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

March 31 ~ Solemnly Bless This Image

Theme:  The Feast of Mercy

[Saint Faustina had just been directed by Jesus, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: ‘Jesus I trust in You.’ I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel and (then) throughout the world.” (Diary, 47)]

“When I told this to my confessor, I received this for a reply: ‘That refers to your soul.’ He told me, ‘Certainly, paint God’s image in your soul.’ When I came out of the confessional, I again heard words such as these: ‘My image already is in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 49)

My prayer response:

Thank You, Jesus, that Your Image as The Divine Mercy, radiating Your Mercy and blessings upon us, has been painted and is available for our veneration. Thank You that the Feast of Mercy is now available to the whole Church as a special moment of grace. With deep trust in You, may I venerate Your Image not only on the Feast of Mercy, but also each and every day of my life. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

March 31 ~ Everyone Has a Place in My Heart

Theme:  Saint Faustina’s Heart

“O most sweet Jesus who, in Your incomprehensible kindness, have deigned to unite my wretched heart to Your most merciful Heart, it is with Your own Heart that I glorify God, our Father, as no soul has ever glorified Him before.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 836)

“My heart is always open to the sufferings of others; and I will not close my heart to the sufferings of others, even though because of this I have been scornfully nicknamed “dump”; that is, [because] everyone dumps his pain into my heart. [To this] I answered that everyone has a place in my heart and I, in return, have a place in the Heart of Jesus.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 871)

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Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, March 31

What Was Once an Instrument of Execution and Humiliation, the Cross Has Become for Each One of Us a Sign of God’s Love and Our Salvation.

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…”

Each year, when you and I participate in the Easter Triduum – a three day period beginning with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday until Vespers or Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday – do we not begin to feel sorrow as we walk with Christ through His scourging and crucifixion, only to find ourselves feeling a sense of relief and joy on Easter morning, a sense of elation knowing that God’s Love has called us into a special relationship with Himself, calling us to become co-heirs with Christ Himself?

What was once a horrific instrument of Roman execution and humiliation, the Cross has become for each one of us a sign of God’s Love and our salvation – the means by which all mankind has been reconciled to our Eternal Father, our Creator, from whom we became separated so long ago through the disobedience of our first parents.

How many times, throughout the course of human history, have we, as God’s creation, turned our backs on His Fatherly Love? How many times, since our banishment from Eden, have we turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to His invitation to be His faithful children, returning to His Love, embracing His Commandments? We see this obstinacy and unreasonableness even in our First Reading today.

From the Book of Numbers, the Israelites were complaining about the conditions in which they were living – forgetting that God’s Love was sustaining them on their long pilgrimage from Egypt to the Promised Land.

As a consequence, they find themselves being bitten by saraph serpents, a very poisonous variety of snake. And many of those who were bitten died. Filled with both fear and sorrow, they petitioned Moses to ask God for His forgiveness. God, in turn, told Moses to create a staff with an image of a bronze saraph at its top, and those who were bitten and looked upon the bronze image were saved.

In an earlier chapter in Saint John’s Gospel, our Lord refers to the imagery of this saraph as follows: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

In this imagery, the Israelites looking upon the raised saraph for healing was a precursor of how we look upon the Cross of Christ today with the eyes of faith, for it is Jesus’ Cross of Life which heals, but it does so in a much deeper and much more profound way – for it is through the Blood of Christ which has been poured out for each of us that you and I have been justified, that we have been vindicated and saved from our sins.

The bronze serpent of Moses’ day, in its own way, was a foreshadowing of the Cross upon which Christ was raised, for it is through the Cross that Jesus defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for His believers, a true and lasting healing in which we all share.

In the scene from today’s Gospel, the Pharisees did not recognize who Jesus was, nor could they accept the message He was teaching. They shut themselves off to God and were not open to Jesus’ fulfillment of all that was written in Scripture concerning Him.

Their obstinate disbelief resulted in their own condemnation! That is why Jesus said, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.”

Some two thousand years later, it is hard not to see the descendants of these Pharisees, figuratively speaking of course, for they seem to be all around us! Not to be judgmental, but it is not difficult to discern objectively the lack of belief – an obstinacy, if you will, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in today’s society!

We have liberalist thinking which places secularism and moral and theological relativism in the forefront of one’s way of life. For the sake of one’s eternal salvation, this way of thinking becomes very dangerous. It is a thinking which has been condemned by many of our Holy Fathers, for it ignores the salvific action of our Lord when He endured His Most Holy Passion.

Relativism is a term which refers to the belief that truth is relative, and can vary from individual to individual, from group to group, and from time to time. There are no moral or theological standards upon which one’s thinking or one’s life is based. That is why it is so dangerous to salvation! It is absent of any real belief. In other words, God exists with a small “g”, and exists only in our minds as an ideal or as something we use to quiet our fears.

In the Encyclical written by our late Holy Father, Saint John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, the Splendor of Truth, John Paul writes about Jesus Christ, who is “…the True Light that enlightens everyone.”

He goes on to say, “Man’s capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus, giving himself over to relativism and skepticism, he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself.”

We see this in the culture in which we live today. Sadly, many families see this in their children when they walk away from the practice of their faith due to the lure – the attraction – that the secularism of this world holds for them.

In a particular sense, even the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were relativists, when Jesus said to them, “You belong to what is below…You belong to this world.” Even though they verbally professed a belief in the God of Moses, their real gods were recognition, self-importance, wealth and power over the people.

That is why they could not recognize, nor did they know the Father about whom Jesus was referring, for their belief system was sadly and undeniably perverted. Their sense of truth was no longer God’s Truth.

During this time of Lent, especially as we are nearing the end of this part of our Lenten journey and about to enter into Holy Week and our Savior’s Paschal Mystery this coming Palm Sunday, we need to hold in prayer all those whom we love, and all those whom our Lord places in our life’s path, that, with the help of God’s grace, they may open their hearts and their minds to His Truth.

We need to pray with the strength of today’s Psalmist, “O LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.”

For there is only one Truth which gives us peace, which gives us hope – a belief in all that is holy and good and nourishing for our souls, a belief in the One True God who loves us and feeds us with His grace, a God who invites us to enjoy eternal life with Him!

There is only one Truth which saves. That Truth is Jesus Christ! †

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Scripture for the Day

  • “So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…’(John 8:28ab)
  • “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
  • “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
  • “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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
  • “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” (John 12:32)
  • “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
  • “For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
  • “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

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Prayer for the Day

“Most Merciful and Loving Father,
Your Son suffered unbearable anguish;
He willingly poured out His Most Precious Blood
in fulfillment of Your will because of my transgressions.

“I was born in sin, totally dependent upon Your Love.
My human nature is filled with so many faults
and I am prone to so much weakness.
And yet, Your Son Jesus still died on His Cross – for me.

“I know Your grace has the power
to cleanse me of my many sins
and to make me more like Your Son.

“Thank you for Your Goodness and Love for me.
I humbly pray, Heavenly Father, in Your Mercy,
please watch over and protect me always
from the evil in this world. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ March 31

BLESSED JANE of TOULOUSE (?-1286), holy woman and foundress

Today, the Church honors Blessed Jane of Toulouse, a woman devoted to a life of prayer and service to the poor, always seeing the face of Jesus in others.

Jane was born and lived in the French town of Toulouse during the early part of the 13th century. A Carmelite monastery was founded in the same town in the year 1240, which exposed Jane to the Carmelite lifestyle and spirituality.

In 1265, when Saint Simon Stock, a 13th century reformer of the Carmelites, was passing through Toulouse, Jane met him and requested to be affiliated with the Carmelites. Simon agreed and Jane became the first Third Order Carmelite.

Jane vowed herself to a life of perpetual chastity and applied herself completely to the Carmelite Rule. In addition to many daily holy practices and penances, she reached out to the local community and worked to help the sick and poor. One of Jane’s primary missions was encouraging the boys of the town to help her serve the poor and help them discern whether or not they were called to be Carmelites themselves.

In the year 1286, Jane died from natural causes, and was beatified on February 11, 1895 by Pope Leo XIII.

Blessed Jane is considered to be the foundress and first member of the Carmelite Tertiary Order, an Order of primarily lay people who, in response to a special call from God, freely and resolutely promise to live the evangelical life in the spirit of the Carmelite Order and under its direction.

Within their state in life, be they single or married, they seek to live a life of contemplative and prayerful reflection on the life of Christ as He is revealed to us, especially in the Scriptures, remembering that they, themselves, are in the presence of God twenty-four hours a day.

We honor Blessed Jane of Toulouse on March 31.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, oksister.com and carmelite.org)

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PRAYER

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

“Lord, pour upon us the Spirit of Wisdom and Love with which you filled Your servant, Blessed Jane. By serving You as she did, may we please You with our faith and our actions.

“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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“Lord God Almighty, in the wonders of Your Love for us, You have filled our hearts with the gift of faith, calling us to Yourself as Your adopted children;

– please grant us the grace to always choose Your Truth over the lies and deceits of Satan. Please grant us the grace to always choose Your Divine Light over the shadows and darkness of evil, and the beauty of embracing a life of holy righteousness over the death which sin and moral corruption hold for us. For it is only in the teachings of Jesus Christ wherein we shall forever find our true peace and everlasting happiness. We humbly pray all this in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

March 30 ~ Ninth Day

Theme:  Novena before the Feast of Mercy

[In His revelations to Saint Faustina, Jesus describes a novena that He wants her to make before the Feast of Mercy. The novena of prayers begins on Good Friday and ends on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday.]

NINTH DAY (Easter Saturday)

“Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1228)

My prayer response with Saint Faustina:

“Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love; and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1229)

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