Mercy & Forgiveness

MERCY, LIFE OF THE CHURCH

Triduum for the Feast of St Therese: Day 2, 29 Sep 2016

“There was once a man who was not a very nice person. He mistreated his wife very badly, and he had a son, whom he didn’t treat well. After a few years, he abandoned both of them and disappeared.

The son grew up filled with resentment and hatred for his father. Years later, the father returned one day, telling his son he wanted reconciliation.

The son looked at his father with disgust, and he said that never in his entire life would he want to forgive him. He felt the father had created so much misery for the family, so he wanted the father to feel the same pain and be punished for the rest of his life.

Unknown to the son, one of the reasons his father came to seek reconciliation, was that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and he was starting to have dementia. The son didn’t know this, and the father left, very sad.

After a few years, a family friend told the son that his father was in bad shape and suggested he pay a visit. Very reluctantly, he went to visit his father, who was in an advanced stage of the disease.

When he saw his father, he was filled with a lot of anger and resentment again, but the person sitting in front of him was just smiling. His father couldn’t recognise him or respond much, and just kept smiling.

The son shouted at him, saying he was supposed to feel pain. He berated him for smiling back at him. The old man didn’t react and continued to smile.

Finally, the son broke down. After crying a while, he looked up and said: ‘I’ve had enough of this. I want to move on. Today, I want to tell you, I will forgive you for all the things you’ve done in the past.’

The father didn’t respond and just smiled, but the son suddenly felt a very heavy burden lifted. All that darkness within himself just dissolved.

We realise then that forgiving the father was not so much for the father’s benefit, but it was for the son to set himself free.

Today, we are talking about mercy and the family. Yesterday, Father Simon Pereira spoke about the need to go out and show mercy. But we need to focus on our own families too.

This is very real. Many people who come to us priests for confessions say they cannot forgive a particular person in their families.

What can we learn from the parable of the prodigal son? The father should be very much angry with the wrongdoings of the son, but he focused on healing the relationship.

To bring about mercy within our families, we have to learn to be very sensitive to people around us. This is the first challenge I want you to ponder on.

Such sensitivity doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If you have such a virtue, grow and nurture it. For some of us, we must work more on this, to be more aware of what the other person is going through.

That is the core of the word ‘mercy’, which is from the Latin word ‘misericordia’. It combines two words: ‘miseriae’ means misery, and ‘cor’ or ‘cordis’ means heart.

The meaning of ‘misericordia’ is to be able to go into the heart of the other person, to experience the pain the other is feeling.

Here is where the next challenge comes: To bring about reconciliation.

Many of us have heard this: We have to forgive, but we don’t have to forget. Because the reality is that things have been done.

The forgiveness? It is not something that we feel we want to do. Rather, we make a choice to forgive someone. It is therefore an act of intention. I can still feel annoyed with you, but I can choose to forgive you.

Ask yourself: Can I make this choice?

We are also here tonight, preparing for the feast of St Therese this weekend.

St Therese was someone who truly valued her family and she shared a lot about relationships within families. She also admitted that sometimes, family relationships are not perfect.

She said: ‘True charity consists in bearing with all the defects of our neighbours and our family members, and in not being surprised at their failings, but edified by their smallest virtues. Charity must not remain shut in the depths of the heart, but to enlighten and make joyful, not only to those who are dearest to us, or to me, but to all who are in the house, even those we are not very happy with.’”

– Fr Terence Wee, CSsR


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St. Therese Novena Day Six: Purify Me Lord

Great read! 🙂

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Words of St. Therese

There is one sister in the community who has a knack of rubbing me the wrong way at every turn; her manner, her speech, her character just strikes me as unlovable…I was not going to let this natural antipathy get the better of me. I reminded myself that charity is not a matter of fine feelings; rather it means doing things. So I determined to treat this sister as if she were the person I loved best in the world. When I felt tempted to take her down with an unkind retort, I would put on my best smile instead, and change the subject…when the struggle was too much for me, I would turn tail and run.

One day she asked me: “What is it about me that gets the right side of you. You always have a smile for me.” What really attracted me about her was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul; Jesus makes the bitterest mouthful taste sweet. I could only say that the sight of her always made me smile with pleasure – naturally I did not explain that the pleasure was entirely spiritual.

Our Novena Prayer

Dear Therese, it is so refreshing that you also experienced people who irritated or challenged you. Like you, I have trouble seeing good qualities in people who aggravate me, and how they might image God.

Clarify my sight about the people whose goodness is blinded from me. Inspire patience with imperfection. Give me your eyes. Help me to see the image of God and the presence of Jesus in each person I meet, especially where it is not obvious to me. Soften my negative judgments about them. Teach me to smile rather than grimace. I want your heart, Therese, your heart which seeks Jesus deep within each person. Enlighten me, Little Flower of Jesus, to see the beauty of God’s artistry in each one of His creatures.

St. Therese Novena Day Six: Purify Me Lord

Pope tells faithful to always trust in God’s mercy

Pope Francis on Wednesday told the faithful not to be afraid in times of discouragement, poverty or difficulty because we can rely on God and He will provide solace.

The Pope was speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience.

Reflecting on the Gospel passage by Matthew in which  Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”, today – Pope Francis said –  we hear the Lord calling the discouraged, the poor and the little ones to himself, and telling them they can always rely on God.

And he invited all believers – especially those who feel most powerless – to trust in God’s mercy, to open their hearts to Him, even if they feel unworthy, and they will be filled with the joy of forgiveness.

The Pope referred again and again to the Holy Year of Mercy and said pilgrims around the world have been crossing the threshold of a Holy Door of mercy – be it in a hospital, in a prison or anywhere – in the search for conversion, for friendship with Jesus, for the comfort that only He can provide.

He expressed his disapproval for those pastors of the Church who become ‘princes’ and distanced from their people and from the poor. “That – the Pope said: “is not the spirit of Jesus”.

Pointing out that in approaching the Lord’s inexhaustible mercy, we will discover his “easy yoke”: Jesus – he said – who bears the burdens and needs of humanity shows us the way to salvation; by participating in his sufferings and by learning from his service to the poor, we come to know the will of God for us.

So, Pope Francis concluded:

“When we are tired or despondent, let us not be afraid, let us come to Christ, trust in him, rest in him and joyously serve him.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/14/pope_tells_faithful_to_always_trust_in_gods_mercy/1257982

How Pope Francis’ ‘new joy’ surprised Benedict XVI

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he is satisfied with the papacy of Pope Francis and sees “no contradictions” between their pontificates.

“Yes, there is suddenly a new freshness in the Church, a new joy, a new charisma that addresses the people, which is something beautiful. Many are thankful that the new Pope now approaches them in a new style. The Pope is the Pope, it doesn’t matter who it is,” Benedict said in his newly published collection of interviews.

The collection, published as Last Testament, consists of his interviews with journalist Peter Seewald. Seewald had previously interviewed him for Salt of the Earth, God and the World, and Light of the World.

Archbishop George Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary of Benedict XVI, took part in the latest book’s Sept. 12 launch with Seewald in Munich. Archbishop Ganswein’s remarks excerpted and interpreted the former Pope’s words to Seewald.

In Benedict XVI’s own words, he sees “no breach anywhere” between his pontificate and that of his successor.

“New accents yes, but no contradictions,” he told Seewald. “He is a man of practical reform. And that is the courage with which he addresses problems and searches for solutions.”

Benedict praised Francis’ “direct affection for the people.”

“That is very important. He is definitely a man of reflection. And a thoughtful person, but at the same time someone who is used to always being with people,” the emeritus Pope said. “And perhaps I was actually not with the people enough.”

For Benedict, Francis’ election was a “big surprise.” He saw that the new Pope “spoke on one side with God and on the other side with the people. I was really glad to see that. And happy.”

He said he had previously not experienced the warmth and “very personal affection” of Archbishop Bergoglio.

“That was a surprise for me!” Benedict recollected.

Archbishop Ganswein said the book provides expanded understanding and even correct the record about Benedict XVI in several ways. It explores the reasons, motives and exact circumstances of the Pope’s “puzzling resignation” and it discuss his relationship with Pope Francis.

It discusses Benedict’s personal views on the different crises and so-called scandals of his papacy.

Benedict admits he did not properly assess the political meaning of his 2006 Regensburg speech on the nature of faith and reason in Christianity and Islam. Media controversy focused on his citation of a Byzantine emperor who criticized Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Archbishop Ganswein said the interviews also show “the profoundly human dimension” of the man born Joseph Ratzinger.

“To him, power never meant anything, and he described the ‘happiest time’ of his life as those twelve months or so after his ordination on June 29, 1951 when he worked for a year as a young parochial vicar at Sacred Blood Parish in Munich,” Archbishop Ganswein said at the book launch.

In the new interviews, Archbishop Ganswein finds “a very distinct and new intimacy,” such as on topics like how Benedict’s mother was born before her parents married.

There is even a bit of mirth.

“He never laughed so much in his other interview books. And never cried,” the archbishop said.

“Despite his superior and awakened intelligence and formation, he does not resemble, even from afar, a power-loving person who would love to be bigger than he really is or a scary high-inquisitor at all like he is often distortedly misrepresented by his “non-friends,” said Archbishop Ganswein.

For Benedict XVI, his almost unprecedented resignation was a chance “to disengage from the large crowds of people and adjourn into this greater intimacy.” It was “another way to remain faithful to my ministry.”

Asked if he regrets his resignation, Benedict XVI told Seewald “No. No, no. I see that it was right every day.”

The doctor had told him that he was no longer allowed to fly across the Atlantic, Archbishop Ganswein recounted. The next World Youth Day had been moved to 2013 instead of 2014 due to the World Cup. Otherwise, Benedict XVI would have tried to endure until 2014.

“But I knew: I can’t do it anymore,” Benedict said.

Benedict XVI rejected as “total nonsense” conspiracy theories that he resigned due to extortion or conspiracy. There was no practical pressure.

“You may never yield to coercion. You may not flee in the moment of the storm, but must withstand,” he said. “You can only step back if nobody is calling for it. And nobody demanded it in my day. Nobody. It was clear to me that I had to do it and that this was the right moment. It was a complete surprise for everyone.”

Archbishop Ganswein finds “an astounding amount of self-criticism, flavored with self-irony” in Benedict’s interviews with Seewald

Benedict still delights in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, during which he was a theological consultant. But he also sees problems with that epochal event.

“We thought then overly theological and did not consider what public image these things would have,” he said. There were also “many destructions and delusions.”

Benedict saw himself as a progressive at the time, when others would denigrate him with claims he was a freemason, or incapable, or heretical.

The former Pope says he is frequently astonished by his “naïveté” and the “brazenness” with which he spoke at the time.

At the same time he now describes himself as a “true fan of John XXIII” and the “total unconventionality” of the canonized Pope who called the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The former Pope Benedict now writes Sunday homilies for four to nine people.

“I am really more of a professor – someone who ponders and considers intellectual things. I wanted to be a real professor for life.”

Such is the life now of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/how-pope-francis-new-joy-surprised-benedict-xvi-24696/

Confidence in God – Part 2 of 2 — SaintlyLives

St. Charles Borromeo was once talking with a person of rank, whom he was trying to persuade to have confidence in God in all circumstances, because He never abandons, even in the smallest things, those who put their trust in Him; and by way of proof, he related the following incident, which had happened to […]

via Confidence in God – Part 2 of 2 — SaintlyLives

Where St. Teresa of Calcutta Found Her Strength

“Do not grow weary in doing what is right.” (Galatians 6:9)

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who died on September 5, 1997, was one of the greatest spiritual “overachievers” of our time. She accomplished so much, that we might think she rarely took a break from tending to the human misery that surrounded her.

 

However, she spent hours every day before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration of Jesus, who was her source of strength and goodness. In fact, she is quoted as saying, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”

What a concept—to love without getting tired. We often don’t realize how tired we really are until we have reached the meltdown stage. The mountain of responsibilities before us each day—whether at home, at work, or both—and the demands on our time and attention can be overwhelming. The old adage to “love until it hurts” is sometimes taken too seriously. On top of that, when we fall short of our expectations, we carry a burden of unrealistic guilt. This self-defeating pattern can cause us to “burn out” as a parent, spouse, friend, or member of the body of Christ.

Perhaps Mother Teresa’s example of giving the first hours of the day to Christ is not practical for you, but maybe giving him the first five or ten minutes could be. Offer your tiredness to the Lord, and ask him to renew your strength for whatever lies ahead of you that day.

And make a habit throughout the day of sharing with God your joyful moments as well as your challenges. The Lord, who is always with you, will renew you, so that you can keep going on those very busy days.

The rhythms and responsibilities of our lives will often require us to make adjustments in the amount of effort we put forth. We aren’t capable of doing everything—which is as important for us to realize as it is for those who depend on us. But with God’s grace, we can cheerfully love and give as much as we are able.

“Lord, help me to accomplish my tasks today. Inspire me, energize me, and give me the positive attitude I need to show your love to others.”

(C) ANNE COSTA

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