Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

January 6 ~ Distrust Hurts His Most Sweet Heart

Theme:  Trust

“God is very displeased with lack of trust in Him, and this is why some souls lose many graces. Distrust hurts His most sweet Heart, which is full of goodness and incomprehensible love for us.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 595)

“When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 606)

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Meditation for the Day

Thursday after Epiphany, January 6

May We Become, to the World Around Us, an Example of Divine Light in Loving One Another as Jesus Loves Each and Every One of Us.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor…” And then Jesus said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Today, as we enter the final days of the Christmas Season, we shift our focus from Jesus’ Birth to the true purpose of His Presence among us: “…to bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…”

We hear in our Scripture Readings today proclamations of the gratuitous nature of God’s Love for each of us – a Love which is freely given – and to which we respond through our own acts of love. For as John tells us in our First Reading, “Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.”

Through our Baptism, you and I have been given “new life” in Christ Jesus. Through our Confirmation, we have been strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live that “new life” in a world, in a society which has oftentimes closed its heart to the Light of this world.

Nourished and sustained by Eucharist, we are each called to give witness to that Divine Light – a Light which invites each of us, regardless of race, color, creed or religious persuasion, to become co-heirs with Jesus Christ for all eternity!

As co-heirs, we are each called to live the Gospel message of love – love for God and love for neighbor. And John makes this message very clear in his Epistle when he writes, “…whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Love is that bonding agent which unites us to God. Pope Emeritus Benedict, in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, which means God is Love, stated, “Love of God and love of neighbor are…inseparable, they form a single commandment…both live from the Love of God who has loved us first.”

And it is only human nature that, when you and I are loved, we feel good inside, and we not only return that love in some form, but we also find ourselves naturally sharing that love with others.

And our Holy Father went on to say, “Love grows through love. Love is ‘Divine’ because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a ‘we’ which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is ‘all in all.’”

And we hear in our First Reading that keeping God’s Commandment of love is not burdensome, for it is love which will conquer the world.

Sadly, however, it is the absence of love which has caused divisions among families, communities and nations. It is the absence of love which has brought about wars and needless death throughout the history of man. And it is the absence of love which has resulted in the riots and mayhem we find in many cities throughout the world today.

As you and I reflect upon our relationship with God and with our neighbor – and our neighbor is each one of us as brothers and sisters in Christ, for we are all adopted children of the same Eternal and Heavenly Father – how do we live out the Commandment of love in our lives?

In our individual journeys which you and I travel on this side of Heaven, we are each called to imitate the life of Christ in the life we live here and now. Created in the image and likeness of God, and by virtue of our Baptism into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are each called to embrace the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity –

Faith tells us that God has given to each one of us His Son for our sake, so that we may have life and have it to the fullest. And our faith teaches us that our life with God is the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires.

Hope is the virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our ultimate happiness, dispelling all fear and despair by placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.

And charity? Charity is that theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves – for the love of God. Our Lord asks you and me to love as He loves, even those we find most difficult to love. And our Lord also asks us to love the poorest of the poor, as if each one was Christ Himself.

Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “…if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And he ends his dissertation on love by writing, “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

May Jesus – who is our closest and most intimate Friend, our dearest Brother and our saving God – fill each of us with His Spirit of Strengthening, His Spirit of Truth and Love – so that both you and I may become, to the world around us, that example of Divine Light as we reach out and “love one another” as Jesus loves each and every one of us.

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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

  • “We love [God] because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
  • “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18, 21b)
  • “…whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20b-21)
  • “For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” (Hosea 6:6)
  • “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
  • “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:1-3)
  • “…if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2b)
  • Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
  • “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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Prayer for the Day

“Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances,
but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls
and come to their rescue.

“Help me, that my ears may be merciful,
so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs
and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.

“Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful,
so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor,
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.

“Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful
and filled with good deeds,
so that I may do only good to my neighbors
and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.

“Help me, that my feet may be merciful,
so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor,
overcoming my own fatigue and weariness.
My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.

“Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful
so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor.
I will refuse my heart to no one.
I will be sincere even with those who,
I know, will abuse my kindness…

“O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself,
for You can do all things.”

Saint Faustina (Diary, § 163)

Saint of the Day ~ January 6

SAINT ANDRÉ BESSETTE (1845-1937), religious

Today, the Church honors Saint André Bessette, a humble servant of God whose deep devotion to Saint Joseph and service to the Church brought hope and healing to many who were afflicted.

Born on August 9, 1845, in the town of St. Grégoire neat Montreal, Canada, André Bessette was the eighth of twelve children and orphaned at the age of twelve.

As a young boy, he was poor, uneducated and plagued by ill health. Before entering religious life, he tried his hand at many trades: apprentice shoemaker, farm-hand, baker, blacksmith and tinsmith. For a while, he even worked in the textile mills in the state of Connecticut.

In 1870, he entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross and took the name Brother André. However, he was initially refused admittance due to his poor health, but was supported by a local bishop and was ultimately accepted into the Order.

He spent most of each night in prayer, and on his window sill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André was especially devoted. “Some day”, André believed, “Saint Joseph will be honored in a very special way on Mount Royal.”

While assigned as the porter, or doorkeeper, at the College of Notre Dame in Montreal, he heard someone was ill. He went to visit the sick person to bring cheer and to pray. He would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel. The person became healthy and word of the healing began to spread.

When an epidemic broke out at a nearby college, Brother André volunteered to nurse those who were afflicted. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious and doctors called him a quack. Brother André responded again and again, “I do not cure. Saint Joseph cures.” In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he would receive each year!

Throughout his more than sixty-five years in religious life, Brother André fostered a great devotion to Saint Joseph among those who were poor and afflicted with ailments. In 1904, he founded the Oratory of Saint Joseph on Mount Royal in Montreal, and was always known as a man of prayer and friend of the poor.

A sickly boy who could not hold a job in his youth, Brother André died on January 6, 1937, at the age of ninety-one years old, having spent his life building up the Body of Christ through cultivating a holy devotion to the foster-father of Jesus Christ, whose saintly intercessions before the Throne of the Divine Son of God brought consolation and spiritual, emotional and physical healings.

Pope St. John Paul II, in a homily he gave at the beatification ceremony in 1982 for Blessed André, stated that people who were stricken with illness or anguish would come to him from distant places “…to seek from him faith in God, trust in Saint Joseph’s intercession, a pathway to prayer and the Sacraments, a glimmer of hope and oftentimes a genuine relief of body and soul.”

(Please note that my own maternal grandmother received healing at Mount Royal through the intercession of Saint Joseph.)

Blessed André Bessette was canonized a saint on October 17, 2010, by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His remains are interred in a tomb below the Oratory of Saint Joseph’s main chapel in Montreal, Canada.

We commemorate his feastday on January 6.

(From the Roman Breviary, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, and vatican.va/holy_father)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Collect of the Roman Missal for Saint André Bessette)

“Lord our God, Friend of the lowly, who gave Your servant, Saint André Bessette, a great devotion to Saint Joseph and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted, help us through his intercession to follow his example of prayer and love, and so come to share with him in Your Glory.

“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 Merciful and Loving Lord Jesus, today, in our continuing and growing relationship with You, may we always be open to Your gift of Eternal Love, and may we always respond to Your invitation to be one with You with an opened and willing heart, imitating the example of the selfless love which fills Your Divine Nature for each one of us;

– for You are truly our only Way, our only Path to eternal joy and happiness. Lord Jesus, You are truly the only Model for us to ever follow in this life, all through Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

January 4 ~ Believe My Wounds

Theme:  Trust ~ Distrust

‘My Heart is sorrowful,’ Jesus said, ‘because even chosen souls do not understand the greatness of My mercy. Their relationship [with Me] is, in certain ways, imbued with mistrust. Oh, how much that wounds my Heart! Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 379)

My prayer response:

O my Jesus, may my prayer bring joy to Your Heart as You pierce the hearts of even chosen souls who mistrust You in some ways. May they remember Your Passion and believe Your wounds which You suffered for them. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

January 4 ~ One Trusted Friend

Theme:  Trust

“Often have I lived hoping against hope, and have advanced my hope to complete trust in God. Let that which He has ordained from all ages happen to me.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 386)

“I have only one trusted Friend in whom I confide everything, and that is Jesus – the Eucharist, and His representative – my confessor.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 504)

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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

Tuesday after Epiphany, January 4

May God’s Love for Each of Us Become the Model of How You and I Are to Love, for God’s Love Is Limitless, an Example of How Our Love Should Also Be.

As we begin to leave the warm feelings of the holiday season to the cold months of winter, we are given an opportunity to take with us what the Christmas Event was all about. And we hear it explained to us very clearly in our First Reading today:

“…for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him.”

There is an old expression, and I am sure that most of us have heard it used at one time or another: “I may not be able to explain it, but I know it when I see it!”

This could easily apply to the reality to which we refer when we use the word “love” – we can experience it; we can feel its presence; but when we try to define it, the definition becomes very “slippery”, and our attempts at rationally explaining or defining what love is seems to oftentimes elude us.

And yet, we hear in the First Letter of John, “…God is love.” John gives a definition or proof of God’s Love by pointing out that the Eternal Father sent His only Son into the world, born at Christmas, so that we may have the gift of eternal life.

And then he goes to further explain God’s relationship to His own creation with the words: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.”

In short, we experience love first of all by being loved! This is true on both the natural as well as the supernatural levels. We first learn to love by feeling loved from our parents. One of the most important tasks of a parent is teaching a child how to give and receive love! But the parent must first show the child love; and only then does the child gradually learn to experience and appreciate that love, which the child then happily returns.

It may well be that we experience love most through our physical senses and the actions of fellow human beings – whether they be parents, a spouse, children, friends, community or even strangers. But sometimes love comes to us in ways that cannot be “felt” – yet still experienced.

God’s Love will often fall into this category. The very nature of God is relational, as we know from the Divine Love which exists between each of the Three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity. God’s Love is also relational in the Love which exists between the Divine Bridegroom and His Bride – the Church, of which we are all members.

God cannot help but love us, and, being human, we are often demanding of signs or proofs of God’s Love, just as we often do with our human relationships. And God understands this weakness within us; and yet, it does not diminish His Love for us.

For we read in today’s Gospel, “When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” And through His Love, our Lord fed them spiritually as well as physically, for He would not let them go away hungry. In His Love, our Lord filled their souls and their bodies with the nourishment He knew was best for them.

As we near the end of this Holy Season of Christmas in just a few days, we have been given a reminder of the God who is Love, because God put a human face on His Love in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it is through the Eternal Word made flesh wherefrom we are taught that love is like the five loaves and two fishes – there never seems to be enough food to go around, until we start giving it away – for God’s Love is limitless, an example of how our love should also be.

As we begin our pilgrimage through life in this new year, and as we think about God’s Love for you and me, let us contemplate Christmas when God became man for our sake, by being born amongst His own. And let us also reflect upon Easter, in which the Son of Man freely offers Himself in sacrifice, so that we may have life and have it to the fullest.

Christmas and Easter – expressions of Eternal Love, a Divine Love which continues to give! They are truly God’s gifts offered to each and every one of us, freely given out of God’s infinite and indescribable Love for you and me!

May His Love for us become the model for how you and I are to also love in the world around us in which we live.

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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

  • “…for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. 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 4:8b-10)
  • “What does the Lord ask of us? Only this, to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8b)
  • “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
  • “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection.” (Romans 12:9-10a)
  • “…if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2b-3)
  • “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21)
  • “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (1 John 4:11-12)

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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.

“Jesus, fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Lord, 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 ~ January 4

SAINT ELIZABETH ANN SETON (1774-1821)
Religious and foundress
Patron saint of widows and against the death of children

Today, the Church honors Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, a woman who truly exemplifies what it means to be a follower of Christ.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born on August 28, 1774 in New York City, the daughter of an eminent physician and professor at what is now Columbia University. Her mother died when Elizabeth was only three years old. She was raised as an Episcopalian and received an excellent education; and, from her early years, she manifested an unusual concern for the poor.

In 1794, Elizabeth married William Seton, with whom she had five children. Her husband fell into financial difficulties, and later died of tuberculosis in 1803 while they where staying with Catholic friends at Livorno, Italy. When Elizabeth returned to New York City some six months later, she was already deeply drawn to the Catholic faith. She was met with stern opposition from her Episcopalian friends, but was baptized a Catholic on March 4, 1805.

Abandoned by her friends and relatives, Elizabeth was invited to found a school for girls in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The school prospered and, with the approval of Archbishop John Carroll of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and encouraged by priests from the Society of Saint Sulpice (Sulpicians), Elizabeth and her assistants were permitted to make a religious profession modeled on the rule of the Daughters of Charity of Paris and to wear a religious habit.

In 1809, Sister Elizabeth moved her young community to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she became the Foundress of a new Order of the Sisters of Charity, which became the first Order of religious sisters in America. Although she never neglected the ministry to the poor, and especially to African-Americans, she actually laid the foundation for what became the American parochial school system. She trained teachers and prepared textbooks for use in the schools, and she saw the expansion of her small community of teaching sisters in Philadelphia, New York City and as far west as St. Louis, Missouri.

In a conference she once gave to her religious community, Mother Seton stated, “…what was the first rule of our Savior’s life? You know it was to do His Father’s will. Well then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner He wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is His will.”

Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton died at Emmitsburg on January 4, 1821 where she is buried. She became the first American-born citizen to be beatified in 1963, and was canonized a saint by Pope St. Paul VI in 1975.

We commemorate her feastday on January 4.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, newadvent.org and emmitsburg.net/setonshrine)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton)

“Lord God, You blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to Your people. Through her example and prayers, may we learn to express our love for You in love for our fellow men and women.

“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.”