Blessed Feast of St. Andrew: the Christmas Novena

St. Andrew please pray for us! Holy Hill Basilica Mosaic above the Altar © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

St. Andrew please pray for us! Holy Hill Basilica- Mosaic above the Altar © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

Joyous Feast of St. Andrew! As this feast is celebrated in both the Western and Eastern arms of the Church, it is one of my favorites. Intuitively, there seems to be something significant in beginning Advent with the feast of a martyr and an apostle. It is as if we are subtly reminded that this season is meant to be one of penance and evangelization.

Scripture and Sacred Tradition tell us much about St. Andrew. He and St. Peter were the sons of Jonas, and they lived in Bethsaida, which was a town in Galilee on the shores of the Genesareth. As we examine St. Andrew’s life, there are lessons that may translate into a more personally fruitful Advent.

St. Andrew did not journey out to the desert to see St. John the Baptist out of curiosity, nor was he merely following the crowd. No, St. Andrew was ready to leave behind all that mattered and become a true disciple of St. John the Baptist. In penance and prayer this Advent, we too can follow the voice of one crying out, “Prepare the way of Lord!”

Later, when St. John the Baptist identifies Jesus by stating: “Behold the Lamb of God,” St. Andrew is again prepared to forsake his spiritual security in order to embrace a deeper relationship with the Messiah. For St. Andrew to follow Jesus Christ from Capernaum to Jerusalem, he must leave John the Baptist to his mission in the desert. This Advent, we too can grow beyond the comfort and complacency of our spiritual security, by reaching for a closer union with Jesus. Like St. Andrew, Jesus asks us to risk that which matters most in our lives. Similarly, Jesus asks us to place it all- our fears, dreams and lives- in His hands with confidence.

Once St. Andrew finds Jesus, he introduces Him to his brother Peter. This Advent, we can bring Jesus to those around us. Like St. Peter, they too may feel the call to forsake everything and follow Him. Evangelization doesn’t necessarily mean shouting from the roof-tops (not recommended in the slippery, frozen tundra of Wisconsin). Rather, just by quietly living Christmas as Christians, we bear witness, and bid others to do the same. We are called to invite- He will do the rest.

St. Andrew accepted Jesus’ command to: “Go forth to all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… (MT 28:19).” He traveled beyond his comfort zone preaching the Good News along the Baltic, into what are now Russia, Romania and the Ukraine. St. Andrew was later martyred in Patras, Greece, where he was tied to a cross. Tradition holds that St. Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross out humility- not feeling worthy to die as Our Lord. This Advent, if we embrace our crosses with similar humility it can’t help but bear fruit.

Hail and Blessed Be.... Holy Hill Basilica Window © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

Hail and Blessed Be…. Holy Hill Basilica Window © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

One of my favorite things about this feast is the novena which begins on that day (November 30).  This novena is a poignant reminder of what really matters during this Sacred Season. The repetition of this lovely verse provides a rhythm that gently flows from day to day- reinforcing the true meaning of Christmas. The rhythm is strong enough to offer an oasis for those of us seeking respite from the chaotic noise of the secular season.

It is piously believed that whoever recites the following prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew to Christmas Eve will obtain their request.

The prayer is:

Hail and Blessed be the Hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the Most Pure Virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer, and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.

Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

One may choose to recite all fifteen prayers at once, or it can be or broken up and prayed throughout the day- perhaps with the meal prayer or the Angelus.

I have been praying this novena annually for fourteen years, and have never been disappointed. One Advent, I was reciting this prayer for the child I was carrying. It was a dangerous pregnancy for the baby and I- there was a real chance that both of our lives were in jeopardy. My beautiful, healthy baby girl was born (one month early) exactly ten days after the novena ended. A year later, I prayed this novena for my Dad and his conversion. He was officially received into the Catholic Church fourteen days after the novena ended, and died of cancer just sixteen days later. Each year I have prayed it, I have truly felt an abundance of grace. This novena is powerful!!! I invite you to join my family as we pray the Christmas Novena this year.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

MA JMJ

A.M.G.D.

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Noble Bride of Christ

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Great-Martyr and Virgin, Please Pray for Us © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Great-Martyr and Virgin, Please Pray for Us © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

The Feast of the glorious Great-Martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria [ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς] is celebrated in both the East and the West, though to differing degrees. For centuries, St. Catherine of Alexandria was universally revered as a great early martyr, and ranked with St. Barbara, St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Agnes and St. Lucy. In the East, veneration of St. Catherine has remained consistent, though in the West, the strength of the celebration of St. Catherine of Alexandria’s Feast has fluctuated depending upon location and time. Her Feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, and up through the 17th century it was ranked as a Holy Day of Obligation in France. In the Roman Rite, St. Catherine has long been regarded as one of the 14 Holy Helpers – powerful intercessors before the Throne of God, and she has continued to be remembered in the Roman Martyrology; in 2002 St. Catherine’s Feast was declared an Optional Memorial on the Roman Calendar.

Who was the illustrious St. Catherine of Alexandria, the beautiful and intelligent martyr whose powerful intercession was even mentioned by St. Joan of Arc? The earliest surviving written account of her life dates to the year 866, approximately 560 years from the date of her death, though a consistent oral tradition existed prior to the written account.

Catherine enjoyed an affluent life in the center of Hellenistic culture as the daughter of the pagan ruler of Alexandria, King Constas and his wife, Queen Sabinella. As a highly privileged daughter, St. Catherine received an enviable education, tutored by the finest philosophers and scholars of antiquity. Catherine was as beautiful and affable as she was intelligent. Though many eligible suitors sought her hand in marriage, she was compelled by a desire to preserve her virginity, and vowed to her parents to only marry a man who “surpassed her in wisdom, wealth, illustriousness, and beauty.”

Catherine grew up amid a Hellenistic and pagan culture. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Catherine grew up amid a Hellenistic and pagan culture. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

St. Catherine’s own mother, Queen Sabinella, was a secret convert to Christianity. Recognizing the many gifts with which her daughter was endowed, Queen Sabinella sent Catherine to study with her own spiritual father, who , according to tradition, lived as a hermit in a cave outside the metropolis of Alexandria. The pious spiritual father listened to the young Catherine as she earnestly poured her heart out. He confided that he knew of a young man whose attributes far exceeded all of Catherine’s. The wise elder told Catherine that this young man possessed a “beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, a wisdom that governed all creation, riches that were spread throughout all the world—however this did not diminish but rather added to the inexpressible loftiness of his lineage.” At the description of Jesus given by the elder, Catherine’s heart longed for a Heavenly Bridegroom. Before sending the young virgin away, the spiritual father showed the child an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Mother of God, cradling the Christ Child in her maternal arms. He instructed Catherine to pray to the Mother of God – the Mother of the Heavenly Bridegroom – and beseech Her to intercede.

Most Holy Theotokos, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Most Holy Theotokos, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Catherine prayed as she was instructed, and that night received a heavenly vision of the Christ-Child. However, the Christ Child turned away from her and told her that because she had not been washed in the waters of Baptism and sealed with the Holy Spirit, that she was shabbily dressed and unfit. St. Catherine returned the next day to her spiritual father, who received her warmly. He instructed her in the faith, and urged her to pray unceasingly, and to remain pure. Catherine then received the Mystery or Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Later the Blessed Mother again appeared to St. Catherine, holding the Christ Child. This time the He smiled at her tenderly and bestowed upon her a ring, as a pledge of love from her Heavenly Bridegroom.

He Who IS “beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, a wisdom that governed all creation, riches that were spread throughout all the world—" © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

He Who IS “beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, a wisdom that governed all creation, riches that were spread throughout all the world—” © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

A short time later, the Emperor Maximinus traveled to Alexandria for the occasion of a pagan festival. Fires blazed as sacrifices were made to the pagan gods. The scent of the flesh of Christian martyrs mingled with that of sacrificial animals, smoke and incense. St. Catherine appealed to the Emperor Maximinus himself in an attempt to save the lives of fellow Christians. As she boldly stood before the pagan emperor, confessing the true faith, Maximinus was stunned by both her intellect and beauty. Maximinus ordered dozens of his most learned philosophers and rhetoricians to debate the courageous young virgin – she prevailed. In fact because of the irrefutable wisdom of St. Catherine’s arguments many of them were converted and in turn martyred as well. After failing to convince the maiden with augmentation, the Emperor sought to entice her with promises of wealth and power. Her refusals enraged Maximinus who ordered that Catherine be cruelly tortured. Maximinus’ wife, the Empress Augusta heard about the illustrious maiden, and arranged meeting with her in prison. St. Catherine’s face glowed with the grace of God, and her testimony was so persuasive that the Empress and her entire guard and entourage were also converted to Christianity.

The following day, St. Catherine was brought again to the court and under threat of having her bones crushed via the spiked breaking wheel, she was ordered to recant her faith and to offer incense to the pagan gods. She refused and as she was lead to the instrument of torture an angel miraculously smashed it to pieces. The Empress Augusta, her guard and entourage came forward and confessed their faith and support for Catherine, and were beheaded. The Emperor once again attempted to seduce Catherine to renounce her faith and accept his offer of marriage. Once again Catherine confessed her limitless love for her Divine Bridegroom, and was beheaded.

"St. Catherine confessed her limitless love for her Divine Bridegroom, and was beheaded." © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“St. Catherine confessed her limitless love for her Divine Bridegroom, and was beheaded.” © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

According to tradition, the relics of the holy martyr were miraculously transferred to Mt. Sinai by an angel. Her relics were discovered on that site around the year 800 and transferred to an ancient monastery built by the Emperor Justinian I (526-567) on the site that is revered as the location of the Burning Bush through which God spoke to Moses. The original chapel built on that site dates to St. Helen, the mother of Constantine. This site is revered as sacred to this very day.

St. Catherine of Alexandria remains a paragon of excellence. Through her witness for Christ we find a quintessential model of courage, purity, wisdom, and piety. While these qualities existed in rudimentary form in her young soul, it was only after seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the wise counsel of a spiritual father, and ultimately the gift of the grace of Baptism that these virtues reached perfection. As we celebrate St. Catherine of Alexandria’s memory and invoke her intercession, let us strive to emulate her virtues.

Blessings,

M.A. JMJ

The Lord is King, He is Robed in Majesty!

The Lord is King, He is robed in Majesty; the Lord is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved. Your throne stands firm from of old; You are from everlasting, Lord (Psalm 93: 1-2).

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. On this day, we bow our heads and acknowledge the dominion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Divine authority over everything in this world, and indeed the entire universe. Scripture clearly elucidates Christ’s Kingship. For example, today’s Second Reading, Saint Paul to Colossians states:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He Himself might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace by the blood of His cross, through Him, whether those on earth or those in heaven (Col 1: 12-20).”

All Nations Shall Come to Adore Him. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA photo
The scope of the Dominion of Christ is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. In the Book of Daniel we read:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of Man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before Him, the One like a Son of Man received dominion, glory and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7-13-14).

This Solemnity originated as a feast, in response to mounting cultural pressures to succumb to rising tides of secularism. In 1925, Pope Pius XI penned the Encyclical Quas Primas, thus initiating this feast, under the title “D. N. Jesu Christi Regis,” Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.

Earlier that year, the Pontiff was reportedly walking in the Papal Gardens with a cardinal, who noted how dejected the pontiff seemed. In the conversation that ensued, the Holy Father discussed his frustration with the flood of –isms that were spreading darkness throughout the world. He detailed the ramifications of: Mussolini’s Fascism, Hitler’s Nazism, Stalin’s Communism, Freud’s psychological determinism, and the American materialism that was manifest in the roaring twenties. Pope Pius XI explained that Christ and His dominion remain the solitary answer to humanity’s deepest yearning. These other false doctrines fail to satisfy our longing and need for Christ and His Kingship. It is only in submission to Christ as our Sovereign, that the human soul finds fulfillment and peace.

This exchange prompted Pope Pius XI to write the encyclical Quas Primas, and initiate the Feast of Christ the King in 1925. The Holy Father envisioned that this Feast could have multiple effects. First, He hoped that the rulers of this world would understand that they are bound to respect Christ (Quas Primas 31). Pope Pius XI also hoped that the nations of the world would accept that the Church has a right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32). Similarly, the Pontiff hoped that The Feast of Christ the King would empower Christians with courage and strength, as we are reminded that Jesus Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, bodies and wills (Quas Primas, 33).

As we look at recent threats to religious liberty in this country and others we see how the antecedents envisioned by Pope Pius XI have blossomed into real threats to the religious freedom and moral life of the contentious Christian faithful. In the United States, those whose religious principles espouse the conviction that all life is sacred from natural conception to natural death, have been told by their governement that they will have to either violate their consciences or violate the law of the land. Our religious freedom is rapidly being confined to the 4 walls of our homes, as state sanctioned assaults on religious freedom are more commonplace. Thus, Pope Pius’ objective to urge world leaders to respect the authority of Christ, to protect the religious freedom of Christians, and to empower Christians to remain courageously stalwart while embracing the reign of Christ in our hearts, minds and bodies (Quas Primas 31-33) bears as much significance today as when Quas Primas was penned 87 years ago.

As contemporary Americans, the concept of kingship seems a bit foreign to us. Didn’t we throw that off in 1776? That staunchly independent streak of ours seems to balk at the slightest hint of subservience to royalty. We like to think of Jesus as our friend and brother (as indeed He is), and seek Him as our Merciful Savior; however, when it comes to acknowledging Jesus as our Sovereign King, and submitting ourselves to His Reign, there we find difficulty. This is especially true when it comes to personal moral decisions, those that seem to go against the grain of contemporary society, or expose us to the discomfort of appearing at odds with popular culture.

It is precisely here, where that discomfort lies, that drive of autonomous rebellion to His authority begins; at this explicit juncture we must decide whether we are truly loyal Christians, or not. In this political and cultural climate, as threats to conscience and religious liberty escalate, we are in a real way being called to decide to Whom we owe our highest allegiance. Whom do we wish to serve? Will we stand with Jesus Christ? Will we acknowledge and accept His ultimate and legitimate authority over our hearts, minds, and souls? Are we embarrassed or reluctant to admit that His Dominion exists in our everyday lives? Does He reign in our homes – yes, even our bedrooms?  What about at work, in our boardrooms? How about our voting booths? Is He present when we surf the Internet, when we chat on the phone, or when we relax in front of the television? If Jesus Christ is truly our Sovereign King, then we must willingly give Him dominion over every aspect of our lives: private, public, and political.

Recall Jesus commands us in Sacred Scripture to: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s; but render unto God what is God’s (Mark 12:17).”

Today’s Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe is an opportune time to examine our relationship with Jesus, and to recommit ourselves to His service. For whether or not we choose to acknowledge His Sovereignty, it does objectively exist: He is in fact, the Eternal King. Even a casual observer of recent global geo-political history has to admit that earthly rulers and their policies come and go, even geo-political boundaries are subject to change. The map of Eurasia appears vastly different than it did 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Our present world is in flux. The powerful of this world are eventually replaced by those who are more powerful; the prosperous by those with more wealth, the attractive and popular by those who are more so. These superficial realities are indeed fleeting, and allegiance to them is fidelity to the transient. However, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).” Ultimately our time on earth is relatively short when compared against the backdrop of eternity. Our choice to submit to His authority has eternal ramifications. If we serve Him in this world, we shall enjoy perpetual peace in His Kingdom for all eternity. If we choose to rebel against His authority – and we have the free will to do just that – then we shall have all eternity to ponder that decision as well.

"Jesus,  Remember me when you come into your Kingdom." © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Jesus, Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Today’s Gospel reading (Luke 2 3: 35-53) reminds us of this reality. Here we see the
Crucified Christ hanging between two thieves. One thief, like the secularists of our
contemporary society who perpetually mock Him, joins in the jeers of the crowd in crying: “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” In contrast, the other thief, repenting of his own sinful past, takes courage, rebukes the offender and placing
his trust in the Mercy of Christ the King, dares to hope:  “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23: 53).”

On this Solemnity, let us consider carefully the choice before us. Recall in Revelations 3:16 how Our Lord spoke of those who failed to make a conscious choice to commit themselves to Christ: “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” With that in mind, let us renew our consecration to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Together let us recommit ourselves to serving Him in this world, working for the greatest honor and Glory of God in time and Eternity.

Thus, when our time here on earth gives way to eternity and we stand before the Throne of God, may we hear the words Jesus addressed to the Good Thief, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23: 53).”

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

MA JMJ

The Souls of the Just are in the Hand of God – Reprise

Salve Sancta Mater Dei

Much to my dismay, life has gotten in the way of regular blog posts. Forgive me for cheating and reposting last year’s All Souls’  Day piece, and please join me in prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed.

Today we celebrate the feast of All Souls Day. Like yesterday, we once again gather to rejoice in the communion of saints- celebrating the unbroken unity that is the Church Triumphant (those in Heaven), the Church Suffering (beloved souls in Purgatory), and the Church Militant (those of us on earth striving to reach our eternal beatitude). While yesterday’s solemnity was a joyous celebration of virtues of those saints who stand in perpetual adoration of the Lamb of God, today’s celebration is a more subdued supplication for our beloved siblings in Christ who- though saved- have yet to reach the eternal celestial joy of the saints. The Church teaches that Purgatory is the…

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Hail Mary!

 Most Holy Theotokos, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Most Holy Theotokos, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Catholic tradition has long reserved Saturday as a day to especially honor the Most Holy Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. While God alone is due our worship, we venerate Our Lady as His chosen instrument of Grace, recalling that it was through her fiat, her “yes”, that His plan of salvation became truly Incarnate in time as well as eternity.

While we recognize that Blessed Mother was called into existence from nothing, like any other creature, and that truly each of the privileges with which she has been endowed is itself a manifestation of the merciful providence of God, we also appreciate that God Himself chose to elevate the Blessed Virgin by a singular grace and privilege to a dignity that no other human has ever conceived. Literally, it was her DNA, her flesh, her blood which robed the Incarnate Word. Her virginal womb conceived and bore the very Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Thus, in honoring the Blessed Virgin, the Most Holy Theotokos – the Mother of God, we imitate the Heavenly Messenger, St. Gabriel, chosen by God to declare that Mary alone is “blessed among women.”

Hail Mary, Full of Grace SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

As I endeavor to return to this not-quite-forgotten blog site, I can think of no better prayer to post than the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, full of Grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum Per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

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, 2013

“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, 2013

 

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, 2013

“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

Bring Lukewarm Souls into the Abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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, 2013

“. . . . 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, 2013

“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, 2013

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!” (For more information on the Divine Mercy Image and Mercy Sunday, visit the Marians of the Immaculate Conception website at: http://thedivinemercy.org/mercysunday/dms.php.)

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

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

“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, 2013

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. Our Lord especially requested that priests preach on the subject of the immense Mercy of Jesus during Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.

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

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

St. Maria Faustina–Secretary of Divine Mercy,

Dives Misericordia!  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

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 Faustina, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

St. Maria Faustina, 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, 2013

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, [now Blessed] Pope 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, Blessed Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina; and seven years later -on Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000 – Blessed Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina as the first saint of that Jubilee year.

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, 2013

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, 2013

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, 2013

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, 2013

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.)

The entire text of the Divine Mercy Novena may also be found on the Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/eighthday.php.

One of the greatest ways we can share the Mercy of Christ with others is to pray for them. Thus, praying for the souls in Purgatory is 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.

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

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

Proclaim My Mercy! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

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.

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, 2013.

“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.)

It’s full text is also available at the  Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/seventhday.php.

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, 2013.

“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.)

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

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 © 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

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.

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.

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.

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

Woman, Why are You Weeping?

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

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

“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, 2013.

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, 2013.

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, 2013.

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, 2013.

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

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.)

The complete text of Day 5 of the novena is also available on the website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/fifthday.php.

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.

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