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, You taught us the importance of building our faith upon the firm and lasting foundation of Your Truth in our lives;

– as we continue our daily pilgrimage through life, please help us to open our hearts to Your Loving Presence, so that we may always be guided in making choices which please You and give You glory, always realizing that You are truly the most important ingredient in our life of faith. We humbly pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

September 24 ~ Part Five of Conference:  “Sacrifice and Prayer”

Theme:  Jesus the Teacher

(Continued)

“Do not be afflicted if your heart often experiences repugnance and dislike for sacrifice. All its power rests in the will, and so these contrary feelings, far from lowering the value of the sacrifice in My eyes, will enhance it. Know that your body and soul will often be in the midst of fire. Although you will not feel My presence on some occasions, I will always be with you. Do not fear; My grace will be with you…” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1767e)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, in the midst of suffering, may I hear the words of Your promise, “I will always be with you. Do not fear; My grace will be with you.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

September 24 ~ I See the Lord in My Soul

Theme:  Silence, Solitude

“I must not let myself become absorbed in the whirl of work, [but] take a break to look up to heaven. Speak little with people, but a good deal with God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 226)

“My happiest moments are when I am alone with my Lord. During these moments I experience the greatness of God and my own misery.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 289)

“Often during Mass, I see the Lord in my soul; I feel His presence which pervades my being. I sense His divine gaze; I have long talks with Him without saying a word; I know what His divine Heart desires, and I always do what will please Him the most. I love Him to distraction, and I feel that I am being loved by God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 411)

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Meditation for the Day

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 24

Let Us Pray That All the Ingredients of Living Our Daily Lives Be Included, So That We Will Know That Our Recipe Has Always Been Filled with That Most Essential of All Components – God’s Loving Presence!

We hear Herod asking an essential question in today’s Gospel, “Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” It is a very basic and fundamental question which each of us had also asked when we first started to learn about our faith. “Who then is this Jesus?”

In this life of faith which has developed within each one of us, I am sure that, as the end of each day approaches, many of us probably look back and take stock of what we have accomplished and what still remains undone.

And there are days at work, or at school, or even in the home when, no matter how hard we have worked, or how busy we occupy our time, we sometimes walk away feeling like we have not accomplished enough or that we have forgotten something important, especially when we get older. And that “something” does not feel quite right. It is as though something significant is missing and we cannot quite put our finger on it.

During these times, I am sure that we feel a certain frustration, a certain emptiness or dissatisfaction that we cannot quite put into focus. It would be like a cherished recipe passed down from generation to generation. It looks the same when finished, but, when eaten, it doesn’t quite taste the same – something is missing, possibly an essential ingredient which we forgot to include.

When it comes to our life of faith, unless we actively live what we have been taught, faith itself can seem barren and dry, even dead. We can say we believe, but there is an emptiness to our belief.

We may even go through the motions of going to church, but some essential ingredient seems to be missing, and, so, we leave after Mass feeling as though we got nothing out of it. And when the Eucharist doesn’t seem to fill that void we feel within ourselves, even our prayer life can take upon itself a spiritual dryness, for our heart and our soul feels empty and doesn’t realize or recognize the wonder of God’s Presence all around us!

And this appears to be the frustration we find in our First Reading today from the Book of Ecclesiastes, when Qoheleth exclaims, “…vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! …All speech is labored; there is nothing one can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.”

When one walks through life without ever being open to the wonders which surround us – the beauty and the fragrance of a simple flower, the changing of the seasons and the warm autumn colors, the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow on the ground or the sparkling beauty of frozen ice along the edges of a tree branch, even the cry of new life as a child is born into the world –

– these are just a handful of countless wonders of God’s creation which surround us each and every year! And unless our heart is open to recognizing and appreciating the beauty in God’s creation, all life can seem like vanity – where every step we take can seem futile and empty.

King Herod’s life in today’s Gospel was no different. Oh, he surrounded himself with empty pleasures, but nothing gave meaning to his life. He was fascinated with the charisms which filled the life of John the Baptist, but also felt a certain sadness when he had to fulfill a promise made to Herodias’ daughter Salome, when she asked to have John beheaded.

In a similar way, King Herod is both curious and fascinated by this man called Jesus. He questions his advisors regarding the identity of this person about whom he has heard stories. “Who…is this about whom I hear such things?” Unbeknownst to Herod, Jesus IS the missing ingredient in his life!

Back to our own sense that something is missing – when we find ourselves confronted with these feelings of futility or emptiness, even if we believe we have done all that we should have done in any given situation, it is likely that we have relied too heavily upon our own efforts and not allowed God to be present in our thoughts and in our words and actions.

When we begin to sense that something is missing, that something is out of place or not quite right, we need to take the time to listen to that voice within us. That inner voice may be more than just our conscience speaking to us.

It may well be the whisperings of God’s voice, awakening within each one of us a need to keep ourselves focused on what truly matters in our lives – a personal and an intimate relationship with the Living God who created us, with the God who sacrificed Himself for you and me in the Person of His Son made flesh, and with the God who constantly sanctifies and strengthens us daily – all out of Divine Love for each and every one of us!

It is only when we include this most essential ingredient in our daily thoughts and our daily activities that we begin to truly feel complete, that we begin to truly feel contented and at peace – realizing that our life is incomplete unless we allow God to become an essential element within us!

Our psalmist today echoes this very thought when he writes, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart…Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days…Prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!”

Let us pray today that all the ingredients of our life be present, so that, as we look back upon our accomplishments in the growth of our faith, we will know that our recipe has always been filled with that most essential of all components – God’s Loving Presence!

For you and I know what Herod did not – that this Person, whose Most Holy Name is Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, has proven that His Love for us is truly THE ONLY ingredient which gives our life true meaning!

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Scripture for the Day

  • “Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, ‘John has been raised from the dead’…But Herod said, ‘John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he kept trying to see him.” (Luke 9:7, 9)
  • “…vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! …All things are wearisome, too wearisome for words. The eye is not satisfied by seeing nor has the ear enough of hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2bc, 8)
  • “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart…Fill us at daybreak with your mercy, that all our days we may sing for joy…May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:12, 14, 17)
  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
  • “All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” (James 1:17)
  • “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
  • “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (Psalm 40:9)
  • “For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
  • “…for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

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Prayer for the Day

“Our Eternal and Most Loving Father in Heaven,
may everything I do begin with Your inspiration,
continue with Your saving help,
and reach perfection under Your guidance.

“With Your Loving Care, guide me in my daily actions,
and help me to persevere with love and sincerity.
Teach me to judge wisely the things of Earth
and to always love the things of Heaven.

“Your Spirit instilled in my heart that I am Your child,
and I am confident to call You my Father.
Keep me in Your Presence always
and never let me be separated from You.

“Make Your Love and Mercy the foundation of my life;
teach me to long for Heaven as my eternal Home.
May its promise and hope guide my way on Earth
until I finally reach eternal life with You. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ September 24

OUR LADY OF MERCY

Today, the Church honors our Blessed Mother under the mantle of Our Lady of Mercy (also known as Our Lady of Ransom).

Our Blessed Lady is at the origin of many religious Orders, religious institutes, and monasteries. Very often, she might appear to a particular individual, entrusting a founder or foundress with a particular mission, with a Rule of life to foster that mission and, sometimes, with a distinctive habit (style and color of clothing). And her name is even associated with some religious Orders.

Such was the case in the title of Our Lady of Mercy given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1218 by Brother Peter Nolasco, who founded an Order called the Mercedarians, or the Order of Mercy.

It is recorded that, in the early thirteenth century while much of Spain lay under the domination of Saracens (Muslims, commonly called Moors), the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Brother Peter, encouraging him to found an Order for the purpose of redeeming Christians held in brutal slavery by the infidel forces.

Members of the new Order, in addition to the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience taken by monks and friars of other Orders, bound themselves by a fourth vow – to give themselves in trade to the infidels, if necessary, to obtain the liberation of Christians from slavery.

The Order was approved by Pope Gregory IX in the year 1230. The color of their habit was white and the Order was composed of both religious and lay members. The development of the order was immediate and widespread throughout France, England, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. And as the Moors were driven back, new abbeys of Mercy were established.

In the year 1258, Pope Alexander IV issued a formal declaration in which he joined Mary’s name to the term mercy, a term which had already been widely used by the Order as an informal title for their Order since the beginning – “Blessed Mary of Mercy”.

Consequently, in 1272, formal drafting of the Constitution for the Order made Mary’s name official in the title by calling it “Order of the Virgin Mary of Mercy of the Redemption of Captives”.

It has been understood by the Mercedarian historians that the presence of Mary in her appearance to Brother Peter, which can only result if God so wills it, was asking that the Order be established for the purpose of committing itself to the redemption of captives, bringing honor to God through Mary as Our Lady of Mercy.

Today, the Order continues as an international community of priests and brothers, who live a life of prayer and communal fraternity based on the Rule of Saint Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order. From this life flows the apostolic work of the Order that seeks to carry on the work of their founder, Saint Peter Nolasco, who, in imitation of Jesus the Redeemer, offered even his own life for those Christians in need of redemptive love.

We commemorate this feastday of Our Lady of Mercy on September 24.

(From saints.sqpn.com, vultus.stblogs.org, catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com and orderofmercy.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Mercedarian Collect of Our Lady of Mercy)

“O God, who for the deliverance of Christians from the power of heathens, was pleased through the most glorious Mother of Your Son to enrich Your Church with a new family, we pray that You grant that we, who devoutly venerate her as the foundress of this great work, may likewise be delivered by her merits and intercession from all our sins and from bondage to the power of Hell.

“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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“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