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Healing of the family tree (letter)
As a post-abortion grief counsellor, I wish to take issue with Fr Peter Joseph's article on healing of the family tree, in the February issue of AD2000.
While I appreciate the Vatican's paper on the New Age movement is welcome and timely, the response should not be to throw out the baby with the bath water.
I understand and believe that God exists in the eternal now, and if this is so, then maybe one of my ancestors who died say 70-80 years ago, (long before I was even a thought) with perhaps an unrepented sin, may have a need for some future kinswoman/man to help expiate that sin.
Like Fr Joseph I think that too much effort can be placed into trying to unravel the inscrutable ways of God and to seek explanations for all things - including why this sickness and why this death, etc. However, this is not what "healing the family tree" is all about.
Healing of "family tree", or possible intergenerational, intragenerational or transgenerational influences, is about looking into one's own family and if something exists, to take this thing that exists to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and implore his mercy and forgiveness. It is he who effects the healing and changes.
Fr Joseph says that God can and does bring great good from evil and taking this cue I would like to speak about my work as a post-abortion grief counsellor.
For approximately seven years I have listened to stories about this reason and that reason for abortion (s). I have encountered sometimes overwhelming grief - even for me as counsellor - and over the years begun to see different patterns emerging.
Even in the grieving of some post-aborted women there was a difference. There were/are some so overwhelmed by grief, so self-destructive, so self-sabotaging, that I began to ask a new set of questions.
It was in the asking of these new questions that I began to see a different picture from what I had imagined. Not only were current family histories perused but past histories as far as comfortably possible without invention of stories.
The trail of sabotage extended to the third and fourth generations - the trail of abortions, abandonment, suicides, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, and the list continues.
The healing of intergenerational or transgenerational wounds shouldn't scandalise us, but instead humble us. That our God would use the creature to help bring healing to another one of His own is the mystery and not the scandal.
[Editor: Anne Lastman's detailed response to Fr Joseph was much too long to publish in full. Anyone wishing a complete text of her response should contact Anne at PO Box 6094, Vermont South, Vic 3133, tel (03) 9887 7669, 0408 175 033]
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 4 (May 2003), p. 14
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