Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ascension Thursday - Holy Day of Obligation

Forty days after the Resurrection, Our Lord Jesus Christ, attended by Angels, ascended into Heaven, in the sight of His most holy Mother Mary, His Apostles, and disciples, to the great wonder of them all. He entered into possession of the Kingdom of Heaven which He had gained by His sufferings, and St. Paul declares that God “hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.” “There where the Head has gone, the Body is called to follow!” The liturgical festival of the Ascension, whilst less ancient than that of Pentecost, is one of the oldest of the cycle, was already so universally observed that St. Augustine was able to attribute its institution to the Apostles themselves. At Rome, the Pope, after the night Office was concluded, and after Mass had been celebrated at the altar of St. Peter, was crowned by the cardinals, and towards the sixth hour was accompanied by bishops and clergy to the Lateran.

On this day Jesus was taken up into Heaven;
His faithful disciples continued to gaze heavenward. The contemplative vision of Paradise is reserved, however, for those who have already passed into the Church Triumphant. The supreme glorification of the Head who is this day enthroned at the right hand of the Father in Heaven affects the members also, like the precious balsam which, as the psalmist tells us, descended from the head of Aaron on to his flowing beard and on to his gorgeous pontifical vestments. This spiritual unction is the gift of the Holy Ghost, which Christ obtains to-day from Heaven for his Church. Hence the connection between the Ascension and Pentecost is very close, nor can we understand the one without the other.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

St. Joseph the Worker


St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.
“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.
There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.
We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.

Apparently in response to the "May Day" celebrations for workers sponsored by
Communists,
Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a longer history.
In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.
"The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it" (Genesis 2:15). The Father created all and asked humanity to continue the work of creation. We find our dignity in our work, in raising a family, in participating in the life of the Father's creation. Joseph the Worker was able to help participate in the deepest mystery of creation. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, "The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, 'Go to Joseph'" (see Genesis 41:44).

In Brothers of Men, René Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus, speaks about ordinary work and holiness: "Now this
holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of word, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God...in relation to this mystery, involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living."

As we honor St. Joseph today, let us not forget his other mighty roles; namely the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the protector of the Holy Family, the Patron of the Universal Church, the foster father of Jesus our Lord, and our foster father as well!




Sunday, April 8, 2018

Divine Mercy Sunday


"I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish,"
Jesus told Faustina, according to her diary, which has been studied and authenticated by the Church over several decades.
"I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of my death. I myself will defend it as My Own glory." (Diary of Faustina, 48)
Jesus is shown in most versions as raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white (translucent). The depictions often contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!" (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary - 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the "Fountain of Mercy". According to the diary of St Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus.

On February 22, 1931, while staying in Plock, Sister Faustina received Jesus’ order to paint a picture according to the vision shown to her (cf. Diary 47). She tried to fulfill the command, but not knowing painting techniques, she was unable to do it by herself. Still, she did not give up the idea. She kept returning to it and sought help from other sisters and from her confessors. A few years later her superiors sent her to Vilnius (Wilno), where her confessor, Rev. Prof. Michael Sopocko, interested to see what the picture of a hitherto unknown theme would look like, asked the painter Eugene Kazimierowski to paint the picture according to Sister Faustina’s directions. This is the only image that was painted under her direction.

Kazimirowski painted the original image between January and June of 1934.
During this time St. Faustina had the artist change the face at least 10 times but was still not pleased with it. The picture was finished in June 1934 and hung in the corridor of the Bernardine Sisters’ convent near St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius, where Father Sopocko was rector. From April 26-28, 1935, during the celebrations concluding the Jubilee Year of the Redemption of the World, the image of The Divine Mercy was transferred to the Ostra Brama [“Eastern Gate” to the city of Vilnius] and placed in a high window so that it could be seen from far away. Here the image was seen for the first time by the public. By permission of Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski, on April 4, 1937, the image was blessed and placed in the St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius.
In 1944, a committee of experts was formed, at the order of Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, to evaluate the image. The experts’ opinion was the the image of The Divine Mercy, painted by E. Kazimierowski was artistically executed and an important contribution to contemporary religious art. You will notice that the Image resembles the Shroud of Turin very closely.
In a decree dated August 3, 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe this day (Divine Mercy Sunday) with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.  In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.”

The plenary indulgence is granted (under the usual conditions of a sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and a prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!).
Additional provisions are offered for those who are impeded from fulfilling these requirements, but who wish to acquire a plenary indulgence. 

While the readings and prayers for Mass on this day remain unchanged (they reflect perfectly on Our Lord’s Divine Mercy) the Holy See offers this reflection:

The full text of the decree of the Apostolic
Penitentiary may be found at: www.mercysunday.com.
The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during His first public appearance: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent Me, so even I send you,’ and then He breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (Jn 20, 19-23).

In addition, the decree requires that parish priests “should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church’s salutary provision.  They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions.  On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass they should lead the prayers that have been given above and they should also encourage the faithful to perform acts of mercy as often as they can.”
Jesus said that we either enter by the door of Mercy or by the door of Justice. With the way the world is ... JUSTICE can't be far off. This *could* be (I'm no prophet!) the last Divine Mercy Sunday we're afforded before that Day of Justice.
Divine Mercy Sunday is SUCH a BLESSING and OH SO IMPORTANT; yet daily, we have an opportunity to pray this special chaplet for the good of souls everywhere. My daily 3pms, generally begin around 2pm and include several prayers, petitions and meditations which include, during the 3pm hour of Divine Mercy, begging Jesus to empty purgatory into heaven. The 3 o'clock hour is most important because it is when Jesus died for us and He permits us this special grace and mercy DAILY if we but take the time to honor His precious gift.
When I tell folks they're in my daily 3pms. This is what it means, to be part of my prayers for the world and included in the Divine Mercy Chaplet for their spiritual and temporal needs.


I ask all to join me in my daily petition for the Church Suffering to be brought into heaven during this special hour by reciting this short prayer: "Eternal Father, please take all the pain and suffering of the souls in purgatory and unite it to the Perfect, Holy Passion of Jesus, His True Presence in the Eucharist and the benefits and graces of all Masses said this day and please empty purgatory into heaven daily during this special hour of Divine Mercy, especially those that have no one to pray for them; according to the promise of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit" Amen.
The way the world is just getting worse and worse. I URGE you with all that is within me ... GO TO CONFESSION, PRAY FOR YOUR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS & THE WHOLE WORLD; THAT ALL BE SAVED AND NONE BE LOST! Do NOT be afraid of Confession, no matter how long it's been or what you've done! NOTHING is bigger than God's MERCY! The priest (the *man*) acts In persona Christi, that is in the place of Christ. Jesus uses the priest to act through (same as the Consecration at Mass) for YOUR benefit that your humble & contrite heart may hear the words of mercy and forgiveness.
Our Lord Speaks to St. Faustina:
“Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to Confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls.” (Diary #1602)
I GUARANTEE that when you leave the Confessional, you WILL FEEL the joyful grace and you'll be able to receive Holy Communion! To be reunited to Jesus in this intimate manner and to know and feel the powerful supernatural grace that the Sacraments impart to us through Holy Mother Church ... well you'll just have to experience it! But you won't be afraid of Confession any more :) 
SO DON'T PUT IT OFF!!!! PLEASE!!!! 
2 Corinthians 6:2 refers to Redemption in the last days: "For He says, "In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."
Just as Jesus said: "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND."


More on Divine Mercy: click HERE.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Divine Mercy Novena Day 9

Ninth Day

"Today bring to Me the 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."
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 Most 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.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Divine Mercy Novena Day 8

Eighth Day

"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in 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."  
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, who 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 only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Divine Mercy Novena Day 7

Seventh Day

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 a 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.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those 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 will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Divine Mercy Novena Day 6

Sixth Day

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. I favor humble souls with My confidence.   
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 heaven into ecstasy and they 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 a 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 of all 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.