the pellet had even left the gun, I knew I was going to hit this living creature and it would die. As I watched the bird fall to the ground, I experienced sadness and guilt, and confusion swept over me. I questioned why I had done it, but I had no answer. I had no idea why I gave my consent, but I felt empty and numb. As with many things in life, I buried the event inside and soon forgot about it.

Déjà vu

In my late twenties, the woman I was in a relationship with became pregnant. When we found out, we hardly confided in anybody.. I didn’t expect any support or advice anyway, and it didn’t seem that big a deal. I convinced myself I was doing the ‘decent thing’–assuring her I would support any decision she made, whether to keep the baby or have an abortion. For several reasons, we decided to end the pregnancy. What helped me arrive at the decision was the legality of abortion in this country and the great number of people who procure abortions. How could it be that bad? Ironically, raising children of my own was always the biggest dream of my life.

We made the appointment with the abortion ‘clinic.’ Going there felt like a simple trip to the chemist to pick up a prescription, so much so, in fact, that I waited outside in the car, oblivious to the magnitude and impact this decision would have. When my girlfriend came out of the building, I at once saw the change in her. Her pale face projected ‘Death.’ The emotions I had felt as a nine-year-old boy shooting the bird flooded over me. We travelled home in silence, and barely spoke about it again. But we both knew something had changed us that day, something tragic, something dark.

Freedom

A couple of years later, I was accused of a crime I hadn’t committed and placed on remand in HMP Manchester (Strangeways Prison) to await trial. I began to speak to God in my heart and for the first time in my life I began to pray the Rosary properly. After a few days, I began reviewing my life, scene by scene, and I saw many blessings I had received, but also my many sins.

When I got to the sin of abortion, for the first time in my life I realized clearly that it had been a real living baby growing in the womb, and that it was my child. The realization that I had chosen to end my own child’s life broke my heart, and while crying on my knees in that prison cell I said to myself, ‘I can’t be forgiven.’

But it was in that very moment that Jesus came to me and spoke words of forgiveness, and I knew there and then that He had died for my sins. I was instantly flooded with His love, mercy, and grace. For the first time my life made sense. I deserved death but received life from the One Who said, ‘I am the Life’ (John14:6). No matter how great our sins may be, I realized, God’s love is infinitely greater (John 3:16-17)!

An Encounter

Recently, sitting in a London train station waiting for my train, I silently asked Jesus to bring someone on board that I could witness to about him. When I took my seat, I found myself facing two women. After a while we began to chat and one of them asked about my faith and if I had always been a believer. I shared some of my past, including the abortion, and explained that the moment I realized I had taken the life of my own child I came face to face with the crucified Christ, and was forgiven and set free.

Instantly the pleasant mood changed. I had hit a nerve and one of the women started screaming at me. I reminded her she had asked for my story, so I was only answering her question. Unfortunately, there was no reasoning with her. She screamed “It isn’t a baby in the womb!” with the other woman nodding in agreement.

I sat patiently and then asked what them what makes what is in the womb “a baby.” One answered “DNA,” and the other agreed. I told them that DNA is present the moment a baby is conceived, and gender and eye colour are already decided. Again, they screamed at me to a point where one of them was shaking. After an awkward silence, I said I felt so sorry she had gotten so upset. It turned out this woman had had an abortion many years before and was clearly still carrying wounds from the experience. When she stood to get off, we shook hands, and I assured her of my prayers.

Unbound

The tragedy of ending an innocent life in the womb is scarcely spoken about today, and when it is, we hear much misinformation and even lies rather than the facts. Choosing to abort a child is not a one-off, done-and-dusted decision, with no lasting negative effects. The pro-choice movement insists that “it’s the mother’s body, so it’s her choice.” But there is more than the mother’s body and choice to consider. There is a tiny, miraculous life growing in the womb. As the father of an aborted baby, I can honestly say that my healing has been a process, which has been ongoing even until this day.

Thanks be to God those who seek the truth can find it, if only they open their hearts. And when they come to know the ‘Truth’, the ‘truth will set them free’ (John 8:31-32).

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Sean Booth

Sean Booth is a member of the Lay Missionaries of Charity and Men of St. Joseph. He is from Manchester, England, currently pursuing a degree in Divinity at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham.

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