God's Grace and Forgiveness

by Fr. Kilian McCaffrey  |  09/14/2023  |  Pastor's Letter

Have you ever experienced how the floodgates of grace open up when we honor the will of God and purposely decide to forgive? This is available to all of us in Confession. However, we all have the power to forgive: The French Dominican theologian Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, who once taught the future Pope John Paul II, in his great book Life Everlasting, tells us of the transformation of a Jewish man that he personally knew and who had the courage to forgive. He relates how: “I knew a young Jew, the son of an Austrian banker, in Vienna. He had decided on a lawsuit against the greatest adversary of his family, a lawsuit that would have enriched him and his family.

He suddenly recalled this word of the Pater Noster (Our Father) which he had sometimes heard prayed: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.”

He said to himself, “How would it be if, instead of carrying on this lawsuit, I would pardon him?” He followed the inspiration, forgave completely and renounced the lawsuit. At that same moment, he received the full gift of faith. This one word of the Our Father became his pathway up the mountain of life. He became a priest, a Dominican, and died at the age of 50 years. Though nothing particularly important appeared in the remainder of his life, his soul remained at the height where it had been elevated at the moment of his conversion. Step by step, he mounted to the eternal youth which is the life of heaven.

The moral of the story runs like this: “One great act of self-sacrifice may decide not only our whole spiritual life on earth but also our eternity. We judge a chain of mountains by its highest peak.” In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska tells us we are most like God when we show mercy and forgiveness to others (Diary 1148).

“Every soul, and especially the soul of every religious, should reflect My mercy. My Heart overflows with compassion and mercy for all. The heart of My beloved must resemble Mine; from her heart must spring the fountain of My mercy for souls; otherwise I will not acknowledge her as Mine.”

It is simply in our own best interest to forgive. Why would we want to harm our own spiritual progress by hardening our hearts and refusing mercy to others?

This Sunday Is Catechetical Sunday

The Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday 2023 on September 17 under the theme of: “Come to me all who labor and are burdened.” On this day, our parish catechists are formally commissioned for ministry to the community. We join with all parishes who recognize the Ministry of the Word and those who have dedicated themselves to passing on the faith. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

Fr. Kilian and all of our great Parish Staff