St Mary Star of the Sea

Roman Catholic Church, Mississauga, Ontario

What we ask for .......
I asked for strength,

and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom,

and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity,

and God gave me brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage,
and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love,
and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favours,
and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted,
but everything I needed.
     From Msgr Shiels' Homily - July 5 2015



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FRom Fr Neil's Desk

Reflections on Mercy

As we enter into the Easter season of the Church, we cannot help but reflect on God’s mercy. We cry out for mercy in our prayers and we are also continually converted by that very same thing. In our history, many saints and theologians have talked of God’s mercy and implored us to keep it in our prayers, our thoughts and our actions. Pope Benedict XVI, on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2008, reminded us:

When the Church has to recall an unrecognized truth or a betrayed good, she always does so impelled by merciful love, so that men and women may have life and have it abundantly

Pope Francis in his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy states:

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness. (Paragraph 2)

But one of the most beautiful essays on Mercy – rich in history, in theology, and in faith – is Pope john Paul II’s 1980 encyclical: Rich in Mercy. Here are some quotes which might help in your prayerful reflections.

DIVES IN MISERICORDIA (Rich in Mercy) – November 30 1980 - Pope John Paul II

The Church must bear witness to the mercy of God revealed in Christ, in the whole of His mission as Messiah, professing it in the first place as a salvific truth of faith and as necessary for a life in harmony with faith, and then seeking to introduce it and to make it incarnate in the lives both of her faithful and as far as possible in the lives of all people of good will. Finally, the Church-professing mercy and remaining always faithful to it-has the right and the duty to call upon the mercy of God, imploring it in the face of all the manifestations of physical and moral evil, before all the threats that cloud the whole horizon of the life of humanity today. (Paragraph 12)

Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state of mind. Those who come to know God in this way, who "see" Him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to Him. (Paragraph 13)

The contemporary Church is profoundly conscious that only on the basis of the mercy of God will she be able to carry out the tasks that derive from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and, in the first place, the ecumenical task which aims at uniting all those who confess Christ. As she makes many efforts in this direction, the Church confesses with humility that only that love which is more powerful than the weakness of human divisions can definitively bring about that unity which Christ implored from the Father and which the Spirit never ceases to beseech for us "with sighs too deep for words." (Paragraph 13)

The Church proclaims the truth of God's mercy revealed in the crucified and risen Christ, and she professes it in various ways. Furthermore, she seeks to practice mercy towards people through people, and she sees in this an indispensable condition for solicitude for a better and "more human" world, today and tomorrow. However, at no time and in no historical period-especially at a moment as critical as our own-can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it. Precisely this is the fundamental right and duty of the Church in Christ Jesus, her right and duty towards God and towards humanity. The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word "mercy," moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy "with loud cries."135 These "loud cries" should be the mark of the Church of our times, cries uttered to God to implore His mercy, the certain manifestation of which she professes and proclaims as having already come in Jesus crucified and risen, that is, in the Paschal Mystery. It is this mystery which bears within itself the most complete revelation of mercy, that is, of that love which is more powerful than death, more powerful than sin and every evil, the love which lifts man up when he falls into the abyss and frees him from the greatest threats. (Paragraph 15)

Father Neil