Prayer Plain and Simple

Silhouette of Prayer

Pictured here is the silhouette of a Hummel figurine of a young boy kneeling in prayer.I had bought this figurine for  my son for his first communion. Earlier this January I opened the blinds for some sunshine and this beautiful image was cast on the wall behind the shelf where I keep a few prayer cards and and found objects that remind me of the power and importance of prayer. Apparently my reminders had been looked over  for too long and God decided to shed some light on them. Prayer need not be complicated. It is simply a conversation between you and the Lord. Here is a lovely  reflection from St. Faustina’s Diary. You can subscribe to them daily by clicking on the link below. God Bless You!

Divine Mercy Daily

Beg Mercy for Loved Ones

Meditation:

On one occasion, after a person had asked me for prayer, when I met the Lord I said to Him, “Jesus, I especially love those souls whom You love.” And Jesus answered, And as for Me, I bestow special graces on those souls for whom you intercede (Diary, 599).
After Holy Communion today, I spoke at length to the Lord Jesus about people who are special to me. Then I heard these words: My daughter, don’t be exerting yourself so much with words. Those whom you love in a special way, I too love in a special way, and for your sake, I shower My graces upon them. I am pleased when you tell Me about them, but don’tbe doing so with such excessive effort (Diary, 739).

My Prayer Response:

Lord Jesus, shower with mercy all the people that we love in a special way as we intercede for them and for the whole world. Lord, I especially remember my family members and close friends.

*Diary passages with bolded words are Jesus speaking

Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. Excerpted from Divine Mercy Minutes with Jesus: Praying Daily on Jesus’ Words from the Diary of St. Faustina by Rev. George W. Kosicki, CSB © 2010 Marian Press

Invite your friends and family to receive these daily messages with this link: lighthousecatholicmedia.org/DivineMercy

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Not Black Friday, Mercy Friday?

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What if today were Mercy Friday? What if God’s great mercy  and the Divine Mercy image and chaplet were promoted like Black Friday Sales. My mother had a new student in her class from India last year. He asked her, “What is this Black Friday? Is it BAD? Is it really BAD?”  She explained it to ease his fear. Is it bad? I don’t need to answer that. I just happened to ponder Divine Mercy this morning and thought “WOW what if it were Mercy Friday today and it was promoted as much as Black Friday.

Everyone’s journey to Christ and His sacred heart is unique. There isn’t a formula, but yet there is. He gave it to us. Keep your heart clean, Love one another, treat others as you would yourself, take My body it was giving up for you…  Only we don’t treat ourselves so well these days. Many of us intend to pray but get too busy. Many of us pray only we we desperately need it. Not all, but many. Many of us pray unceasingly. There is an 80 20  rule in business. Let me tell you there is and unlimited to 1 rule with God. Take one step in His direction, give Him honest time alone and He will give you so much more in return, more than you could every imagine.

So what if instead of heading out for that great deal on Black Friday we turned inward to our God in prayer. What if we gave Him the 7 minutes it takes to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. What if we walked into a church instead and sat silently in prayer, praying for those in most need of God’s Mercy. We do have a Divine Mercy Sunday celebration every year during the Easter Season, and I am always amazed how little people know about it. God’s Mercy, Divine Mercy needs to be promoted like Black Friday. Thank God for Pope Francis declaring the next year the year of Mercy. Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Year of Mercy.  Let’s get a head start today in prayer. May God Bless You!

For  more of my reflections on Divine Mercy click here

On the Horizon

acrylic by Laura Tesdahl

acrylic painting by Laura Tesdahl

What is on the horizon for you this Lent? Remember it’s not about what you give up. It’s about growing closer to God.

If you are already beating yourself up for not realizing today is Ash Wednesday let it go. Did you know that Ash Wednesday is not actually a holy day of obligation for Catholics in the United States.  Now if you ate meat today I can’t help you sorry. But don’t let that blow your whole lent. There is still time to make a small commitment just for you and it is so easy. Check out this link to Matthew Kelly’s message for your BEST LENT EVER

Thank you Donna Boboch for the first Matthew Kelly book that you sent to me nearly 6 years ago when Adam was hospitalized and thank you for forwarding this link to me today. I am looking forward to my best lent ever and sharing it with you as I go. God Bless You!

Reverent Communion with the Lord

Crucifix at St. Mary of the Woods Cemetery

Crucifix at St. Mary of the Woods Cemetery

Prior to communion, Monday morning, a tear came down my cheek. What is it that I have to offer our Lord? What can I give that He can multiply?  I thought of Greg Wasinski’s presentation on Sunday and how he explained it like this. We are living tabernacles when we have received the body of Christ.  We all have gifts that we can give the Lord to multiply. In the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus told his disciples to gather what they had, Jesus blessed it and multiplied it to feed thousands, with plenty leftover.

We are all living tabernacles of Christ. We take the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ out into the world. What gifts can we offer Him prior to the consecration of the host that He can bless and multiply. What can we put on the altar in our hearts? And then what?

Are we fully aware that we are receiving our Lord’s body, blood, soul, and divinity into our hearts when we receive the consecrated host? Do we receive Him lovingly and reverently?

Wasinski put it like this. Close your eyes and picture Jesus’ crucified body, which has been given up for you. Imagine yourself standing there at the foot of the cross, physically removing the nails from his hands and feet. You lift the weight of His body off of the cross. With His crucified body in your hands what would you do in that moment? Would you ponder Christ’s body, His Passion, His sacrifice. Would you stay with Him awhile and pray, or simply walk away and leave without a thought or a word of thanksgiving. Take the time to put yourself there, at the foot of the cross and truly ponder what had transpired.

Walking away after communion without taking the time to be with our Lord dwelling within our body, leaves him thirsting. Thirsting as he did on the cross. He was not thirsting for water, He was thirsting for our souls. In the sacrament of Holy Communion we are receiving His body, blood, soul and divinity in to our hearts. He died so that that we could all gain access to heaven, so that He could unite Himself to all of our hearts. He is alive within the body of Christ, the body of His believers and those that follow His teachings. This is the mystery of our faith.

St. Faustina records Jesus’s message to her in her Diary entry 1447

“Oh how painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion. I wait for souls and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them tenderly and sincerely and they distrust me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that you may know at least some of my pain, imagine the most tender of Mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a feeble image and likeness of My love.”

Consider your offering before communion. Stay with Jesus awhile after receiving Him into your heart. Remember that you are a living tabernacle of Christ. Carry Him out to those you encounter. BE  responsible with this sacrament.  BE like Christ to others: in your thoughts, in your words, in your in our actions.  Above all love and show mercy as Jesus did. May God Bless You.

Divine Mercy Novena Day 1

For those of you that are not familiar with this image, St. Faustina was asked by Jesus to have this specific image painted. It was commissioned by Jesus Christ himself. Faustina went through quite struggle to actually follow through with God’s will for her and the Lord’s request to have this image painted.

Not only did Christ give Faustina a directive for this image, He also gave her the instructions for the Chaplet and the Novena. Her diary is something amazing to read. It takes about a year to get through it all. The chaplet itself only take 10 minutes to pray. Your commitment is 10 minutes a day for 9 consecutive day should you choose to participate. Do you have 10 minutes to reflect on the Lord’s passion?

As Jesus told St. Faustina:

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners…[I]t is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. (Diary, 367)

At the request of her spiritual director, St. Faustina asked the Lord about the meaning of the rays in the image. She heard these words in reply:

The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him (299). By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works (742).
via The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

First Day of the Novena:

Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Pray:

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

How to Recite the Chaplet

The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.

1. Make the Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

3. Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

4. Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

5. The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

6. The Eternal Father

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

7. On the Ten Small Beads of Each Decade

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

8. Repeat for the remaining decades

Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.

9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

10. Optional Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

 

via The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

Divine Mercy Novena and Canonization of Blessed John Paul II

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Sunday following Easter. This year, Blessed John Paul II will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Three years ago on May 1, 2011 Pope John Paul II was beatified and I attended my first Divine Mercy Service. In my journal in front of the Blessed Sacrament I wrote the following.

“Totus Tutus. All yours. I am ready to bear fruit in your Holy name. I offer this to the souls of…Above all I offer it to you Lord for without your love and mercy I would be forever lost. Lord I love thee, help me to love others.”

Prior to attending this service I was only familiar with the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I learned of the Divine Mercy Novena days after it began. Oh how I wished I had learned of it earlier. It would be another year before I could participate in this Novena. There are very special graces attached to this Novena provided that you are in a state of grace and loving others as Jesus loved. Here are some facts about Divine Mercy and a link to the chaplet. You can pray the chaplet anywhere anytime. This year I will be leading the Novena in the St. Malachy Blessed Sacrament Chaplet on Green Street in Brownsburg if you would like to attend.

Good Friday at 5pm and the 8 consecutive days following at 3pm, the hour of great mercy.

If you choose to pray the Novena this year I would ask that you pray that God’s will be done for dear Will Copeland. Will is a very talented young artist that I have had the pleasure of teaching for 5 years. He has been undergoing chemotherapy for a spinal astrocytoma since last summer. If you would like to support Will in the relay for life please click here. Hope for Cope

Divine Mercy ChapletDivine Mercy Novena

The Great Mercy Pope

Pope John Paul II, both in his teaching and personal life, strove to live and teach the message of Divine Mercy. As the great Mercy Pope, he wrote an encyclical on Divine Mercy:

“The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which it in a sense forms the image of this Pontificate.”

In his writings and homilies, he has described Divine Mercy as the answer to the world’s problems and the message of the third millennium. He beatified and canonized Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the nun associated with the message, and he did it in Rome and not in Poland to underscore that Divine Mercy is for the whole world.

Establishing Divine Mercy Sunday for the Entire Church

When Pope John Paul canonized Sr. Faustina (making her St. Faustina), he also, on the same day, surprised the entire world by establishing Divine Mercy Sunday (the feast day associated with the message) as a feast day for the entire Church. The feast day falls on the Second Sunday of the Easter season. On that day, Pope John Paul II declared, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

Entrusting the World to Divine Mercy

In 2002, the Pope entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy when he consecrated the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow in Poland. This is where St. Faustina’s mortal remains are entombed. The saint lived in a convent nearby. The Pope himself remembers as a young man working in the Solvay Quarry, just a few meters from the present-day Shrine. He also says that he had been thinking about Sr. Faustina for a long time when he wrote his encyclical on Divine Mercy. Further, the Holy Father has frequently quoted from the Diary of St. Faustina and has prayed The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy at the saint’s tomb.

Beyond the Life of John Paul II

Given all these connections to Divine Mercy and St. Faustina, is it any wonder that Pope John Paul II died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (the evening before the feast day), which fell that year on April 3. It is also no surprise that the Great Mercy Pope left us a message for Divine Mercy Sunday, which was read on the feast day by a Vatican official to the faithful in St. Peter’s after a Mass that had been celebrated for the repose of the soul of the Pope.

Repeatedly Pope John Paul II has written and spoken about the need for us to turn to the mercy of God as the answer to the specific problems of our times. He has placed a strong and significant focus on the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout his pontificate that will carry the Church long after his death.

via The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

The Mission of St. Faustina

The mission of St. Faustina was recorded in her Diary which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it, she recorded faithfully all of the Lord Jesus’ wishes and also described the encounters between her soul and Him.

“Secretary of My most profound mystery,” the Lord Jesus said to Sr. Faustina, “know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me.” (Diary 1693)

Task One

Reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.

Task Two

Entreating God’s mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: “Jesus, I Trust in You,” the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 pm). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one’s life to God and practiced active love of one’s neighbor.

Task Three

The third task in Sr. Mary Faustina’s mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God’s mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr. Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbors. Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world; it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr. Mary Faustina.

via The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

 

Forms of Devotion

Through St. Faustina, the Merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of The Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Hour of Great Mercy.

Although these means of receiving God’s mercy are new in form, they all proclaim the timeless message of God’s merciful love. They also draw us back to the great Sacrament of Mercy, the Holy Eucharist, where the living Lord, who suffered and died on the Cross and whose Heart was pierced with a lance, pours forth His mercy on all mankind, and grants pardon to all who draw near and honor Him. As Jesus told St. Faustina:

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners…[I]t is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. (Diary, 367)

via The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

Hear the Word: Discipline

This morning I began by folding laundry and listening to my podcast Daily Readings from the New American Bible 

Don’t think I do this daily. Its been a long time. I am trying to create an easy routine. This is day 1.

I was really moved by what is highlighted below. The very first line Hear the Word of the Lord. One simple thing that you can do is take 5 -10 minutes at the beginning of your day and listen to the word. If you prefer to listen to it. Click the link above. If you prefer to read it and highlight click the following link. Daily Readings

Last night I was reading about a form of prayer that involves listening to God’s word, reflecting on it, praying with it and then meditating on it. I’m giving that a whirl this morning. I just happened to wake up early enough to do it.

“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”

This was the passage that spoke to me. For me self discipline is a constant battle. I know where I need to be more disciplined, yet I still neglect it and make excuses. Wow am I good at making excuses. Just ask my husband. So today I am going to be more disciplined and try to detach myself from things I take too much comfort in ( Like lying in bed after my first alarm goes off, I have three). We all have a weakness in need of strengthening. Just my thoughts going into the day. Off to the treadmill. I neglect my physical health the most. (Oh I would much rather eat breakfast first.) DISCIPLINE

 

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 231

Reading 1 is 1:10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right,
says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.
If you are willing, and obey,
you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,
the sword shall consume you:
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

Responsorial Psalm ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

The Lenten Promise

Crown of Thorns wr

Crown of Thorns sketch

Did you know it’s Lent? I have a confession to make. I know its Lent. I made it to Ash Wednesday mass, which interestingly enough is not a Holy Day of Obligation. I felt so good about being there, not proud, but good.  And then I  hear the criticisms,  experience the “Hey you have a little something on your forehead” comment. “What did you give up?” I am asked by a client. “Isn’t the whole point of Lent to become a better person?” asked by another. I  came out all ready to begin my Lenten Journey  and then I see a facebook post about all the people at Ash Wednesday Mass that ironically don’t go to Sunday mass. I wanted to reply but didn’t have the energy. I had missed mass the previous Sunday.

I don’t miss mass regularly. I actually love mass and have a strong desire to be there. That particular Sunday, I had this unbelievably excruciating tooth pain and I slept most of the day. Nothing I took would ease it and my husband was out of town.  My son was so cute. He made me stay in bed and made dinner for me. We missed mass, but he got the opportunity to minister to me. I got the opportunity to suffer and we listened and reflected on the readings together. Now my suffering wasn’t anything close to what Jesus suffered, however, when we are in pain, it gives us a greater appreciation for the suffering that Christ experienced out of love for us. St. Faustina tells this story about one of her final sufferings…

“I united my sufferings with the suffering of Jesus and offered them for myself and the conversion of souls who do not trust in the goodness of God. Suddenly my cell was filled with black figures full of anger and hatred for me. One of them said, ‘ Be damned, you and He who is within you, for you are beginning to torment us even in hell.’ As soon as I said, ‘And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,’ the figures vanished in a sudden whir. The next day I felt very weak, but experienced no further suffering. After Holy Communion, I saw the Lord Jesus just as I had seen Him during one adoration. The Lord’s gaze pierced my soul through and through, and not even the least speck of dust escaped His notice. And I said to Jesus, ‘Jesus, I thought You were going to take me.’ And Jesus answered, ‘My will has not yet been fully accomplished in you; you will still remain on earth, but not for long. I am well pleased with your trust, but your love should be more ardent. Pure love gives the soul strength at the very moment of dying. When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. I want your last moments to be completely similar to Mine on the cross. There is but one price  at which souls are bought and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them.’ ”

from Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

Last Sunday, after being superwoman for a week with my husband out of town, I slept in. Between picking him up at the airport at 1:30 am Saturday, working all day Saturday, baking a cake, attending the Cub Scout banquet and cleaning up after it,  I slept in on Sunday. I made the excuse….lack of sleep, my immunity is down, the clock sprung forward, I’ll go to 5 o clock mass in another parish and then the pain hits.  I sleep it off again. What time do I wake up, 5.  Now I know you can miss mass if you are sick, but this time I was feeling pretty guilty.  I didn’t intend to miss mass, but I missed it. I am not using following passage from St. Faustina as an excuse. I only share it because I have met people along my journey that I know will skip mass or Holy Communion because of various reasons that may not be serious enough to justify missing out on receiving the sacrament.

St Faustina wrote this about missing a mass.

“Once, I desired very much to receive Holy Communion, but I had a certain doubt, and I did not go. I suffered greatly because of this. It seemed to me that my heart would burst from the pain. When I set about my work, my heart full of bitterness, Jesus suddenly stood by me  and said, ‘My daughter , do not omit Holy Communion unless you know well that your fall was serious; apart from from this, no doubt must stop you from uniting yourself with Me in the mystery of My love. Your minor faults will disappear in My love like a piece of straw thrown into a great furnace. Know that you grieve Me much when you fail to receive Me in Holy Communion.’

from Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

The point of Lent from what I understand is to come to a closer union with God by following the example of His Son Jesus Christ. What I find interesting is that God’s Will is different for all of us. Maybe it was His will that I experience pain for awhile.  Maybe I needed to experience what it was like to be away devoid of the Eucharist for awhile,creating an empathy in me for those who need to Eucharist to ministered to them. Whatever God’s plan is for me is during Lent I am trying to listen a little more closely than I have during the last year and share a bit of my journey along the way.

During lent I like to spend more time reflecting on the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It was St. Faustina that brought us the gift of the Divine Mercy image and chaplet. She was asked by Jesus through her ardent prayers and sufferings to to have the image of Divine Mercy painted  and devote specific prayers to the image. A couple of years ago, I was able to take the time to read St. Faustina’s entire diary Divine Mercy in My Soul. I have so many passages marked in there that I thought perhaps now would be a great time to reflect on them. Blessed John Paul II was the pope that canonized St.Faustina and instituted Divine Mercy Sunday. Since he will be canonized on the 20th Anniversary of Divine Mercy Sunday, I hope to continue to share a few of the passages from the diary and blessings that praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet has brought to me. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for others to experience the gift of Divine Mercy.

Christmas Preparations

Yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  This time of year is so busy that I was relieved when father announced that attending mass on this Holy day of obligation wasn’t required this year. Relieved, and yet in my heart I knew that now two weeks into advent I still hadn’t set up my own advent wreath. I had missed mass twice over the last month due to taking care of sick family members and just being plain exhausted from Thanksgiving. What has interfered with the preparations of my heart? An honest look reveals me. My choices about whether I lay in bed in the morning past my alarm or continuing to work longer hours exhausting myself even further. 

What is really worth our time as the season approaches more quickly than ever. Preparations are better spent on making more room for the Holy Trinity in our hearts. I work on Saturdays, and the last two Saturdays I’ve stayed 2 1/2 hours past closing time, making it impossible to go to reconciliation. Sundays are an honest to God day of rest for me and time with my family. Mondays, my business is closed but I usually end up there half of the day and take care of any important errands afterward. Yesterday would have been a great day to make all of the returns, purchase gifts, find something to wear to that Holiday party and stock up on all the special ingredients for those Christmas cookies we bake. But this was my day and for once I was going to do what I wanted to do with it.

So I threw it all aside and went to mass being held in the school’s auditorium. I make it sound like it was all my choice, but there was a lot of temptation to do otherwise. I am a workaholic, a perfectionist, worry wart, which it why I would rather keep knocking off those items off my to do list. When I put it all aside for the Lord, there is a peace about it, I know it will be done eventually and there really couldn’t be anything more important that doing God’s will, which is a frequent prayer for me “Dear God I pray that your spirit within me prays with me to bring about your Holy will.” It was God drawing me to mass yesterday morning, because if it were my will, well I would probably gone back to bed. At that mass, like any other,  I could offer prayers for all of those friends and family members in need, and pray for my heart to be more fully opened to receive our Lord and watch my nine year old son receive communion with hundreds over other young children. 

I spent a little time in the Blessed Sacrament chapel afterwards.  I ran into a friend in there that I had not seen in quite awhile. I united my prayers with hers for “wherever two or more are gathered in my name I am with them”  Jesus says. We we decided to go out for coffee afterwards, but then she that saw Father was finished greeting people and asked him if he had time for confession.  Since he said “yes”, I asked if he could see me as well. ” Ask and you shall receive” So we both waived our coffee time to reconcile our hearts to the Lord. This is the type of preparation that the Lord seeks of us during Advent.

On a day when we celebrate the Immaculate Conception, Mary conceived in a state of grace (with out original sin). What a blessing it was to   receive God’s grace in the sacrament of reconciliation. When we are free from our sins, we are in that state of grace and like our Blessed Mother Mary, we can receive God fully into our hearts through Jesus. “Oh come oh come Immanuel”

Here is a link to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Take the virtual tour the artwork and architecture is amazing.

I haven’t made anytime to draw lately, but many of my previous images are available on note cards including Christmas cards at Artistic Designs Gallery While they are not yet on the website. They are available in the shop. Many blessings to you.