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

August 20 ~ Speak to Priests of My Mercy

Theme:  Tell My Priests

“As I fixed my gaze on the Most Sacred Heart, the same rays of light, as are represented in the image as blood and water, came forth from it, and I understood how great is the Lord’s mercy. And again Jesus said to me with kindness, ‘My daughter, speak to priests about this inconceivable mercy of Mine. The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them upon souls; souls just do not want to believe in My goodness.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 177)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, may the flames of Your Divine Mercy set priests on fire with Your inconceivable Mercy, so that lukewarm and unbelieving souls may be set ablaze with Your Mercy through the ministry of Your priests. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

August 20 ~ Being Faithful to a Particular Grace

Theme:  Grace

“Lord, transform me completely into Yourself, maintain in me a holy zeal for Your glory, give me the grace and spiritual strength to do Your holy will in all things.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 240)

“O you days of work and of monotony, you are not monotonous to me at all, for each moment brings me new graces and opportunity to do good.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 245)

“Now I understand what it means to be faithful to a particular grace. That one grace draws down a whole series of others.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 263)

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Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, August 20

No Matter How Hard We Work or How Much We Pray, It Is God Alone Who Offers to Each of Us That Incomparable Treasure Which Is Heaven, a Treasure Which No Amount of Money Can Buy and Which No Thief Can Steal.

We read in today’s Gospel a question posed by our Lord’s disciples, “Who then can be saved?” To which our Lord responds, “…For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

In the verses just prior to today’s Reading, which we read yesterday, a rich, young man inquired of Jesus what he must do “to gain eternal life.” After Jesus reminded him to observe the Commandments, He then added, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard what our Lord had added, the Gospel states “…he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

After seeing this young man leave with sadness filling his heart, Jesus comments to His disciples that material wealth can be an obstacle to discipleship and salvation, to which His followers take a deep breath, utterly amazed and confused! They had always assumed material wealth meant God’s blessings! If the wealthy are not “blessed”, then who is?

Many people live out their lives not giving a second thought to the difficulties which wealth and power can create in a person’s relationship with God, especially when wealth and power begin to turn one’s heart to greed and selfishness.

When this happens, then a wall begins to be created by the person between himself and God’s expectations of him. He begins to create a barrier which prevents him from experiencing the true value of selfless love – a true giving of oneself for the benefit of others, just as Christ gave of Himself completely for you and me.

Greed and selfishness prevent us from emptying from ourselves the pride, ego, arrogance, and conceited feelings of self-importance which separate us from a God who is all Love, from a God who wishes for us to understand the true importance of humility and meekness.

In our First Reading today, Gideon was called by an angel of God to become God’s champion in defeating the Midianites. But how did Gideon respond to this call? “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”

Throughout all of human history, God has constantly called the must humble of His children to accomplish His will, for it is truly those who are the humblest of heart who please God the most, for they are like children – without pride, without arrogance, without self-righteousness.

They are as children who truly live the spirit of poverty in their hearts, for, as Jesus taught us from His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And He tells us today, “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

If wealth and power can become an obstacle, if the wealthy are not automatically “blessed”, as was the erroneous thinking during the days of the Old Covenant, it is no wonder that the Apostles, in utter amazement, posed the question, “Who then can be saved?” And Jesus’ response was a new way of thinking, “…For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

In other words, our achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God who offers eternal life as a gift to each one of us. What Jesus is basically teaching us is that one has to “let go” before one can truly “have”.

Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ means letting go of whatever we think we have, letting go of ourselves and our feelings of self-importance – whether it be a lot or a little – and truly giving priority to following Jesus, with the trust that He will give us the sufficient means necessary to sustain ourselves throughout our life’s journey.

In the materialistic culture in which we are now living, this way of thinking is counter-cultural. This way of thinking runs contrary to everything for which today’s society stands – success-oriented, greed, and personal wealth and power.

In the end, this way of thinking demands that we trust completely in God’s providential Love, opening our hearts to His will for us, and trusting unreservedly that He will never forsake us – even when times are difficult, especially when it is difficult to see daylight at the end of a long, dark tunnel – which I know some who are reading this are personally experiencing. It was Saint Padre Pio who was so fond of saying, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” I, in turn, slightly paraphrase his words by saying to others, “Pray, trust and don’t worry.”

When we truly take the time to study what our Lord is saying in today’s Gospel, we know that Jesus was not opposed to wealth per se, nor was he opposed to the wealthy. He had many friends who were well-to-do, including some notorious tax collectors! One even became an Apostle!

Jesus’ warning reiterated the wisdom of the Old Testament which we find in the Book of Proverbs:  “Better to be poor and walk in integrity than rich and crooked in one’s ways.”

No matter how hard we work or how much we pray, it is God alone who offers to each of us that incomparable treasure which is Heaven – a treasure which no amount of money can buy and which no thief can steal.

Jesus is warning us today that material wealth can shackle us to this Earth, unless we guard against its seduction and set our hearts on God and His Everlasting Kingdom. For the final goal upon which each of us should be most setting our hearts is this highest of all treasures – our oneness with Jesus Christ and the reward of remaining forever with Him in His Kingdom.

Throughout life’s journey here on this side of eternity, may Jesus Christ always be our only True Treasure and delight, and may nothing else keep us from giving to Him all our love and all that we are.

For it is through our humble embrace of His unfathomable Love for each of us whereby our hearts shall be forever captured and to which the eternal treasures of Heaven, which await His faithful children, shall be forever opened. For, with God, “…all things are possible.”

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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

  • “Now someone approached [Jesus] and said, ‘Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?’ He answered him, ‘…If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments…If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Matthew 19:16, 17c, 21-22)
  • “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.’(Matthew 19:23)
  • “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’(Matthew 19:25-26)
  • “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Matthew 19:29-30)
  • “…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
  • “Pride goes before disaster and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the meek than to share plunder with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18-19)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “Better to be poor and walk in integrity than rich and crooked in one’s ways.” (Proverbs 19:1; 28:6)
  • “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear…seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Matthew 6:25a, 33)
  • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • “In love, he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4b-5)
  • “The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:7)

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Prayer for the Day

“Precious Blood and Eternal Word of God,

You are my eternal salvation.

Lost in sin, You liberated me;

You lifted me from the bottomless pit of perdition.

“Treasuring my feeble soul,

You excused my constant frailties.

Forever, I am indebted to Your Mercy.

Your cost can never be repaid,

For You bought my freedom with Your Blood.

“Most Holy and Incarnate Wisdom,

I will always seek You out my Lord;

You are my beloved Deliverer!

You are the Lamb of God!

You, Jesus, are my most intimate Friend and Brother!

In You alone, Lord, do I fine my eternal salvation! Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ August 20

SAINT BERNARD DE CLAIRVAUX (1090-1153), abbot and Doctor of the Church – Patron saint of the Cistercian Order, candlemakers and beekeepers

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church, due mainly to his many writings and sermons which greatly influenced Europe during the 12th century, and is also known for his efforts which helped to avoid a schism in the Church in the year 1130.

Bernard was born into French nobility in the year 1090 at Fontaines-les-Dijon in the Burgundy region of France. Bernard was eighteen years old when his mother died. And at the age of twenty-two, being well-educated and passionate about his faith, and also fearing the ways of the world, he convinced four of his brothers, an uncle and 25 friends to join the Order of Cistercians at the abbey in Cîteaux; his father and another brother also joined the Order soon after.

Three years later, the abbot at Cîteaux sent the young Bernard, at the head of a band of twelve monks, to found a new monastery at the Vallée d’Absinthe, or Valley of Bitterness, in the Diocese of Langres. On June 25, 1115, Bernard named the abbey Claire Vallée, or Clairvaux (Valley of Light), and, from that point on, the names of Bernard and Clairvaux became inseparable. Bernard remained abbot at Clairvaux for the remainder of his life.

His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more, he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. Soon, it was Bernard himself who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff, Pope Innocent II, against the antipope, Anacletus II, who contested the papal election in 1130. It was to both the Church and Europe that Bernard proved the canonical validity of the election and the moral character and merits of Pope Innocent, thus ending a schism that would have done great harm to the Church.

As both arbitrator and a preacher of God’s Truth, Bernard was renowned for his eloquence, preaching throughout France, Italy and Germany. Also, as abbot, the number of Cistercian monks continued to grow until his own abbey became overcrowded. He sent them out to new abbeys which he founded in Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy – numbering in total 163 monasteries throughout Europe.

Throughout Bernard’s lifetime, he wrote many theological and spiritual works, including sermons on the “Canticle of Canticles” (a Book of the Old Testament also called the “Song of Songs”). He was also well-known for his Marian devotion, especially in using and promoting the “Memorare” prayer.

Bernard died in his abbey at Clairvaux on August 20, 1153. He was canonized a saint in 1174 by Pope Alexander III and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1830 by Pope Pius VIII.

We commemorate his feastday on August 20.

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

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Bernard de Clairvaux)

“Heavenly Father, Saint Bernard was filled with zeal for Your House and was a radiant light in Your Church. By his prayers, may we be filled with this spirit of zeal and walk always as children of light.

“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 and Most Merciful God, in the indescribable Love and limitless Mercy which fills Your Divine Nature for each and every one of us, Your children, please fill us with Your Holy Spirit to inspire, strengthen and guide us as we journey each day through life;

– as we look to our faith in Your Goodness which we hold so sacred within our hearts, may we truly live, in our everyday life, the desire to possess You as the only True Treasure which satisfies the deepest longings of our heart and soul, all in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.” †

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

August 19 ~ Priests Are to Proclaim My Mercy

Theme:  Tell My Priests

“I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 50)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, please bless priests with Your great gift of Mercy, so that they may radiate Your Mercy in preaching and in the confessional. May Your Divine Mercy draw sinners to the feet of Your ordained representatives to receive grace from the fountain of Your Mercy. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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

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