St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
St. Faustina's name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter), the divine mercy chaplet and the divine mercy prayer recited each day at 3 p.m. by many people.
Born in what is now west-central Poland (part of Germany before World War I), Helena Kowalska was the third of 10 children. She worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses.
In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, she also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.
At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. "I do not want to punish aching mankind," he once told St. Faustina, "but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart" (Diary 1588). The two rays emanating from Christ's heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus' death (John 19:34)
Because Sister Maria Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God" (Diary 1107).
Sister Maria Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993 and canonized her seven years later.
Devotion to God's Divine Mercy bears some resemblance to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In both cases, sinners are encouraged not to despair, not to doubt God's willingness to forgive them if they repent. As Psalm 136 says in each of its 26 verses, "God's love endures forever."
Four years after Faustina's beatification, John Paul II visited the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki (near Krakow) and addressed members of her congregation. He said: "The message of divine mercy has always been very close and precious to me. It is as though history has written it in the tragic experience of World War II. In those difficult years, this message was a particular support and an inexhaustible source of hope, not only for those living in Krakow, but for the entire nation. This was also my personal experience, which I carried with me to the See of Peter and which, in a certain sense, forms the image of this pontificate. I thank divine providence because I was able to contribute personally to carrying out Christ's will, by instituting the feast of Divine Mercy. Here, close to the remains of Blessed Faustina, I thank God for the gift of her beatification. I pray unceasingly that God may have 'mercy on us and on the whole world' "(Quote from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy).
Daily Prayer - 2015-10-05
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Lord, I pray for your gift of freedom.
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Jon 1:1--2:1-2, 11
This is the word of the LORD that came to Jonah, son of Amittai:
Responsorial Psalm Jonah 2:3, 4, 5, 8
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
Alleluia Jn 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 10:25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
27th Week in Ordinary Time
The men offered sacrifice and made vows to him. (Jonah 1:16)
What do the stories of Jonah and the Good Samaritan have in common? Well, for one thing, they both reveal in dramatic fashion that sometimes, the unlikeliest people are capable of the deepest faith and obedience.
Think about the mariners who shared the boat with Jonah. These men were sea-hardy worshippers of foreign gods. When Jonah admitted that he worshipped the God of Israel who had created all things, they were "seized with great fear," immediately believing that this God existed (Jonah 1:10). In a turn of events, they were reluctant to throw him overboard, while Jonah had been unwilling to spare the city of Nineveh. And after Jonah's ejection, these salty pagans vowed allegiance to the Lord!
Think of those Ninevites. At the height of their civic power and vice, they repented, humbling themselves in sackcloth and ashes because of the warnings of one foreign-born prophet who smelled of fish.
Think about the Good Samaritan, too. Would anyone have expected him to be moved by compassion at the sight of his enemy bleeding in the dust? He was the least likely to help, yet he responded extravagantly while the priest and Levite turned away.
Think about the people in your life. There are probably some that you think must be really far from God—maybe because of how they dress, speak, or behave. Judging by today's readings, perhaps they're closer than you think!
Often, we can see clear reflections of the Lord in these unlikely heroes, in areas where we might need some work. If we take a deeper look, we might notice that he teaches us something new about loving and accepting people where they are at, instead of where we want them to be. She boldly and unashamedly stands up for her values in the workplace. His family has dealt with great challenges, yet they remain intensely loyal to one another. It's not to say that these folks have it all together. After all, no one does. We all need to experience deeper conversion— including the Ninevites and mariners in our lives. But that's the point. We can learn from each other. And God will continue to reveal himself in the most surprising places!
"Lord, come and surprise me today."
Jonah 2:3-5, 8
On My Way Back
How many times have we failed to do what God asks of us, and we know it, and things don't seem to go right until we do what He says? It's the life of turning away from our Lord and the story of Him calling you to come back and do as you were asked, doing what you have been told. It is a matter of humility and faith. My fears should not conquer my faith. My anger should not weaken my faith. Jonah "just knew" Nineveh would not convert and so he didn't even try, didn't even want to try, so instead of going to Ninevah, he went around, the "other" way, instead the way the Lord had said. Listen to this in the context of the good Samaritan. Yet Jonah, without knowing, seems to be prophecying by his experience, what would become of Christ. Jesus too was found sleeping in a a rocking boat where the rest of the men were fearing for their lives. They woke him up, just like they woke up our Heavenly Lord, and pleaded for him to pray. The only way Jonah could calm the storm was to sacrifice himself. The only way our Lord Jesus calmed the storm of sin and death was to sacrifice Himself. Into the belly for 3 days. Jonah, into the sea, in a fish, and our Lord into the realms of death. The darkness ensued and the praying continued. This is a sign for you to pray through the darkness. This is a sign that so long as we live, we have a hope of love and mercy from our Father in Heaven. So long as there is a sacrifice...a willing spirit.
The Psalms pray on: When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; My prayer reached you in your holy temple. R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord." It leaves you wondering, those men that were pleading for help on the rocking boat, wouldn't you think they spread the news of this death because people would not repent? And once Jonah arrives to Nineveh the grounds were prepared for the seed...the Good News? They had heard that doom was coming...yet the Good News came...repent! Turn from your evil ways! Do what is pleasing to God and you will be saved! This is faith in action, instead of a dead and stagnant faith, because for sure there were churches in Nineveh yet they were not growing, not spreading roots and fruits. It is fitting then for the people to be warned by God. For the people did not want to grow, nor their children to grow...sexual misconduct, selfishness, all things that made for a stagnant people. You see, the name of Nineveh means to "propogate" in the masculine form, these men were supposed to grow and spread, yet they were imploding, killing themselves by killing their souls...this is a message for America and the world. We have a chance to reverse this imploding, this killing of ourselves, the unborn, sterilizations through contraceptions and sterilizations by being infertile, not propogating, not spreading our fruits of our love of the Lord through our children and all the children of God.
The Lord our God speaks to us today "Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." The weirdest thing happens as I explore the faith; many do not know who their neighbor is. When we speak of neighbors sometimes in years past, they would say "well, I haven't helped my neighbor mow his lawn or nothing". LOL! This is not your only neighbor! The "bible" scholar who asked our Lord "who is my neighbor?" was very smart, knew alot about the Lord...yet very little about the neighbor. It's like the time a very young man gave witness at his cursillo closing and said "I am a seminarian, going to be a priest...because I was in love with the church...but now I am in love with CHRIST!!" and the roaring applause ensued. YES! That's what is all about. It's about doing God's will and His will leads you to a love of Christ above no other. Such is the focus of the book so far that I'm reading by Father Mitch Pacwa "How To Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics". Opening up the lines of communication is very pertinent. And I will say, by living a life of grace, you will see your neighbor more clearly. Your neighbor is the one you find yourself next to suddenly. Maybe someone in need. Maybe someone in need of love and mercy. Because if you notice the story that our Lord said focused on the actions of the Samaritan. The priests had words, but no actions. The Levites were supposed to be followers of the Lord, yet they went around. None wanted to do really what God asks. Nineveh appears again then, right? None-evah. None ever want to serve mercy, love, and compassion. None want to sacrifice. None want to do the Lord's will. And if you're thinking "what is the Lord's will"? Then read Father Mitch Pacwa's book! LOL. It is very clear. It is very muddy living in the world. How do you expect to arrive dirty into Heaven? His message is very clear. The neighbor is very clear. You are surrounded by those who need love and compassion and mercy...which could mean then...we are surrounded by Christ!
This is why saints like Mother Teresa loved what they did...served Christ...and made sure they served Christ with a smile. Her cross was her darkness now made into light with Christ. For if ever she experienced darkness she was in the light with Christ. If this message is not clear, realize then, what the bible scholar knew first...love God with everything you've got! Then you can begin to love thy neighbor as you want to hug Jesus, you want to kiss Jesus, you want to serve Jesus, you want to...
die for Jesus!!!!!
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