Crisis, an Opportunity for Forgiveness
We, Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament here in Cleveland, Ohio want to let you all know that we are praying for you during this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Whether you are here in Cleveland, or in a different state or country, we are praying for you in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord!
We know we are the Body of Christ and we are all deeply connected, and because of that, I have some words to share with you based on the Gospel reading for March 17th, which is Matthew 18:21-35.
The message is this:
Crisis is also a time of opportunity.
In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to forgiveness of the heart.
Is there someone you need to forgive from the heart, not from the surface only?
Beginning with those who are closest to you…
For Jesus Himself said while He was on the cross,
“Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
On Ash Wednesday, we heard the words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) or “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19) when the priest or minister put the ashes on our foreheads.
During this time of stillness and of focusing our minds and hearts on what really matters, let us move our hearts towards forgiveness. This is a great time to break free of the chains of unforgiveness and start anew. The love of God renews us daily and moves our hearts towards compassion.
Forgiveness breaks our hearts free and allows God’s mercy to restore us. We have the grace to forgive others because Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins.
In forgiving others from the heart, we unlock the power of forgiveness and receive God’s mercy in our own hearts.
We are holding you in our hearts and prayers.
Receive the Love and Blessing from God, our Father, and from the whole Formation House here in Cleveland, Ohio.
With Eucharistic and Marian Love,
Sister Raquel Gutierrez
Saint or Self-righteous?
The saints were fully human.
I don’t know if this realization has ever occurred to you or if you’ve fully grasped what that means. Because I’ve put saints on this pedestal thinking that their whole lives were special. In the sense that they were of a different kind and just did everything right. Yes, I know that they struggled, but I thought that they always knew how to be perfect or act perfectly… whatever that means.
I’m learning that the exact opposite is true and it doesn’t do me any good to think my life should be that way or to think that I’m doing it all wrong because it’s not that way. That mindset will never be right because the lives of the saints were messy, they had passions and desires, faced extreme challenges, and probably spent most of their time with their head on the floor, asking for God’s strength, wisdom, and divine help.
But that’s what made them saints! They relied totally on God NOT despite their humanity. They invited God into their humanity, into their sufferings, weaknesses and failings, but also into their joys and triumphs. They lived with God, in His love, or constantly strived to.
Isn’t that really what our faith teaches? In His divinity, Jesus humbled Himself to take on our humanity fully! He shows us how to live by being totally dependent on the Father and in constant relationship with the Father, for a lifelong journey of union and love. With all that life entails.
Living in authentic holiness is so real and simple. Humble and tangible because that is describing the One who is life Himself!
So, I’m praying that we may all be given the grace to break free from the chains of living anything other than the fullness of life. (Not even for the goal of the title ‘Saint’ but for what it means: to be in union with God, to have the world revolve around the One who it ought to.) And that all the saints continue giving us encouragement that this fullness of life is possible for all of us, that they help us to accept where we find ourselves, and that we may be grateful for the journey.
Please, pray for me too!
In His merciful heart,
Sr. Tonia Borsellino
All you holy men and women, pray for us!
The Sigh of Love
It would always make me laugh when I would walk into Church, sit down, and, without hesitation, take a deep sigh because I’d quickly get embarrassed realizing how loud I was and I’d turn around to make sure no one else heard.
Then, I started hearing others sighing too.
The more I hear it, the more I think of how beautiful it is that this is the expression we make when we come before Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist. It points to the truth that we are tired and the Giver of Life is before us, wanting to take our heavy burdens, and so we feel at peace. We are able to relax in the gaze of Christ.
Well, our expression may be pointing to an even deeper reality that we might not be aware of!
The other day, some of my sisters and I had to watch Bishop Barron’s series The Mystery of God: Who God Is and Why He Matters for our Trinity class. In Bishop Barron’s explanation of the Trinity, he makes reference to the look that the Father and Son give to each other. The sigh of perfect love resulting from that gaze is the Holy Spirit. Then, as I was reading Bishop Barron’s Letter to a Suffering Church (if you can’t tell, yes, I love Bishop Barron), he once again mentions the ‘holy breath.’
“From all eternity, the Father speaks the Son, who is a perfect image of the Father; the Son and the Father look at one another and they fall in love. The love that they breathe back and forth is the Spiritus Sanctus, literally “the holy breath.” Therefore, as G.K. Chesterton observed, the Trinitarian doctrine is simply a technically precise way of saying that God is love.” – p.77
Can it be that this expression we give unintentionally when sitting before the Trinity, is a reflection of the love within the Trinity? Can it then be a reminder to us of the love with which the Trinity bestows upon us and calls us into? Can it also be an irruption of the Trinity in us, who are temples of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling our desire for the life of the Trinity to take hold of us? Can every time we sigh before the Trinity be a way of entering into the divine mysteries, contemplating our One God in three persons who is love, and calling upon the Holy Spirit to unite us in Love?
I will be praying that every time you sigh before Jesus, it may be a window into the deeper sigh of love within the Trinity and the sigh that the Trinity takes when looking at you who are made in the image and likeness of God.
Sr. Tonia Borsellino