Friday, April 21, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

 “My daughter, tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon souls 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 of 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. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every souls in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy.” Diary 699

These words spoken by Our Lord to St. Faustina, are recorded in her dairy Divine Mercy in my Soul. St. Faustina's private revelations have helped inspire faithful souls to come to God for mercy and to bring others to him through their prayers. By reading St. Faustina's dairy we learn of her powerful intercession, as she pleaded for Jesus' mercy. “Today I was awakened by a great storm. The wind was raging, and it was raining in torrents, thunderbolts striking again and again. I began to pray that the storm would do no harm, when I heard the words:Say the Chaplet I have taught you, and the storm will cease. I began immediately to say the chaplet and hadn't even finished it when the storm suddenly ceased, and I heard the words:Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with my will.” Dairy 1731. There are several other instances recorded in her dairy in which St. Faustina's plea for mercy helped appease the divine anger of God.

The church was at first skeptical of St. Faustina's revelation on Divine Mercy and when it first revealed and nearly condemned her diary. It wasn't until 1965 when the Archbishop of Krakow Karol Wojtyla (now St. John Paul II) asked for a fresh investigation into Faustina's revelations: and found some faulty translations from the original Polish text to French. In 2000 St. John Paul II established the Solemn Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, and while approving the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the image and the Dairy, he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000, the first saint to be canonized of the Jubilee year of 2000.

Why is Divine Mercy the Sunday after Easter? Reflect back on the weeks prior to Divine Mercy Sunday. The church celebrates Holy Week, in which the faithful are to relive the last days of Christ leading up to his passion. On Good Friday divine justice and mercy met. Divine justice so longed outraged by the sins of man was atoned for by the Blood of Christ and the gift of mercy was opened up for all sinners who believed and will come to believe in Christ. Christ himself even showed mercy to those who crucified him saying, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

In celebrating Divine Mercy, we recall the immense love God has for all people and how he is always calling us to himself to dispense his mercy on us. We in turn share in his heavenly life now on earth with others who are in need of mercy. Of course, the best and most complete way we can receive mercy is the Sacrament of Penance where we admit our sins and are washed clean in the mercy of Christ. Once that mercy is received, we are asked to sin no more and to share that mercy with our brothers and sisters by doing either the Spiritual or Corporal Works of Mercy.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
Counseling the Doubtful
Instructing the Ignorant
Praying for the Living and the Dead
Forgiving Injuries
Admonishing the Sinner
Comforting the Sorrowful
Bearing Wrongs Patiently
Corporal Works of Mercy
Feeding the Hungry
Giving drink to the Thirsty
Clothing the Naked
Sheltering the Homeless
Visiting the Sick or Imprisoned
Burying the Dead

During this Divine Mercy Sunday, reflect on God's mercy in your life. How does God manifest his mercy and how can we as followers of Christ help to manifest that same mercy we have received from God. For mercy is a sign of holiness and we are all called to be holy.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

St. Joseph, Man for Everyone!

   Little is known about St. Joseph, but the little knowledge we have, actually tells us much about him as a follower of Christ. Joseph himself is mentioned only a few times in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. From these two gospels we learn that Joseph was betrothed to Mary and was a talented carpenter and craftsman who would hand on his skills to the young child Jesus.
   Joseph was a truly devout and righteous man of God. In Matthew's gospel, instead of exposing his betrothed Mary to shame for an unexpected pregnancy, Joseph decided to divorce her quietly. However, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream telling him to not be afraid to take Mary for his wife for it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that she had conceived this child. At this time Joseph may have been greatly bewildered as to what was happening in his life. But nonetheless, he did as the angel said. This shows us his faith in God, and that he may have had a fairly good understanding of the Messianic prophecies.
   Joseph too, kept the Jewish laws and festivals given by the Lord to Moses. He took the Holy Family to Jerusalem, presented Jesus in the temple, offered sacrifice, celebrated the Passover, the Feast of Booths and even Pentecost. Though Joseph never spoke a word in Scripture, his actions speak for him. A poor, simple and humble man, Joseph had great faith in God and along with his spouse Mary, kept silent as they marveled at the little child they raised in Nazareth. There are still unanswered questions about Joseph; Did Joseph die before Jesus was crucified? Or how old was Joseph? Though it is not said in Scripture, tradition holds that Joseph died before the crucifixion of Christ. As for his age, Joseph may have been in his twenties when he was betrothed to Mary for it was a common custom in Jewish culture for young women to betrothed to older men. Even in art Joseph is depicted in different forms of age: young, middle aged, or as an elderly man with white hair, well-built physically and with a staff (white hair showing his wisdom, and a staff showing him being the provider and protector of the family).
   For several centuries, the church put great focus on Jesus' divine paternity, along with Mary and her role in the economy of salvation history with Joseph receiving little attention. But now, devotion to St. Joseph has grown more popular. Pope Pius IX named him the title Patron of the Universal Church in 1870 and Pope Pius XII added May 1 as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, while keeping his original feast day on March 19. St. Joseph is the patron of: fathers, travelers, carpenters, workers and is the patron saint of Peru, Canada and Mexico. This all-around saint is known as: Terror of Demons, Guardian of Virgins, Lover of Poverty, Head of the Holy Family and Pillar of Families.

Good St. Joseph pray for us.