You Will Not Leave My Soul in Hell, Nor Let Your Holy One Experience Corruption

Though sinless, the Lord has been put to death. The world is in mourning as for an only son.  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Though sinless, the Lord has been put to death. The world is in mourning as for an only son. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Though sinless, the Lord has been put to death. The world is in mourning as for an only son (Psalmody, Antiphon 1, Divine Office Holy Saturday).”

"Look Well All You Peoples and See My Suffering."  Good Friday Antiphon Divine Office SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Look Well All You Peoples and See My Suffering.” Good Friday Antiphon Divine Office SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Holy Saturday begins with a mix of emotions. While a growing sense of anticipation is palpable an acute tinge of sorrow remains. Good Friday was physically and emotionally exhausting – and if celebrated deeply, it should be. By Good Friday Night Prayer, our bodies should be feeling the effects of a day of strict fasting, and just as our hearts and souls ache from contemplating the suffering and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we settle down to slumber with a “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death,” still on our lips from Night Prayer, we entrust body and soul to the compassionate and providential care of Our God.

Lord Open My Lips and My Mouth Will Proclaim Your Praise! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Lord Open My Lips and My Mouth Will Proclaim Your Praise! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Now Holy Saturday has dawned! It was a glorious sunrise! As I stood outside in my pj’s this morning, the dogs played in the snow and mud as the first streaks of golden dawn illuminated the sky. The air was filled with the song of newly nesting cranes and Canada Geese. The pair of trumpeter swans that I had witnessed fly overhead two mornings ago made their voices heard amid the symphony of creation. I literally stood there and thanked God for His goodness – we had crucified Him with our sins, and yet in each generation He continues to lavish the magnificence of His bounty upon each of us and our progeny.

Viva Cristo Rey! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Viva Cristo Rey! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

As I brought my kids to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians for an early morning practice for tonight’s Easter Vigil, the flowers has been lovingly arranged around the main altar and Shrine chapel. The tabernacle remains empty – someone is missing. Yet, the Resurrection is a certainty – it has been promised and our redemption is at hand. Today, as we prepare to celebrate the most sacred Solemnity of the year, let us strive to profoundly adore our Crucified Christ with all of the devotion and love we can possibly offer. By worshipping Him intensely and immersing ourselves in the mystery of salvation, may we be blessed to share fully the Glory of His Resurrection for all Eternity.

Sanctuary at the Bascilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help Of Christians at Holy Hill - Holy Saturday Morning SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Sanctuary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help Of Christians at Holy Hill – Holy Saturday Morning SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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.

Contemplating His Mercy, Adoring The Crucified Christ SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Contemplating His Mercy, Adoring The Crucified Christ SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

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).”

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 Sacraments, No One to Baptise Our Children, To Hear Our Confessions. . . SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Without Priests, There Would Be No Mass, No Sacraments, No One to Baptise Our Children, To Hear Our Confessions. . . SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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.

Who Prays for You? Religious Sisters and Brothers leading Hidden Lives Rich in Grace. SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Who Prays for You? Religious Sisters and Brothers leading Hidden Lives Rich in Grace. SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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 disdains 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!

Praise the Lord for He is Risen, He is Truly Risen Indeed! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Praise the Lord for He is Risen, He is Truly Risen Indeed! SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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.

In Wisconsin,

The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill hosts a beautiful celebration. For more information regarding that celebration visit the site: https://www.holyhill.com/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=741&Itemid=50&year=2013&month=04&day=07&title=sunday-of-divine-mercy-&uid=dfc595f576ed1845fa495278cafe52ea&catids=6|3

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse also will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. For More information visit their site at: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/events/divine-mercy-sunday

My Servant Shall Prosper, He Shall be Raised High and Greatly Exalted

He Shall be Raised High and Greatly Exalted © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013  EA Photo

He Shall be Raised High and Greatly Exalted © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA Photo

See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him- so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of men – so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it (Isaiah 52:13- 15 from the First Reading, Good Friday Liturgy).

The Sacred Paschal Triduum commemorates the holiest days of the Church year. Last night the Triduum commenced with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. At this Holy Mass we celebrated both the institution of the Holy Eucharist and commissioning of the sacred priesthood, while contemplating the night on which our Lord was betrayed.

By Your Own Blood Lord, You Brought Us Back to God © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

By Your Own Blood Lord, You Brought Us Back to God © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Today, on Good Friday, we gaze upon the suffering face of our Lord as we accompany Him along the, Via Crucis; the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross. Around the world many of us walked (literally and figuratively) with our fellow Christians, and commemorated the Sacred Passion of Our Lord by praying the fourteen Stations of the Cross.

So Marred Was His Look Beyond Human Semblance © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

So Marred Was His Look Beyond Human Semblance © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

These photos are from the annual Stations of the Cross with the Milwaukee Archbishop, His Excellency Jerome Listecki, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Annual Good Friday Outdoor Stations of the Cross at The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians At Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Annual Good Friday Outdoor Stations of the Cross at The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians At Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Throughout the afternoon, hundreds of pilgrims climbed the steep hill praying the words penned by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and echoing the strains of the Stabat Mater.

Outdoor Stations of the Cross at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Outdoor Stations of the Cross at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Later, we gathered in the Basilica for the traditional Good Friday Liturgy, at which the Passion of Our Lord (The Gospel of St. John 18:1- 19:42) was read aloud, and the faithful venerated the Holy Cross before partaking in Holy Communion. Tomorrow a new day dawns, and by evening time the Sacred Triduum will crescendo into a triumphant culmination with the Vigil Mass of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

Outdoor Stations of the Cross at Holy Hill, with Archbishop Jerome Listecki © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013. EA Photo

Outdoor Stations of the Cross at Holy Hill, with Archbishop Jerome Listecki © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013. EA Photo

Through the celebration of the Good Friday Liturgy, 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.

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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:

  

His Mercy Endures © SalveMaterDei.com, -2013.

His Mercy Endures © SalveMaterDei.com, -2013.

                    “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.

Immerse them in the Ocean of My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Immerse them in the Ocean of My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Jesus requested of St. Faustina on Day 1:

“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.

Blessed Triduum,

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.

In Wisconsin,

The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill hosts a beautiful celebration. For more information regarding that celebration visit the site: https://www.holyhill.com/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=741&Itemid=50&year=2013&month=04&day=07&title=sunday-of-divine-mercy-&uid=dfc595f576ed1845fa495278cafe52ea&catids=6|3

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse also will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. For More information visit their site at: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/events/divine-mercy-sunday

He is Risen, Alleluia!

He is Risen! Alleluia! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

He is Risen! Alleluia! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia! Glory and Kingship be His forever and ever!

There is no greater joy, no higher feast, than the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ! May Christ bestow on you and yours all the blessings of this Glorious Easter Morning! Christ has Risen! Death has been conquered! Salvation has been won! The Lord is victorious!

One can only imagine the emotions that flooded the disciples on that first Easter Morning. The exuberance, awe, amazement, shock, gratitude must have undulated in waves. They had seen their beloved Christ disgraced, betrayed, beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, dragged through the city, tortured, nailed to the cross, and allowed to suffer for hours in the blazing sun before He relinquished His Divine Soul to God the Father. Jesus’ friends had witnessed His side slashed open with a soldiers lance to reveal copious amounts of blood and water- the last precious drops of His blood poured out for humanity. They had seen Mary tenderly cradle the corpse of

Taking the body, Joseph Wrapped it in Clean Linen and Laid it in a Tomb. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

her Divine Son, kissing the bruises and bloody gashes. The disciples had seen his body prepared for burial; they helped wash Its cold and lifeless limbs, anointed It with spiced oil, aloe, and perfume, and hastily wrapped It in a clean linen shroud. These friends helped to roll the heavy stone at the door of the tomb, and watched as a guard sealed the tomb, and menacingly guarded its entrance.

Yet all of that belonged to yesterday- the darkness and death are gone, in it’s place Resurrected Life is to be found.

One can sense the panic as Mary Magdalene approaches the tomb, with Mary the mother of James and Salome, to find the stone rolled back. The thoughts and questions must have fired like lightning in a storm. The guard is missing, the burial cloths are there, but empty. Where is He? Where has He gone? Where have they laid Him? I imagine their encounter with the angel – the joy and confusion. How can this be? Yet, nothing is impossible with God! I envision myself running like Peter (o.k., Peter probably ran faster than would I), out of breath, quivering, questioning, grasping for truth. I contemplate John, peering into the tomb, waiting in silent wonder for Peter to enter first, and together to encounter a reality beyond their human powers of comprehension.

Faith is the act of willing to believe what is hidden from our eyes, but revealed to our hearts. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Faith is the act of willing to believe what is hidden from our eyes, but revealed to our hearts. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

We are offered the same reality, and yes, we must stretch our powers of comprehension and assent to faith to believe what we cannot see. To participate in the Resurrection, and share its joy we must embrace what we cannot as humans explain nor understand. Faith involves a choice, and we must will it!

Like the visitors to the tomb on that first Easter morn, the words of the angel are directed to us:

“Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him (Mark 16:6). “

Do not be amazed, do not seek Him among the dead, for He is not there. He is risen! He is truly Risen, indeed Alleluia! Go and tell others! Share the joy of this moment, that all might come to believe.

As we continue our journey in the octave of Easter, moving toward the Feast of Divine Mercy, let us continue to prepare our hearts to receive all the grace and blessing that our Risen Lord wishes to bestow upon us. Let us continue to contemplate the wondrous Mercy that is His ultimate gift to humankind. As we daily pray our novena of Divine Mercy Chaplets, let us consider this Passion of Christ that is the mystery of our redemption. The chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads, and takes only about 3 minutes to recite. The full text for the Chaplet can be found on the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today, as we celebrate Easter and continue our preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy, we turn our prayers to the faithful souls who are enfolded in the arms of the Savior. Our Lord specifically asked St. Maria Faustina to immerse these particular souls in the abyss of His Mercy on this Sunday. Jesus stated:

“Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness (1214, p. 437– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987)..“

Walk as Children of the Light! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Like St. Faustina, let us today pray for all the faithful, that they may never fail in love or lose the treasure of the Holy Faith. Let us beg the Heavenly Father to surround these souls with His constant protection so that they may one day glorify the immeasurable mercy of God with the angels and saints in Paradise for all eternity.

The entire text of the third day of St. Maria Faustina’s Divine Mercy Novena (as directed by Our Lord Jesus) can be found on the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/thirdday.php.

May Our Risen Lord envelope you and yours with His Love and Mercy. May His blessing be always upon you, and may we one day praise Him together in the company of the Heavenly Court, with joy, and glory for all eternity,

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.

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.

Bread from Heaven He Gave Them

This is My Body! © SalveMaterDei.com 2012, E.A. photographer

Tonight we embark upon the Holiest days of the Church Year: the Triduum, the Memorial of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The solemn celebration of the Triduum begins tonight with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper- the Mass of His Body and Blood. On this, and every Holy Thursday, we celebrate the greatest miracle and mystery in human history: that our Lord Jesus loves us so much that He feeds us with His own flesh and blood. On this night He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to be a perpetual source of grace.

Tonight we celebrate not only the institution of the Holy Eucharist, but also the institution of a royal priesthood. For without the gift of the priesthood, we would not have the treasure of the Eucharist. Likewise, without the Eucharist, we would not have the priesthood. It is the priest who consecrates bread and wine, which at his word become the real Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The priest is the vital instrument by which Our Lord chooses to bring Himself to us- renewing in us His covenant of love. This is truly a night of miracles.

Yes, tonight’s Mass is replete with symbolism and the beauty of ancient ritual. But beyond the symbolism there is tangible reality, and the greatest reality of all is the Holy Eucharist.

I have given you an example. © SalveMaterDei.com 2012,

I have given you an example. © SalveMaterDei.com 2012,

Symbolically, tonight twelve men are chosen to represent the Apostles. Just as on this night centuries ago, Christ washed the feet of the His apostles, so too we are symbolically reminded of our call to wash the feet of others. Our Lord assumed the posture of slave, to perform the most menial task out of love. As we watch the re-enactment of the washing of the feet, and sing the antiphons, we too are reminded of our call to serve others as a reflection of Christ’s love alive within us. We are not merely bystanders, we are participants, as we carry the love of Christ to the world as servants of the Divine Master.

These antiphons are usually sung during the washing of the feet. From tonight’s Liturgy:

Antiphon 1 (from John 13: 4,5,15).:

The Lord Jesus,

When he had eaten with His disciples,

Poured water in a basin

And began to wash their feet, saying:

This example I leave you.

Antiphon 2 (from John 13: 6, 7, 8).:

Lord, do you wash my feet?

Jesus said to him:

If I do not wash your feet,

You can have no part with me.

So He came to Simon Peter,

Who said to him:

Lord do you wash my feet?

Now you do not know what I am doing,

But later you will understand.

Antiphon 3 (from John 13: 14):

If I your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet,

then surely you must wash one another’s feet.

 

Could You Not Stay Awake With Me For One Hour? © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Tonight, after Mass, the Holy Eucharist is transferred to a Tabernacle of Reposition, to be adored throughout the night. The Pange Linga (Sing my tongue the Savior’s Glory…) is sung as the Blessed Sacrament is processed around the Church. As the procession nears the Tabernacle of Reposition, the chorus changes to Tantum Ergo Sacramentum. These beautiful ancient hymns were penned by St. Thomas Aquinas, and express in chant the profound nature of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist and the reality of the Blessed Trinity.

Tonight, a plenary Indulgence is granted, under the usual conditions (Holy Communion, Sacramental Confession within eight days, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, and freedom of attachment to sin), for those who devotedly recite the Tantum Ergo on Holy Thursday after the Mass of the Body and Blood of Christ, during the liturgical rites (Handbook of Indulgences, 1991 Catholic Book Publishing, p.84).

Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

Down in Adoration falling

Lo! The Sacred Host we hail,

Lo O’er ancient forms departing

Newer rites of grace prevail;

Faith for all defects supplying,

Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,

And the Son Who reigns on high

With the Holy Spirit proceeding

Forth from Each Eternally,

Be salvation, honor blessing,

Might and endless majesty. Amen

The altar is stripped. The crosses are covered, and all depart in silence to contemplate the greatest gift ever given.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.