Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest. If you shoulder my yoke, that is the cross, with humility and gentleness not arrogance and harshness then your souls will find rest. Note that Our Lord bids us to come to Him when we are fed up and cannot cope. We come to Him and learn from Him whose heart is gentle. It sounds good – perfect recipe to solve those ugly issues. But does it work? As always the proof is in the pudding! One classic example is noted in the life of St Maria Goretti. We recall that she was born in 1890 the third of seven children whose father had just died and the family was starving and thus was taken in to help work on a farm. The owner’s son Alessandro, we will call him Alex, was filled with lust for Maria and when she was not willing to be unchaste fell into a violent rage and stabbed her fourteen times. Although the family managed to transport her to the hospital her life could not be saved. Before dying whilst receiving the last rites she forgave Alex for his crime and prayed that he might be saved. He was sentenced to thirty years in jail for murder. During the first seven years he was filled with hate, anger, violent conduct and wanted nothing to do with God. In short we was fed up and overburdened. Maria appeared in a dream or vision to him and rebuked him for his behaviour and told him seek forgiveness from God so that he could one day go to heaven. After that mystical encounter he did come to Jesus and went to Confession for he took on the yoke – his prison sentence – and became more gentle of heart and a model prisoner by means of God’s grace. Another example in this same unique story of someone coming to Jesus was Assunta, Maria’s mother. Just think about her plight for one moment. No husband. No centrelink. No family support or relatives close by. Abject poverty and trying to feed her children by manual farm work. Now, her older daughter has just been murdered by the employer’s son. What an enormous burden she was asked to bear. I am convinced that she came to Jesus who helped her bear this burden by sharing the yoke. I know that must have happened because her heart was just so gentle and humble. She had learnt well from the Master beside her whose grace had made this burden light. The proof lay in her acceptance of Alex. You see, once his time was done, Alex sought out the whereabouts of Assunta, Maria’s mother for he wanted to ask her for forgiveness. Now she was not obliged to see him or speak with him. It would have been ok had she not opened the door. Yet she did and she willingly forgave him. What a grace that was. It was also Christmas time and both went to Midnight Mass and knelt side by side, murderer and mother, to receive Holy Communion, to receive the Prince of peace. Eventually Maria was canonized in 1950 and Assunta was present and most proud to have a daughter as a Saint in heaven. Alex was also present. He became a laybrother in a monastery for the rest of his life dying only in 1970. He died with much peace of soul having shouldered the yoke with Christ for so many years.

DO YOU WANT TO RETIRE? VACANCY RETIREMENT VILLAGE – O’Connell Gardens. Self-contained two bedr’m units, ideally located in a safe and caring environment near to the Church. Contact the parish for more information 60251784.

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1st – Priest: Hume BSB 640000  Acc: 548265s8 (non Hume 111031654) Name: Holy Spirit Presbytery

2nd- Parish: Hume BSB 640000  Acc: 558570s10 (non Hume 111056699) Name: Holy Spirit Parish