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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“Lord God, Heavenly and Eternal Father, You not only have blessed us with the gift of life, but also with the gift of faith in Your Divine Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as we continue our pilgrimage through this Advent season;

– may the Eternal Word Incarnate bring His Kingdom to always rule within our hearts and master our souls, so that, as Your faithful children, we may always live our relationship with Jesus in both intimacy and love, for we know that we are nothing without Him. We humbly pray this always in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

December 7 ~ Part One: With a Despairing Soul

Theme:  Conversations with the Merciful Savior

“Jesus: ‘O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.’

“ – But the soul, deaf even to this appeal, wraps itself in darkness.

“Jesus calls out again: ‘My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father.’

“ – In the soul arises this reply, ‘For me there is no mercy,’ and it falls into greater darkness, a despair which is a foretaste of hell and makes it unable to draw near to God.

“Jesus calls to the soul a third time, but the soul remains deaf and blind, hardened and despairing. Then the mercy of God begins to exert itself, and, without any co-operation from the soul, God grants it final grace. If this too is spurned, God will leave the soul in this self-chosen disposition for eternity.

“This grace emerges from the merciful Heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God’s effort; but conversion depends on its own will. The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.

‘My omnipotent mercy is active here. Happy the soul that takes advantage of this grace.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1486a)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, Your All-powerful Mercy is active in the despairing soul. Please continue to give it graces. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Editorial Note

This “final grace” is what I explain to parents who despair about the direction and choices their children make in life. This “final grace” is offered in that split moment which exists between time and eternity. It is God’s last effort to save a lost soul, for it is not our Heavenly Father’s desire that any of His children should be lost for all eternity.

But the soul must choose to open its heart, even if only slightly ajar to God’s final offer, so that our Lord’s promise of His Divine Mercy may ultimately reconcile the soul to Himself.

I wish each of you peace and God’s blessings during this Holy Advent Season,
Ed

Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

December 7 ~ The Silent Heart of Jesus

Theme:  Merciful Heart of Jesus

“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)

“In difficult moments, I will fix my gaze upon the silent Heart of Jesus, stretched upon the Cross, and from the exploding flames of His merciful Heart, will flow down upon me power and strength to keep fighting.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 906)

“When great sufferings will cause my nature to tremble, and my physical and spiritual strength will diminish, then will I hide myself deep in the open wound of the Heart of Jesus, silent as a dove, without complaint.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 957)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent, December 7

May Each of Us Use This Season as an Opportunity to Reflect upon God’s Love for Both You and Me, Opening Our Hearts to the Intimacy with Which He Wishes to Embrace Each of Us.

We hear our Lord saying to us in today’s Gospel, “…it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Ever since the temptation in the Garden of Eden and the fall of Adam and Eve, men and women of every generation have been struggling to know God better and to love Him more. And, throughout the millennia since the days of our first parents, this struggle has been a process fraught with repeated failures, especially when man has sought out His Creator on his own terms, especially when attempting to remake God in man’s image.

And this process of remaking God’s Image is as old as man himself. For we find within our human frailty a proclivity, a predisposition towards pridefulness, in which we place our self-esteem and our self-ego above that of our neighbor – all the while failing to recognize the will of God inviting mankind to embrace the virtues of meekness and humility in our daily lives.

And it is this failure which has caused men and women of every generation to struggle in their relationship with God. It is this failure which has caused some of the worst human disasters in the history of mankind. We only need to look at all the wars and conflicts which have plagued God’s creation since the time Cain killed Abel due to resentment and jealousy.

But no matter how far mankind distanced himself from his Creator, God would persistently reach out to His children, patiently and earnestly inviting them back into His embrace. Sacred Scripture, the Holy Bible, is filled with such stories of God’s Love and His repeated invitations, and mankind’s frequent disobedience – and, at times, the consequences for their disobedience!

Both Advent and Lent are seasons which allow us the opportunity of looking within ourselves and reflecting upon our relationship with God. They are seasons which provide us with a deepening awareness of who this God truly is whom we worship and to whom we pay homage, for we are reminded of the indescribable depth with which God loves each and every one of us, His children.

In our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the prophet reminds us of this God who has never left us, no matter how many times we have left Him; that He is a God who is Ever-Faithful, even in the midst of our reoccurring faithlessness –

“Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”

Even our Lord, in today’s Gospel, is teaching His disciples, and each of us as well, that our God does not wish to lose anyone to the realm of Hell and eternal torment. Rather, He will go out of His way to bring back those who are lost, those who, through their own arrogance and prideful disobedience, are traveling a path which leads them further and further away from God’s Love –

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

It is for this reason that Advent reminds us of why God’s Son came to us. God, in the Second Person of the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, became one of us, leaving the awesome glory of His Eternal Throne, so that He could walk amongst us – teaching us and guiding us with His words of Truth and Love, gently inviting us back into His embrace, as the Eternal Shepherd seeking out that which had gone astray and became lost.

May each one of us use this season as an opportunity to reflect upon God’s Love for both you and me, opening our hearts to the intimacy with which He wishes to embrace us and keep us safe from the evils of this world.

And may we truly grow in our love for Him, fostering our relationship with a God who became one like us in all things but sin, so that, with the help of His grace and with a truly opened and humble heart, we may inherit eternal life and remain in His Love forever.

For the selfless giving of love for one another is what the Christmas season is truly all about!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)
  • “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
  • “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13b)
  • “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
  • “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
  • “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.(1 John 4:16)
  • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
  • “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

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Prayer for the Day

“I love You, O my God,
and my only desire is to love You
until the last breath of my life.

“I love You, O my infinitely lovable God,
and I would rather die loving You,
than live without loving You.

“I love You, Lord
and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally…

“My God,
if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You,
I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.”

Saint John Marie Vianney (Holy Curé of Ars)

Saint of the Day ~ December 7

SAINT AMBROSE of MILAN (c.340-397)
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Patron saint of Milan, Italy, bee keepers, candlemakers and students

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Ambrose, one of the most illustrious Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and who influenced the conversion of Saint Augustine.

Born about the year 340 in Trier in southern Gaul (modern Germany), Ambrose descended from an ancient and powerful Roman family, and was educated by his mother and sister after his father’s death. He soon became well versed in Greek learning and philosophy, and studied law before being appointed governor of Milan, Italy by the emperor. He was also noted as a poet and orator.

In the year 374, and during the process of his conversion to the Catholic faith and preparing for Baptism, the bishop of Milan died. A chaotic crowd formed outside the cathedral to elect a bishop, and Ambrose, who had gone out to the crowd to implore them to quiet down, was unanimously acclaimed bishop of Milan after a child cried out “Ambrose for bishop! Ambrose for bishop!”

Ambrose resisted at first, claiming that he was not worthy, but to prevent further violence, he acquiesced; and on December 7, 374, he was thus baptized, confirmed, ordained a deacon, priest, and consecrated as bishop – all on the same day! He immediately gave away his wealth to the Church and the poor, both for the good it did and as an example to his flock.

Bishop Ambrose became famous for his sermons and his teaching, especially on the Sacraments. It was his sublime preaching and life of holiness, along with his considerable efforts in defending the orthodox teachings of the Church through his writings and actions against the heresy of Arianism, which eventually captured the attention of the young Augustine who was seeking to know God in his own life.

Ambrose served as the bishop of Milan from 374 until his death. He is one of the four Great Latin Doctors of the Church, and is perhaps most famous for his role in the conversion of Saint Augustine.

Bishop Ambrose died on April 4, 397 of natural causes in Milan. His remains are interred in the Basilica of Saint Ambrose (La Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio) in the city of Milan, Italy.

We commemorate his feastday on December 7.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Ambrose)

“Lord, You made Saint Ambrose an outstanding teacher of the Catholic faith and gave him the courage of an Apostle. Raise up in Your Church more leaders after Your own Heart, to guide us with courage and wisdom.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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 Lord Jesus, as we continue our journey through this Advent season and live the faith with which You have filled our hearts, help us to always yearn for Your Loving Presence;

– and may we always live the true message of Your Holy Birth amongst us: a message of enduring hope, a message of joyful expectation, and an abiding trust in the indescribable Love which fills Your Divine Nature for each and every one of us, Your children. We humbly pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

December 5 ~ Part Three: With a Sinful Soul

Theme:  Conversations with the Merciful Savior

(Continued)

“Soul: ‘Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright.’

“Jesus: ‘My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of My goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1485c)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing to souls that Your Mercy is greater than all the sins of the world. Draw us to Your Most Sacred Heart, so our miseries may disappear in the depths of Your Mercy. Please, Most Loving Lord Jesus, with a truly contrite hear, have mercy on us all. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

December 5 ~ Your Merciful Heart

Theme:  Merciful Heart of Jesus

“Do with me as You please: only give me Your merciful Heart and that is enough for me.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 650)

“My Jesus, make my heart like unto Your merciful Heart. Jesus, help me to go through life doing good to everyone.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 692)

“I must always have a heart which is open to receive the sufferings of others, and drown my own sufferings in the Divine Heart so that they would not be noticed on the outside, in so far as possible.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 792)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

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Meditation for the Day

Second Sunday of Advent, December 5

Advent Is Truly a Season of Inspiring Hope, Peace, Love and Joyful Expectation, in Which We Are Called to Reflect upon All That Is Truly Important in Our Lives.

Many, many years ago, I remember seeing a movie called “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. It was produced around 1965, and the character of John the Baptist was played by Charlton Heston. Notwithstanding the role of Jesus played by Max Von Sydow, the critics reported that Heston’s portrayal of the Baptist was one which “walked away” with the film.

His portrayal of “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord…’” was truly one which caught your attention.

And as you and I look forward to the majesty of the Christmas season and the anniversary of the Birth of the Christ Child, the Eternal Word made flesh who came to us as an Infant born in the humblest of surroundings, it is the message of the Baptist which still resonates within the hearts of God-fearing people everywhere, for we are each called to open our hearts to “Prepare the way of the Lord” – to receive the Kingdom of God within ourselves!

And throughout the course of human history and God’s relationship with His children as recorded in the Old Testament, the Chosen People of God constantly struggled in their understanding of their Creator and in the relationship to which they were called to live with Him. And in this struggle, they had faced some marvelous highs; but there were times when they also experienced some very severe lows.

Our Readings today begin from the Book of the Prophet Baruch. As a messenger and a poet of God, he accompanied the Jewish people into exile and captivity in Babylon. Their exile was due to the fact that they forgot how to act like obedient children. They forgot how to be humble; they forgot how to be pure and holy. For they had turned their lives to idolatry and made sacrificial offerings to demons and false gods.

In the weakness of their human nature, they lost sight of what should have remained first and foremost in their lives – a personal and intimate relationship with their Creator, with the God of their fathers, with the God who nourished and protected them out of Divine Love, shown to their ancestors with great power and awesome signs.

Exile was a form of purification for the Jewish people. And, in time, they began to recognize that Jerusalem was their true city of identity – for them as a nation and as a Chosen People of God – but, due to their exile, it was a city only in memory and prayer.

The Israelites, after having been confronted with their infidelities to the God of their fathers, longed to return to their homeland, while, at the same time, wishing to renew their relationship with the God Who brought their ancestors out of their first exile in Egypt long ago.

What we hear today is a new song from the prophet Baruch. There is hope, and Jerusalem is the center or image of recovery and restoration. This great city, of both memory and prayer, is remembered by those in captivity as beautiful – but, in reality, it is a city reduced to rubble. But in the certainty of its destruction, it is also given a new picture, dressed up with a renewed glory.

God is promising to return His children to their holy city, and, in so doing, He shows them His faithful Love. They have been remembered by their God, and the time of their purification is coming to an end. The way will be made clear for them, for, as we read at the end of our First Reading today, “…God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.”

He is leading His children to a process of renewing their hearts, so that His Kingdom on Earth may take hold in their lives once again. And just as God was to lead his children out of the darkness of exile, so, too, He extends His hand to each of us, leading and guiding us from the darkness in which we oftentimes find ourselves today.

In spite of the culture of secularism and the materialistic gods which many have made for themselves, there are many of God’s children in our world today who truly hunger to know Him better. There are many who truly hunger for His Truth, who long to feel His Love and guiding Hand in their daily lives.

The voices of secularism and relativistic thinking continuously try to drown out the true Voice of selfless Love and Divine Truth – God Himself. But when our hearts are opened to receiving what God truly has to offer us, then, as Saint Paul writes in his Letter to the Philippians, “…the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it…”

Even in Paul’s day, there were false prophets who would attempt to undermine all that Paul and his disciples were trying to accomplish in teaching the faith to the early Christian communities. And it was Paul’s most earnest prayer that, as he writes, “…your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

As we continue our journey of faith in this second week of Advent, may we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of God’s Kingdom to take hold within us in a more complete and a more profound way.

For the faithful Christian, Advent becomes a season during which we are called to reflect upon all that is truly important in our lives. Yet, as we well know, there are segments of the world’s culture which wish to deny the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.

Many stores and commercial outlets have removed the word Christ or Christmas from all their advertising literature. Christmas trees are now holiday trees or trees of illumination. And there have been numerous articles written in various magazines and newspapers about what is referred to as the “war on Christmas”.

But, as faithful Christians, we know that God is always present in our midst, that He is not some distant God who has left us alone. And we know how this battle against Jesus Christ and His Love for us will ultimately end! We have the end of the story already written for us! We are only waiting for the final act to play itself out.

For each of us today, Advent becomes a season which gives us an inspiring hope. It is a season of joyful expectation, for God Himself became intimately involved with man’s salvation when He took upon Himself our flesh – our human nature, and was born into the world which He created.

In all the preparations we make in honoring and celebrating our Lord’s Nativity, Christmas is not about receiving gifts or participating in parties, though all these things are wonderful in their proper place. Christmas is about the Holy Birth of the Christ Child, who brings meaning and hope to a world that needs redemption.

In Him, and only in Him, do we realize our true and lasting hope! And it is only when we open our hearts to all that He offers to each of us, wherein we find the Kingdom of God residing within us, guiding us in our acts of selfless love for one another.

Each one of us is called to “Prepare the way of the Lord” in our own hearts. Each one of us is called to “make straight his paths” in the life we live daily on this side of Heaven.

In the midst of a world in which we find the moral compass of society wavering, in the midst of a culture in which the ideal of selfless giving of love oftentimes gives way to personal greed and selfishness, in the midst of a society wherein faithfulness and fidelity is sadly found wanting in many of God’s children – we find, within this season, for the true Christian at heart, a time of preparation, the knowledge that True Love, Divine Love itself, has never abandoned us, that the God of our fathers has never forsaken us, and, in a most profound and intimate way, remains with us always!

As we prepare our hearts during this season of expectation and hope, may the words of our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial, truly resound and resonate within each and every one of us, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed”!

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

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[John] went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”’(Luke 3:3-4 ~ Isaiah 40:3)
  • “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on forever the splendor of glory from God…For God will show your splendor to all under the heavens.” (Baruch 5:1, 3)
  • “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries. For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, the great king over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2-3)
  • “For God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with the mercy and justice that are his.” (Baruch 5:9)
  • “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)
  • “…the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6b)
  • And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.(Philippians 1:9-11)
  • “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may he fill all the earth with his glory. Amen and amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)
  • “The LORD has done great things for us; Oh, how happy we [are]!” (Psalm 126:3)

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Prayer for the Day

“Father in Heaven,
the day draws near when the glory of Your Son
will make radiant the night of the waiting world.

“May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy
which moves the hearts of those who seek Him.

“May the darkness not blind us
to the vision of Wisdom
which fills the minds of those who find Him.

“We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Second Sunday of Advent (Roman Breviary)