About M.A. JMJ

Wife, Mom, Teacher, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Bioethicist, Bookworm- I could be described by many titles. However, the cord that links them all together- the very substance of my being is my Catholic Faith. As a homeschooling mom to 8 effervescent, dynamic kids, I see life as an exquisite journey, full of joy and challenge. I invite you to join me on this sojourn of faith, as I endeavor to reflect and magnify the glory of God, and rejoice in God my Savior. Blessings- M.A. JMJ

A Pentecost Novena

In preparation for the Great Feast of Pentecost, my spiritual father graciously invited my family and I to pray a novena written by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I have found this short and simple prayer to be a rich source for contemplation, and thus am sharing it here-

Pentecost © SalveMaterDei.com, 2017

Come, Holy Spirit! © SalveMaterDei.com 2017

A Pentecost Novena

“Who are you, sweet light, that fills me

And illumines the darkness of my heart?

You lead me like a mother’s hand;

And should you let go of me,

I would not know how to take another step

You are the space

That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.

You, nearer to me than I to myself

And more interior than my most interior:

Holy Spirit — eternal love!

Holy Spirit — eternal life!

Holy Spirit — ray that penetrates everything!

Holy Spirit — victorious power!

Holy Spirit — God’s molding hand!

Holy Spirit — Creator of all!

– St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein)

 

May these days of preparation open our hearts to the love of God, and prepare us to receive the abundant gifts and robust fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The Lorica of St. Patrick: "Faeth Fiada"

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“Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14).”

As this Holy Feast Day of Saint Patrick occurs during the Liturgical Season of Lent- a time set aside for robust prayer- it is fitting to post the beloved and powerful Lorica, or St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer. The original text of this prayer dates to the 5th century and is attributed to St. Patrick. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. in supplication for Divine protection before his successful conversion of the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.

Throughout Sacred Scripture the image of the breastplate of armor is used to not only to convey the might and power of God, but also to call to men to emulate that same righteous strength within their humanity by wrapping themselves in the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. The Lorica of St. Patrick magnificently inter-weaves both the praise of the Divine might and a human supplication for the requisite strength to replicate it in battle.

The inspiration for the Breastplate of St. Patrick can thus be found in Sacred Scripture:

In Isaiah 59:17, the Omnipotence of God is depicted: “He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.”

Again in Wisdom (5: 17-19) we read: “The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor, and will arm all creation to repel his enemies; he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; he will take holiness as an invincible shield.”

Likewise, man is exhorted to “Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness,” in Ephesians 6: 14. Again in Thessalonians (5: 8), we are called to clothe ourselves in the Theological Virtues, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation, “ that we might belong to Christ.

My favorite version of this prayer was penned by Cecil Francis Alexander in the year 1889 at the request of H.H. Dickenson, the Dean of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle. This current version has been set to music and is cherished by the faithful of many Christian denominations. May the beautiful words of this prayer touch your heart as deeply as they do mine, when I pray this each and every day.

Lorica of St. Patrick: Faeth Fiada

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
*

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Blessed St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours,

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A.

As Christians, We Are Called to Journey

“Therefore you provided a flaming pillar of fire as a guide for your people’s unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering (Wisdom 18:3).”

Vatican Hall of Maps ceiling 3a

This past calendar year has been one of travel for my family and I. I can honestly say that I have put on more frequent flyer miles, stayed in more hotels, stuffed more suitcases, and experienced more of the world as a sojourner than in all my previous years combined. Now that much of the hustle and bustle is through- at least for the time being- it has been on my heart to “unpack” it all and examine the gift of this precious time in light of Lent.

As Christians, we are all called to journey. In a very real sense the life of every Baptized Christian is itself a journey; for by our Sacramental call, we are not merely aimless wanders in this life. Rather, we have a destination and a mission. We are called to love, honor and serve God in this life so that we might enjoy eternal bliss with Him for all eternity in Paradise. During the season of Lent, we focus more directly on just what it means to love, honor and serve God by seeing Him and loving Him concretely in our neighbor. It is thus, that during Lent we engage more fully in prayer, fasting and almsgiving so that we can have eyes that genuinely seek Him, ears that truly hear Him, hands that willingly serve Him, and a heart that overflows with love for Him.

Rome f from the bus

By definition, a journey implies movement and transition; there is both a definite beginning and a finite end-point. As Christians, we recognize that Jesus Christ is our Alpha and Omega- He alone is our beginning and end. If our journey is not focused on Christ, that is, on gratefully recognizing the Providential love of God in our past, engaging Him fully at each moment of our present, and desiring to above all rest in His embrace in the finality of our earthly end, then our journey runs the risk of merely being self-directed wandering. For it is only with the Lord as our guide that our destination is secure: “Therefore you provided a flaming pillar of fire as a guide for your people’s unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering (Wisdom 18:3).” God neither forces His love, nor His plan upon us. If we choose to wander around like lost sheep in the desert, rather than remain close to the shepherd and the rest of the flock, the Good Lord will let us. However, it is only in journeying with Him that our hearts will find the object of their desire and the happiness that accompanies it.

The Obelisk - 1b

While all journeys involve travel, not all travel is a journey. Real journeys involve true sacrifice of precious commodities like time, money, sleep, comfort and personal security. Recently my family and I were privileged to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage with the Milwaukee Mercy Choir to sing for the Holy Father, at both the recent November Consistory and the Papal Mass closing the Year of Mercy (I intend to blog more regarding this pilgrimage in coming weeks). We traveled with one hundred seven individuals, fifty three of whom – like my daughters and I – were vocalists in the 300 member International Mercy Choir.

For nearly eight months before the first plane ascended into the evening sky toward the Eternal City of Rome, there were endless hours of planning and preparation. The sacrifice for the journey was tangible – from the financial cost of travel, the hours of choir practice, to the temporary separation from loved ones who were unable to travel with us. Even before the morning we all boarded buses for the airport, there was a real sense of sacrifice. Travel itself is not comfortable. While the most carefree among us might have found snaking through airport lines and security with 107 fellow pilgrims to be an adventure, for most travelers, stepping through the airport security scanners is enough to leave one feeling uncomfortably vulnerable at the acute loss of privacy. Vulnerability, moments of discomfort and uncertainty all seem to be among the hallmarks of an authentic journey.

The plane!

On a journey like this, the traveler quickly learns that time is relative. There must be an unwritten rule that the length of queues, such as the line to have one’s passport stamped at the Immigration Kiosk in Spain, is invariably inverse proportionally related to the time remaining before the flight is scheduled to leave. International travel with a group of this size could be characterized as intense moments of urgency and panic separated by hours of tediousness- both waiting for flights, and during the 8-10 hours crossing the Atlantic. Intense prayer is another of the hallmarks of a journey. Through it all, I had a rosary in one pocket and a chotki in the other, and prayed constantly –especially when it looked like we were going to miss our flight back from Spain to the U.S., and during those gut-wrenching moments of in-flight turbulence. Yet as much as I prayed, I knew that others were praying as well- both those on the pilgrimage and those who were supporting us with their prayers. We in turn prayed not only for ourselves, but carried with us the intentions of hundreds of people who had trusted their precious concerns in our intercession. The honor of praying for others, and in turn being prayed for by them, is one of the indescribable joys of a pilgrimage, and this particular journey.

Yet, so it is with Lent. We and our fellow pilgrims sacrifice – both individually and collectively- to journey toward a real goal. We pray for each other and are in turn supported in a real way both physically and spiritually by the fruit of that prayer. We sacrifice our time and comfort, giving alms, fasting, and praying intently. While this time period is measured in real moments- hours and days – it also transcends time, and bears significance in eternity. Travel shakes us of the constraints of our routines. The comforts of home – food, a comfortable bed, cleanliness, our favorite clothes, our sense of security- are all left behind for a duration. Don’t even get me started on time zones and jet lag…. Journeys involve sacrifice. Yet, because of that sacrifice, we are privileged to behold vistas that were previously unimaginable.

May the sacrifice of the Lenten Journey bear spiritual fruit for each and every one of us in both time and eternity.

-M.A.  JMJ

Journeying Through Untrodden Places

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From the time I was a child, I remember Lent being referred to as a journey. Year after year, there has always been a familiar rhythm, a comforting pattern to this penitential season that has absolutely resonated within me. Several of my adult and nearly adult children have expressed to me that Lent is their favorite liturgical season, and cognizant of my own love of this precious season of grace, I can fully appreciate their view. The liturgical readings, seasonal hymns, and homilies are all focused on this period of 40 days during which we are called to journey. Throughout these days, familiar traditions like the readings and prayers of the daily Divine Office, the weekly Stations of the Cross, and the daily meditations are welcome markers along the Lenten road. Yet, even though I grew up in this religious tradition, and – as a cradle Roman Rite Catholic – have been accustomed since my youth to this period of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, I have long felt the need to examine the significance of this particular journey more closely.

This is my first blog post in a very long time, and hopefully it will be the initiation of a new beginning. Those who know me well understand that it is not merely an over-committed schedule that has kept me from writing -though it has certainly been a handy and justifiable excuse. Among those issues that are churning deeply within my heart and soul is the directive of Pope St. John Paul the Great in Line 54 of his Encyclical Ut Unum Sint, in which the Holy Father declared that “the Church must breathe with her two lungs.” Raised in a traditional Roman Rite Catholic family, I have a deep and abiding love for the tradition into which I was Baptized and Confirmed. Yet, I am also deeply drawn to Eastern Catholicism, and through a program of rigorous study over the past several years, have earned a graduate certificate in Eastern Christian Spirituality. I have found that the struggle to find balance and authentically begin “breathing with both lungs” as an individual Catholic can be challenging. I also recognize that those personal tests often reflect in microcosm the complexities faced by the larger Church.

During this Lenten period, I intend to focus my journey on the path before me; engaging and appreciating both the familiar landscape of the West, as well as the less trodden vistas on the horizon toward the East.

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. JMJ

Preparing for the Feast of Divine Mercy: Novena Day 9

I desire that this Image Be Venerated, First in Your Chapel, then throughout the World.” Our Lord’s Words recorded in St. Faustina’s Diary – line 47 © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, especially for poor sinners. . . .It is for them that the blood and water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. I dwell in the tabernacle as the King of Mercy (1216, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

We are nearing the culmination of this Octave of Easter Week: the Feast of Divine Mercy. It has been a glorious week, with each day celebrated as a mini-Easter. We have prepared with both the Novena of Mercy Chaplets, and the special novena dictated by Our Lord Himself to St. Maria Faustina in preparation for this incredible feast.

Today marks the last day of the Novena of Chaplets. This novena is prayed on ordinary Rosary Beads. Complete instructions regarding the Novena of Chaplets can be found on the Divine Mercy website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php

Today we also complete the final day of the Divine Mercy Novena dictated by Jesus to St. Maria Faustina. For each of the past eight days, Our Lord requested that Sr. Faustina pray for a given group of souls, immersing them in the unfathomable mercy of Christ and then pleading for them before the throne of the Heavenly Father. On this the ninth day of the novena, Our Lord appealed to Sr. Faustina as follows:

These Souls Wound My Souls Most Painfully  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

These Souls Wound My Souls Most Painfully © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

“Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them the last hope of Salvation is to run to My Mercy (1216, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled you with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame, © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Today, the final day of the novena, is as follows:

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled you with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your Mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them too glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

The complete text of the ninth day of the novena is also available via the Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/ninthday.php.

Jesus describes souls such as these in several places in the Diary. At times they are also compared to ice and corpses. Our Lord mentions that the indifferences of these souls offends Him greatly, especially when they are chosen souls. Regarding these souls He states:

 

May These Souls Once More Be Set Aflame With Your Love  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

May These Souls Once More Be Set Aflame With Your Love © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“. . . . Souls without love and without devotion, souls full of self-love and egoism, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls who have just enough warmth to keep themselves alive. My Heart cannot bear this. All the graces I pour on them flow off them as off the face of a rock. I cannot stand them because they are neither good nor bad….. (1702, p. 602 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Yikes, those words sting! When I look deep within my own soul, I see those moments of arrogance, and hypocrisy, and I shudder to think that Our Lord might be speaking of me! I don’t want to be lukewarm! I certainly do not want to be the cause of Our Lord’s loathing.

Our Lord speaks of these souls on another occasion:

"I Pour Whole Oceans of Grace Upon those Souls Who Approach the Font of My Mercy. . . Diary line 699  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“I Pour Whole Oceans of Grace Upon those Souls Who Approach the Font of My Mercy. . . Diary line 699 © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“If souls would put themselves completely in My care, I Myself would undertake the task of sanctifying them, and I would lavish even greater graces upon them. There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them; as often as they turn to Me, I hurry to their aid, shielding them with My mercy and giving them first place in My compassionate Heart of Mercy (1682p. 595 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord’s love and mercy are immeasurable! He desires to save us, and offers each of us the opportunity to accept the gift of His mercy. This great feast was instituted as not only a celebration of God’s Divine Mercy, but also a vehicle to obtain it.

Celebration of the Feast Includes the Solemn Blessing of the Divne Mercy Image... © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Celebration of the Feast Includes the Solemn Blessing of the Divine Mercy Image… © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Jesus was very specific regarding the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy, speaking about it through 14 entries in St. Faustina’s diary. He stipulated that it was to be liturgically celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, and that it include the solemn blessing of a Divine Mercy image bearing the words “Jesus, I trust in You!”Likewise,Our Lord stipulated that priests preach on the subject of the immense Mercy of Jesus during Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Our Lord stated:

Solemn Blessing of The Divine Mercy Image at the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Celebration of the Feast Includes the Solemn Blessing of the Divine Mercy Image… © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it (341 p. 153 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

Jesus promised St. Faustina:

“I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy (1109 p. 412 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

This promise is extraordinary! Blessed Pope John Paul the Great –  officially instituted Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000, and reiterated the importance of this feast in His homily a year later.

"Oh Blood And Water Which Gushed Forth from the Heart of Jesus Christ as a Font of Mercy for Us, I Trust in You!  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Oh Blood And Water Which Gushed Forth from the Heart of Jesus Christ as a Font of Mercy for Us, I Trust in You! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Our Lord designated the 3 O’clock hour as the Hour of Mercy stating:

“At three O’clock , implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter fully into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (1320 p. 474 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On Mercy Sunday special Masses will be celebrated around the world to commemorate this solemn feast. This year will be especially significant as Pope St. John Paul II, who canonized St. Maria Faustina, and officially instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy – will himself be canonized, along side Pope St. John XXIII.

To celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy we need to:

Jesus, I Trust In You! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Jesus, I Trust In You! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

(A) Sincerely repent of our sins.

(B) Offer our complete Trust to Jesus.

(C) Sacramentally Confess our sins and be Absolved – (within 8 days prior or after).

(D) Receive Holy Communion.

(E) Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

(F) Venerate (show a gesture of respect) to the Image of the Divine Mercy Jesus.

(G) Be Merciful! Extend Our Lord’s mercy to others by being merciful.

This great feast is an extraordinary celebration of the love and mercy of Christ. Unimaginable graces are poured out upon the whole world through it. Rejoice! Celebrate!

He Is Risen! Alleluia!

He is Truly Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

Divine Mercy Celebration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Divine Mercy Celebration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

 

St. Maria Faustina–Secretary of Divine Mercy,

Dives Misericordia!  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children(Matthew 11:25).”

Among the chosen souls to whom Our Lord has deigned to disclose the abundance of His Goodness was a young, uneducated Polish nun named Sr. Faustina Kowalska in the 1930’s. From her childhood, Helena Kowalska was a well-balanced, obedient, and pious young lady. She was the third child in a family of ten – a child accustomed to both the arduous labor and poverty of farm life. Helena was only able to attend formal schooling for three winters, as her help was needed on the family farm. From the age of fourteen she worked as a domestic servant, caring for the children of wealthier families in the nearby cities of Aleksandrow and Lodz. It was to this humble servant that Our Lord would reveal the magnitude of His Divine Mercy.

From the tender age of 7, Our Lord had given Helena the grace to understand she was called to religious life. Since Helena’s family rejected her desire to become a nun, she attempted to stifle the call, willingly accepted her position as a domestic servant, and developed friendships among her peers. One day during a dance Helena attended with her sister, Our Lord revealed himself to Helena in a vision. He was suffering in agony, and cried out to Helena saying: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off (9, p. 7– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987)?”

St. Maria Faustia, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Maria Faustia, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

With her entrance into the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, on August 1, 1925, Helena Kowalska became Sr. Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As soon as the veil was put on Sr. Faustina’s head, Our Lord immediately enlightened her soul regarding what she would have to suffer. Sr. Maria Faustina remained a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy until her death – a mere 13 years later – at the age of 33, on October 5, 1938.

Your Life is to be Modeled on Mine, From the Crib to the Cross. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Your Life is to be Modeled on Mine, From the Crib to the Cross. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Throughout those next 13 years, Our Lord shaped and modeled St. Faustina’s soul to closely resemble His own. He stated: “Your life is to be modeled on Mine, from the crib to My death on the cross (438, p. 193 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

This simple, pious sister, who was the gardener, cook and porter for the community, was also Our Lord’s chosen Apostle and Secretary of Mercy. Though possessing no more than three winters of formal education, St. Faustina would pen a 600+ page diary containing some of the most profound insights regarding Our Lord’s Divine Mercy ever written. The life of St. Faustina seems to reflect our Lord’s words in Luke 10:21:

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “I give You praise Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father such has been Your gracious Will (Luke 10:21).

One of the scholars who would later study and champion St. Faustina’s work, was a Polish kinsman, a certain Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. In 1981,  Pope St. John Paul II  published an encyclical, Dives MisericordiaRich in Mercy, in which the Holy Father drew from the theme of Divine Mercy present in St. Faustina’s Diary- Divine Mercy in My Soul. On April 18, 1993,  Pope St. John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina; and seven years later -on Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000 – Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina as the first saint of that Jubilee year. This Sunday, April 27, all the world will celebrate the canonizations of both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII- truly this Divine Mercy Sunday will be a blessed and historic moment in time.

St. Faustina’s entire mission was to convey to the world the unfathomable Mercy of Christ. Over the years, Our Lord revealed much to her.

 

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

On one occasion He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins and the sins of the whole world. . . . I never reject a contrite heart (1485, p. 524 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On another: “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699, p. 286 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Likewise He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins, and those of the whole world (1485, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Blessed Are The Merciful, for Mercy Shall Be Theirs. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Blessed Are The Merciful, for Mercy Shall Be Theirs. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Our Lord made it clear that mercy was His gift to an aching humanity, but that this gift must recognized, accepted, and acted upon. We must return mercy for the mercy that has been granted to us. Jesus states: “If a soul does not exercise mercy in some way it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment (1317, p. 473 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

Our Savior cautions: “My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (1588, p. 564 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Jesus also warns: “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice (1146, p. 420 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

As we prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Our Lord, and instituted by Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, let us continue with the eighth day of the Novena of Chaplets. For complete instructions please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today we also continue with the eighth day of the preparatory novena dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina. Each day He instructed Sr. Faustina to bring a certain group of souls into the abyss of His mercy by means of prayer, and likewise to intercede for them before the throne of God the Father.

Bring to Me the Souls in Purgatory.  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Bring to Me the Souls in Purgatory. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

On the eighth day of the novena, Jesus requested of St. Faustina:

“Today bring Me souls who are in the prison of Purgatory and immerse them into the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice (1226, p. 441 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Turn your Merciful Gaze Upon the Souls Suffering in Purgatory  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Turn your Merciful Gaze Upon the Souls Suffering in Purgatory © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

The novena for the eighth day is as follows:

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You , and yet, must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your Mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

One of the greatest ways we can share the Mercy of Christ with others is to pray for them. Thus, praying for those souls who are yet journeying from physical death to Paradise, and being purified of the stain of sins committed in this life, is itself a worthy act of mercy. Together with St. Maria Faustina let us immerse the suffering souls in the abyss of God’s mercy, and beg Our Heavenly Father to look upon them in no other way, but through the wounds of Jesus.

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly,

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

Bring to Me the Souls of the Merciful, They are Living Images of My Compassionate Heart

Proclaim My Mercy! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy (301 p. 139 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord Jesus makes it abundantly clear that mercy is His greatest attribute. God is perfect, and as such the perfections of God are limitless. However, of all of these, mercy reigns as preeminent of all of God’s glorious attributes. Our Lord stated to St. Maria Faustina: “I am Love and Mercy Itself (1074 p. 404 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

It is therefore right that we should glorify the mercy of God, and proclaim it to others. With this thought in mind we continue to prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast on which Our Lord promised immeasurable graces to those who celebrate the unfathomable nature of His mercy.

Jesus told St. Faustina:

“Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment (300 p. 139 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord spoke to St. Faustina fourteen times regarding this incredible Feast that He Himself instituted on the First Sunday after Easter.

The most extensive diary entry detailing Jesus’ revelations regarding this feast can be found in entry number 699 (p. 286 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987). A portion of this entry reads:

Let No Fear To Approach My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out whole torrents of grace upon those who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).”

Today we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the seventh day of our novena of preparation. For complete instructions, please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Also today, we pray the seventh day of the preparatory novena Our Lord dictated to St. Maria Faustina. Through this novena, Jesus requests that Sr. Faustina bring a different group of souls into the abyss of His mercy each day for nine days. He requested that she pray for these groups of souls, immersing them in His Mercy, and pleading for them before the throne of God the Almighty Father.

On this seventh day, Our Lord requested of Sr. Faustina:

Bring to Me Souls Who Especially Venerate My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Bring to Me Souls Who Especially Venerate My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“Today bring to Me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of Hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death (1224, p. 440 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

The novena prayer  for the seventh day is as follows:

Most Merciful Jesus, Whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These Souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to you O Most high! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, Who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

Today as we seek to be among those blessed souls whom our Lord refers to in today’s portion of this novena, let us strive to be merciful. Jesus told Sr. Faustina that her hands must be full of deeds of mercy. Jesus stated:

Blessed are the Merciful! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Blessed are the Merciful! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“Yes, the First Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must be acts of mercy. . . .I demand from you deeds which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it (742, p. 297-298 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

So too must our hands be engaged in the work of mercy if we are to share in the myriad of graces He promises to lavish upon us. While this is a difficult command, His grace is sufficient for our weakness.

Lord, please grant me the grace to be merciful as You are merciful!

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

If I Had the Faith of a Child – Reflection on the Divine Mercy Novena Day 6

Unless You Receive The Kingdom of God As A Child. . . .. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Truly I say to you, unless you receive the Kingdom of God as a child, you shall not enter into it (Luke 18:17).”

I love watching the reflection of Easter in the eyes of my children. The purity of their love shines forth. Children have a unique relationship to God. Our Lord chose to enter the world as a helpless, innocent babe, and from the moment of the Incarnation, He became one of them, one of us. As we walk the outdoor Stations of the Cross, and listen to the Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, our Lord’s suffering seems to resonate deeply with them. Their piety is genuine; their love is deep. Just as sorrow seems to carve a space within us, so too later that whittled space can brim with joy. Easter through the eyes of a child is a blessing to behold!

As we prepare for the great feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, we continue with the sixth day of the novena of chaplets, prayed with ordinary rosary beads. For complete instructions on how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, visit the Divine Mercy website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Let the Children Come to Me © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Today is also the sixth day of the novena dictated by Jesus to St. Maria Faustina. For each day of this novena, Our Lord requested that Sr. Faustina bring a different group of souls into the abyss of His mercy. For this day Our Lord directed:

I am Meek and Humble of Heart © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“Today bring to Me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is capable of receiving My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence (1220, p. 439 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

The sixth day of the novena is:

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all of Heaven into ecstasy and are the Heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them; Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

(Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

 

A Sweet Smelling Bouquet. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

If God Himself takes delight in the souls of children, and the humble souls who resemble them, can we do no less?

In honor of these special souls I am reposting a prayer I penned and posted many months ago.

If I Had the Faith of a Child © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

If I Had the Faith of A Child

If I had the faith of a child, I would welcome each day with delight.

With reckless abandon, I would pursue the task of Life.

If I had the faith of a child, I would treat God as my Father,

With confidence I would speak to Him about little things throughout the day.

If I had the faith of a child, I would view His creation with a sense of wonder.

With gratitude, I would thank Him for the flowers, and snowflakes, and autumn leaves….

With Reckless Abandon, I would Live . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

If I had the faith of a child, I would realize my smallness,

And I would seek shelter in His Magnitude.

If I had the faith of a child, I would not let a sense of time constrain me,

Rather, I would marvel in the timelessness of eternity.

If I had the faith of a child, I would not grow anxious about complex matters,

Instead, I would trust in His Providence to make it all right.

I Would See Miracles Every Day © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

.If I had the faith of a child, my prayers would be simple.

With innocence, I would reflect His purity.

If I had the faith of a child, I would tell Him, “I’m sorry,” when need be,

And I would believe in my heart that His Mercy is greater than my weakness.

If I had the faith of a child, I would see miracles every day,

With simplicity, I would accept the incomprehensible.

If I had the faith of a child, I would make God laugh.

He Would Delight in My Littleness © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

He would delight in my littleness, and I in His Omnipotence.

If I had the faith of a child, I would feel His unconditional Love,

He would fill me with His gifts and I would share them.

If I had the faith of a child, I would possess true wisdom,

For, He would reveal the secrets of His Heart.

I Would Hope for Heaven © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

If I had the faith of a child, I would enter the Kingdom of God!

I would hope for Heaven, yet see the Kingdom here around me now.

If I had the faith of a child, I would trust that my every prayer would be answered.

Lord, please, grant me the faith of a child!

________________________________________

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

Woman, Why Are You Weeping?

Woman, Why are You Weeping? © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

Woman, Why are You Weeping? © SalveMaterDei.com 2014

“While I was weeping at the tomb, I saw my Lord (Evening Antiphon, Tuesday Octave of Easter, Divine Office, Liturgy of the Hours).” Have you longed for something so deeply that you nearly missed it when it was given to you? Have you ever prayed with all your heart and soul for a grace, only to have God answer with miracle beyond your wildest imagination? That is exactly how we find Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel from Holy Mass, on this the Tuesday of the Easter Octave.

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him, and I will take Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew “Rabbouni,” which means teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father and your Father, My God and your God.” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what He told her (John 20: 11-18).

She had Seen Our Lord Tortured, Beaten, and Killed. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

She had Seen Our Lord Tortured, Beaten, and Killed. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

One can easily picture the distraught Mary Magdalene, kneeling in exhausted sorrow that Easter Morning, before Our Lord’s tomb. Sobs rack her body; her eyes are swollen from two days of grief, and her strength has faded. She had seen Jesus tried, tortured, and crucified. With Mary, and a handful of others she had hastily prepared Jesus for burial, and watched the stone set to seal the tomb. These past two days had been spent in a numb pain; alternating between fear, anger, and grief. How could this have happened to her Lord? There was nothing more that the chief priests, council, temple guard, or Roman soldiers could do that would surprise her.

She Had Helped to Prepare His Body for Burial . . .© SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

She Had Helped to Prepare His Body for Burial . . .© SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Now, as Mary Magdalene kneels in agony before the empty tomb, her pain is so great that she misses the joy that is before her. Her sorrow is so monumental that she is utterly oblivious to the two angels in white who are sitting “one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been.” The angels speak to her, and Mary is still so thoroughly immersed in her own grief that their presence, their words do not even register.

Sorrow turns to Joy! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Sorrow turns to Joy! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Christ Himself repeats the query of the angels: “Woman, why are you weeping?” She perceives Him to be a gardener, and is so intent on finding the dead Jesus, that she misses the Risen, Living Christ in front of her very eyes! She wants to find Jesus’s body, and return it lovingly to the tomb. She is even willing to try to carry it herself – “tell me where you laid Him, and I will take Him.” However, God’s plans are far greater than she can imagine. As Jesus calls her name, her eyes are opened – just like so many of the blind whom Jesus had cured. One can imagine the joyous reunion and Mary hugging Jesus with the strength of an iron vice-grip. One can almost sense a hint of amusement in Our Lord’s voice as He tells to loosen her grip: “Stop clinging to me!” Jesus tells Mary that He still has work to accomplish. “I have not yet ascended to My Father and your Father, My God and your God.” It is as if Our Lord is telling her, “In Heaven you will have all eternity to cling to Me if you wish, but for now, We need to get moving. You have work to do, as do I!” Again, there is a message for us as well. How often do we miss the grace and miracles that Our Lord lavishes upon us, because we are too narrowly focused on challenges of which seem insurmountable? God’s glorious designs surpass our greatest fears; His brilliance erases the bleakness of our sorrow. Jesus calls each of our names, just as He called out to Mary. Our task is to recognize the call, and respond to it with a hearty embrace of Our Risen Lord.

Our Task is to Embrace the Risen Lord. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Our Task is to Embrace the Risen Lord. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

As the Easter Octave progresses we move toward the Great Feast of Mercy Sunday. We continue with the fifth day of our novena of Divine Mercy Chaplets. Again, full instructions regarding how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet can be found on the Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today is also the fifth day of the novena Our Lord dictated to St. Maria Faustina in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy. For each day of this novena, Our Lord asked St. Faustina to pray for a particular group of souls, immersing them into the abyss of His unfathomable Mercy, and pleading for them before the throne of the Heavenly Father. Today, Jesus directed St. Faustina as follows:

Today bring to me the souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My passion they tore at My Body and My Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion (1218, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

St. Maria Faustia, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Maria Faustina, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your Light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet, Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate conception of the B.V.M.)

Today let us join St. Maria Faustina in praying for those who have separated themselves from the Holy Church. We intercede for all individuals who squander the graces God has lavished upon them, and pray that they may soon return to unity with the Church. As Jesus Himself prayed, “Father, may they all be one (John 17:21).” With Mary Magdalene, may we each have the grace to turn to Lord, and respond to His call; to embrace Him with all our strength, and to endeavor to do His will. May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!
Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!
Ad Jesum per Mariam M.A. J.M.J.
** Divine Mercy Celebrations will be held at churches world-wide in accordance with Our Lord’s directive to St. Maria Faustina. Confessions, Holy Mass (often at 3 p.m.) and the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy usually occur at these events. There is a true outpouring of grace at these events. Contact your local Archdiocesan Office for details and locations of hosting churches.

The Lord is Risen, Alleluia! He is Truly Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

The Joy Continues! © Salve Mater Dei 2013

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia! (Divine Office Liturgy of the Office, Easter Octave Antiphon).

He is Risen, He is truly Risen, indeed, Alleluia! The joy continues! For the rest of the world Easter ended at midnight. However, as Catholics we have the grace of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ with the highest solemnity, for eight days. Throughout these eight days, or Octave of Easter, each day is recognized as a sort of mini-Easter. The celebration continues and blessings flow.

He is Truly Risen, Alleluia! © Salve Mater Dei 2013

 

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful, yet overjoyed and ran to announce the good news to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced His feet, and did Him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then gave a large sum of money to the soldiers telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep. And if this gets to the ears of the Governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. . . . (MT 28: 8-15).

A recurrent theme in this Gospel passage is trepidation. Two groups of people have encountered the reality of Christ’s Resurrection, yet their response is very different. There is a stark contrast between the two paragraphs, while both deal with a response of fear. The women are described as “fearful, yet overjoyed” and they run to announce the Good News of the Resurrection to the equally frightened disciples. While the women experience fear and awe, they are able to move past it. They embrace Our Lord, both His Risen physical body, and embrace the concept of His Resurrection. They do not understand, yet they believe, and accept His exhortation to “Be not afraid,” and proclaim with joy all they have seen. As they move forward, one perceives a sense of Light transcending them.

They Looked on Him Whom They had Pierced © Salve Mater Dei 2013

On the other hand, we have the guards, strong Roman men, battled hardened soldiers, who fell down “as dead men” at the sight of the Resurrection, and quiver in fear as they approach the chief priests and the elders. One wonders which frightened them more – the vision the angel, whose appearance was that of lighting, descending from Heaven to roll back the stone, and who revealed the empty tomb or the wrath of Pilate and the Council. Either way, they were terrified. We sense the darkness of their hearts, the darkness of the situation. They were offered bribes to hide the most significant Truth ever witnessed by human eyes, and they capitulate. Likewise, the religious elders and chief priests seem equally shrouded in darkness and fear. They know the truth – they crucified the Messiah, and now He is Risen. If He is strong enough to conquer death, do they really think their secret will last forever? They don’t care. They would rather perpetuate a lie, than embrace the reality of the Resurrection.

We too are faced with a similar choice. The Resurrection is indeed a mystery. Yet we are asked to accept with faith what we cannot explain. It is a choice of the will. The bridge between faith and understanding is the will. When we choose to embrace the Risen Christ, and proclaim the reality of His Resurrection, we too move from darkness to light. The words He spoke to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are meant for us as well: “Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers. . . .”

Jesus I Trust in You! the Divine Mercy Image © Salve Mater Dei 2013

Perhaps there is no better way to tell our brothers and sisters about the love of the Risen Christ than to spread the message about Christ’s Divine Mercy. As this glorious week unfolds, we continue our preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday which occurs on the Sunday following Easter. Thus, in preparation we continue our novena of Divine Mercy Chaplets. This chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads. For complete instructions please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today we also continue the novena our Lord dictated to St. Maria Faustina for her private use. Each day, Jesus directed St. Faustina to pray for a specific group of souls, immersing them into the abyss of His Mercy, and pleading for them before the throne of the Heavenly Father.

On this the fourth day of the novena, Sr. Faustina was directed by Our Lord to:

“Bring to Me those souls who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Me. I was also thinking of them during my bitter passion, and their future zeal comforted My heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy (1216, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Today, let us pray as St. Faustina did, immersing the souls of unbelievers in the abyss of Christ’s mercy. Let us recall what courage it takes to have the will to believe. Our own faith is a treasure for which we should express sincere gratitude, as we pray, that like Mary Magdalene and the women at the tomb, these souls “will not persist in their unbelief, but believe!”

Like Sr. Faustina, let us beg the Heavenly Father to “draw them to the light of the Gospel,” that they too may extol the mercy of God for endless ages.

The text for the fourth day of the novena is:

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as of yet do not know You, but are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the Light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

Today’s prayer from this morning’s Divine office is appropriate:

Father, You give your Church constant growth by adding new members to your family. Help us to put in action in our lives the Baptism we have received with faith. We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen (Divine Office, Liturgy of the Hours, Monday Morning within the Octave of Easter).

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly,

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

** Divine Mercy Celebrations will be held at churches world-wide in accordance with Our Lord’s directive to St. Maria Faustina. Confessions, Holy Mass (often at 3 p.m.) and the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy usually occur at these events. There is a true outpouring of grace at these events.

Contact your local Archdiocesan Office for details and locations of hosting churches.