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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“Almighty God, Most Merciful and Eternal Father, in Your Divine Love and Providence with which You guide Your creation, You have made us in Your image and likeness, so that, with the help of Your grace, we may become co-heirs with Your Divine Son in Your Eternal Kingdom;

– as we continue our journey through life here on Earth, please fill us with Your Spirit, so that we may joyfully choose to be disciples and followers of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and may we always offer to You our entire being for Your greater honor and glory. In this way, Your Kingdom shall truly be manifested within our hearts. We humbly pray this always in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

September 23 ~ Part Four of Conference:  “Sacrifice and Prayer”

Theme:  Jesus the Teacher

(Continued)

“I will now instruct you on what your holocaust shall consist of, in everyday life, so as to preserve you from illusions. You shall accept all sufferings with love. Do not be afflicted if your heart often experiences repugnance and dislike for sacrifice.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1767d)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, by Your grace and with Your Love which You have shown me on the Cross, may I accept all sufferings with love. May I come to know, like Saint Faustina, that suffering plus love equals joy! (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

September 23 ~ Jesus Always Found Silence in My Heart

Theme:  Silence, Solitude

“There are attacks when a soul has no time to think or seek advice; then it must enter into a life-or-death struggle. Sometimes it is good to flee for cover in the wound of the Heart of Jesus, without answering a single word. By this very act the enemy is already defeated.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 145)

“I strove after great silence for Jesus. Amidst the greatest din, Jesus always found silence in my heart, although it sometimes cost me a lot.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 185)

“I arm myself with patience and silence, like a dove that does not complain and feels no bitterness when its children are being taken away from it.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 209)

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Meditation for the Day

Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 23

May Jesus, Who Has Chosen Both You and Me to Be His Disciples, Take and Use What We Can Offer, However Meager It May Seem, for the Greater Glory of His Most Holy Name.

We read from today’s Gospel, “Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

I know that I have spoken about this before, but I feel it bears repeating. Some of us may have witnessed, at one time or another, people on street corners – especially in the major cities like New York, Philadelphia or Chicago, London or Paris, to name just a few – who stand up bravely and prophetically proclaim, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!”

The average person in today’s society might look at them and chuckle to him or herself about how weird they are, but isn’t this exactly what John the Baptist was proclaiming in the dessert? Even our Lord, in today’s Gospel, says to His twelve Apostles, “…proclaim the Kingdom of God…”

Exactly what is this “Kingdom of God” about which our Lord is speaking? Our First Reading today from the Book of Proverbs gives us a hint as to its understanding when we read that God “…is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Even in our Responsorial Psalm today, the psalmist speaks of what is at the heart of the Kingdom of God when he writes, “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces…Your word, O LORD, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens…From every evil way I withhold my feet, that I may keep your words.”

And Jesus states in a later chapter of Luke’s Gospel, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”

This Kingdom of God, for the faithful person, is a way of thinking. It is a way of acting and believing. God’s Kingdom is within each one of us, as we open our hearts and embrace His laws and His teachings.

And our Lord wanted to make His Kingdom available to all in Israel. For, in today’s Gospel, we read how Jesus sent His chosen Twelve out into the world – to the lost sheep of Israel – to proclaim a message of hope, a message of love, a message of forgiveness.

They had heard our Lord preach the message of the Beatitudes, and they were to take this message to the lost and the hopeless, and to heal the sick, building up the Kingdom within each one they met.

We must remember that these chosen Twelve were themselves members of the lost sheep. They were human beings with their own faults and shortcomings, not unlike ourselves – Peter could be impulsive; Matthew was known as a tax collector; Judas was greedy; Simon was a zealot; John and James were politically ambitious; and Thomas was cautiously skeptical!

And when we look at ourselves, we can find a bit of us in each of the Apostles. But this is God’s way – raising up the lowly – so that, in the newness of faith which has invigorated and lifted up each of our hearts, we, in turn, through our own pilgrimage of faith, spread the Good News to others.

And this is God’s way of building up His Kingdom, one person, one soul at a time, so that each one of us becomes His disciple spreading the Good News – the proclamation that God’s Kingdom is truly at Hand within each of us – filling us with His peace, filling us with joy and guiding us to an ever greater holiness!

Even in our Lord’s Prayer, the prayer which Jesus taught us to pray to His and to our Eternal Father, we pray that God may reign in our lives and in the world which we live – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

The Kingdom of God already reigns within the hearts of the faithful today, but in an incomplete way. And, as our Catechism and Scripture teach us, the Kingdom of God will only come to its fullness, and in glory, when Christ finally hands it over to His Father, when “every sovereignty and every authority and power” have been placed under His feet.

As followers and disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we need to not only hear His message and make it a part of our daily lives, we also need to live it for others to see, so that we may become a holy example imitating the example set for us by the saints.

For it was Saint Francis of Assisi, himself, who once taught his disciples, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” In other words, live a life which is Christ-like as a holy example for others to follow.

Let us pray that Jesus, who has chosen both you and me to be His disciples, may take and use what we can offer, however meager it may seem, for the greater glory of His Most Holy Name!

For it is through the faith which we live in our hearts, and the love which we show towards others, especially to those who are less fortunate, whereby we become like that itinerant street corner preacher, prophetically proclaiming God’s Kingdom.

For it is not only “at hand”, it is here now within us and also within each person we touch!

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[Jesus] summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God…” (Luke 9:1-2)
  • “Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
  • “The law of your mouth is more precious to me than heaps of silver and gold…All your commandments are steadfast…Your word, LORD, stands forever; it is firm as the heavens…I keep my steps from every evil path, that I may observe your word.” (Psalm 119:72, 86a, 89, 101)
  • “Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds! Sing praise to him, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds! …Seek out the LORD and his might; constantly seek his face. Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his wonders and words of judgment.” (Psalm 105:1-2, 4-5)
  • “In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2)
  • “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’(Mark 1:14-15)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
  • “Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.’(Luke 17:20-21)
  • “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9b-10)
  • “[Paul] received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:30b-31)
  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

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Prayer for the Day

“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort.

“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be charitable towards those who are less fortunate.

“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ September 23

SAINT PIO of PIETRELCINA (1887-1968), priest and mystic

Today, the Church honors Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, or as he is more affectionately known – Saint Padre Pio – who was a Capuchin friar of the Order of Saint Francis of Assisi and a renowned 20th century mystic.

He was born on May 25, 1887 to Grazio and Maria Forgione in the town of Pietrelcina in Southern Italy. He was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age of twelve he received the Sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.

On January 6, 1903, at the age of fifteen, Francesco entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on January 22nd he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year, he took simple vows, and on January 27, 1907 made his solemn profession.

After he was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September of that year, Padre Pio was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo in the province of Foggia, about 75 miles from the seacoast city of Bari next to the Adriatic Sea, and remained there until his death.

On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after celebrating Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he received the stigmata (the wounds of our Lord) in his hands, feet and side, which would sometimes bleed profusely and place him in considerable agony. The wounds of Christ would remain with Padre Pio throughout the remainder of his life.

As can be imagined, his life then became much more complicated. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, all which were soon reversed each time.

Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, and, against his own wishes, the friar’s reputation for holiness and attending miracles began to attract huge crowds. Busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after he celebrated the 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he would hear confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him.

Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time, his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled in an organized and unbiased way. Many of them commented that Padre Pio could read their souls and know details of their lives about which they had never mentioned, and which would allow them to reflect upon their past thoughts, words and deeds and make an even more perfect confession.

Padre Pio, conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the consecrated life, observed with considerable generosity the vows he had professed. He was obedient in all things to the commands of his Superiors, even when they were burdensome.

He lived the spirit of poverty with total detachment from self, from earthly goods, from his own comfort and from public recognitions. He also had a great love for the virtue of chastity, his behavior being modest in all situations and with all people.

Known for patient suffering, fervent prayer, and compassionate spiritual guidance, Padre Pio also lent his efforts to the establishment of a major hospital on nearby Mount Gargano, which he would call the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering”.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio died from natural causes at the age of eighty-one. Pope St. Paul VI described him as “a man of prayer and suffering.” Padre Pio was beatified in 1999 and canonized a saint on June 16, 2002 in Rome, Italy by Pope Saint John Paul II.

There are many quotations for which Saint Pio is famous, but two which stand out are: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

And “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

His incorrupt remains are interred in a glass sepulcher in the crypt of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo.

We commemorate his feastday on September 23.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, padrepio.catholicwebservices.com and vatican.va/news_services)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Franciscan Collect of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina)

“God our Father, in Saint Pio You gave a light to your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed Your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us.

“Grant 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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“Almighty, Eternal and Most Loving Father, we humbly pray, please strengthen us in the gift of faith which fills our hearts, so that we may refrain from speaking words and committing acts which are offensive to Your Divine Love, for we are all members of the one Body of Christ;

– with the help of Your grace, may we hold fast to our baptismal promises of rejecting all that does not come from You, so that our life of faith and all our words and deeds may always serve to give You praise and glory. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

September 22 ~ Part Three of Conference:  “Sacrifice and Prayer”

Theme:  Jesus the Teacher

(Continued)

“Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer. I demand, My daughter, that your sacrifice be pure and full of humility, that I may find pleasure in it. I will not spare My grace, that you may be able to fulfill what I demand of you.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1767c)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, may my sacrifice be silent, hidden, loving, prayerful and joyful. May it be pure and humble, so that it may always please You. Please fulfill Your purpose for my life. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

September 22 ~ Recollection in God

Theme:  Silence, Solitude

“When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 73)

“…in order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one’s soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 118)

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Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 22

In Jesus Christ, May God’s Love for Each One of Us Be Our Constant Guide for Choosing What Is Good in Our Daily Lives and Always Rejecting What Is Contrary to His Will.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” – Jesus’ response for all who wish to follow the will of God in their lives.

In our Lord’s reply, which we read in today’s Gospel, we are prompted to ask the question – “What does it mean for you and me to be Christian in today’s world?” And our First Reading today prompts us to ask a second question – “What does it mean to be righteous in the eyes of God?”

In the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official prayer of the Church, prayed at different hours throughout the day by clergy, religious and an ever increasing number of laity, there is a prayer which we offer to the Eternal Father which reads as follows – “May we be so dedicated to the service of others that the whole human family may become a pleasing sacrifice in Your honor.”

In a way, this prayer also reflects today’s Gospel Reading, when Jesus expresses very dramatically the absolute importance of building-up the family of God. Natural families are important, but Jesus also reminds us of the importance of building up the spiritual family – brothers and sisters working together building up the Body of Christ.

When our Lord answered, My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God…” – Jesus no more intended disregard for His mother than He intended for us to literally pluck out our eyes if they should cause us to sin!

Rather, our Lord wanted us to know that, while it is always a good thing to build up our family life, we are also called to build up the larger household – God’s family.

In theory, this calling from our Creator to build up the Body of Christ makes sense. We have all been baptized into one body. We are all adopted children of God our Heavenly Father. And, as such, we become spiritual brothers and sisters to each other, and are, in a particular sense, responsible for one another. When viewed in this way, we develop an insight as to how we can experience a deeper unity and kinship when we see their needs as our needs and their joys as our joys.

That’s the theory, but what about the practice? We do not have to go far to put this teaching into action. All we need to do is look at our First Reading today from the Book of Proverbs. In it, we find axioms, verses which guide us in a code of conduct which teach us the mind of God when it comes to moral and just behavior towards one another.

Each and every person with whom we come in contact, not just family and friends, but also co-workers, even strangers – those who sit next to us in a movie theater or restaurant, those who stand in line with us at the grocery check-out counter – all are members of our spiritual family, all are our spiritual brothers and sisters – regardless of their race, color, creed or religious persuasion.

I realize that in today’s very complex world, with opposing ideologies and cultures, this is not always an easy concept to grasp, much less accept. For it is so much easier for us to focus only on our own family members and loved ones, even close friends. But each and every one of us is a member of a much larger family – a family which God calls His own.

We have been taught that Church is not solely about buildings. It is not only about structures in which we worship together as a community of believers. Being Church is not about a particular parish or a particular place.

Rather, Church is about us as a people of God. Being Church is a truly profound reality, for it is about us as a people who, in our relationship with each other, form a community in which we profess our faith in a God who loves each of us beyond all means of human understanding or description.

And both communally and individually, we also profess our unique and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through our personal discipleship, not only in words but also in the life of faith which we live daily – in the witness which we give by living the teachings of our faith with charity and love for one another.

Our Lord speaks to us in today’s Gospel, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

I have written about this numerous times in the past, but it is a point which I believe bears repeating – being Christian in a world, in a society and culture which seems more and more determined to embrace the lies and deceits of secularism, and in several parts of the world a radical fundamentalism, is not easy! And being Christian is more than observance of doctrine, precepts, and commandments.

It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of faith and trust in our God, and a relationship of commitment, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, mercy, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity.

And God offers to each of us the greatest of relationships – a union of heart, mind, and spirit with Himself, the very Author and Source of both love and life!

God’s Love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints. His Love is constant, unwavering, unconditional, and unstoppable! God is a Trinity of Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a Community of Divine Love.

That is why Jesus challenged His followers and even His own earthly relatives to recognize that God is the True Source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in His Love. And He gives us the instruction of how to do this with the words in today’s Gospel –

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

In Jesus Christ, may you and I find the meaning of true friendship and true love. In Jesus Christ, may God’s Love for each one of us be our constant guide for choosing what is good in our daily lives and always rejecting what is contrary to His will.

And in our intimate and personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, may we live the joy of what it truly means to be Christian, and what it truly means to be Church in today’s world!

In this way, we truly do become a righteous people – answering the question I asked in the beginning of this meditation – “What does it mean to be righteous in the eyes of God?”

When we find ourselves becoming a people filled with love not only for God, but also for each other, then we find ourselves, in this love, growing to become more God-like, growing to become more Christ-like.

And in this selfless nature found in our expression of love for one another, we truly begin to grow to become a holier people.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[Jesus] said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.’(Luke 8:21)
  • “Make me understand the way of your precepts; I will ponder your wondrous deeds…Give me understanding to keep your law, to observe it with all my heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for that is my delight.” (Psalm 119:27, 34-35)
  • “All your ways may be straight in your own eyes, but it is the LORD who weighs hearts. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:2-3)
  • “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
  • “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a)
  • “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
  • “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
  • “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
  • “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
  • “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him.” (Colossians 2:3, 6)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.

“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.

“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.

“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Anonymous