DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, 1731)

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“Most Loving and Eternal Father, our Lord Jesus taught us to rest our anxious hearts upon His Most Sacred Heart as we journey through life;

– please bless us with that inner peace and tranquility which only You can provide, and please fill our hearts and souls with an unquestioning and abiding trust in Your providential Love, for Jesus taught us that You are always with us, that You are always near to us. We humbly pray this in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

August 9 ~ Like Jesus in Suffering and Humility

Theme:  Graces of Retreats

[October 11, 1933, after a three-hour struggle in adoration and prayer, Jesus, in His Passion, appeared to Saint Faustina]

“I saw Him just had He had appeared to me in that instant after my perpetual vows, when I was likewise making a Holy Hour. Jesus was suddenly standing before me, stripped of His clothes, His body completely covered with wounds, His eyes flooded with tears and blood, His face disfigured and covered with spittle. The Lord then said to me, ‘The bride must resemble her Betrothed.’ I understood these words to their very depth. There is no room for doubt here. My likeness to Jesus must be through suffering and humility.

‘See what love of human souls has done to Me. My daughter, in your heart I find everything that so great a number of souls refuses Me. Your heart is My repose. I often wait with great graces until towards the end of prayer.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 268)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, bless those who struggle with the gift of perseverance in their prayers. May our hearts be a repose for Your agony over those who refuse You. May we be like You through personal suffering and humility. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

August 9 ~ Every Moment of My Life Is Filled

Theme:  Daily Life

“There are no indifferent moments in my life, since every moment of my life is filled with prayer, suffering and work. If not in one way, then in another, I glorify God; and if God were to give me a second life, I do not know whether I would make better use of it…” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1545)

“I want to live in the spirit of faith. I accept everything that comes my way as given me by the loving will of God, who sincerely desires my happiness. And so I will accept with submission and gratitude everything that God sends me. I will pay no attention to the voice of nature and to the promptings of self love.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1549a)

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Meditation for the Day

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 9

As We Continue on Our Daily Journey Through Life, Let Us Never Lose Heart; Let Us Never Be Filled with Needless Fear.

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” – words we hear our Lord say to us in today’s Gospel, words which are meant to give us confidence and trust in God’s providential Love.

Yet, we know only too well that there are circumstances in life which tend to take away our peace and fill us with anxiety and uncertainty as to our future.

A very clear example of this are the Christians, of whom I have written about in past Meditations, who live in fear in the Middle East, who are a minority when compared to the vast number of people who practice their belief in the teachings of Islam. And it is not the neighboring Muslim whom they fear. Rather, it is the radical extremists who have no tolerance for anyone who does not believe in the prophet Muhammad.

There are also those who live in fear due to the many different tribal wars and conflicts which we read about on the continents of Africa and Australia.

There are some governments, especially including Israel, who are more than just a little concerned about the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear threat to the security and well-being of Israelis in their own native country!

And for those of us who are old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy was president, how close we came to a nuclear confrontation with the old Soviet Union over the existence of nuclear warheads just ninety some odd miles off-shore in Cuba!

When I was a teenager, I remember there were many families fearful of the possibility of a World War III, and many of them built fall-out shelters in their basements. My own dad, who was a Marine veteran of World War II, was one of them. He and my uncles built shelters in the basements of all their homes.

Even in school, we had practice drills as to what we should do, in case the air raid sirens started to warn us of an incoming nuclear attack by either missiles or bombs. For the Cold War in the fifties and sixties was a stark reality as to the inability of peoples and nations to mutually live together, to listen to each other, to help each other dispel the feelings of fear, and to assist each other in the building of a foundation for peaceful coexistence.

And today, we have many peoples and nations in the Far East fearful that the hate rhetoric spewing out of North Korea may ultimately result in a nuclear confrontation, if not a whole new World War.

Fear can be an emotion which can drive us to do things we would not normally do. Faith, which is a gift from God, a supernatural virtue infused by God into a heart which is opened to and accepting of His gift, can also bring us to do things which are beyond human expectation or rational understanding.

And we see both of these aspects in today’s Gospel with Simon Peter. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” And in Peter’s love for Christ and because of his faith in Him, Scripture tells us that Peter “…began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

But even in Peter’s fear, he reached out to the One whom he knew could save him. He cried out to the One who could give him back his peace and sense of security!

Unfortunately, there are many in today’s world who no longer call out to God; there are many who have closed their hearts to the gift of faith which our Lord offers us. And, as a very sad consequence, they no longer wish to listen to what God has to say.

As a result, the reality of sin is no longer recognized in their lives, nor do they recognize the consequences which serious sin, without remorse and without forgiveness, may ultimately have upon their souls.

And because they do not fear or respect God, nor do they want Him in their lives, Satan has fertile ground in which to wreak his havoc, the results which cause fear and suffering to continue to plague God’s children, whereas the good suffer due to the ill effects of sin in others throughout the world. And we see this unfolding in our present day in the various riot-torn cities throughout the world!

But even in the midst of all this suffering and sadness, even in the midst of fear and doubt, God is always there. He is there in the Church; He is there in all the unknown Mother Teresa’s throughout the world; He is there in all of God’s ministers who faithfully preach His Divine Truth.

And He is there in both you and me as we reach out through our prayers to all who suffer, as we reach out with love and compassionate understanding to all who are filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

In our First Reading today, the prophet Elijah, who, himself, was driven with fear for his own survival, was told by God to take refuge in a cave on the mountain of Horeb. And then he was told to go outside and wait for God to pass by. And Scripture tells us that Elijah did not find God in the strong winds, the crushing rocks, the earthquake or the fire. Rather, he found God’s Presence in “…a tiny whispering sound.”

We find God in the peace which resides in our hearts, not in the noisy commotion, not in the violent ruckus and confusion which we find in today’s world! We find God in our family and in our neighbors. We find God in each other. We find God in the quiet, in the stillness of our minds and hearts. We find God in the very depths of our individual consciences and our souls.

Sadly, however, for those who are unable to hear God’s voice, who are either unable or unwilling to listen to the whispers of His Loving Presence, then their minds and their consciences can be either misguided or completely closed as to what is right and holy, and as to what is wrong and sinful.

And we find Saint Paul, in our Second Reading, suffering in anguish over this very matter, due to the fact that his own people, the Israelites, who were given “…the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises…” are either unable or unwilling to listen to the voice of God, for many of them refused to accept that Jesus is the Christ, the prophesied Messiah.

As a result, we find in today’s Readings the necessity to be still and listen in order to hear the voice of God, that we must be opened to and receptive of God’s Truth, and that, with the eyes and ears of our hearts and souls, opened to all that God wishes to share with us; we must be strong in our faith and trusting in God’s providential Love for each and every one of us.

Our Lord reaches out with His hand to each of His children, taking hold of us when we are down, just as He did with Peter. But, sometimes, when God’s children are suffering their worst, they need our help to believe, they need our help to have faith in the One who is eternally Faithful.

They need to know that God is not only Truth, but that He is also Love and Mercy. And they will see God in us – if we reach out with love, if we reach out with charity, if we reach out with an openness and honesty to which they have not been given or experienced before.

And then the words of our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial, will come true: “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”

As each of us continue on our daily journey through life, as we encounter, from time to time, our own individual anxieties and uncertainties, let us never lose heart; let us never be filled with needless fear.

With faith, let us always turn to our Lord in times of need; and may we quiet the busyness of our minds, so that we may hear the whispering of Jesus’ voice loud and clear in our hearts:

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “Peter said to him in reply, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:28-30)
  • “Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’(Matthew 14:31)
  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
  • “Love and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth will spring from the earth, and justice will look down from heaven.” (Psalm 85:11-12)
  • “In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8a)
  • “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
  • “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
  • “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.” (Psalm 46:2)
  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27b)

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Prayer for the Day

“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do great things; I was given sickness that I might do better things.

“I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.

“I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I received nothing I asked for – but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayer was answered; I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”

Anonymous Confederate Soldier

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, 1731)

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“Most Heavenly and Eternal Father, in the Transfiguration of Your Divine Son, You expressed Your extreme pleasure in our Lord and instructed us to focus on His teachings and the example which He set for us to follow;

– with the help of Your grace, may each of us, as Your children, embrace this gift of faith which fills our minds and our hearts, through which we are given hope and strengthened to endure the crosses which we are called to bear in this life, always trusting in Your providential Love for each of us, always surrendering our will so that Your will may be fulfilled. For it is through the faith which we profess and live daily in Jesus Christ, Your Son, that Your Divine Nature shall also be pleased with us. We humbly pray this in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

August 6 ~ You Are Sovereign

Theme:  Graces of Retreats

“At the beginning of the retreat, Jesus told me, ‘During this retreat, I myself will direct your soul. I want to confirm you in peace and love.’ And so the first few days passed by. On the fourth day, doubts began to trouble me: Is not this tranquility of mine false? Then I heard these words, ‘My daughter, imagine that you are the sovereign of all the world and have the power to dispose of all things according to your good pleasure. You have the power to do all the good you want, and suddenly a little child knocks on your door, all trembling and in tears and, trusting in your kindness, asks for a piece of bread lest he die of starvation.

‘What would you do for this child? Answer Me, my daughter.’ And I said, ‘Jesus, I would give the child all it asked and a thousand times more.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘That is how I am treating your soul.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 229a)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, thank You for directing our souls in times of retreat and prayer. Since You are Sovereign over the whole world, direct our prayers and our lives according to Your will. Thank You for Your astounding goodness towards us in our times of need. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

August 6 ~ I Walk with Lifted Head

Theme:  Daily Life

“Oh, how beautiful is the world of the spirit! And so real that, by comparison, the exterior life is just a vain illusion and powerlessness.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 884)

“My heart, longing for God, feels the whole misery of exile. I keep going forward bravely – though my feet become wounded – to my homeland and, on the way, I nourish myself on the will of God. It is my food. Help me, happy inhabitants of the heavenly homeland, so that your sister may not falter on the way. Although the desert is fearful, I walk with lifted head and eyes fixed on the sun; that is to say, on the merciful Heart of Jesus.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 886)

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Meditation for the Day

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, August 6

May Each of Us, in the Very Throes of Whatever Pain or Anxiety We May Feel, Through Whatever Vale of Tears We May Find Ourselves Traveling, Never Lose Heart, Never Lose Faith.

Today, the Eternal Father speaks to us through the Gospel message, “This is my chosen Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” And in the Transfiguration event recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus reaches out to Peter, James and John, and to each of us as well, and says, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

“…do not be afraid” – in the context within which we hear these words, they are an invitation to hope, and invitation to an interior peace and joy.

“…do not be afraid.” Sometimes, while watching a TV commercial, paid for by some non-profit organization, we will find ourselves presented with images of the plight of starving children and the sick and the dying in some poor, underdeveloped nation. Or if we watch the evening or nightly news, we are oftentimes presented with a story about some unfortunate child who became victim to the crossfire between rival street gangs or drug dealers. Or we see the anxiety and fear on the faces of innocent victims due to internal warfare or genocide on the part of some government or rival clan or tribe.

For some in our world today, it is extremely difficult not to be afraid. It is very difficult for them to feel safe in a world which is oftentimes filled with horrific dangers, and cultures which are more self-serving than selfless, and people, who are in a position of authority or decision-making, caring more about themselves than those for whom they should be caring and who suffer from hunger and disease.

The lives of the innocent, due to no fault of their own, end up becoming victims to the evils which exist within society’s darkness, a darkness which is void, which is absent of any real glimmer of hope, because the hearts of many within this darkness are opened only to selfishness, greed and the false glamour which evil itself seems to provide, a lie with which Satan fills the hearts of those who thrive in the darkness, using the darkness as a means to their own ends.

The only REAL hope which these innocent victims have is the Eternal Hope which Christ Himself provides for us. And we find this Eternal Hope in today’s celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord!

And this Hope, which Peter tells us in our Second Reading, is as “a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” And this “morning star”, this new day dawning is Christ Jesus, Himself!

Our Catechism teaches us that the virtue of hope responds to that aspiration, that deeply seated desire which we all have for happiness, a desire which God has placed in the heart of each of His children, who are opened to and accepting of God’s grace.

It continues to teach us that the virtue of hope not only inspires us, but it also purifies us as we long for the Kingdom of Heaven, for it prevents us from falling prey to discouragement, to pessimism and despair, and that God’s grace sustains us during times in which we feel alone or abandoned.

And this grace is described to us in Daniel’s vision which we find in our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Daniel, “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.”

And is this not reason for hope – a sacred Kingdom, a holy Dominion which shall last forever?!

But for those who are truly suffering, for those who live in despair, they ask themselves, “When is the dawning of this new day coming? Where is this “everlasting dominion?” And can you or I blame them for asking? For, in their human needs, in their human anxieties, they are in great pain and distress. Hope for them oftentimes seems elusive at best.

And it is during these moments of their deepest fears and their greatest despair wherein the missionary Church reaches out to them, nourishing them with God’s Word and the Bread of Eternal Life, strengthening their faith and guiding their hearts and their lives to live a hope which, once before, seemed almost impossible to achieve.

When our Lord was transfigured, on what is presumably Mount Tabor, He had chosen Peter, James and his brother John to witness the Christ, the Son of Man, in His Glory as the Eternal Son of God, conversing with both Moses, who was the great lawgiver and the great prophet Elijah.

This event, in all its glorious wonder, I am sure, left the disciples completely awestruck! Even, Peter, not knowing what to really say, and in the honest simplicity and the straightforwardness which was Peter’s nature, could only inquire about setting up tents for the Heavenly figures in which they could rest or retire – an offer which I am sure has made many a theologian smile, and yet it was an offer made out of the goodness of his heart, and all due to the awesomeness of this unforgettable event!

And then, in the midst of being captivated by this great experience, they hear a voice from Heaven, and they become fearful. And in our Gospel today, it states that they lay prostrate, face-down on the ground. And why were they overcome with such fear in the presence of their Lord, whom they had followed for almost three years at this point?

Because in their human weaknesses, not unlike our own, not unlike our own fears and anxieties which each of us feels at one time or another, they were not able to fully comprehend the meaning behind all that was truly happening in their presence on the mountain.

And we cannot blame them for their fear and human shortcomings, any more than we can blame the innocent victims who are fearful or filled with anxiety who live in countries where famine, disease or appalling violence exist, or who live in the inner cities of developed nations where crime is high and the respect for human life is low.

And Jesus walked to His disciples and touched them, just as He walks to each of us in the midst of our own fears and anxieties, in the midst of our own trials and tribulations in this life, in this – our valley of tears – and touching us says, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

Proclaiming that we have faith, but then truly living our faith, truly exercising what we believe in our daily lives, is sometimes much more difficult.

It was after our Lord was transfigured that He began His final journey to Jerusalem, where He freely accepted His Passion and Death, and we know what Scripture tells us about how His Apostles lived their faith during this time of His greatest agony.

Again, we recognize in their humanity, and in their weaknesses, our own shortcomings and inadequacies. And yet, it is the glory of the Transfiguration in which Jesus shows to each of us that He IS the Eternal Son of God!

It is the glory and wonder of the very presence of Heaven itself, it is in the very presence of our Eternal Father’s voice giving glory and praise to His Son – all of this which fills our hearts with a hope, a joyful anticipation in something far beyond our human ability to adequately explain or understand, for it is an experience which we are yet to realize, with the help of God’s grace.

May each of us, as God’s children – in the very throes of whatever pain or anxiety we may feel, through whatever vale of tears we may find ourselves traveling – never lose heart, never lose faith.

As Saint Padre Pio was so fond of saying, “Pray, hope and don’t worry”, may we make his phrase a part of our daily lives, always remembering our Lord’s words of strengthening and hope which He gives to each of us, no matter where we may find ourselves spiritually, emotionally or physically –

“Rise, and do not be afraid.”

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Scripture for the Day

  • “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, He 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)
  • “While [Peter] was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my chosen Son; listen to him.’(Luke 9:34-35)
  • “…then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’(Matthew 17:5b-7)
  • “Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)
  • “At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in you I trust. Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8)
  • “One night in a vision the Lord said to Paul, ‘Do not be afraid…for I am with you.’(Acts 18:9ab, 10a)
  • “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
  • “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)
  • “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.” (Hebrews 10:23)
  • “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn…you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (John 16:20acd)
  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

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Prayer for the Day

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Psalm 23 (Psalm of the Good Shepherd)