Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

January 20 ~ You Are Compassion Itself

Theme:  Mercy

“O my God, even in the punishments You send down upon the earth I see the abyss of Your mercy, for by punishing us here on earth You free us from eternal punishment.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 423a)

“O God, You are compassion itself for the greatest sinners who sincerely repent. The greater the sinner, the greater his right to God’s mercy.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 423b)

“I desire to go throughout the whole world and speak to souls about the great mercy of God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 491)

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Meditation for the Day

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, January 20

With an Abiding Confidence in God’s Promises and His Loving Presence in Our Lives, May We Always Reach Out for Our Lord’s Mediation on Our Behalf, So That We May Receive His Loving Mercy.

We hear repeated several times today in both our First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

One of the great joys I realize in this Evangelization Apostolate of God’s Divine Love and Mercy is being able to speak about the immense Love which God has for all of His children. His is a Love which is truly beyond all manner of human description or understanding.

His is a Love which is truly infinite and unfathomable on this side of the eternal, for it is a Love which is unconditional. In other words, He loves us even if we fail to love Him, even if we should choose to reject His Love as we walk through life.

With all this being said, what can we say of God’s Love that the human mind can understand? For you and me, it is a Love which accompanies us as we journey through life with all of its immense joys and moments of untold happiness; but, most especially, it is a Love which strengthens and sustains us when we find ourselves journeying through some very profound and sorrowful times, especially when we are faced with crosses which can, at times, seem tremendously heavy and unbearable.

For it is His Love which strengthens us and enables us to accept the burdens which we sometimes face in this life. It is His Love which carries us upon His shoulders when the trials and tribulations of life seem too heavy for us to bear alone.

We are reminded today that we do not travel unaided through life; our journey is not a solitary one, for we have a great High Priest who not only prays for us, He also prays with us and in us! For He is a God who hears our prayers and understands our joys and our sorrows; He is a God who feels our pleasures and our pain. Jesus Christ becomes our Mediator between God the Father and our frail, human condition.

And we witness this in today’s Gospel, for we are reminded that God stands with us against the forces of man, especially when man’s laws run contrary to the Law of God. As our Mediator, He takes our burdens upon Himself, and, in His Infinite Love, He offers us healing of mind, body and spirit. In essence, our Lord offers us Himself.

In our Gospel, we read that it was the day of Sabbath and the Pharisees were watching and waiting to see if our Lord would heal a man suffering with a withered hand.

In the midst of the tension which was developing in the synagogue, Jesus poses to them a question, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” And then, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus looked “…around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart.”

Like the Pharisees, Jesus loved the Law and lived to uphold it. Yet our Lord knew that keeping the Law required love, a key element which was missing in the hearts of those who only lived by its letter and not its spirit. And it was this Love which healed the withered hand; it was this Love which raised the dead and gave hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind!

Most importantly, it was this Love which became the supreme act of healing – reconciling each of us with His Father – as the Eternal High Priest offered Himself up as the ultimate sin offering on Calvary for both you and me. And in this greatest act of self-sacrificing Love, our Heavenly Father was eternally glorified!

We truly DO have a Great High Priest who sympathizes with our human condition. With an abiding confidence in God’s promises and His Loving Presence in our lives, may we always reach out for our Lord’s mediation on our behalf, so that we may receive His Loving Mercy and the grace necessary to bear and fulfill all that He asks of us, in both good times and bad.

For Jesus Christ truly is and always will be our dearest and closest and most intimate Friend and Brother!

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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

  • “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (cf. Genesis 4:18; Psalm 110:4b; Hebrews 7:17b)
  • “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:8-10)
  • “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6a)
  • “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
  • “For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf…now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.” (Hebrews 9:24, 26b)
  • “But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1b-2)
  • “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:16)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Jesus, our great High Priest,
hear our humble prayers on behalf of Your children.
Give us a faith that is deep, a hope that is bright and firm,
and a burning love which will ever increase
in the course of our continuing walk of faith.

“In our loneliness, comfort us in our sorrows,
strengthen us in our frustrations;
help us to know that it is through suffering
that our souls are purified and made holy in Your sight.

“Be our comfort, be our joy, be our strength,
be our Advocate and Mediator before the Throne of Your Father,
and especially help us to live Your Commandments
as we come to know and love You more each day. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ January 20

SAINT SEBASTIAN (?-c.288), martyr – Patron saint of archers, athletes and stone masons

Today, the Church honors Saint Sebastian, a courageous follower of Christ who ministered to the needs of Christians as a Roman soldier, and who faced martyrdom twice, denouncing the extreme cruelty which his fellow Christian brothers and sisters were compelled to endure.

Sebastian was born at Narbonne in Gaul, the son of a wealthy Roman family and was educated in Milan, Italy. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and, even though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, legend states that he made a decision to join the Roman army in order to serve the needs of Christians who were imprisoned by bringing them supplies and consolation.

History records that Sebastian, as an officer in the imperial bodyguard, was responsible for giving comfort to many martyrs along with converting fellow soldiers and a Roman governor.

Under the reign of the Roman emperor, Diocletian, and the extreme atrocities which he ordered against Christians, Sebastian was charged as a Christian in the year 288 in Rome. He was tied to a tree, shot with arrows and left for dead. He was found alive by Saint Irene of Rome and others who had come to bury him. When Sebastian recovered, he returned to preach to Diocletian, denouncing his cruelty to Christians. The emperor then had him beaten to death with clubs.

In a commentary on the psalms by St. Ambrose, he writes “Allow me to propose to you the example of the holy martyr Sebastian, whose birthday in glory we celebrate today. He was a native of Milan…he went to Rome, the scene of bitter opposition arising from the Christians’ zeal for the faith. There he suffered; there he gained the [martyr’s] crown.”

The remains of Saint Sebastian were buried on the Appian Way, close to the catacombs which bear his name.

We commemorate his feastday on January 20.

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

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Sebastian)

“Lord, fill us with that spirit of courage which gave Your martyr Sebastian strength to offer his life in faithful witness. Help us to learn from him to cherish Your Law, and to obey You rather than men.

“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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“O Glorious and Eternal God, through Your Holy Spirit, You have filled our hearts with the gift of faith, believing in Your unfathomable Love and trusting in Your limitless Mercy which You offer to each and every one of us, Your children;

– may we always be filled with a reverential love and awe and a profound respect for Your Divine Presence in our lives, as we continue to grow daily in our intimate and loving relationship with You. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

January 19 ~ The Fruit of Begging

Theme:  Beg for Mercy

“On the first Friday of the month, before Communion, I saw a large ciborium filled with sacred hosts. A hand placed the ciborium in front of me, and I took it in my hands. There were a thousand living hosts inside. Then I heard a voice, ‘These are hosts which have been received by the souls for whom you have obtained the grace of true conversion during this Lent.’ That was a week before Good Friday. I spent the day in great interior recollection, emptying myself for the sake of souls.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 640)

“Then suddenly I saw the Lord, who clasped me to His Heart and said to me, ‘My daughter, do not weep, for I cannot bear your tears. I will grant you everything you ask for, but stop crying.’ And I was filled with great joy, and my spirit, as usual, was drowned in Him as in its only treasure.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 928)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your loving and tender response to Saint Faustina’s intercession for souls. It encourages us to be loving and tender in our intercession for souls who are in need 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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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

January 19 ~ I Thank You for Your Great Mercy

Theme:  Mercy

“I will show my gratitude unceasingly to God for His great mercy towards me…” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 224)

“…the more miserable my soul is, the more I feel the ocean of God’s mercy engulfing me and giving me strength and great power.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 225)

“Thank You, Jesus, for the great favor of making known to me the whole abyss of my misery. I know that I am an abyss of nothingness and that, if Your holy grace did not hold me up, I would return to nothingness in a moment. And so, with every beat of my heart, I thank You, my God, for Your great mercy towards me.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 256)

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

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, January 19

Let Us Open Our Hearts and Allow the Spirit of God to Guide Us Into a More Profound and Personal Relationship with Our Creator, Our Redeemer and Our Sanctifier.

In our First Reading today, we hear words of encouragement, “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.”

One of the major purposes of the Letter to the Hebrews was to bolster and encourage those who were laboring long and hard to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, for there were those who were becoming disheartened due to a general lessening of virtue and a practice of the faith. For it is only natural that, in every long term endeavor, there are times when one wonders if the efforts of one’s labor is worth all the inconveniences and suffering.

We see examples of this in medical research, in which untold hours and years of sacrifice may not always yield the results for which one hopes. Even for all those who committed themselves to help making this world a safer and better place in which to live, those in law enforcement and social work can become discouraged and hardened with the passage of time, feeling that their efforts have been in vain as they watch the crime rate continue to escalate and issues of social justice deteriorate, together with a general lessening of appreciation for the sacrifices which they and their families have made.

And for those in ministry, in almost every faith persuasion, Christian and non-Christian alike, those who commit themselves to attending weekend services are becoming fewer, especially now during this pandemic we are all facing.

For in each succeeding generation of faithful, the pew count (those attending Mass or any type of worship service) seems to be getting smaller and smaller – a sense of discouragement with priests, ministers and rabbis who have devoted their lives to preaching the message about God’s Love.

For those who do attend, there are occasions when those who are being served do not seem grateful and may even be resistant to the good being offered to them – the sermon was too long, it was too hot or too cold, the children in the church or synagogue were too noisy, and any other number of untold reasons for dissatisfaction.

When these occasions arise and complaints are filed, parish ministers can oftentimes feel discouraged and begin to wonder how they can best reach out and serve the needs of their flock.

And the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, in our First Reading today, is telling all those who serve God’s children, in whatever capacity they may hold, not to become discouraged, not to “…become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.” For many have gone before us who were disappointed and yet persevered. Many had felt challenged, but, “through faith and patience”, they are now enjoying their eternal reward.

And for those who serve and for those who are being served, God, in His Infinite Wisdom, knew that we would need to be nurtured and encouraged through His Word. In God’s Infinite Wisdom, He knew that we would need to be nourished and strengthened through His Sacraments which give life.

In today’s Gospel, our Lord is telling us, “The sabbath was made for man…” It is in our celebration of the Sabbath, the weekly Mass on Sunday, in which our relationship with our God becomes very real and personal. For it is through Word and Sacrament that God reaches out to each of us, inviting us to be one with His Love, inviting us into a deeper and more intimate union with Himself.

Ultimately, whether we are servants or being served, it is all about opening our hearts and allowing the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth and Love whom the Father and Jesus has sent and given to us – to comfort us, guiding us into a profound and personal relationship with God who is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sanctifier, setting us on fire and enabling us to love each other selflessly as God loves us.

May our life, in whatever vocation and circumstance we find ourselves, always echo the words of today’s psalmist, “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the LORD, exquisite in all their delights.”

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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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 not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.” (Hebrews 6:10)
  • “We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, so that you may not  become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12)
  • “Then he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.’(Mark 2:27)
  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
  • “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
  • “But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
  • “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:23-25b)
  • “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the LORD, to be treasured for all their delights.” (Psalm 111:1-2)
  • “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32)

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Prayer for the Day

“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.

“Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.

“Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
that I always may be holy. Amen.”

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Saint of the Day ~ January 19

SAINT CANUTUS, KING of DENMARK (c.1042-1086), martyr – Patron saint of Denmark

Today, the Church honors Saint Canutus (also known as Saint Canute), who used his monarchy as king of Denmark to establish peace, justice and the promotion of Christian virtue among his subjects.

Born about the year 1042, little is written of Canutus concerning his youth until he rose to the throne of Denmark in the year 1080. He began his reign by a successful war against the enemies of the state, and by planting the seed of faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories, he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his crown, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings.

The justice of King Canutus IV as sovereign was well known. He applied himself to the reform of all internal abuses. For this purpose, he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, the repression of violence and tyranny by the powerful, without respect to one’s personal rank or privilege.

King Canutus favored and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy in his kingdom. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects helped him to discern all possible ways in which to make them a joyful and contented people.

In the summer of 1086, during a rebellion within his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by rebels. He confessed his sins and received Holy Communion. While on his knees and stretching out his arms before the altar, he was struck down by the enemies of his Christian reign by a lance which pierced his body. King Canutus died on July 10, 1086.

Miracles were soon reported as taking place at his tomb, and on April 19, 1101, Pope Paschal II confirmed the “cult of Canute” that had arisen, and King Canutus IV was canonized as a saint under the Danish name San Canute, and was the first Dane to be canonized. His remains are laid to rest in San Canute’s Cathedral in Odense, Denmark.

We commemorate his feastday on January 19.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, magnificat.ca, salvemariaregina.info, britannica.com and westerlund-suku.com)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for One Martyr)

“All-powerful, Ever-living God, You gave Saint Canutus the courage to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. By his prayers, help us to endure all suffering for love of You, and to seek You with all our hearts, for You alone are the Source of life.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”