You may have noticed that some of the trees are being removed and many others are being pruned. There were a number of trees that were dead, dying, or sick. Being so close to the Church, the street and the driveways and for the safety of people and protection of property, including the Church building, cars, and power lines, unfortunately, they needed to be cut down. It is a significant loss, but it was necessary.
This is from a wonderful article on forgiveness:
One obstacle to beginning to pray and living within is the struggle to forgive. Whenever someone hurts us in a serious way, there is a wound that remains. We commonly find ourselves going back over these wounds again and again. What is most frustrating is that many times we thought we had already forgiven the person who hurt us. But when the memory comes back, we can sometimes feel the anger and the pain all over again.
To pray for those who have hurt us is difficult. Christ commands us to love those who persecute us. The Lord grieves with us and for us when we suffer these things.
Trusting in God means to pray for those who harm us, to seek to return good for evil. When this act of trust is made, the power of God is released in humanity. For two thousand years, this is what every martyr for our faith has revealed to the Church.
We have a special authority over the soul of someone who causes us great sorrow. Their actions have bound them to us in the mercy of God. Whenever someone hurts us physically or even emotionally, that person has demeaned their self even more; are even more in need of mercy.
Because of this relationship, our prayers on their behalf have a particular power. Living by the Cross means choosing, over and over, whenever angry and resentful memories come up, not to hold a grudge against someone who has hurt us. It means renouncing the desire of revenge. It means avoiding indulging in self-pity or thinking ill of those who have sinned against us. It means begging God to show us the truth about our enemy’s plight.
Precisely because Jesus has made death a pathway of life, Christians are also called to take up their crosses and follow Him. They must offer up their resentment to God and allow their bitterness to die. Offering the gift of our grievances to God is especially pleasing to Him.
This effort is spiritual, the work of the Holy Spirit. In order to forgive, we must pray, and sometimes we must devote many hours, days, and even years to prayer for this purpose. It is difficult to live with ourselves, if we do not find mercy for those who have offended us.
There are moments in prayer when we suddenly realize we must not only forgive but must also ask for forgiveness. A transformation takes place when our attention shifts from the evil done to us to the plight of the person who inflicted it. Every time we submit resentment to the Lord, every time we renounce a vengeful thought, every time we offer the Lord the deep pain in our heart we have made room for the gentle action of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does not take the wounds away. They remain like the wounds in the hands and side of Christ. The wounds of Christ are a pathway into the heart of every man and woman. This is because the hostility of each one of us toward Him caused those wounds. With the Holy Spirit, this knowledge is a powerful gift.
Lenten blessings and be encouraged, we are all journeying with you. I pray our Lord richly blesses you. Always remember that I love you, there is no way I will ever love you less, and I will continue to pray for you every day. Please remember me and the priests who serve you in love.
~ Fr. Behrend