Your life is a precious gift from God to yourself and to your family. What you make of yourself is your gift to God and others.
This is one theme you can discover in the lives of truly religious people. We recognize that we come from God through our parents, and for this reason we honor God in the first Three Commandments, and immediately after that we follow the Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother. The Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill, is placed in the middle of the others, symbolic of how precious life is for when the other com-mandments are ignored, soon people forget that human life is a sacred gift from God, and to abuse human life creates chaos for the soul and society.
Of course, we can’t make ourselves something other than the man or woman God essentially made us to be, but as creatures with free will (until our death), we can choose to accept who we are in our giftedness and bro-kenness and decide to grow in grace. Freely choosing to understand our strengths, as well as our weaknesses, we can then choose to follow Jesus Christ who offers us, and strengthens us, with the three divine virtues that heal us and lead us to heaven: faith, hope and love received at our Baptism and nurtured in Holy Confession and Holy Communion. By practicing our faith deeply, it is easier for us to enter into the spiritual work of overcoming our weaknesses, and tempering our strengths.
One of the great work-out centers to grow in the di-vine or theological virtues of faith, hope and love, is by going on a Catholic retreat that offers healing, forgive-ness, time for prayer, small group discussion, support and merciful understanding.
Fortunately, our Archdiocese offers all kinds of re-treats directly and indirectly. One retreat that I want to share with you today is the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat weekends. This retreat is open to all people, not just Catholics, but to anyone who has experienced directly or indirectly the tragedy of abortion – the willful taking of a preborn baby’s life.
This is from the staff of Rachel’s Vineyard to all Catholic parishes: “The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat program was developed by Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D. in 1994 and it is a ministry of Priests for Life. To-day there are over 1,000 retreats annually in 49 states and 70 countries. Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing.”
I know that most everyone in our Holy Trinity Par-ish knows that we as a Catholic Church are prolife, and compassionately profamily, but I am not sure everyone knows that we have Jesus’ forgiving and healing powers through the Sacraments and retreats that can deepen that healing of our bodies, souls and minds as they usu-ally offer the sacraments to those disposed.
“The size of our retreat varies between 8-14 participants. The weekend is facilitated by a team of 3-4 trained volunteers, along with a li-censed counselor, and a priest or deacon. The majority of those who serve on our re-treat team are past retreatants who joined us after experiencing healing on their own retreat.
“The Board of Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities is work-ing diligently to make people aware of this powerful heal-ing ministry. People affected by abortion in Minnesota have a safe, confidential healing ministry available to them three times a year in the Twin Cities area (next re-treat is Feb. 9-11, 2024).
“God’s mercy is abundant and Rachel’s Vineyard re-treats share the depth of His love and mercy to all that attend. Many retreatants begin the retreat with tears of sorrow on Friday and come Sunday their tears become tears of joy knowing how much God loves them and for-gives them.
“Pray for all those affected by abortion that they will hear about Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities and make the decision to come to our healing retreat…Nancy Blom, Ex-ecutive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org;”
Your life, and everyone’s life, is a gift from God. What we make of ourselves, and how we help others live a life of faith, hope and love, is our gift back to God to be shared with others. As missionary disciples, we must support our religious, political, business and cultural leaders who know and promote this foundational truth of human civilization, and do every good thing to protect preborn babies – the most innocent and vulnerable – and other vulnerable people in our laws and in our hearts.
Thanks be to God that many of you and your family members recognize this call to be missionary disciples of God’s gift of life and salvation. Thank you for your gener-ous prayers and support for our World Missions and the mission of the heart to protect and celebrate life here in our own country.
Peace in Jesus Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe