Widowed, divorced urged to find peace in deeper faith
GERMANTOWN HILLS — “God never promised us a rose garden. He promised us eternal life.”
Speaking to about 60 people from throughout the diocese who have lost a spouse through death or divorce, Archabbot Lambert Reilly, OSB, used personal stories and straight talk in urging them to find peace through deeper faith and trust in God.
“There is no cross-less Christianity,” said Archabbot Lambert, keynote speaker for a Widowed and Divorced Day of Recollection sponsored by the Diocese of Peoria on Aug. 8 at St. Mary of Lourdes Parish.
The former leader of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana pointed out that Jesus did not even spare Mary, known as the Mother of Sorrows, from the reality of pain and loss in this life.
But believers in Jesus can have peace “no matter what happens” if they continue to grow in faith and acceptance that God wants only what is good for them.
Lasting tranquility comes “when we’re in the right order.” And we are in the right order, said Archabbot Lambert, when we “learn to think what Christ thinks” and surrender to His will.
He quoted the five-word episcopal motto of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, as the best advice he could offer to those who have suffered loss: “His Will Is Our Peace.”
“Life is hard,” said Archabbot Lambert. “We have no lasting city here. There is no heaven on earth.” But when seen with eyes of faith, he said, “everything falls into place.”
After each of Archabbot Lambert’s three presentations, participants took time for reflection. Many took advantage of the Marian grotto or stations of the cross on the grounds of the rural parish. The sacrament of reconciliation was also made available.
The day was moderated by Jeanne Whalen, director of the Office of Pastoral Services in the diocesan Office of Family Life, which sponsored the day. She told the group that Bishop Jenky has established a Widowed and Divorced Advisory Board to implement diocesan outreach, and sought input regarding their own experiences and needs.
Bishop Jenky has invited widowed and divorced persons from throughout the diocese to join him for a special Mass at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. A reception will follow in the newly constructed Spalding Pastoral Center. For more information on the Mass or other outreaches to divorced and widowed persons, contact the Office of Family Life at (309) 671-1550.