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

February 19 ~ The Depth of My Mercy

Theme:  The Image of The Divine Mercy

“When I asked the Lord Jesus for a sign as a proof ‘that You are truly my God and Lord and that this request comes from You,’ I heard this interior voice, ‘I will make this all clear to the Superior by means of the graces which I will grant through this image.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 51)

“I desire that this image be displayed in public on the first Sunday after Easter. That Sunday is the Feast of Mercy. Through the Word Incarnate, I make known the bottomless depth of My mercy.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 88)

My prayer response:

Jesus, through the image of You as The Divine Mercy, please make known to me the infinite depth of Your Mercy. May this image be displayed in public on Divine Mercy Sunday in every church throughout the world. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

February 19 ~ The Whole Abyss of My Misery

Theme:  Misery

“…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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Meditation for the Day

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time, February 19

May Our Lord Open Our Eyes, Revealing to Us His Healing Presence in Our Lives, and May God’s Spirit Fill Us with the Spiritual Sight Necessary to Always Walk According to His Truth.

In today’s Gospel, we read an account which we find only in the Gospel of Mark –

“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ Looking up the man replied, ‘I see people looking like trees and walking.’ Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.”

This event is also unique in that it takes Jesus two tries for the healing to be completed. One may ask what the Evangelist was trying to teach us in this particular passage. All four Evangelists were interested in presenting to their readers the deeper meaning of the physical healings performed by our Lord, for they also symbolized spiritual healing.

This passage in today’s Gospel begins to take on a particular significance when we also reflect upon what we read in yesterday’s Gospel. While in the boat on their way to Bethsaida, Mark portrays Jesus as scolding the disciples for their failure to understand His reference to “the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod”, and He asks, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?”

Clearly, our Lord is not referring to physical blindness here. He is using the experience of sight metaphorically, the way we do when we ask “Do you see what I’m saying?” It is the seeing of understanding and believing. It is the sight which leads to faith.

Once we make that connection, we can begin to understand why Mark placed this odd two-stage healing of the blind man of Bethsaida right before the question which Jesus poses to His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” which we will read in tomorrow’s Gospel.

Jesus was showing His disciples how a lack of faith can lead to spiritual blindness, and that regaining our sight may not always be a simple process, but one which asks of us to open our hearts to the wonders of God’s Presence around us.

Once we have been able to accept that God’s Love envelopes all things, embraces all creation, only then can we begin to realize that God’s Presence exists also within each and every one of us. Only then can we truly begin to spiritually see in the way our Lord invites us to see and understand.

The walk of faith for those who followed Jesus was much like our own journey at times today. Their spiritual sight came in stages, and it was not until the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that they were truly able to see and understand all that our Lord had taught them.

God’s Love works within us at a pace He knows is best for our ability to understand and accept, especially when we have experienced some of the worst that life has to offer, be it personal grief over the death of loved one, or the end of a long term relationship resulting in separation or divorce, being notified that you or a loved one has a very serious health issue which is terminal, even financial woes due to the loss of employment which can result in the loss of one’s home or worse.

All of these emotions can leave us devastated, and we may, for a short period of time, lose sight of our faith, because it is not uncommon for one to ask “Where is God?” in those conditions of our life which can overwhelm and affect our emotional and spiritual well-being.

But God’s hand has never left us and will always be upon us. In the midst of all the anxieties of life, He will always remain with us at our side, offering us the healing that we need over time. Our faith must be patient, and our spiritual sight must always remain opened to God’s providential Love which He has for both you and me.

But for our spiritual sight to remain attuned to God’s Presence within us, it is important that we focus ourselves upon His will for us in our daily walks of faith. And Saint James brings this to mind in our First Reading today, where we read, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”

Anyone can “talk the talk”, as the old adage states, of being a follower of Christ Jesus, but to truly place into practice all that He has taught us and the many examples He has given us, as we read in the Gospels and are further explained to us in the Acts and the Epistles, and taught to us through the teaching authority of the Church, then we must truly make the effort of “walking the talk” in our daily lives.

In other words, our spiritual sight must be fed and strengthened by truly living our faith, not only in those times when everything seems to be going well for us, but also when the cross we sometimes bear seems overwhelmingly heavy.

Opening our hearts and embracing all that life throws at us, realizing that God is guiding us through both the good times and bad, focusing ourselves on all that our faith teaches us, then, as Saint James tells us today, “…the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts; such a one shall be blessed in what he does.”

May our Lord open our eyes, revealing to us His healing Presence in our lives, and may God’s Spirit fill us with the spiritual sight necessary to always walk according to His Truth, strengthening us so that we may not stumble in the darkness of sin which surrounds us constantly – always remembering and believing in the words our Lord once spoke, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

May His Divine Light always shine before us, illumining the way for us to follow!

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[Jesus] took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ Looking up the man replied, ‘I see people looking like trees and walking.’ Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.” (Mark 8:23-25)
  • “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…I shall…open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me.’(Acts 26:15b, 17-18)
  • “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves… the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts; such a one shall be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22, 25)
  • “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
  • “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
  • “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.” (Hebrews 10:23)
  • “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
  • “Jesus answered, ‘…If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’(John 11:9b-10)
  • “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’(John 8:12)

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Prayer for the Day

“Holy Spirit of Light and Love,

You are the consubstantial Love of the Father and the Son;

You who sanctify within me my life of faith,

I humbly ask, hear my prayer:

“Bounteous Bestower of God’s most precious gifts,

grant me a strong and living faith,

which guides me to accept all revealed Divine Truth

and shapes my conduct in accord with them.

“Spirit of God’s Truth,

infuse into me a love of perfect goodwill,

so that I may act in accordance with God’s desire for me

throughout all the days of my life.

“Gracious Gift of the Father’s Love,

guide me to love not only my friends

but my enemies as well, in imitation of Jesus Christ

who, through You, offered Himself on the Cross for all peoples.

“Most Holy Spirit,

animate, inspire and guide me.

Help me to always be a true follower of Yours,

embracing all that You impart to me. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ February 19

SAINT CONRAD of PIACENZA (c.1290-1351), holy man and hermit – Patron saint of those suffering from hernias

Today, the Church honors Saint Conrad of Piacenza, who followed the will of God guiding him to a life of prayer, contemplation, suffering, and finally great holiness.

Born from one of the noblest families of Piacenza in northern Italy about the year 1290 A.D., Conrad, as a young man, married Euphrosyne, the daughter of a nobleman.

On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. A strong wind carried the flames to a nearby grain field, where it continued to spread, destroying the entire crop as well as a large forest. Conrad fled in panic.

An innocent peasant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of starting the fire. He was imprisoned, tortured into a confession and condemned to death. Remorseful, Conrad stepped forth to confess, saving the man from an unjust execution. Conrad explained what had happened and then paid for the damaged property through liquidation of his own fortune. His wife joined her husband and sacrificed her dowry to assist in making restitution.

Conrad and his wife saw the hand of God in the unfolding of these dramatic events and chose to give all that they had left to the poor. Still in love, they then separated and gave the remainder of their lives to God: she to the convent of Poor Clares where she received the veil, he to a group of Franciscan hermits who followed the Third Order Rule.

Conrad lived such a life of piety that his reputation for holiness quickly spread, and he was also known for having received the gift of healing. In time, constant visitors ended his solitude, so he fled to a more remote location in the valley of Noto near Syracuse in Sicily where he lived 36 years in prayer as a hermit, praying for himself and for the rest of the world.

Prayer and penance were his answer to the temptations that beset him, for he grew in sanctity, despite being subjected to some of the most terrible assaults by the devil. While in Noto, Conrad died kneeling in prayer before a crucifix on February 19, 1351. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried in the church of Saint Nicholas at Noto, where his remains still repose in a silver shrine. It is reported that many miracles have taken place there.

In 1515, Pope Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast. In 1625, the permission was later extended by Pope Urban VIII to the entire Order of Saint Francis.

His feastday is commemorated on February 19.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, newadvent.org and franciscan-sfo.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Men)

“All-powerful God, help us who celebrate the memory of Saint Conrad to imitate his way of life. May the example of Your saints be our challenge to live holier lives.

“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.”

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 Eternal God, grant me the grace to love only what comes from You and turn away from all that is of this world;

– help me to strengthen my relationship of love with You, so that I may be able to better resist the seductions of evil in this world, so that my life may praise the Glory of Your Divine Majesty and the wonder of Your unfathomable Love which You have for me, both now and for all eternity. I humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

February 18 ~ At the Hour of Death

Theme:  The Image of The Divine Mercy

“I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 48)

My prayer response:

Jesus, I rely on Your promises as I venerate Your Image – that You will defend me in the battle of life and especially at the hour of my death. I pray for a special grace of Your Mercy for all those who are in spiritual peril and for those who are dying. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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