Sister Miriam James Heidland, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, spoke on the healing power of mercy April 12 in Christ the King Chapel.
Heidland opened her talk, titled “The Power of Mercy: Set Free to Love,” by articulating to her audience why God’s mercy is important to every individual.
“I know who I am,” Heidland said. “I’m a daughter of God, baptized into his family with an indelible mark on my soul. I’m a confirmed member of the church, strengthened through the grace (of) the Holy Spirit. I’m a bride of Christ.”
Despite identifying herself in many ways, “there are also parts of our hearts that are mysteries to ourselves,” she continued.
Heidland encouraged her audience to open up their hearts to a risk of love, quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who said that man “is waiting for mercy.”
Heidland said, “Every single one of us is waiting to be encountered by a love that sets us free.”
It is mercy which “brings us in to the love that we long for,” she continued.
Mercy is “like the living water that gushes forth into the world,” said Heidland, who employed imagery of water throughout her talk.
Heidland told her audience of the awe that she experienced upon her first trip to Niagara Falls. She compared the waterfall to God’s mercy gushing forth over his people.
She then drew the contrast of a stagnant pool with flowing water. God, Heidland said, wants the water to flow and not to be stagnant.
She said, “The Holy Spirit just comes rushing upon us and brings all these fruits to life, all this beauty to life.”
Heidland said, “This is really the experience of mercy. God’s mercy comes and rushes upon us and brings new life.”
Forgiveness is inseparably intertwined with mercy, said Heidland. She urged her audience to open themselves to the transformative mercy of God and to turn to Mary to learn to accept God’s mercy.
The world “is aching for mercy,” Heidland said.
Senior Kim Myers said, “I found consolation in (Heidland’s) imagery of the waterfall versus the stagnant pool. My prayer in the end was for God to come rushing with new water into those hidden areas of my life.”
Heidland speaks widely on Theology of the Body, authentic love and the dignity and beauty of women. She can be found on Twitter under the handle @onegroovynun.
Franciscan University Chapel Ministries hosted Heidland’s presentation.