Forgiveness and Justice

A Tragedy

Untitled-1On New Year’s Eve 1995, my mother was murdered. Someone broke into her house in search of hidden treasure. When she awakened, she was bludgeoned repeatedly with a crowbar and then assaulted with a wine bottle.

The police were vigilant. Soon a youthful suspect confessed to the crime. But later, when the police found that the physical evidence was contaminated, the youth recanted his confession and walked away freely.

My brother Mike had discovered Mama’s body when he and his son visited on New Year’s morning. The sight of the house in shambles was devastating. As he walked into the house, he first saw the blood-splattered walls, then my mother’s body in a pool of blood.

The Gift of Forgiveness

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Reconciliation in Ireland

Bishop Cahal Brenden Daly (1917-2000)
Editor: This is the conclusion of a much longer presentation given by Bishop Daly (1917-2000) in early 1979. He served as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh in Northern Ireland and Primate of All Ireland from 1990 to 1996. His talk was given amidst the struggle for peace in Northern Ireland, having experienced the outbreak of a very long, costly war in 1969 and in advance of the birth of the peace process in the early 1990’s.
 
I shall end by one word to myself and to my brother-churchmen. We are prone to preachers’ words and preachers’ attitudes. We easily appear as sentimentalists, romantics, other-worldlings, abounding in a rhetoric remote from reality and using words which disguise the all-too-human stuff of men and of society.
 
We preach reconciliation; but we seem often to mean by it that some words are to be spoken, some gestures are to be performed, but that nothing actually has to be changed, no one actually has to change. But reconciliation is not verbal formulae or ritual gestures.

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25 Years of Reconciliation

Editor: This homily was delivered by Bp. Clarence ‘Larry’ Silva, D.D., Bp. of Honolulu on Sept. 3, 2012 at St. Theresa Church, Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii, in celebration of Twenty-Five Years of Ministry of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in Hawaii.
 
How dare she bring up humanity’s sinfulness! This Beautiful Lady of La Salette was in tears because of what human beings were tragically choosing to do. Her appearance hammered home to many the need to acknowledge sin and to repent. But her message and the fruit it bore also provided the tool for removing that sin and for reconciling people to one another and to God. 
 
As she wept on that day in 1846 when she appeared to those two children in France, perhaps she harkened back to that day outside Jerusalem when she wept bitterly for hours as she waited at the foot of the cross of her beloved Son, torn between her desire that he would live and her compassionate hope that the pains he endured would not be too prolonged. 

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Learning Reconciliation at My Mother’s Knee

When I think about reconciliation, I can’t understand this idea, this very important value, without thinking of certain special events in my own life which have helped me appreciate this central need for us as human beings.

Ron-and-mother.jpg
Fr. Ron Gagne, M.S., with his mother, Flora

When I was about seven years of age, I remember overhearing my parents mention that my father’s oldest and youngest brothers were no longer talking. They had an argument and each decided there was no use speaking to the other ever again. Upset feelings lingered and my mother decided to do something about this unacceptable situation. Since my mother had seven brothers, she was well aware of how to deal with boys, even those who had grown up to become “men.”

My parents, as they often did, decided to host a family gathering at our home. My mother deliberately invited both still-angry brothers to our party, obviously not letting the other know his brother would be there. I remember when my first uncle arrived, accompanied by his wife and my little cousin, whom I was waiting to play with. I quickly brought my cousin up to my room to play.

A few minutes later, when the doorbell rang, I was walking by the front door with my cousin. I opened the door and there was my second uncle, the oldest. Then my mother warmly welcomed him and his wife and brought them inside. When my uncle saw his youngest brother standing nearby in our parlor, he became very upset and grabbed his wife’s hand and headed toward the front door.

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Grounds for a New Beginning

These reflections are based on selections from “The Fire in These Ashes; a Spirituality of Contemporary Religious Life” by Joan Chittister, OSB, published by Sheed and Ward, 1995, paper, 179 pgs. It also has a group discussion guide available. As it states in its introduction, “The questions in this study guide have the greatest relevance for those in vowed religious life but they can be adapted easily to the broader Christian community. Individuals, faith communities, parish groups, can all benefit from the insight in this book. We encourage you to adapt or choose the questions to fit your needs and situation.”

As the La Salette Rule of Life states: “After the example of Mary, Reconciler of Sinners, the Missionaries of La Salette consider it their duty to enter more deeply into the mystery of reconciliation. They do so through prayer, meditation, study and ministry.” (1 cp) We hope your reflection experience is a time of true grace and reconciliation for you.
   
Each series is made available especially for those connected with the Missionaries of La Salette—La Salette religious, lay associates and others. These can be used by individuals or groups in their continued meditation on the meaning and purpose of the La Salette Missionaries and allied groups. They can be used in personal prayer or in group discussions.    

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Vocation and Consecration for Mission

seated_attleboro.jpg(These reflections are based on selections from "The Consecrated Life; Crossroads & Directions" by Marcello Azevedo, S.J., published by Orbis Books, 1995, paper, 141 pgs.)

As the La Salette Rule of Life states: “After the example of Mary, Reconciler of Sinners, the Missionaries of La Salette consider it their duty to enter more deeply into the mystery of reconciliation. They do so through prayer, meditation, study and ministry.” (1 cp) We hope your reflection experience is a time of true grace and reconciliation for you.

Each series is made available especially for those connected with the Missionaries of La Salette—La Salette religious, lay associates and others. These can be used by individuals or groups in their continued meditation on the meaning and purpose of the La Salette Missionaries and allied groups. They can be used in personal prayer or in group discussions.

Meditation One—Make Disciples of All Nations:


Scripture: Matthew 28: 16 –20 (Make disciples of all nations)

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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