1. Begin with the prayer for specific for each session
  2. Watch the TED talk video
  3. Watch the reflection video by one of the pastoral team members
  4. Pray over the scripture passage
  5. Review Personal Reflection Questions

If you have any questions please e-mail the parish at [email protected] or call the parish office at 519-471-4220

SESSION #3 – Mastering Suffering

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, may we recognize your great love and grace in the midst of our sufferings and that of others.  May we experience your overly generous love that helps us be confident, hopeful and gracious in the midst of the storms of life.  May we never let our suffering distract us from being your faithful disciples who reach out and care for all those who are in need.  May we always follow your plans that lead us to eternal life.  We ask all of this through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who lives forever and ever.  AMEN.



Luke 15:11-32

Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’


1. What are the different ways you have handled suffering?

2.What are the important “HOWS” in your plans to master suffering?

3.How can you help others develop a plan to thrive through the storms of life?

4.Reflect on ways God has been overly generous in your life?  When has that most often happened in your life?



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  1. Brenda Teichert

    Wow, this session is my favourite one thus far! What wonderful points, suggestions, insights and tips from the Ted Talk presentation and Father John’s reflections. The concept of handling suffering well or skillfully by having a master plan is simple yet so full of hope. …We need to be clear on what we want and why and then come up with a plan on how we get there! With the tips from Fr John we can do this … pray to silence the storms, go to confession to obtain and feel the peace of Christ, count our blessings ( gratitude is essential) , discover and ponder upon God’s plan (for us and others) and know we are built for community (help others and let them help us too).
    Suffering whether physically, emotionally or spiritually is difficult …. our perspective and attitude is so important … but trusting and having hope in God is the key.

    • Jo-Ann Blay-Rowan

      Wonderful commentary you have shared with us Brenda.

    • Fr. John

      It is important for us to have a plan when dealing with suffering. Often we are struggling to survive so this is very hard for us to do but it can be done.

  2. Kelly

    Thank you for your reflection, Father. John! I appreciate the depth you provided with regards to our faith in relation to suffering. It’s a breath of fresh air spending this moment to reflect and gain the clarity of the immediate support in our lives that can strengthen us– as this is over looked in times of suffering.

    • Fr. John

      Thank you for sharing your kind words Kelly. The challenge for me is to keep my faith in line with this reality of suffering. I see so many who suffer and trust God and yet do I? Often I don’t initially but I try!! God is so good and so we need to continue to seek His strength!!

  3. Joyce Essery

    Such a powerful presentation and reflection Fr. John! It helps us understand more deeply and clearly the journey through the storms and darkness of these past 6 years…with the Father’s faithful love and support forever guiding us forward. So grateful for the opportunity to experience this retreat. Thank you.


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