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, when You assumed our human nature and walked amongst us, You gave us to know the mind and will of God in the living of our daily lives;

– please grant us the desire to embrace that quality of Christ-like humility and meekness of heart which You lived as an example for us to follow, so that we may truly live the virtues of selfless love and compassionate mercy and understanding towards others, becoming the extension of Your Heart in our every thought, word and deed in this world in which we live today. We humbly pray this always in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

May 15 ~ Infinite Value for Souls

Theme:  Meditate Upon My Passion

“Today, during Mass, I saw the Lord Jesus in the midst of His sufferings, as though dying on the cross. He said to me, ‘My daughter, meditate frequently on the sufferings which I have undergone for your sake, and then nothing of what you suffer for Me will seem great to you. You please Me most when you meditate on My Sorrowful Passion. Join your little sufferings to My Sorrowful Passion, so that they may have infinite value before My Majesty.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1512)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, may I meditate frequently on the sufferings of Your Passion. May I please join my little sufferings to Your Sorrowful Passion that they may have infinite value for souls. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 15 ~ The Fire of Living Love

Theme:  Love

“I have enclosed myself in the tabernacle together with Jesus, my Master. He Himself drew me into the fire of living love on which everything converges.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 704)

“In the evening, I fell as if into a faint and a strange sort of agony. My love wants to equal the love of the Mighty One. It is drawn to Him so vehemently that it is impossible, without some special grace from God, to bear the vastness of such a grace in this life. But I see clearly that Jesus Himself is sustaining me and strengthening me and making me capable of communing with Him.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 708)

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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

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 15

God Is Reaching Out to Each of Us, Asking Us to Truly Live Lives of Selfless Love in All That We Do, without Distinction, without Prejudice or Bias, But with a Truly Open and Selfless Giving of Ourselves for the Good of Each Person Who Touches Our Lives.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus speaking not only to His Apostles, but to all believers throughout the generations who would follow and reflect upon His words, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

To better understand our Lord’s command to us, we should first attempt to better understand how He loves us. What is it about His Love which makes it so distinguishable from other loves? What is it about this Love which God has for you and me that makes it so special, so unique – in the way it impacts our everyday life and in the relationships which we have with others?

Several years ago, there was a play that came out. It started in Madison Square Garden, and then hit the circuit of stages in various cities throughout the United States. The play was titled, “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” It was a story about relationships – relationships within families and amongst loved ones.

Yet, with all its publicity and theatrical reviews, the play really missed its mark! For it failed to recognize that Singular Relationship which truly speaks to us of the Greatest Love Story ever realized throughout the course of human history – that unfathomable and indescribable Love which God has for all of mankind, about which Sacred Scripture unfolds for us!

The Bible teaches us of God’s relationship to His creation, and His relentlessness in inviting His children into truly living a loving relationship with Himself.

And the profoundness of the depth of God’s Love was revealed to us by Christ Himself, for we find many different Scripture passages in the New Testament which speak to you and me about how God calls us to Himself in a true communion of love – a spiritual union in which God becomes our Spiritual Father, we become His children, a spiritual union in which we are invited to become co-heirs with Christ in His Eternal Kingdom.

“As I have loved you…”

John 3:16 states, “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.”

How many times have we read this simple verse and yet failed to realize the fullness and the beauty of its true meaning?

To whom did He send His Son? The verse says, “God so loved the world…” It does not say, “For God so loved His Chosen People…” No! He sent his Son for everyone – peoples of every nation, of every race, creed, culture and religious persuasion!

God is not biased or preferential in His Love. He does not discriminate because of racial, cultural or sexual preferences. His Love is pure; His Love is all-inclusive and non-judgmental! In this meditation, we are NOT talking about human behavior which offends God. Rather, we are focusing on what God IS and what He truly is all about!

In the First Letter of John, we read, “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.”

For you and me, remaining in God means that we embrace this most wondrous gift of Love which God has for each of us – a Love which is so difficult for us to grasp, to put our hands around, a Love which is so difficult for us to fully understand or fathom.

But it is a Love which we recognize each and every time we gaze upon the Cross. It is a Love which we experience, in a very real way, each and every time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Eucharist!

And it is this communion of Love which God has for each of us, this total selfless giving of Himself for you and me – a Love which he is asking us to share with all those around us.

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

A simple enough task – loving one another. And yet, when we look at the world in which we live, when we read the newspapers or listen to the news on the radio or television, the very concept of a real, selfless love seems to be lacking in so many people – lacking in so many of our brothers and sisters!

If we were to take the time to imagine a world filled with love – a world in which societies and cultures place the needs of others first, a world in which we would find no hatred, no violence of any form, a world in which hunger and disease were eradicated, then I would say that we finally and truly have learned how to love selflessly.

We would be able to say that God’s Kingdom has truly come upon the Earth, fully lived out in each and every one of us – a petition for which we pray daily in the Lord’s Prayer, a petition for a new Heaven and a new Earth which is promised to us in Sacred Scripture.

But when we look around us today, we know that reality paints a much different picture. The landscape in which we live is oftentimes filled with selfishness, greed, power, lust, secular idolatry – these are all faces of a culture which is sorely lacking in the virtue of selfless love!

Loving one another, as we read in today’s Gospel, is NOT an option! It IS a commandment which our Lord expects from each of His children!

And yet, this commandment is not without a living example for each of us to follow. The Eternal Word emptied Himself of the awesomeness and the glory of His Divinity, so that He could take upon Himself our human nature, so that He could teach us by both word and example, including His own death, what it truly means to love others selflessly.

In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus and the Apostles in the Upper Room. He is preparing His chosen few for the Passion which He is about to undergo. He says to them, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.”

And then He says to them and to us, for His words are timeless, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This verse reminds me of the hymn which we sometimes sing, one which I am sure most of us are familiar, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know that we are Christians by our love.”

Out of His indescribable Love for each of us, Jesus accepted the awesome task of freely giving Himself up to death, to the point of enduring the horrendous pain of scourging at the hands of Roman soldiers, the humiliation of Roman crucifixion and the horrific agony of the Cross – so that He may teach us, His brothers and sisters, of the Divine Love and Mercy which our Heavenly Father has for each one of us – so that you and I, and all our brothers and sisters of every generation, may be reconciled to our Heavenly Father for all eternity!

This was then, is now, and always will be the ultimate example of the infinite and selfless Love which God has for each of us! And He asks both you and me to emulate His Love, insofar as you and I are able on this side of eternity – in our thoughts, in our words and in all our interactions with each other – in our daily lives.

The lasting joy which each of us ultimately seeks is the eternal joy, the eternal happiness with the God who loves you and me so profoundly – the Eternal Love which is beyond human explanation or adequate expression. And it is because of this Love that He invites each of us to be with Him always.

God invites both you and me to be in relationship with Himself – a relationship which is holy, a relationship which is loving and intimate, a relationship which unites us to His Love for all eternity.

For, as we read from the Book of Revelation in our Second Reading today, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’ The One who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’

This newness about which we are promised is the peace and love for which we all deeply yearn within our hearts. It is a life filled with eternal joy, a life in which God’s Presence is always before us, loving us, caring for us – a life in which there are no more wars, no more disease, no more despair.

For you and me today, here on this side of Heaven, God is reaching out to each of us, asking us to truly live lives of selfless love in all that we do. It is easy to live this virtuous love for all those whom we hold dear within our families. God is asking us, however, to take this same love and live it in the world.

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” – without distinction, without prejudice or bias, but with a truly open and selfless giving of ourselves for the good of each person who touches our lives!

Jesus loved you and me so much, that He stretched out His arms so that He may embrace us for all eternity. In remembrance of His Love, in remembrance of His example, can we do no less?

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

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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

  • “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34)
  • “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)
  • “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 4:9-10)
  • “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
  • “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)
  • “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 John 3:1ab)
  • “The commandments…are summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10)
  • “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’ The One who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’(Revelation 21:3-5a)
  • “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

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Prayer for the Day

“Eternal and Most Loving Father,
I submit my entire self to Your Holy will.
All that I am today, transform me into Your servant;
living Your Truth amongst my brothers and sisters.

“Thank You for imbuing me with Your Holy Spirit,
who guides me to live a life of righteousness,
enabling me to be all that You desire me to be,
so that I may give my best in service to Your children.

“Forgive me for my past failures,
rejecting the image of Christ in those around me.
In selfishness, I held back Your Love
and fell short in living the virtue of charity.

“Fill my heart with humility,
so that I may always fulfill Your will,
imitating the life of Your Son, Jesus,
giving love without counting the cost.

“In Jesus’ Name, I pray for this grace
for the glory of Your Divine Majesty,
in the Presence of the Holy Spirit,
and for the well-being of my soul for all eternity. Amen.”

Anonymous

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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“God, our Most Loving and Merciful Creator, as You gaze upon all Your children who are scattered throughout the four corners of the Earth, protect and guide all who call You Father, reconciling them to Yourself and to Your Holy Church;

– and may all Your children hear and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd in their daily lives, so that all may be gathered into the one flock under the loving and merciful care of Your Divine Son, for our Lord Jesus Christ is truly our only Bridge to You and the True Cornerstone of our faith. We humbly pray this in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

May 8 ~ A Share in My Joy and Glory

Theme:  Meditate Upon My Passion

“The Resurrection – Today, during the [Mass of the] Resurrection, I saw the Lord Jesus in the midst of a great light. He approached me and said, ‘Peace be to you, My children,’ and He lifted up His hand and gave His blessing. The wounds in His hands, feet and side were indelible and shining. When He looked at me with such kindness and love, my whole soul drowned itself in Him.

“And He said to me, ‘You have taken a great part in My Passion; therefore I now give you a great share in My joy and glory.’ The whole time of the Resurrection [Mass] seemed like only a minute to me. A wondrous recollection filled my soul and lasted throughout the whole festal season. The kindness of Jesus is so great that I cannot express it.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 205)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, I gaze upon You as the Risen Lord through the eyes of Saint Faustina – and I contemplate the victory of Your Passion, Death and Resurrection over sin, death and Satan. May I please live in that victory always! (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 8 ~ Suffering for Love of God

Theme:  Love

“In my interior life I never reason; I do not analyze the ways in which God’s Spirit leads me. It is enough for me to know that I am loved and that I love.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 293)

“…when we suffer much we have a great chance to show God that we love Him; but when we suffer little we have less occasion to show God our love; and when we do not suffer at all, our love is then neither great nor pure. By the grace of God, we can attain a point where suffering will become a delight to us, for love can work such things in pure souls.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 303)

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Meditation for the Day

Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 8

May Each of Us Come to Recognize the Voice of the Good Shepherd in Our Daily Lives, for Jesus Truly Is Our Only Bridge, Our Connection to Our Most Loving Father in Heaven.

We hear in today’s Gospel, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

It was some time ago when I stood outside an abortion clinic in a nearby city praying the Rosary. I could see the faces of so many young women who were going inside to, presumably, have the lives of their babies terminated.

On many of these faces, there were expressions of confusion or bewilderment when they saw the group of us praying for an end to the atrocities of abortion. It was like these women were wandering from car to clinic, like sheep without a shepherd, for they were unable to hear the voice of the Eternal Shepherd calling out to them.

It is this voice which leads us, supports us, and raises us up, which is the common thread which we find weaving itself throughout today’s Readings, quenching our thirst and hunger for God’s Truth – a voice which speaks to us in today’s Gospel, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

One of the most common and most comforting images of Jesus in popular Christian art and in our imagination is that of Jesus as “the Good Shepherd.” And this particular Sunday in the post-Easter season – on this Fourth Sunday of Easter – is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.

Jesus is that Hope for which each of us yearns in this life! It is the voice of the Good Shepherd which comforts us and consoles us, a voice which strengthens us and gives us hope as you and I travel daily through this vale of tears.

For we hear in today’s Second Reading from the Book of Revelation, “For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

What a wondrous faith with which you and I have been gifted – a faith which speaks to our hearts of love, peace, mercy and forgiveness – a faith which is freely offered and freely given to those whose hearts are open and receptive!

For we find within our First Reading how Paul and Barnabas were guided into offering the faith to everyone who would listen, “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.’

How many of us have taken the time to really – and I mean really think about this faith in which we all share, and in a God who loves us so much that He was willing to send us His Only-Begotten Son, so that He would teach us about the profound wonder of God’s unfathomable Love, so that He might teach us of God’s loving Mercy, even to the point of offering His own life on the Cross for each and every one of us –

– so that we may be guided, so that we may be shepherded throughout this life on this side of Heaven, and that we may be offered the opportunity of being saved and spending our eternity with Him in His Kingdom?

And we are reminded by today’s psalmist, who tells us in our Responsorial Psalm, “We are his people, the sheep of his flock.”

What an awesome God we have! What an awesome faith we live and share together!

And yet, we live in a world which is so misguided, in a world which is so seduced with moral and secular relativism – a world which wishes to remake God in its own image. Is it no wonder that there is so much chaos in the world? Is it no wonder that the very concept of peace is almost non-existent? Is it no wonder that a culture of immorality and death is at the very heart of societies and governments?

And yet, in spite of all this, Our Lord continues to call out to us, the Good Shepherd seeking that which is lost, so that we may all be gathered into one fold, so that, in hearing His voice, He may lead us “to springs of life giving water” – so that He may give us eternal life, and that we may never perish!

Jesus is the Good Shepherd to all His believers, just as shepherds were to their livestocks. A shepherd tended his flock day and night. He would gather his flock into a sheepfold at night for their protection. The sheepfold was some form of a pen or a cave or an area backed by stone walls. Since there were no doors, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening, ready to guard his sheep from harm.

And in John’s Gospel, Jesus illustrates how He, as the Good Shepherd, cares for His flock, protecting them from all that would harm them. He loves and shields them and, if necessary, as Jesus tells us in an earlier verse from John’s Gospel, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

As you and I journey through this life with its many ups and downs, and with the many trials and difficulties which we oftentimes must face and bear, to whom do we always turn for help? To whom do we always reach out for in times of need or in times of sorrow?

Even from a very young age, our faith teaches us that each one of us has a God who loves us beyond all human imagining, that we have a God who cares for us so much that He gave His Only-Begotten Son so that we may have life, and have it to the fullest.

A few short weeks ago, we just lived through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ – His suffering, death and resurrection. For many of us who spent time meditating upon the sufferings which He endured, we found ourselves filled with a great sorrow.

And yet, this sorrow gave way to an even greater joy – a hope which fills each one of us with anticipation for ourselves and for our loved ones – that we too shall one day share in the glory which is Christ’s, the wonder and glory of our own resurrection to eternal life!

And it is this hope which reminds us of our Lord’s own promise, a promise that He will seek out those who are lost with the parable that each of us is so familiar:

“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 this Good Shepherd who IS our Gateway, the means by which we are fed God’s Truth, and the door through which we shall attain eternal happiness!

It is this Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is our Way, our Truth and our Life. It is Jesus Christ who is our only bridge, our connection to our Most Loving Father in Heaven – a Father who knows each of us personally by name better than we know ourselves, remembering that our Lord once told us, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.”

And out of His unfathomable Love for each of His children, He calls out to us, inviting each of us by name to share in His happiness. And for those of us who hear His voice and respond to His call, we become with Him “one flock, one shepherd.”

As we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday today, may we open the ears of our hearts and souls to the voice of the Eternal Word made Flesh. May each of us come to recognize the sound of the Good Shepherd’s voice in our daily lives, as you and I continue our daily pilgrimage through life.

And may we come to trust in the only Shepherd who gave His life, suffering and accepting the tortures and humiliation which went with His Cross – enduring all so that you and I might find peace and joy in the sure and steadfast Truth of the eternal life which awaits each of us who hear and follow His voice.

“…they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

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

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Scripture for the Day

  • “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)
  • “For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)
  • “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47)
  • “Know that the LORD is God, he made us, we belong to him, we are his people, the flock he shepherds.” (Psalm 100:3)
  • “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
  • “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
  • “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God.” (Psalm 42:2-3a)
  • “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 John 3:1)
  • “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.” (Matthew 18:12b-14)
  • “…they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16c)

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Prayer for the Day

“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
though Your people walk in the valley of darkness,
no evil should they fear;
for they follow in faith the call of the Good Shepherd
whom You have sent for their hope and strength.

“Attune our minds to the sound of His voice,
lead our steps in the path He has shown,
that we may know the strength of His outstretched arms
and enjoy the Light of Your Wondrous Presence forever.

“We ask this in the Name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.”

cf. Alternate Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Roman Breviary)