Rejoice Heavenly Powers, Sing Choirs of Angels!

May God Bless Archbishop Jerome Listecki © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

What a beautiful day! I love Holy Saturday. There is a rhythm of expectation that builds as a crescendo throughout the day. Good Friday was a busy one. We began with the outdoor Stations of the Cross, led by Archbishop Jerome Listecki, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. It was a gorgeous day. While last year we were pelted by freezing rain (I watched the ice-balls form on the servers’ candles); this year the sleet was replaced with beams of sunshine. My boys served and the girls sang as we processed up Holy Hill, winding our way through the Stations of the Cross with hundreds of others, faithfully retracing Christ’s journey to Calvary.

Good Fri Stations of the Cross Holy Hill Basilica © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Later, we returned to the Basilica for the Memorial of Our Lord’s Passion. As usual the church strained with an overflowing capacity, as Christ’s Passion was remembered in both Spanish and English. The devotion of the faithful (friars, pilgrims, and religious alike) was palpable for hours within these sacred walls.

Good Fri Stations of the Cross Holy Hill Basilica © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The mundane chores of feeding, cleaning, and caring for my brood continued as the day wore on. After the family Rosary, and Night Prayer from the Divine Office, most of the family was blessed and tucked in bed. My husband, our eldest two children and I then sat up until 12:30 A.M., watching The Passion of The Christ, as is our tradition. The heart-wrenching scenes of the scourging, and carrying of the cross are freshly re-etched in my mind. I can barely look at the vivid pounding of the nails into Jesus hands as His arms are yanked from their joints. I cannot imagine watching these scenes nonchalantly; for each year, they seem to resonate more deeply within my very core.

Today, the sorrow of Good Friday seems to slowly be melting into the joy that is about to be Easter. The boys share the honor of serving for tonight’s Easter Vigil, and spent a couple hours at the Basilica practicing this morning. I hear the altar flowers are magnificent, and that their abundance fills the church. I can hardly wait to experience the sight and fragrance tonight. We brought baskets containing our Easter Vigil meal, and a bit of candy to the monastery office to be blessed by Fr. Dan. The daily chores continue, but with an eager anticipation of the glory of the Resurrection that we are about commemorate tonight.

As we prepare for the jubilant celebration of Easter, and the glorious octave that will follow, with gratitude we turn our gaze toward the unfathomable gifts our Lord bestows in His immeasurable love. The greatest of these is His Mercy.

As we prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy, which occurs exactly one week after Easter, we reflect upon the immeasurable depth of God’s Mercy, and our personal response to that gift.

Regarding the gift of His Divine Mercy Our Lord told St. Maria Faustina:

“My Mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or an angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of my most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity (699, p. 286– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

We thus continue our preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy, a Feast instituted by Our Lord, on which He tells us that “the very depths of His mercy are open.” In preparation, we continue our novena of chaplets. Remember, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads. This link to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website gives clear directions for praying the Chaplet of Mercy: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Immerse the souls of priests and religious in His Mercy. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Immerse the souls of priests and religious in His Mercy. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Today we also, continue the novena dictated by our Lord to St. Maria Faustina. This novena, initiated for her private devotion, offers spiritual fruit for all who pray it faithfully. On each of the nine consecutive days prior to the Feast of Divine Mercy, Jesus requested that St. Faustina immerse a certain group of souls in the ocean of His Mercy. Our Lord would in turn bring those souls into the House of Our Heavenly Father. On the second day of the novena, Sr. Faustina was instructed to pray especially for the souls of the priests and religious.

Our Lord instructed:

“Today bring Me the souls of the priests and religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon all mankind (1212, p. 436– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

As I do not want to break copyright laws or plagiarize, for the entire text of St. Faustina’s novena Day 2, please visit the Marians of the Immaculate Conception site at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/secondday.php.

Like St. Maria Faustina, let us endeavor to bring the souls of priests and religious into to abyss of Christ’s mercy. These faithful men and women are consecrated to the service of the Lord. They are the beloved laborers in His vineyard. Without them the channels of grace would close.

Without priests there would be no Mass, no Eucharist  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Without priests there would be no Mass, no Eucharist © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Without priests there would be no Mass. There would be no one to Baptize, washing away the stain of original sin, and bringing the Light of the Holy Spirit to our souls, and those of our children. Without priests there would be no Eucharist to nourish our souls, nor sacrament of penance to reconcile us to God when we had rejected His love. Without priests, we would have no hope of becoming soldiers for Christ, or having our marriages become truly sacramental unions. Without priests, our souls would never have the sacramental grace given as we prepare to leave this life and enter into the next. Our priests are a treasure, one this secular world often despises and rejects.

God Bless the Religious! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 photo by Jacinta Stephens

So too let us remember the religious sisters and brothers who support the church and the society with prayer, sacrifice, and works of charity. These hidden souls labor perpetually for the salvation of the world, and receive little positive attention for their monumental efforts. Just as the secular world distains the priests so too it seems to revel in ridiculing the very existence of religious sisters and brothers. In appreciation for the tremendous gift of priests and religious, let us follow Christ’s request, and immerse them in the abyss of His mercy, and present them to the Heavenly Father for His blessing.

Wishing you and yours the joy of a glorious Easter.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012

Today we recall the most pivotal event in the history of human kind: the day on which Our Lord suffered, was crucified, and died to pay the penalty of our sin. On this day we pause and recall our own sins, and the burden our actions have added to Our Lord’s sacred shoulders. While this is a solemn, somber celebration of our Lord’s passion and death, there is also a glimmer of joy; for in His passion and death is the ultimate expression of merciful love. It is no coincidence that today we also begin to prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy. That preparation begins with the novena of Mercy.

For the next nine days, I will post a brief reflection, a reminder to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the novena requested by our Lord, and the link to the novena which our Lord dictated on Good Friday 1937 to St. Maria Faustina for her private use in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy.

In Her Diary, St. Maria Faustina relates that our Lord Himself requested the Chaplet of Mercy be recited, beginning on Good Friday, for nine days before the Feast of Divine Mercy. He stated: “By this novena I will grant every possible grace to souls (796, p.316 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is to be recited on ordinary Rosary Beads. After making the Sign of the Cross, one then recites an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed.

On the single bead prior to each decade, one prays:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for Our Sins, and for the sins of the whole world (475, p.207 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On the ten beads of the decade, one prays:

“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world (476, p.208 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

After all five decades have been prayed, one prays the concluding Doxology:

Have Mercy on us, and on the whole world. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world (476, p.208 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

.

There is an optional closing prayer:

“Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly on us, and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy Itself (796, p.370 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

While Our Lord requested this novena of Chaplets not only for St. Maria Faustina, but the whole world, He also gave her a private novena. In this novena, Our Lord invites Sr. Faustina to immerse a particular group of souls into the abyss of His mercy each day, so that in turn He may bring these souls to the Heavenly Father. Over the years, I have found this novena tremendously fruitful.

Our Lord stated to St. Faustina:

“I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the font of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom enough strength and refreshment and whatever graces they need . . . . On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them into this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father (1209, p. 435, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord Jesus loves each of us immeasurably. He came into the world to testify to the truth of that love, and to lay down His life in reparation for our sins. It is for sinners that He came into this world, and for sinners that He died and rose again victorious. Therefore, it is fitting that this first day of the novena be dedicated to sinners.

Jesus requested of St. Faustina on Day !:

“Today, bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them into the ocean of My Mercy. In this way, you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me (1210, p. 436, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

For the text of the entire first day of the novena, please visit go to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website at http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/firstday.php.

In this first day, St. Faustina immerses each of us into the abyss of God’s mercy, an abyss so deep that even death could not fill it. As we journey from the Cross to the Resurrection, let us join St. Maria Faustina in immersing all of humankind, but most especially all sinners, in Christ’s Mercy, with the hope that He will in turn eventually bring them home to His Father’s House.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.