Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 21 ~ Astonished by God’s Love

Theme:  Love

“I started to enumerate [to Jesus] the pains of my heart; that is, how greatly concerned I am for all mankind, that ‘they all do not know you, and those who do know you do not love you as you deserve to be loved.’” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 929)

“Unending is my interior astonishment that the Most High Lord is pleased in me and tells me so Himself. And I immerse myself even deeper in my nothingness, because I know what I am of myself. Still I must say that I, in return, love my Creator to folly with every beat of my heart and with every nerve; my soul unconsciously drowns, drowns… in Him.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 947)

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Meditation for the Day

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, May 21

May We Always Embrace and Live the Faith with Which God Has Filled Our Hearts, So That We Will Find Ourselves Rising One Day in the Wonder and Awe of Our Own Ascension into His Heavenly Kingdom.

“…as they were looking on, [Jesus] was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” – words which we find in today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, an event which occurred, as Scripture tells us, forty days after His Resurrection. And our Lord’s Ascension should give each of us pause to reflect upon our own mortality, and what awaits us after our last breath and our final heartbeat in this life.

I am sure that each one of us, who is old enough, has experienced a personal death, be it a grandparent or parent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, spouse or child. Physical death is a reality of life, and not one of us can ever escape its ultimate hold which it has upon us.

How we deal with death, and what comes after it, is fairly well determined by our faith, and how central our faith has become in the way we live our lives. Christianity teaches us that there is a Heaven and a Hell. The Church teaches us that our eternity is determined by how we live this life of faith which we profess, and the willing observance of God’s Commandments and the Precepts of His Church.

In our Readings for today, we are given a glimpse of what becomes our own possibility, for we are witnesses to the bodily Ascension of our Savior into His Heavenly Kingdom.

In our First Reading, we find Jesus, just prior to ascending to His Father, telling His Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for their Baptism by the Holy Spirit – “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak…”

The Ascension marks the end of Jesus’ physical time here on Earth among His disciples, and the time of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of Christ’s Church is about to commence.

And in our Gospel today from the Book of Matthew, we hear our Lord giving His disciples their final instruction, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

And in the Gospel of Luke, we read that the disciples “…returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”

What a magnificent scene this must have been – seeing our Lord lifted up in all His Glory to be seated at the right hand of His Father and ours!

Today, we celebrate this faith which we hold so dear to our hearts – that, one day, we too shall be lifted up from this vale of tears, so that we may also be in union with the Most Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – together with our Blessed Mother and all the holy saints whom we honor each day!

What an awesome wonder the angels in Heaven must enjoy! What an awesome privilege for all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, including our loved ones who have left this life in God’s eternal friendship, for they have been gifted with standing next to the angelic hosts – being able to behold and forever enjoy the Beatific Vision, the Holy Wonder of God Himself!

One of the early Fathers of our Church, Saint Cyprian, put it this way in his letter to the Ephesians, “How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God…to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of Heaven with the righteous and God’s friends!”

And this is the faith we live, the Creed which we profess when we pray “We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”

But we also know that this is a gift given to those who LIVE the life of faith which we profess. It is one thing to say we are Christian; it is something entirely different to BE Christian.

Faith is a gift freely given by God to those He wills, and living that faith in a culture which tends to disparage and belittle what we believe oftentimes requires courage! Living our faith also requires a willingness on our part to open our hearts to what God is asking of us, and also to be willing to accept the ridicule and persecution we may face in a world which is becoming more and more hostile to Christianity.

In all that our Lord taught, He showed us that the way to true happiness lies in living and being caught up in His Love. This means placing God first in our lives, and accepting whatever trials may come our way as blessings! For it is these crosses which we bear from time to time which help make us a better people, a holier people, a people purified and pleasing in the sight of Almighty God.

Remember, Jesus once said “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” It is in this free will acceptance of all that our Lord has taught us, and is now asking of us, which helps us in our growing relationship with our Creator and Savior.

For God’s faithful, it becomes an interior desire to be a more virtuous, a more loving and holier people which enables us to be a truly happier people, a people who are at peace within the embrace of God’s Love.

At the end of each day, it is most fitting that we make an examination of conscience, asking ourselves if we have said and done everything out of love freely given – that we have observed all that the Spirit of Truth has taught us through the Sacred Scriptures and His Holy Church.

And after we have taken stock of our day’s activities, if we find we have come up short in some way by something we thought, said or did, or something we failed to do, then we need to ask God’s forgiveness and make a firm resolve, a firm purpose of amendment to do better tomorrow.

For this brings to mind an expression which I am sure many of us have heard and about which I have written in others meditations, “Tomorrow morning is never promised.” For each one of us knows that the day will come, like “a thief in the night”, when we will have no more tomorrows, and we must stand accountable for the life we have lived in thought, word and deed.

It is God’s desire to lose no one. It is His desire that we always place Him first in our hearts. And yet, there will be those days in which we will feel out of sorts and we will feel that God is far from us – days in which we shall feel overcome with anxiety, sadness, depression – even, what I sometimes refer to as, waves of grief – and none of us are exempt from these feelings!

But it is at these times when each of us feels at our lowest, when the circumstances of life seem to overwhelm us, when we need to reach out to God remembering the words of Saint Paul which we read today –

“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe…”

In other words, what marvelous glory awaits each of us when we remember – even in the midst of our individual sadnesses, in the midst of our trials and tribulations in this valley of tears – to reach out to the Divine Love who wishes to console us in this life, and who will, one day in His unfathomable Mercy, embrace us for all eternity!

Our Lord’s last words to His Apostles in today’s Gospel were, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Let us always, in good days and bad, embrace and live the faith with which God has filled our hearts. And then we, too, when it is our time to be called, will find ourselves rising through the Power, Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ. We will find ourselves rising in the wonder and awe of our own ascension into His Most Loving Embrace, and into His Heavenly and Eternal Kingdom!

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

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Scripture for the Day

  • “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19)
  • “…as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
  • “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, 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 5:3-5)
  • “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
  • “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24b)
  • “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19a)
  • “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)
  • “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

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Prayer for the Day

“God our Father, make us joyful in the Ascension of Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we follow Him into the new creation, for His Ascension is our glory and our hope.

“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.”

cf. Solemnity of the Ascension (Roman Breviary)

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 Father, may Your Holy Spirit teach us to embrace Your will and trust unwaveringly in Your providential Love for us each and every day of our lives;

– and may Your Eternal Wisdom guide us always to embrace Your Divine Truth in our individual walks of faith – that our Lord Jesus is our only Way to eternal peace and happiness, the Eternal Light who shall lead us to a life of everlasting and unending Love, always in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

May 20 ~ Jesus with Me

Theme:  Eucharist

“When I was about to receive Holy Communion, a second Host fell onto the priest’s sleeve, and I did not know which Host I was to receive. After I had hesitated for a moment the priest made an impatient gesture with his hand to tell me I should receive the Host. When I took the Host he gave me, the other one fell into my hands. The priest went along the altar rail to distribute Communion, and I held the Lord Jesus in my hands all that time.

“When the priest approached me again, I raised the Host for him to put it back into the chalice…while I was holding the Host in my hand, I felt such a power of love that for the rest of the day I could neither eat nor come to my senses. I heard these words from the Host: ‘I desired to rest in your hands, not only in your heart.’ And at that moment I saw the little Jesus. But when the priest approached, I saw once again only the Host.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 160)

“One morning after Holy Communion, I heard this voice, ‘I desire that you accompany Me when I go to the sick.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 183)

My prayer response:

Thank You, Jesus, for Your desire to come into my heart in Holy Communion. Increase my desire for You that I may receive You with more fervor. I also pray that the sick would be strengthened by receiving You in Holy Communion. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 20 ~ The Loving Gaze of God

Theme:  Love

“The love of God makes a soul free. She is like a queen; she knows no slavish compulsion; she sets about everything with great freedom of soul, because the love which dwells in her incites her to action.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 890b)

“A soul in love with God and immersed in Him approaches her duties with the same disposition as she does Holy Communion and carries out the simplest tasks with great care, under the loving gaze of God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 890c)

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Meditation for the Day

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter, May 20

May We Allow Jesus to Be Our Only Way: the Way to Happiness, the Way to an Interior Peace, the Way to Holiness; for He Is the Only Truth Which Truly Matters in Our Continuing Pilgrimage Through Life.

“…when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” – words which speak to us of God’s providential care which He has for each and every one of His children.

As we reflect upon our own journey in life, let us reflect back upon those days when we were children, when we were very young and vulnerable. It was during a time in our spiritual and emotional development when we came to know only that which our parents taught us; and, in our innocence, we believed everything they said, for we trusted them implicitly.

As we grew older, we became more aware of our surroundings and the world which existed outside of our family home.

For many, as we finally reached our pre-teen and teenage years, we found ourselves still growing, reaching out to the many new and different possibilities that life held for us. And, in some cases, the search for independence sometimes became rebellious, even to the point of our becoming disobedient to those we loved.

Unfortunately, for some of our parents, theirs became a world of difficulties, trying to understand the journey on which their children were traveling, all the while forgetting that they, too, had once made that same journey many years earlier when they, themselves, were young and inquisitive.

Today, as we look into the faces of our own children and grandchildren, we find expressions of wonder and amazement at all that exists outside of their small world. At first, they are guided by a sense of innocence and openness to all that they are learning, and all that we teach them.

They, too, will begin the process of reaching out and learning on their own. For each generation, it is a process of growth, a journey wherein they need to stretch themselves and find their own individual identities and place in this life.

And yet, with love and understanding on our part, we know that they will still need guidance in order to assist them in making the right decisions, decisions which will not be cause for regrets later. As they reach their adult years, they begin to reach a stage of development and maturity which will help guide them through the rest of their lives. Will mistakes be made? Most definitely, Yes!

Haven’t each of us, you and I included, stumbled at times along life’s paths? And yet, it is the wisdom in life which we have gained which has helped us to move forward beyond our mistakes.

At each step of our individual and unique journeys in life, God has always been at our side. He has always been with you and me – loving us, teaching us, guiding us, even carrying us when necessary!

And it is through this process of growing and maturing that we also come to know the God who loves us. Our personal relationship with Him, however, is oftentimes determined by the various circumstances of our upbringing, whether it be familial or societal based. And the strength of our relationship with God speaks of how we worship Him.

If our relationship is weak, then the gods within our society begin to grow stronger, and these gods can include greed, fame, sex, power, and many other elements of the secular world which can become very appealing, sometimes overpowering, oftentimes very seducing.

Our Readings for today present us with both sides of this coin. On one side, we find idolatry at the heart of the Grecian way of life, for this is all that the Greeks knew. It had been a part of their culture, their way of worship for centuries. On the other side, we find Jesus Christ at the heart of our faith and worship, strengthened through the workings of the Holy Spirit within each one of us.

In our First Reading, we find Paul preaching at the Areopagus in Athens, Greece. He is preaching to a group of Gentiles in what was considered the cultural center of the ancient world. We can see, in his approach to the Greeks, that his speech is appealing to their belief in an unknown Divinity as responsible for the origin and existence of the universe.

Paul also acknowledges that the attempt to find God is a constant human endeavor. He declares, further, that God is the judge of the human race, that the time of judgment has been determined, and that it will be executed through a Man whom God raised “from the dead”. And it is at this point that many who were listening scoffed at him, for only a few desired to hear more.

On this same side of the coin, we hear our Lord speaking to us about the Spirit of Truth whom He will send, the Spirit who “…will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.”

The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sends, is God’s Love who will stay with us and teach us all that our Lord taught. And through the enlightenment which He gives us, and the understanding and worship which follows, glory and praise is given back to God. As our Lord said, “He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

Paul found that most of the Greeks who were listening were not very receptive to his idea of a redeeming and salvific God, for they preferred their own gods – not unlike many in today’s society. In the way of thinking for many in today’s culture, the gods of this world are far more attractive than the God whom we know and worship and part of our Judeo-Christian beliefs.

Due to the gift of free will which we received at the moment of our conception, the Holy Spirit will never force His way into our hearts. God’s Love for us is a gift freely given. He only asks that we open our hearts and embrace all that He offers through His Love. And there is a true inner peace which we experience when we place Christ first and foremost in our lives, even in the midst of whatever crosses we may have to bear in this life.

Paul offered the gift of God’s Truth to the Greeks in today’s Reading, but only a few responded. For you and me today, our Lord offers us this same gift, for He becomes the Gateway through which we come to know God, remembering the words which Jesus once said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” He is the Way to our salvation; He is the Way to our healing of both heart and soul.

May each of us allow our Lord Jesus to be our only Way – the Way to happiness, the Way to an interior peace, the Way to holiness – for He is the only Truth which truly matters in our continuing pilgrimage through life!

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Scripture for the Day

  • “…when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (John 16:13)
  • “He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14)
  • “For the LORD’S word is true; all his works are trustworthy.” (Psalm 33:4)
  • “Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
  • “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” (John 6:57)
  • Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son in truth and love.” (2 John 1:3)
  • “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life – for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.” (1 John 1:1-2)
  • “Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
  • “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)
  • “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6a)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Risen and Eternal Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life, make us faithful followers
of the spirit of Your Resurrection.

“Grant that we may be inwardly renewed; dying to ourselves, being born to new life in the Spirit, in order that You may live in us and guide us in our everyday walk of faith.

“May the faith we live and profess serve as a sign of the transforming power of Your Love.
We humbly pray, use us as Your instruments for the renewal of hearts, minds and souls.

“Send Your Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us, so that we may bring the Good News
of Your Life and Love to all Your children, as we faithfully serve the needs of the Body of Christ.

“This we ask of you, Lord Jesus, You who live and reign with our Heavenly Father, together with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.”

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