..”that we may love you our God become man with all our hearts
by faith here on earth and face-to-face in that eternal Easter Sunday for which we were made.” Fr. John Hardon, SJ
Conclusion of a conference presented by Fr. John Hardon, SJ – “No Stopping Abortion Without the Eucharist”
We began this conference with a title: There is No Stopping Abortion Without the Eucharist. We conclude where we began. There is no stopping abortion except through the devoted faith of professed Catholics who are apostles of the Blessed Sacrament. Our frequency of assisting at mass, our devotion in attending mass, our frequency and fervor in receiving Holy Communion and on being completely detached from everything that could weaken our love for God.
Let me be as clear as I can. We receive as much grace from Holy Communion as our will are detached from everything, everything, everything in this world. That is why I have said so often, suffering is such a treasure. Such a blessing from God. Because through suffering God weans our wills from the creatures in our lives. Our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament through Eucharistic Adoration (but hear it) and Eucharistic petition. All of these are divinely provided means of not just stopping abortion, we shall be cultivating a respect for human life such as the world has never known. Ours is the most murderous century in human history.
As believing lovers of the Holy Eucharist we are to make the next century the most self-giving and self-sacrificing century since Jesus offered His first Mass. Which is as we know began at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night and ended on Calvary on the first Good Friday.
Lord Jesus Christ really present in the Holy Eucharist
You want to convert the millions who are behind the worldwide homicide in our day.
You want to convert these murderers. You want to use us as the channels of your grace.
Give us dear Jesus, a deep, deep faith in your Real Presence and a total detachment to
everything in this world so that we may love you our God become man with all our hearts
by faith here on earth and face-to-face in that eternal Easter Sunday for which we were made.
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou among 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
Mary Mother of God – Pray for us.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
From an ancient Easter homily by Pseudo-Chrysostom
The spiritual Passover
The Passover we celebrate brings salvation to the whole human race beginning with the first man, who together with all the others is saved and given life.
In an imperfect and transitory way, the types and images of the past prefigured the perfect and eternal reality which has now been revealed. The presence of what is represented makes the symbol obsolete: when the king appears in person no one pays reverence to his statue.
How far the symbol falls short of the reality is seen from the fact that the symbolic Passover celebrated the brief life of the firstborn of the Jews, whereas the real Passover celebrates the eternal life of all mankind. It is a small gain to escape death for a short time, only to die soon afterward; it is a very different thing to escape death altogether as we do through the sacrifice of Christ, our Passover.
Correctly understood, its very name shows why this is our greatest feast. It is called the Passover because, when he was striking down the firstborn, the destroying angel passed over the houses of the Hebrews, but it is even more true to say that he passes over us, for he does so once and for all when we are raised up by Christ to eternal life.
If we think only of the true Passover and ask why it is that the time of the Passover and the salvation of the firstborn is taken to be the beginning of the year, the answer must surely be that the sacrifice of the true Passover is for us the beginning of eternal life. Because it revolves in cycles and never comes to an end, the year is a symbol of eternity.
Christ, the sacrifice that was offered up for us, is the father of the world to come. He puts an end to our former life, and through the regenerating waters of baptism in which we imitate his death and resurrection, he gives us the beginning of a new life. The knowledge that Christ is the Passover lamb who was sacrificed for us should make us regard the moment of his immolation as the beginning of our own lives. As far as we are concerned, Christ’s immolation on our behalf takes place when we become aware of this grace and understand the life conferred on us by this sacrifice. Having once understood it, we should enter upon this new life with all eagerness and never return to the old one, which is now at an end. As Scripture says: We have died to sin—how then can we continue to live in it?
The Jesus Gift
Shall I gather emeralds
Shall I bring Him gold
Shall I shower diamonds
White hard, bright cold
Shall I spangle jewels
Like stars above
Give Him laughter
Bring peace filled laughter
Offer him warm laughter and love
Shall we gather emeralds
Shall we bring Him gold
Shall we shower diamonds
White hard, bright cold
Shall we spangle jewels
Like stars above
Give him laughter
Bring peace filled laughter
Offer him warm laughter and love
Simplest of gifts
Gentlest of hearts
Kindness He’ll use as He leads
So give him these gifts
Hand Him your heart
Honor His birth and you’ll need no
Emeralds nor rubies
Silver nor gold
Neither bright diamonds
White hard, bright cold
Spangle not rich jewels
Like stars above
You’ll have laughter
Sweet peace filled laughter
Simple warm laughter and love
Simple warm laughter and love
Simple warm laughter and love
Lyrics by Gilbert M. Martin (1941
- You are encircling Love.
- You are abiding strength
- You are the constant “Hound of Heaven”
- You are my Spouse, my Love.
- You are my All-in-All.
- You are my surrounding Presence.
- You are the joy of my life.
- You are my dearest Friend.
- You are my “nudger” when I am weak.
- You are my encouraging companion.
- You fill my life with purpose and meaning.
- You are gentle, caring and compassionate.
- Your are beauty, sweet unction for my soul.
- You are impregnating Presence filling all life.
- You are my precious guide and protector.
- You are my Counselor, my Lover, My Friend.
- You are Wisdom, Truth and Peace.
- You are so human and so divine.
- You are mystery, urging us on.
- You draw us to Your Father and give us Your Life-giving Spirit.
- You keep showing us Your Mother to also honor and love.
- You are filled with amazing surprises.
- You mend our broken hearts, mind and body.
- You are water for the thirsty.
- You are bread for the hungry.
- Your are Creator, Redeemer, Risen Lord.
- You enflesh us with Your image and likeness, Your very life-giving breath.
- You are healing when we humbly acknowledge our brokenness.
- You are forgiving when we fail.
- You sense our needs before we know them.
- You are the hand that holds us close to Your Heart.
- You are the Indwelling Presence that makes us special.
- You are the Light that illumines our darkness.
- You are peace for longing, agonizing hearts.
- You are the flower that perfumes our life.
- Your are the smile that brings acceptance.
- You are the most precious friend that we cannot so without.
by Sister La Donna Pinkelman, OSF Sylvania, Ohio
Happy Easter Everyone!
This glorious morning, we will celebrate the Mass of Easter. After hearing the sermons and summonings of Lent, after fulfilling our “Easter Duty,”and after a week of holy preparation and solemn Liturgies, Easter is splendidly here. It is Jesus , Who has been at the center of our preparation. Jesus, the Christ, our Lord!
Throughout this time,who else has enabled us to fulfill the mandate of Christ, “Take and eat!” Who is it that have heard our confessions and blessed us in His Name, and in His Person? It is those upon whom He breathed His peace, empowered to forgive and sent forth with His authority, His holy priests, ministering His holy sacraments.
Thank you holy Fathers, faithful Fathers, faith-filled Fathers! It is into your care that Jesus entrusted His flock. We. a flawed People, yet a royal priesthood, a kingly, and prophetic People, thank you, our flawed in your humanity, and yet gloriously appointed and anointed Priesthood. Happy, holy Easter, dear Fathers. May you be forever blessed!
Terri Schiavo died on March 31st, a week from today. Next week will mark the 5 year anniversary of that murderous action/event, indicating a turning point . Next week also begins Holy Week leading to Easter. It also marks the beginning of Passover, starting Tuesday, March 30th. It is a good time to consider: Are we to value human life by its utility or because God has have placed His life in us? Passover is about God delivering His people from Slavery and setting them/us free for Life. Easter celebrates the victory of Life over Death, Christ’s victory. Terri’s death brings both into focus.
Writes Dr. Daniel Eisenberg, M.D. in The Death of Terri Schiavo: An Epilogue:
Blurring the line between life and death, and between medical data and morality, her death signifies a disturbing turning point for American society.
Terri Schiavo did not die of PVS; she died of starvation and dehydration
Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005, after lasting 13 days without food or water. Her life and death had a profound impact on the American psyche and brought to the forefront the unresolved debate regarding how we treat severely disabled people and who should be their surrogate decision-makers. There is reason to be disturbed by the role that physicians play in molding public opinion regarding end of life issues, because their expertise is generally in medicine and not ethics.
A letter from a neurologist in complete disagreement with Dr. Eisenberg prompted him to respond:
He (the neurologist) states:
…I find myself in sharp disagreement with Dr. Eisenberg. The article refers to PVS as a “cognitively impaired” condition. In fact, there is no cognition whatsoever in someone who is in a persistent vegetative state. Modern aggressive emergency care developed over the last several decades, has allowed us to resuscitate patients with what would have been terminal hypoxic brain injury (what happened to Terri Schiavo). Unfortunately, the entire brain cortex becomes nonfunctional in these people and we are left with a functioning brainstem that allows for reflex eye movements, facial movements etc. PVS patients can even track a moving object in their field of vision because collicular function of the intact brainstem reflexively guides these eye movements. It is all too easy to imagine sentience in the PVS patient because, as humans, so much of our communication is nonverbal and cued by facial and eye movements.
Dr. Eisenberg responds:
His assessment of the persistent vegetative state is succinct and it is accurate. To the best of our medical understanding, we presume that a person in a persistent vegetative state has no cognition whatsoever. I never gave much credence to those who argued about the rehabilitation potential of Terri Schiavo. Not because I did not believe it to be true (I have no way of knowing), but because it really does not make a difference to outsiders like myself. CT scan results, Glascow Coma Scales, and following balloons are really only of interest to neurologists and family members who need to arrange for the best possible care for the patient.
As a society, what we must concern ourselves with are two questions: What is the significance of being so terribly impaired that there is no cognition and how should such people be treated? It is here that the doctor falls woefully short in his analysis. While I am sure that his credentials are impeccable and his understanding of neurology is excellent, he completely misunderstands the role that physicians should play in society’s evaluation of end of life issues (as we will discuss) and he clearly does not appreciate where medical knowledge ends and morality begins.
Neurologist’s letter continued:
Nevertheless, the activity of our cerebral cortex is what distinguishes our very “humanness”. If the cortex is dead, then the human individual is dead. . . If the cortex is destroyed, personhood ceases. PVS is an abomination of life –in essence a human shaped colony of cells with no sentience — a glorified cell culture. . .Thankfully, I have not seen this irrational preservation of “life” at all costs in this situation since my training in the early 1970’s. . . Patients with PVS and end-stage Alzheimer’s disease routinely have IV’s and feeding tubes removed in the United States every day.
Dr. Eisenberg responds:
The opinions expressed above are very widespread in the medical community today. Variations of these views are espoused by many of the physicians with whom I have discussed this topic. For this reason, they cannot be lightly brushed aside. Please understand that the issue is not autonomy (which is an independent and important issue), but the definition of life. Is the cerebral cortex what makes us human and is it true that “if the cortex is dead, then the human individual is dead”?
Of course not. My physician critic clearly has stepped beyond the bounds of medicine into the realm of philosophy, and that is the problem. As any physician knows, there is neither a state in America nor any sane physician in the world who would declare that someone who is in a persistent vegetative state is dead. If PVS really equals death then why bother pulling the feeding tube? Just bury the patient with the feeding tube still in place! The doctor’s comments are clearly hyperbole, and represent a very insidious type of bias that leads people to equate PVS with death.
People want to feel “good” about the killing they allow whether by deeming a fetus ‘not a real living person’ or a person in a persistent vegetative state ‘as good as dead.’ In matters of morality, the doctor steps beyond the data and expertise of his training to play God. Dr. Eisenberg asks “why the medical knowledge of the physician seem to translate into skill in evaluating the value of life?”
Dr. Eisenberg reminds us:
“The belief that medicine can determine which lives are worth preserving was an intrinsic part of the pre-Nazi German medical establishment (see “Why Medical Ethics“). In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s:
“a number of prominent German academics and medical professionals were espousing the theory of “unworthy life,” a theory which advanced the notion that some lives were simply not worthy of living. . . If Mengele himself (an infamous physician who performed murderous experiments on live concentration camp inmates) became a cold-blooded monster at the height of his Nazi career, he certainly learned at the feet of some of Germany’s most diabolical minds. As a student Mengele attended the lectures of Dr. Ernst Rudin, who posited not only that there were some lives not worth living, but that doctors had a responsibility to destroy such life and remove it from the general population. His prominent views gained the attention of Hitler himself, and Rudin was drafted to assist in composing the Law for the Protection of Heredity Health, which passed in 1933, the same year that the Nazis took complete control of the German government. This unapologetic Social Darwinist contributed to the Nazi decree that called for the sterilization of those demonstrating the following flaws, lest they reproduce and further contaminate the German gene pool: feeblemindedness; schizophrenia; manic depression; epilepsy; hereditary blindness; deafness; physical deformities; Huntington’s disease; and alcoholism.
I ask again: Are we to value human life by its utility or because God has have placed His life in us?
Read more here.
Good news in my e-mail from Catholics Come Home – Thousands are coming home this Easter!
During a time when the secular press is infiltrating the media with negative, anti-Catholic news, Catholics Come Home (CCH) makes headlines for its courageous media effort to invite thousands home to the Church in dioceses around the country. The astounding success of the CCH Advent and Lent television campaigns have been noticed by the National Catholic Register, who will feature CCH on the front page of its upcoming holy week edition to be released Monday, March 28. You can read the article online here.
Divine Mercy Novena
“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.
Divine Mercy Novena
“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.
Divine Mercy Novena
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.
Divine Mercy Novena
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.
Divine Mercy Novena
“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 bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”
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
“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,
I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
An Ed Morrisey favorite Roll Away the Stone
Happy Catholic says Joyful, Joyful with art and attitude
In Egypt, the rejoicing takes a turn that is a reminder of the Four Last Things , Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, with the unearthing of “some of the most beautiful” ancient painted linen-wrapped mummies still brightly colored after some 2900 or so years. Reminded me of Fr. Corapi saying, “At the end….. at the very end.. everyone will be in either Heaven or Hell!”
Between now and Mercy Sunday we can make a real difference. Pray, pray,pray!
Happy Easter Everyone! Alleluia!
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI – Easter Sunday 2009
“Christ, our Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed!” (1 Cor 5:7). On this day, Saint Paul’s triumphant words ring forth, words that we have just heard in the second reading, taken from his First Letter to the Corinthians. It is a text which originated barely twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet – like many Pauline passages – it already contains, in an impressive synthesis, a full awareness of the newness of life in Christ. The central symbol of salvation history – the Paschal lamb – is here identified with Jesus, who is called “our Paschal lamb”. The Hebrew Passover, commemorating the liberation from slavery in Egypt, provided for the ritual sacrifice of a lamb every year, one for each family, as prescribed by the Mosaic Law. In his passion and death, Jesus reveals himself as the Lamb of God, “sacrificed” on the Cross, to take away the sins of the world. He was killed at the very hour when it was customary to sacrifice the lambs in the Temple of Jerusalem. The meaning of his sacrifice he himself had anticipated during the Last Supper, substituting himself – under the signs of bread and wine – for the ritual food of the Hebrew Passover meal. Thus we can truly say that Jesus brought to fulfilment the tradition of the ancient Passover, and transformed it into his Passover.
On the basis of this new meaning of the Paschal feast, we can also understand Saint Paul’s interpretation of the “leaven”. The Apostle is referring to an ancient Hebrew usage: according to which, on the occasion of the Passover, it was necessary to remove from the household every tiny scrap of leavened bread. On the one hand, this served to recall what had happened to their forefathers at the time of the flight from Egypt: leaving the country in haste, they had brought with them only unleavened bread. At the same time, though, the “unleavened bread” was a symbol of purification: removing the old to make space for the new. Now, Saint Paul explains, this ancient tradition likewise acquires a new meaning, once more derived from the new “Exodus”, which is Jesus’ passage from death to eternal life. And since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacrificed himself for us, we too, his disciples – thanks to him and through him – can and must be the “new dough”, the “unleavened bread”, liberated from every residual element of the old yeast of sin: no more evil and wickedness in our heart.
“Let us celebrate the feast … with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”. This exhortation from Saint Paul, which concludes the short reading that was proclaimed a few moments ago, resounds even more powerfully in the context of the Pauline Year. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the Apostle’s invitation; let us open our spirit to Christ, who has died and is risen in order to renew us, in order to remove from our hearts the poison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life. In the Easter Sequence, in what seems almost like a response to the Apostle’s words, we sang: “Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere” – we know that Christ has truly risen from the dead. Yes, indeed! This is the fundamental core of our profession of faith; this is the cry of victory that unites us all today. And if Jesus is risen, and is therefore alive, who will ever be able to separate us from him? Who will ever be able to deprive us of the love of him who has conquered hatred and overcome death?
The Easter proclamation spreads throughout the world with the joyful song of the Alleluia. Let us sing it with our lips, and let us sing it above all with our hearts and our lives, with a manner of life that is “unleavened”, that is to say, simple, humble, and fruitful in good works. “Surrexit Christus spes mea: precedet suos in Galileam” – Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee. The Risen One goes before us and he accompanies us along the paths of the world. He is our hope, He is the true peace of the world. Amen!
Divine Mercy Novena
“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.” Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Divine Mercy Novena
“Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious, Priests and Religious,
and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
From the Divine Office for Easter – Evening Prayer:
The wedding of the Lamb
Jesus said: ‘Do not fear. Go and tell my brethren that they must go to Galilee: they will see me there.’ Alleluia. Alleluia.
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, because his judgements are true and just. Alleluia. Alleluia
Praise our God, all his servants, and you who fear him, small and great. Alleluia. Alleluia.
For the Lord reigns, our God, the Almighty: let us rejoice and exult and give him glory. Alleluia. Alleluia.
The marriage of the Lamb has come, and his spouse has made herself ready. Alleluia.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Jesus said: ‘Do not fear. Go and tell my brethren that they must go to Galilee: they will see me there.’ Alleluia.
From Vatican Radio the Homily of Benedict XVI
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Saint Mark tells us in his Gospel that as the disciples came down from the Mount of the Transfiguration, they were discussing among themselves what “rising from the dead” could mean (cf. Mk 9:10). A little earlier, the Lord had foretold his passion and his resurrection after three days. Peter had protested against this prediction of death. But now, they were wondering what could be meant by the word “resurrection”. Could it be that we find ourselves in a similar situation? Christmas, the birth of the divine Infant, we can somehow immediately comprehend. We can love the child, we can imagine that night in Bethlehem, Mary’s joy, the joy of Saint Joseph and the shepherds, the exultation of the angels. But what is resurrection? It does not form part of our experience, and so the message often remains to some degree beyond our understanding, a thing of the past. The Church tries to help us understand it, by expressing this mysterious event in the language of symbols in which we can somehow contemplate this astonishing event. During the Easter Vigil, the Church points out the significance of this day principally through three symbols: light, water, and the new song – the Alleluia. First of all, there is light. God’s creation – which has just been proclaimed to us in the Biblical narrative – begins with the command: “Let there be light!” (Gen 1:3). Where there is light, life is born, chaos can be transformed into cosmos. In the Biblical message, light is the most immediate image of God: He is total Radiance, Life, Truth, Light. During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy. In the resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfilment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things. God says once again: “Let there be light!” The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history. Beginning with the resurrection, God’s light spreads throughout the world and throughout history. Day dawns. This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos. Let us try to understand this a little better. Why is Christ Light? In the Old Testament, the Torah was considered to be like the light coming from God for the world and for humanity. The Torah separates light from darkness within creation, that is to say, good from evil. It points out to humanity the right path to true life. It points out the good, it demonstrates the truth and it leads us towards love, which is the deepest meaning contained in the Torah. It is a “lamp” for our steps and a “light” for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). Christians, then, knew that in Christ, the Torah is present, the Word of God is present in him as Person. The Word of God is the true light that humanity needs. This Word is present in him, in the Son. Psalm 19 had compared the Torah to the sun which manifests God’s glory as it rises, for all the world to see. Christians understand: yes indeed, in the resurrection, the Son of God has emerged as the Light of the world. Christ is the great Light from which all life originates. He enables us to recognize the glory of God from one end of the earth to the other. He points out our path. He is the Lord’s day which, as it grows, is gradually spreading throughout the earth. Now, living with him and for him, we can live in the light. At the Easter Vigil, the Church represents the mystery of the light of Christ in the sign of the Paschal candle, whose flame is both light and heat. The symbolism of light is connected with that of fire: radiance and heat, radiance and the transforming energy contained in the fire – truth and love go together. The Paschal candle burns, and is thereby consumed: Cross and resurrection are inseparable. From the Cross, from the Son’s self-giving, light is born, true radiance comes into the world. From the Paschal candle we all light our own candles, especially the newly baptized, for whom the light of Christ enters deeply into their hearts in this Sacrament. The early Church described Baptism as fotismos, as the Sacrament of illumination, as a communication of light, and linked it inseparably with the resurrection of Christ. In Baptism, God says to the candidate: “Let there be light!” The candidate is brought into the light of Christ. Christ now divides the light from the darkness. In him we recognize what is true and what is false, what is radiance and what is darkness. With him, there wells up within us the light of truth, and we begin to understand. On one occasion when Christ looked upon the people who had come to listen to him, seeking some guidance from him, he felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd (cf. Mk 6:34). Amid the contradictory messages of that time, they did not know which way to turn. What great compassion he must feel in our own time too – on account of all the endless talk that people hide behind, while in reality they are totally confused. Where must we go? What are the values by which we can order our lives? The values by which we can educate our young, without giving them norms they may be unable to resist, or demanding of them things that perhaps should not be imposed upon them? He is the Light. The baptismal candle is the symbol of enlightenment that is given to us in Baptism. Thus at this hour, Saint Paul speaks to us with great immediacy. In the Letter to the Philippians, he says that, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, Christians should shine as lights in the world (cf. Phil 2:15). Let us pray to the Lord that the fragile flame of the candle he has lit in us, the delicate light of his word and his love amid the confusions of this age, will not be extinguished in us, but will become ever stronger and brighter, so that we, with him, can be people of the day, bright stars lighting up our time. The second symbol of the Easter Vigil – the night of Baptism – is water. It appears in Sacred Scripture, and hence also in the inner structure of the Sacrament of Baptism, with two opposed meanings. On the one hand there is the sea, which appears as a force antagonistic to life on earth, continually threatening it; yet God has placed a limit upon it. Hence the book of Revelation says that in God’s new world, the sea will be no more (cf. 21:1). It is the element of death. And so it becomes the symbolic representation of Jesus’ death on the Cross: Christ descended into the sea, into the waters of death, as Israel did into the Red Sea. Having risen from death, he gives us life. This means that Baptism is not only a cleansing, but a new birth: with Christ we, as it were, descend into the sea of death, so as to rise up again as new creatures. The other way in which we encounter water is in the form of the fresh spring that gives life, or the great river from which life comes forth. According to the earliest practice of the Church, Baptism had to be administered with water from a fresh spring. Without water there is no life. It is striking how much importance is attached to wells in Sacred Scripture. They are places from which life rises forth. Beside Jacob’s well, Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman of the new well, the water of true life. He reveals himself to her as the new, definitive Jacob, who opens up for humanity the well that is awaited: the inexhaustible source of life-giving water (cf. Jn 4:5-15). Saint John tells us that a soldier with a lance struck the side of Jesus, and from his open side – from his pierced heart – there came out blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34). The early Church saw in this a symbol of Baptism and Eucharist flowing from the pierced heart of Jesus. In his death, Jesus himself became the spring. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the new Temple from which a spring issues forth that becomes a great life-giving river (cf. Ezek 47:1
-12). In a land which constantly suffered from drought and water shortage, this was a great vision of hope. Nascent Christianity understood: in Christ, this vision was fulfilled. He is the true, living Temple of God. He is the spring of living water. From him, the great river pours forth, which in Baptism renews the world and makes it fruitful; the great river of living water, his Gospel which makes the earth fertile. In a discourse during the Feast of Tabernacles, though, Jesus prophesied something still greater: “Whoever believes in me … out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38). In Baptism, the Lord makes us not only persons of light, but also sources from which living water bursts forth. We all know people like that, who leave us somehow refreshed and renewed; people who are like a fountain of fresh spring water. We do not necessarily have to think of great saints like Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and so on, people through whom rivers of living water truly entered into human history. Thanks be to God, we find them constantly even in our daily lives: people who are like a spring. Certainly, we also know the opposite: people who spread around themselves an atmosphere like a stagnant pool of stale, or even poisoned water. Let us ask the Lord, who has given us the grace of Baptism, for the gift always to be sources of pure, fresh water, bubbling up from the fountain of his truth and his love! The third great symbol of the Easter Vigil is something rather different; it has to do with man himself. It is the singing of the new song – the alleluia. When a person experiences great joy, he cannot keep it to himself. He has to express it, to pass it on. But what happens when a person is touched by the light of the resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing. The first reference to singing in the Bible comes after the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel has risen out of slavery. It has climbed up from the threatening depths of the sea. It is as it were reborn. It lives and it is free. The Bible describes the people’s reaction to this great event of salvation with the verse: “The people … believed in the Lord and in Moses his servant” (Ex 14:31). Then comes the second reaction which, with a kind of inner necessity, follows from the first one: “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord …” At the Easter Vigil, year after year, we Christians intone this song after the third reading, we sing it as our song, because we too, through God’s power, have been drawn forth from the water and liberated for true life. There is a surprising parallel to the story of Moses’ song after Israel’s liberation from Egypt upon emerging from the Red Sea, namely in the Book of Revelation of Saint John. Before the beginning of the seven last plagues imposed upon the earth, the seer has a vision of something “like a sea of glass mingled with fire; and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb …” (Rev 15:2f.). This image describes the situation of the disciples of Jesus Christ in every age, the situation of the Church in the history of this world. Humanly speaking, it is self-contradictory. On the one hand, the community is located at the Exodus, in the midst of the Red Sea, in a sea which is paradoxically ice and fire at the same time. And must not the Church, so to speak, always walk on the sea, through the fire and the cold? Humanly speaking, she ought to sink. But while she is still walking in the midst of this Red Sea, she sings – she intones the song of praise of the just: the song of Moses and of the Lamb, in which the Old and New Covenants blend into harmony. While, strictly speaking, she ought to be sinking, the Church sings the song of thanksgiving of the saved. She is standing on history’s waters of death and yet she has already risen. Singing, she grasps at the Lord’s hand, which holds her above the waters. And she knows that she is thereby raised outside the force of gravity of death and evil – a force from which otherwise there would be no way of escape – raised and drawn into the new gravitational force of God, of truth and of love. At present she is still between the two gravitational fields. But once Christ is risen, the gravitational pull of love is stronger than that of hatred; the force of gravity of life is stronger than that of death. Perhaps this is actually the situation of the Church in every age? It always seems as if she ought to be sinking, and yet she is always already saved. Saint Paul illustrated this situation with the words: “We are as dying, and behold we live” (2 Cor 6:9). The Lord’s saving hand holds us up, and thus we can already sing the song of the saved, the new song of the risen ones: alleluia! Amen.
Divine Mercy Novena
“Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief in to which the loss of souls plunges Me.”
Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.