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Trust in his Divine Providence

In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

 Seeking Our Lady's intercession, let us pray.

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.


 Good morning, brothers and sisters. Long time no see, thoughts since weekend and this, of course sadly, my last weekend as your pastor. And make the effort to come and preach. And of course, greet you and say goodbye to you after mass. today. it's very apropos that we have this second reading, for me, from Saint Paul to the Corinthians. He says that I might not become elated because of the abundance of the revelations. A thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this that it might leave me. But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

You know, when I first got sick Ash Wednesday evening, for the next few days, I was complaining to the Lord a bit because if you know anything about Catholic priests, lent is the busiest season of the year for us. We have the most to do, whether it's confessions and sacraments and spiritual direction and all of those things. And I told the Lord, I said, you know, I don't mind being sick, but really lent, like, what are you thinking? What's going on? You know, please just give me better quick so I can get back to the people. That obviously didn't happen. And you know, I, I've never had a problem struggling with illness or such and know the Lord has taught me over the years that even such things are gifts to us. And I knew this was as well. I just couldn't understand his reasoning. And as I began to pray and complain to the Lord a bit, over the following weeks and months one of the things that did occur to me and helped me find peace is that. And this is something I've tried to teach you so often, how we have to trust in God's will, right? We have to trust in his divine providence, meaning that he governs all things well and all things work out for the good for those who love God and are called according to his plan. So, I knew this would work out to the good, but I wasn't exactly sure how. Now, I've said to you in the past that if it were up to me, I would be happy to remain your pastor till I retire. Maybe beyond that, if that were possible. Like, that was my goal, so to speak, if I ever had one had no desire to do anything else as a priest or be anywhere else. I've never been more happy in my life than as your pastor can imagine. I didn't want to give that up, but that wasn't God's will. And I think on some level, my sickness is a great mercy, actually, of God for two primary reasons. Something I've reflected on because I don't think I would have willingly given up pastor Ship of Saint Dorothea's if I didn't have to. And I think this was God's gentle way of kind of forcing me into that position. and on the other end, I think it was on some level, more merciful and gentle way. God was able to get many of you ready for me to leave. I can imagine over the last several months you thought, what if he doesn't come back, right? What if he doesn't get well enough? And so on some level, I see this as certainly a mercy. It's clear that the Lord is calling me to move on, to go do something else. Right now. It's just be sick and get better. But I wouldn't have been. I mean, if the Lord had made it known to me, I would have consented, but it wouldn't have been my idea. Let's just say it wouldn't have been something I sought out or chose on my own. I choose to step down as pastor at this time because I can't function anymore. And you need a functioning pastor. So, I think, again, it was a mercy. The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, desired me to step down and Father Carlson to step up, to become your pastor. And I think this time of trial for all of us again, is a way that God, so to speak, got me ready to step away and got you ready to see me step away and it's important to look at it from that perspective. It's the same thing any father or mother would do for their children.

When a difficult change has to happen in their life. You know, the parents always try to prepare those children the best that they can. There's still going to be suffering and difficulties and challenges, but you want to make that changes smooth as easy as possible. And honestly, I think that's exactly what this is. I see it as a mercy and a kindness, so I I'm at peace. surprisingly enough, thanks be to the grace of God.

I said to you in a video, when I announced that Father Michael Carlson would be your upcoming pastor. And it's important that you remember this. If the bishop had asked me. Father Miller, who do you want to replace you if you cannot be pastor of Saint Dorothy's now, he didn't say that. Bishops don't ask those kind of questions right. I didn't he didn't ask for my opinion, my views or what I wanted. You know, that's between him and his team and the Lord. So. But if he had put it to me, choose anyone you want, I would have chosen Father Carlson. I thought to myself. If I could not be pastor of Saint Dorothy's, that's the priest I would want to replace me. And it's sad and it should be, if you think about it, imagine you is as parents, fathers and mothers. If you had to give up your children for whatever reason it was required of you and someone else had to be chosen to take your place, this woman would now have to be the mother of your children, or this father would have to be the father of your children. You would choose very carefully one. It would break your heart to do so. And I'm assuming most of the kids wouldn't be happy about it. The teenagers would be like, yay, new parents, you know? But you know, that's a phase that passes. But for me, it's also such a consolation that the Lord shows that the bishop chose Father Carlson. And I know you'll be incredibly happy with him. I don't think you'll forget me, but within a few months, you'll realize, hey, this isn't that bad. In fact, right after Father Carlson was chosen. But before I could announce it to you, I was talking with him on the phone. And if you've seen him recently, you know he has a shaved head, like mine. And I said, you know, it's good that you have a shaved head, because I do as well. You just need to grow out a beard. And he goes, actually, I started growing out a beard a week ago, so, this is great. You're hardly going to notice any changes. What's. He's just a couple of inches taller. That's it. Basically, it's just Father Miller 2.0. I again, I see all of this as flowering of the will of God in our lives. And yes, it's through so much suffering physical, spiritual, emotional, all of these things, so many crosses that the Lord is asking us to bear. but again, the beauty of God's plan and it's not always easy to recognize, right? In hindsight, as they say, it's 2020, but while you're going through it, it feels so painful, and all change is difficult. I mean, look, we just got a new bishop now. He's wonderful, by the way, if you haven't gotten to know him yet, he's absolutely wonderful. And I'm excited for all of us. but last week he called me up and he said, do you mind if I come out? I want to spend some time with you. And he came out and he spent an hour with me just talking. Just seeing how I was doing if I needed anything. He's. He's so wonderful. Just wants to really care for not only his priests, but of course, all of all of you, his, his children. So, yes, these are changes, but they cannot be bad. They're always within the will of God. And that's the most important thing I want you to remember. If I leave a final message is trust in the divine providence. Trust in the will of God for your lives. You know, if you think about it for just a moment, everything in the life of Christ Jesus His son was already ordained.

Everything. Everything from the movement of the stars in the heaven that revealed his birth to all of the interactions and events that took place in his life. Everything was ordained by the father. God did by his hand for the sake of His Son in the salvation of souls. And you might be tempted to think, yes, but that's the Son of God. Of course that's going to happen. Yes. What? What do you think you are, your sons in the son. You are baptized into the body of Christ. This is Christ. You think his will in your lives is any less than that of his son? You think he loves you any less than he loves his own son. When you are identified with him, the will of God is just as clear and powerful and perfect.


But as with the life of Christ, there were ups and downs, joys and sorrows, crucifixions and resurrections. So, there will be in our lives. That's not a bad thing. It's all part of the plan. And so, remember that trust in that, you know, and if those moments of darkness come and you're having a hard time holding on to that faith, to that belief, you just cry out to the Blessed Mother for help. Keep me close to Jesus as well. Hold me. Don't let me slip. And in every prayer as we're supposed to, with the words of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, not my will thine be done.

Now there's one more message I would want to leave you with as a final homily. And that's not just, of course, trust in his divine providence and his will for our lives, for your lives, but also trust in his mercy. Often preached on that mercy and the mercy that we receive through all of the sacraments, but especially through the sacrament of Confession or reconciliation, we have been given the greatest gifts possible in these graces of Jesus Christ that is left to us in His church, and that we have not only the ability, but even the right to go to confession, to have our sins washed away so that we can stand before the face of God without fear, because we've made but we've been made clean of sin through the blood of his Son. How could we not take regular advantage of that mercy? If you remember the image that Jesus gave to Saint Faustina, Faustina was called the Apostle of Divine Mercy, or it is called the Apostle of Divine Mercy and Jesus. To try to explain his mercy, he said to us her ultimately to all of us, if you were to take all of the sins of all of mankind from all of time and put them all together, they would not equal one drop of water in comparison to the ocean. That is my mercy. All of the sins of all of mankind from all of time, wouldn't even equal a single drop of water compared to the ocean of his mercy. So, imagine you go out in a boat into the middle of some ocean. You take a little, you know, eye dropper, and you just drop one drop of water into the ocean. Could you ever find that drop again? No. It's gone. It could be oil. It could be blood. It could be sugar. It doesn't matter what you drop in there, it is now completely gone. That is the image that Christ left us through Saint Faustina. That is the font of mercy unending. And you're worried about your sin, which is not even a drop in the drop of water. Is sin terrible? Of course it is. Of course it is. Should you feel guilty about it? Of course you should. Should you hate sin, God does so. Of course you should. But should you fear for your salvation because of sin? No, it's the whole point of what Christ has done for us and the graces he has left us in His church. And it is difficult to go to confession. It takes a certain degree of humility. No one usually wants to go to another dude and tell him all the bad stuff. You wouldn't even tell your best friend. I'll remind you of something. One of my priest teachers in seminary said when he was teaching us about the sacrament of confession, he said, every human has, in a sense, three, three sides to themselves. There's they're public side. They're public face. This priest always called it their Facebook face. Right. It's what you want the rest of the world to see you as. It's not real. It's totally decorative and false, but it's what you want. People to think about you with. So, you know, you take these pictures, you say these things that you think everybody's going to love and like you for. So that's your public image. It's not real, but everybody has one. Then there's your private self, your private image. Usually only 1 or 2 people, the closest of friends, know the true you on that level. And he paused for a moment. He said, then there is your secret image, your secret self. And no one knows about that except your confessor. Those are the things you don't even share with your best of friends. You only bring them up for the sake of forgiveness. And he said this to us. He said, because you need to remember, when a soul comes to you to be forgiven of sin, it is the most vulnerable moment in the life of a Christian. And if you don't help them, gently care for them. They'll never come back to confession. This priest understood the vulnerability. It is for us to reveal our sins even to the minister of Christ. And yet, without that trust in our Lord, without that willingness to humble yourself and become vulnerable, you can't receive his mercy. You don't even want to do that for yourself. If you don't want to become that humble of that vulnerable for your own benefit, do it for Christ who became so vulnerable for you, so vulnerable that he could even suffer and die. Just do it for the love of him, even if you don't love yourself enough. Because imagine how much it would break his heart when he's gone so far to forgive you of your sins. And yet you do not accept his mercy. You know what this is like when you love someone so much and they won't let you love them, that's devastating. When they turn away from your love for whatever reason, it's the last thing that you want. And the thing that would make you happiest is if they just let you love them. And that's all. Christ. Once he wants to love you, but you have to be humble enough to let him love you. And that's it. If you ever remember anything from Father Miller, your pastor, trust in his will. Trust in his mercy.

Now, before I go, it's very important that I give a public thank you to father, in a way. And to Deacon Angelo, who served you so faithfully, when I could not. Father. And always been so generous and even adapting himself, to the style of Saint Dorothy's. And we're all very appreciative of that. When he started celebrating mass at Oriental, I was just giddy, like a schoolgirl. So, it's very happy. Thank you, father. Thank you. Take this with you wherever you may go. he's done a great job, and he's really given so much of his time. And I think it's difficult sometimes to understand how much a priest can sacrifice to serve the people. And he has done that. So, we all thank you, father. And, of course, Deacon Angelo, before I got sick, very graciously said to me one day, although he probably regrets it now. Hey, father, you know, if you need anything, just ask. So, we I have taken advantage of that. And thank you. And as meager as our thanks can be for both of you, in the end, it's the Lord who rewards. Because you've done this for him, right? This has all been done for our Lord, for the love of him. And remember that they didn't do this because they love you. I mean, hopefully they love you, but we don't do this because we love you. That's just and hopefully an afterthought. We do this for Christ. We do this for Christ.

And that's why you're here as well. You're not here for Father Miller. Father Nohe, Father Carlson, whoever you're here for Christ because he is your true shepherd. He is your true pastor. That never changes. And that's the beauty of the priesthood, is that no matter how many pastors you may have in your life and how many of us come and go, whether you like this one more or someone else, those are all okay things, but they don't really matter because in the end, it's all about Jesus Christ and the graces he gives you through the sacraments. That's the beauty that any priest can give you. Christ. Any priest can hear your confessions, consecrate the Eucharist. Any priest can do that. And thanks be to God for such a grace. And hopefully there is sorrow in parting, right? I mean, if you don't feel bad that I'm leaving, obviously you didn't like me very much and that's okay. I'm sorry for any faults on my part, for any sins and failings. I do apologize, but grief hopefully is a sign of our love as well of a good relationship that was formed that that isn't ending, of course. It's just changing. And ultimately, all of us have to have that everlasting hope of heaven that we'll all be there together for eternity in peace and good health. The hope that keeps us going. Now, this won't be too difficult for you, but as an unwritten rule, this is something Father Buettner, the previous pastor of Saint Dorothy, has taught me. And even Bishop Michael reminded me of last week when we spoke. It's an unwritten church rule that for the first year, a retired pastor does not return to his parish for at least a year. The father, Buettner you know, has come and celebrated sacraments here at Saint Dorothy's. But he didn't do it the first year he left, and I became your pastor. The reason this is an unwritten rule is because you have to accept the fact that I'm not your pastor. Well, starting Tuesday at 11, I know it's sad that I'm leaving. Sweetie, I'm so sorry. So, the only one of you who expresses ours. Thank you, sweetheart, I was I was getting upset, actually. So. So, yes, this unwritten rule and the reason that a pastor is not supposed to return for at least a year. It'll be easier because I'm sick. Yeah, I have a good excuse. But even if I get better, I won't return for a year. Even if I'm invited. Because you have to let go of the man who was your old pastor and embrace the new one. And if the old pastor keeps sticking around, that doesn't make it easy on you or on him. I will follow this unwritten rule of the church. Not being here at Saint Dorothy doesn't mean I'll never visit your houses or come for a special parish parties or things like that now and then. But sacramentally spiritually speaking, those kinds of things are out of my hands starting at 12 noon on Tuesday. Literally, my resignation letter said I resign at 11:59 this Tuesday. I that precise I had to let them know. And he will be your pastor at 12 noon. And I believe he'll celebrate the 12:10 mass on Tuesday will be first master's your pastor.


But again, you will find such peace and joy and happiness in him. the Lord has made such a good choice. in choosing Father Carlson and, you know, remember, don't compare him to me too much. And don't compare me to him too much. just be patient with him. Keep him in your prayers. As I know many of you have been doing. Pray those rosaries for him and continue, of course, to add me. And at the end of your prayers, you know, and it's a change for all of us. But change isn't bad. Difficult, yes, but because we know this is the will of God, we can be at peace knowing that whatever will happen and will come ultimately will be for our good.

Now, if father, in a way will permit me, I would like to give you a blessing. I know it's not kind of normal, but a blessing. before, as the end of the homily today, and I will be greeting you after mass, in the vestibule to make sure and say goodbye to all of you. Don't stand.

The Lord be with you. And may Almighty God bless you. May you turn his face toward you. May he give you peace. He who is father, son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Go in peace. Thanks be to God.

Homily begins at 9:52

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