Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

March 2/3 Bulletin Article

Dear Parishioners,

It was a great blessing for our parishes to have with us this past week three religious sisters for our Lenten mission. They are from the Children of Mary religious community, which is a semi-contemplative group of women who live together in prayer, doing the work of God. For those who attended the mission, the joy possessed by each of the sisters is difficult to miss. They are a great example to all who encounter them that living according to God’s plan doesn’t deprive us of joy, but instead becomes the greatest source of joy.

This doesn’t mean the religious sisters are without trials and difficulties. They experience temptation and suffering in many of the same ways you and I do. However, when they put God first in each action of their day, they experience the blessings of living a life in union with God. Each evening of the mission last week, people shared with us priests the peace, joy, and fulfillment they experienced during the prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus offers us His peace, but as He told His disciples, “not as the world gives, do I give to you.” (John 14:27)

Interestingly, for these same people, after I inquired deeper about their experience, they shared with me the absence of sin in those deeply stirring moments with Jesus. In the moment, they didn’t recognize this. It was only after looking back on their experience that they realized sinful behavior was nowhere to be found in those special moments. I explained to them that their experience was a gift from God. If they wanted to continue experiencing the peace and joy of God, they needed to keep sin out of their lives.

In their time before Jesus, some people also experienced sorrow and tears due to their past sins. Healing for these comes when we approach the Lord, seeking not just forgiveness, but also atonement for our sins. The second is a critical part of healing for past sins. Forgiveness and atonement require genuine humility. This type of humility comes from the depths of our hearts and brings with it the desire for God to be the center of our life. From this flows the desire to correct the faults of the past that have wounded self and others, most especially our relationship with God. These bring us to the sacrament of Confession where we receive God’s forgiveness and grace for the work of atonement.

We might wonder how to maintain joy and peace in the midst of suffering and distress. It is important to remember Jesus’ teaching that each of us will have our trials and tribulations. He said these are part of earthly living due to the misuse of human freedom. During such times, Jesus said we should remain close to Him and know that He suffered also. Then when we realize Jesus is carrying the cross with us and for us, we find comfort and peace in knowing that He is close to us.

Many thanks to all those who attended our tri-parish mission and let’s continue praying for each other!

Fr. Miller 


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