Standing with Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse

How do you heal a broken heart? This was the question that I posed during my homily to the Synod Fathers on the Feast of St. Luke in October, as we gathered to discern how best to serve the needs of youth in our modern world. It was a question that resonated deeply in my heart, not solely because Saint Luke was a physician but also because of the need for you and me to help heal the hearts and lives of those who were sexually abused and victimized as youth. Their lives were forever changed, in some cases shattered, because of the crimes and sins of predator priests. As members of our Church family, we need to listen to the stories of their abuse, accompany them in their struggles and pain and help them to find healing in Christ through our love and concern for them.

On that morning in Rome, I said these words that continue to resonate in my heart: “For Christ alone is the Divine Physician who can truly heal us with His love. It is Christ who is the face of Mercy Himself. It is His gift of loving mercy, offered not as an object to be received but a share in His very life, that can enlighten our minds, comfort us in our doubts, give consolation in our suffering and forgive the burden of our sins.  As water that is poured on dry land finds the cracks in the hardened soil to penetrate its very depths, so too does Christ’s mercy, poured out upon saints and sinner alike, seeks the cracks of our broken hearts to bring us healing and hope.  It was unlocking the power of divine mercy that transformed Luke into a true physician, whose words and witness can teach us how to heal broken hearts.”

The Lord invites you and me to reach out to those who have been sexually abused and to become for them Christ’s hands, feet, heart and voice of compassion, consolation, listening, and accompaniment. Standing with them in love will allow Christ’s power, grace, and mercy to help them to find the peace and healing that only our Lord can give.

If we stand with our abused brothers and sisters in love, what we will discover is that Christ will also heal our hearts and lives as well.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos! Do not miss Bishop Frank’s latest video: What Does it Mean to Stand with Christ?