Fr. Martin Mikuskiewicz OFM, CAP led the Retreat from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th September, at the beautiful Franciscan Friary, Holywell, in celebration of St. Pio’s Feast Day. The theme of the Retreat was on the ‘Mystery of the Cross of Jesus’ and ‘Suffering’. St. Pio’s Prayer Group meet at St. Helen’s Church, 112 Alexandra Road, Crosby, each Monday at 2 pm for an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, followed by refreshments afterwards – everyone very welcome!
Fr. Martin’s Homily on Sunday 25th September:
Father recalled the 2nd Reading – striving for holiness. Sanctify yourself and take along others on your journey. But you can’t do this unless you have been sanctified yourself . . . How? Through the mystery of the Cross and Suffering. We fail to understand. We pray that it will pass us by, instead of saying “let it be”. Essential for our understanding of St. Pio. The Cross and prayer are the 2 answers to reflection. Prayer, first of all gives us the strength to face up to the Cross in our lives; to have a ‘conversation’ with the Lord; to listen to what God is revealing to us in our daily life – people; circumstances; people who are the source of the Cross in our life. We all have people in our lives who are the Cross for us. God is revealing to you where you are on your journey; you are not patient; your love is not strong enough; you need conversion. St. Pio reminds us and St. Francis reminds us of our need for conversion; reconciliation and our need for God. Put your heart in order!
St. Pio recommended weekly Confession. Do not worry if your Priest complains! The Lord is waiting for each one of us to heal; through the Sacraments and their power. God reveals to us in prayer things we do not like . . . the Lord will always bring you back to heal you and make you Holy. Reflect on the Cross in your life. Do not pray for the Cross to be removed – accept, embrace and carry it generously, for yourselves and others. This has great value and meaning in the eyes of God. Reflect on that . . . am I the chosen one who will say “I accept my Cross, I want the strength to carry it and offer it for others”?
St. Pio accepted the Cross on behalf of others. San Giovanni – St. Pio’s shirt – on the shoulder, there is a mark where the Cross was laid. The pain on his shoulder was the most painful; carrying the Cross for others.
To grow in sanctity, pray for the grace to accept our Cross. The Lord is waiting for us to respond. We all can suffer and endure with Christ. This is a great calling, a great mission. If we accept, our life will be totally transformed. We will find joy in the midst of suffering. We can never have that ‘peace’ until we accept our Cross. God gives us the strength to bear our Cross. To put up with people who think differently to us; to love people who support different politicians from us . . .
Our responsibility is to do a list of the crosses in our life. Bring them to the Eucharist, pray about them; pray to be reconciled with the Cross; then your life will be totally transformed. Your devotion to St. Pio will bear fruit. No matter how small they may seem, they are of tremendous value to God. Present all those things that make your life difficult to the Eurcharist, and then pray for them to be a source of life for us and for others.