A Word From Our Pastor

Right after the Civil War, the members of President Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet wanted him to impose a severe penalty upon the South which lost the war. Lincoln held his ground and informed his cabinet that he would do the opposite: welcome the former enemy of the North into an equal union of brotherhood.  And the United States of America was born.  Thank goodness for Lincoln’s wise spirit.  When challenged as to why he would do this, Lincoln said: “How else can one change an enemy into a friend other than by calling him your brother?” Lincoln wasn’t an overtly religious man, but he read the lives of Jesus, Ghandi, and St. Francis.  And he would read the Bible to find wisdom and guidance.  All these sources helped him make his decision.  He must have surely read what we hear today expressed by Jesus: “You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you….”  This was one of the hardest teachings of Jesus for Lincoln, but isn’t it for all of us?  For we know that it is natural for us to want to retaliate when someone hurts us.  Do we not hear children say in defending their aggressive behavior:  “But he hit me first!”?  I have always tried to follow the example of my founder St. Francis of Assisi, who tried to use the method of “re-frame” when someone hurt him.  When for example someone called him a derogatory name (“Francis, you are an ass/donkey!”), before retaliating against that person he would stop and think to himself:  “You know Francis, sometimes you say things and do things just like a donkey!!”  And then he would realize that the person calling him that name probably was hurt or angry and lashing out; acting just like a donkey themselves! This would make Francis love God even more for putting up with such strange creatures as we humans.  Lent, which begins next week, gives us an opportunity to reconcile and be at peace with our neighbor; especially with anyone who has hurt us.  We must always remember our vocation as disciples of Jesus: to win back those who are spiritually wounded by our patience, compassion and kindness!  Happy Lent!           ~ Fr. John

 

Living the Faith:  "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" ((Mt 5:5).
"Meekness can win over hearts, save friendships, and much more,
because people get angry, then they calm down.  They rethink the
issue before retracing their steps, and relationships can be rebuilt."

~ Pope Francis    

                                                                                         

 

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Diocese of Manchester

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street
Manchester, NH 03104-4396

T: (603) 669-3100
F: (603) 669-0377