Our BLOOD DRIVE IS TOMORROW! While walk-ins are welcome, it is still helpful to sign-up even at this late hour. Sign–up sheets are in the Gathering Space. Thank You for giving the gift of life.

Next week is “Reconciliation Week.” St. Michael will have a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Penance on Monday, March 14th at 11:00 A.M.; St. Isidore will be the following evening, Tuesday, March 15th, at 7:00 P.M.; and St. Martin de Porres will celebrate communal reconciliation on Friday, March 18th, at 7:00 P.M. For a complete listing of Reconciliation liturgies in our area visit the Central Macomb Vicariate website: www.cmvic.net.

We have received an important video from our Archbishop, The Most Rev. Allen Vigneron, setting forth the Archdiocesan wide Synod and the summons to “Unleash the Gospel.” Unfortunately our projector is not functioning (otherwise photos would have accompanied my homily a few weeks ago!) Fortunately, THE ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE IS AVAILABLE VIA A LINK ON OUR WEBSITE. It is only about seven minutes in length and I urge you to view it so to understand and to be prepared to join in events both at our parish and throughout the Archdiocese as they unfold.

Research shows that some ways of saying “no” to temptation are more effective than others. In a study of 120 undergrads, one-half of the group was told that each time they were tempted to eat something unhealthy they were to tell themselves, “I can’t eat X.” The second group was told to say, “I don’t eat X.” All the students were then asked to answer a set of questions related to healthy eating. As they handed in their answer sheets, thinking the study was completed, they were offered a complimentary treat. They could have either a candy bar or a granola health bar. The researchers found that of the students who told themselves, “I can’t eat X,” 61 percent chose to eat the candy bar. Of the students who told themselves, “I don’t eat X,” only 36 percent chose the candy bar. (“Journal of Consumer Research”)

Evidently the terminology of will, (“I don’t”) was stronger than that of rules (“I can’t”) in helping people make a healthier food choice. How we say, “no” seems to have some influence on how well we resist temptations. This isn’t surprising. A response of volition, or from our will, (“I don’t”) comes from within our self, while ‘I can’t,” barring physical restriction, generally comes from a force outside our self. The latter we tend to rebel against while the former we tend to embrace as part of own values. Now try applying this to our faith, its practices and especially our Lenten disciplines.

This week’s “mercy moment” is taken from the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, who once described God as “mercy within mercy within mercy.”

“Mercy heals in every way. It heals bodies, spirits, society and history. It is the only force that can truly heal and save. . . . Mercy heals the root of life by curing our existence of the self-devouring despair which projects its own evil upon the other as a demand and an accusation. When we are enabled by God’s gift to become merciful, we are given the power to understand mercifully, to accept and to pardon the evil in others, not as the fruit of some godlike magnanimity rooted in our own justice, but first of all as the fruit of a self-knowledge which is librated from the need to project its own evil upon the other.” (Thomas Merton, “The Climate of Mercy.”)