MARY, OUR MOTHER

Tuesday, October 31, 2006




MARY IMMACULATE
HER BEAUTY

2. Earthly Paradise.
But all this was still little for God. So He set apart in this very earth an orchard of delight, gorgeous and splendid, where He gathered together all the most beautiful things of creation, the most colorful plants and animals, the sweetest and most savory fruits, the most enchanted rivers; in one word, all good without any admixture of evil. That was the earthly paradise.
[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditation' Book]

Monday, October 30, 2006


Before we end this Pro-Life month of October, I want to have one last thought about the unborn!

Please spiritually adopt an unborn baby!

Every day over 4000 babies are killed by abortion. They have so little protection, only the hand of God can end this massacre. Prayer is the best weapon to help them and the most effective.

Here is a daily nine month Novena prayer to save a baby's life:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.

Prayer of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." (Jeremiah 1:5)

Adoptive Baby's Name ________________________________________

Spiritual Adoption Date _______________________________________

Please pray! This baby is counting on you.

To learn more about this visit www.spiritualadoption.org

Deacon John

www.deaconjohn.org

Creation


MEDITATION 7-1

MARY IMMACULATE
HER BEAUTY


In all Her mysteries and titles Mary is the same: Queen of the highest heavenly beauty. However there is something special in Her title of Immaculate which compels us to see Her particularly beautiful.

1. Beauty of Creation.
In order to fathom the beauty of Mary we should know the beauty which God enclosed in creation so that thus we can deduce the beauty He enclosed in Mary. Look at the beauty of the earth. Once upon a time nothing was. It was all chaos, darkness, nothingness. But one day God said,
Let it de done, and there sprang to existence the fishes, the air with its birds, forests, mountains, valleys and all kinds of animals therein. Pause now to consider the beauty of this creation. Ponder over this variety. See the wonderful order that reigns in it. Everything attains its end, even though we might not know how.
[From 'Marian Meditation' Book]


Sunday, October 29, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE
THE PRIVILEGE

4. Our Privilege.
We also partake of this privilege. We were born in sin. But immediately we enjoyed the privilege of being baptized, our souls became pure and innocent, similar to that of Mary's. Baptismal grace rendered us most lovely before God. That is why when we joyfully meditate on the Immaculate Conception of Mary we must meditate also on our own birth to the life of grace and ask ourselves: Do I keep the immaculate beauty of my baptism? Have I lost it? Do I possess a real esteem for it?

Ask pardon from Mary and beg Her help always to live up to that life of purity of Her Immaculate Heart.
[From 'Marian Meditation' Book]

Saturday, October 28, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE
THE PRIVILEGE

3. A Divine Privilege.
God alone could work such a prodigy of beauty and grace. God, as the law-giver, is above all law. Consequently He could repeal or condone this universal law. This privilege is an exception beyond even the thought of men. It was beyond their reach. Only God could make this exception. Remember how through Joshua He prolonged the light of the sun. How, through Moses, He divided the waters of the sea. How through His angels He forbade the flames of the Babylon furnace to harm the three Hebrew youths. Now, this very same God caused the waters of sin to part in front of Mary; bade them to leave Her untouched. All these biblical incidents were just a figure of this immense miracle of the power and of the love of God. That is why the triumph of Mary Immaculate is a triumph of Almighty God. This privilege is truly divine. The glory of Our Immaculate Mother is a divine glory.

[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations' Book]


Friday, October 27, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE
THE PRIVILEGE

2. A Great Privilege.
It is great because it makes Our Beloved Mother appear as very great in the eyes of God, of the angels, and of ourselves. If all of us had been born in grace, we would not find this privilege one of the principal reasons to exalt the figure of Mary. She Herself was doubtlessly referring to this privilege when She sang The Lord has done great things to my soul. She adds then that in order to perform all those great things, God had to deploy all the strength of His mighty arm. And so it was. Ancient history tells us how Cyrus, in order to enter Babylon, had to change the course of the River Euphrates so that he could penetrate the City along its dry river bed. God by changing the course of the streams of original sin that was running along the river bed of human life, causing thereby Our Blessed Lady to enter it without being contaminated by its waters, did likewise.

Moreover, God showed His greatness By making Mary the object of a special redemption. All of us have been redeemed by Christ; and this is our great glory. But somebody might think that since Mary did not sin, She was not redeemed nor did She therefore need receive from Christ something that we ourselves received. Should it be possible for us to have scored a glory that is not also Hers? No! Impossible! There are two kinds of redemption: one is the liberative redemption which raises the fallen and gives new life to those who have died the death of sin. All of us were redeemed in this way. But there is also a preventive redemption -- the one which prevents one from falling. This is the redemption that applies to Mary. It was on the strength of Christ's redemption, and in view of His divine merits, that Mary and Mary alone, received the grace of not falling. Her redemption, then, is more perfect than ours. And thus also here She scores another advantage over us. Thus considered how great is this high privilege!

[From 'Marian Meditation' Book]

Thursday, October 26, 2006



MARIAN MEDITATION 6

MARY IMMACULATE
THE PRIVILEDGE

Let us today consider the wonderful privilege granted to Mary by God in Her Conception. Let us try to fathom something of the treasures it contains and the reason why Our Lady holds it so dear.

1. A Unique Privilege.
Picture the devil at the entrance of the world. Whenever a man begins his life, Satan brands him with the hallmark of sin. On all men the infernal serpent spits its filthy spittle. All of us due to that stain from the devil were born like that; repugnant and hideous in the sight of God. Think now of what this means for us all. Think of the greatest saints. The most ardent lovers of God are those whom He loved best. See with your imagination all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, virgins, file past. All of them must exclaim with David: I was conceived in iniquity. I was begotten in sin. What a sore sight!


See now instead how the scene changes. Now it is the contrary. Watch that most pure soul springing up from the hands of God, and eluding the devil, entering the world victorious. See the angels accompany Her singing Thou art all beautiful, Mary. There is no stain in Thee! Thou art the exception. Where the others fail, Thou standest. Where the others die, Thou livest. Where the others are stained, Thou remainest pure and immaculate!

A most glorious and unique privilege, indeed!
(From 'Marian Meditation' Book)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


OCTOBER MEDJUGORJE MESSAGE

Dear children! Today the Lord permitted me to tell you again that you live in a time of grace. You are not conscious, little children, that God is giving you a great opportunity to convert and to live in peace and love. You are so blind and attached to earthly things and think of earthly life. God sent me to lead you toward eternal life. I, little children, am not tired, although I see that your hearts are heavy and tired for everything that is a grace and a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call. October 25, 2006


MARY IMMACULATE

HER GREATNESS

3. Mother of God the Son.
From Mary, Jesus took flesh and blood and offered them as pure and holy Host on the Cross for the redemption of mankind. How could that Host be pure and holy if its origin had been stained with sin?


Furthermore, none of us can choose our mother. We just receive the one given us by God. But it was not so with Our Lord. He chose and shaped His Mother just as He wanted. Now, Christ being able, as He was, to shape Her most beautiful, pure and holy in Her conception, could He allow Her to be stained and enslaved by sin? Christian people, already many centuries ago, used to chant:

If He could not make Her Immaculate He is not God; if He could and would not, He is not Son; let us, then, rather say that He could and would,
which is equivalent to saying that there was no power wanting in God, neither was will wanting. Consequently, the Lord Who created Adam and Eve in grace, would certainly do the same with Mary.

If He could but would not make Mary Immaculate, He would not have shown for Her a love befitting a good son towards his mother, since He would have deprived Her of a beauty that was to be Her most cherished treasure. Thus, there is no other way: He had to make Her Immaculate.
[From 'Marian Meditations' Book]


Tuesday, October 24, 2006



It seems Our Lady's statue in Italy is crying blood again! What's it all mean? Well, I think it is God's way of waking us up to the reality of the times we live in. I think these modern days are worst now than the times of the "Flood." Wars, Fratricide, Abortion, Euthanasia, Experiments on human conceptions, never has there been so much killing of human life! But I think the worst offence against Almighty God is atheism! Never before have so many denied God's existence and have turned their back on Him and His Commandments!

What will be the answer to these signs? I believe we are about to receive a direct intervention of God to correct the conscience of all humanity. It will be awesome and terrible at the same time. Those who love God, will love Him more; those who hate or deny Him, will see their sins and the effects these sins have on themselves and others; and all will be purified! I believe then, we will see the Reign of the Father's Kingdom on earth; the Kingdom of the Divine Will:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will de done, on earth, as it is in Heaven . . .Amen!

From Sofia Weekly:

Virgin Mary Statue Shed Bloody Tears in Italy
World in Brief:

23 October 2006, Monday.


Bloody tears have started rolling down the cheeks of a statue of the Virgin Mary that has already once amazed pilgrims in 1995 when it cried for several days. The statue of the Madonna portraying the Queen of Peace and coming from Medjugorie, had first started to cry bloody tears in the yard of a family in Civitavecchia, but stopped after fourteen times. Back then the tears and the statue were extensively tested and the blood came as human. X-rays of the statue showed that it hadn't been tampered with and that there were no signs of anyone playing tricks.


MARY IMMACULATE
HER GREATNESS


2. Daughter of God the Father.
She is the predilected Daughter of God. Predestined thereby to a greatness the like of which was not to be found except in God Himself. God wanted Her to be as closely united to divinity as possible so that She (without being God, of course, since this is absurd), should be as close to Him as possible.

Then, if God and sin are the most opposed ideas, how could Mary, who is so close to God, harbor at the same time in Her heart any stain of sin? There you have an absurdity that we refuse to admit and which shows to us the necessity of Her Immaculate Conception.
[From 'Marian Meditation' Book]



Monday, October 23, 2006



MARIAN MEDIATION #5-1

MARY IMMACULATE
HER GREATNESS

We are dealing with a mystery. Therefore we cannot plumb the depths of it since we would be lost in its immensity. Nevertheless, it is sweet and consoling to ponder, as far as in us lies, over those reasons for which Mary had to be Immaculate.

1. The Queen of the Angels.

Mary was to rule over the very angels. They were to honor Her and rejoice with Her as Queen. How could then they have as Queen some one less pure and perfect than themselves? If She had, even for a fleeting moment, been a slave of sin, that is to say a slave of the other angels who had rebelled against God, could they have accepted Her? This is not possible. Our reason rises in protest against such an absurdity. We have to hold that Mary had to be pure, holy and Immaculate. [Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations' Book]

Sunday, October 22, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE
THE MYSTERY


3. Universality of Sin.
But worst of all, Adam's sin was universal for the whole of mankind.

Adam was not just a private individual. He was the fountainhead of human life. From him all other men were to take origin. He was, then, the representative of humanity. All of us were included in him. Now, everything that God gave him was not for him exclusively, but for everybody. All of us were supposed to become equal to him. In this is no injustice whatsoever. If a father is enormously rich, his children also will be rich. But if this father squanders away his estate and becomes penniless, his children, through no fault of theirs, will be born in poverty. That is what happened to us. No one was richer than Adam. God desired we also should be rich in grace. However, Adam lost everything and now we are born in poverty. A great pity, indeed, but a great truth.


She should have been born like ourselves.
But God says no. He exempts Her and Her alone. She is born just as She was shaped by God, pure, spotless, immaculate. Pause to admire her beauty. Congratulate Mary in being Immaculate.
See the angels escorting Her with palms and celebrating Her entry into the world. A triumphal entry which far from being a defeat like ours, is a victory scored over the serpent. With the angels sing the praises of Our Lady as She appears in the world so beautiful and shining. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a whiter flower than the soul of Mary at Her Conception.
Think also that since She was sinless, She was not bound either by the law of suffering or of death. Nevertheless, God wanted Her to suffer and die that She should be similar to that Son of Hers who embraced the cross for our love. Suffering was not in Her a punishment, as it is with us, but just a token of Her love for God and of Her imitation of Jesus, as it also was a token of Her love for men and an example for our consolation.
Thank Her for this and be courageous when comes the time for you to suffer like your Mother and embrace the Cross as She did.
[From 'Marian Meditations' Book]


Saturday, October 21, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE
THE MYSTERY


2. The Fall.
But sin intertered and all evils arrived. God was not the author of suffering and sorrow. He did not make us for unhappiness. But we ourselves by sin created suffering.
Accursed sin, cause of all evil. Recall all the sadness, all the anxieties, sufferings and tortures of the human heart from Adam till today. Survey all the sicknesses, oftentimes so painful and repugnant, which scourge humanity. Think especially of the cruel agony of death, the humiliation of decay in the tomb. What a horrible picture! And all this due to sin!

Compare the happy plan of God with the actual pitiful state of man, oftentimes ruled by brutish passions which make us similar to the beasts. Victims of sins of all kinds -- sometimes even the lowest and most degrading --, loss of sanctifying grace, of immortality, of the sight of God -- and then finally Hell, the end of such a miserable life. Sin closed Heaven. No one was entitled to enter therein. Think well of this and hence deduce how hideous must sin be, if God so punishes it.

[From 'Marian Meditations' Book]


Friday, October 20, 2006



MARIAN MEDITATION 4

MARY IMMACULATE THE MYSTERY

Think deeply what this means. Try to penetrate deeper and deeper into this mystery. You will derive much advantage from it.

1. The State of Mankind Before Sin.

Just think what man was and what he could have been without the sin of Adam. God's plan was so sublime, so magnificent. After having created other beings, God wanting to appoint and create a king for all creation, thinks of man. How lovingly He shaped him, not with a mere word as the other creatures but with an all-special interest.
He infuses in him a soul, spiritual and immortal, to the image and likeness of His divinity. Then He places him in an earthly paradise, an abode of all delights. Life there was happy, without sorrows, sufferings or tears. All was joy, and contentment. The soul of man was endowed by God with dignity, namely, the perfect subjection of the passions to reason. He was endowed with infused science so he could know everything without labor or study. He was, above all, endowed with sanctifying grace which made man an image of God, His Son, His temple.

The role of humanity was thus one of happiness and sanctity to serve and love God. At the end of life, without going through the test of death, man would be taken to Heaven to praise God eternally. Sublime indeed, was God's plan. Stop a little and consider it.

[excerpted from 'Marian Meditations' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar]


Thursday, October 19, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE -
THE EVIDENCE


5. Ourselves.
God, the Angel, the Pope, Mary Herself are the witnesses who proclaim this dogma, and we, what shall we do? Merely rejoice in it? That is not enough. We can, we must take part in it. Mary Immaculate ia a Captain at the head of an army in battle array against the serpent and its hordes. We must enlist under the flag of Mary and fight sin wherever it is found: we must launch war against lukewarmness, ingratitude, self-love. Only thus shall we be imitators of Mary Immaculate.
War then, against sin, for Mary Immaculate.

[From 'Marian Meditations' Book.]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE - THE EVIDENCE
4. Mary.
She Herslf confirms the infallible utterance of the Supreme Pontiff. It is the white Virgin of Lourdes who after seventeen apparitions in the end declares Herself to the girl [St. Bernadette] and tells her:
I am the Immaculate Conception.

The miraculous spring, the throngs of pilgrims, the thousands of patients, the insistent prayers and the everlasting canticles of Lourdes are just an echo of those words and a confirmation of the pontifical pronouncement. Mary is Immaculate in Her Conception. Remember the story of Lourdes and you will join in spreading the chorus of praises which there endlessly proclaims Mary Immaculate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE -
THE EVIDENCE


3. The Church.
For 19 centuries the Church was longing for this dogma. Watch the magnificent parade: there are the holy Fathers, the Doctors, the ecclesiastical writers, the Mystics, the Ascetics, all the Saints (and especially those who most loved Mary) who have woven an endless crown of praises to Her Immaculate Conception. There are the Virgins of the Holy Church who in order to follow Her immaculate purity, gave themselves up to Her through the vow of virginity. Behold how many they are and how resplendent! What a fine army under the banner of Mary Immaculate.


The whole Christian people acclaimed Her in hymn and song, pure and spotless in Her Conception.
There has been no dogma more strongly and deeply felt, nor one better understood than this. After 19 centuries of waiting Pope Pius IX, gathering all that longing and praise, shapes with it as Her everlasting crown the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Pause and see Mary as the shining goal of the praises of the whole Church in this mystery. See how those words of the Magnificat are fulfilled! All generations shall call Me Blessed! (St. Luke 1:48)


Monday, October 16, 2006



MARY IMMACULATE THE EVIDENCE
2. The Angel.
With the words: The Lord is with Thee, full of grace (St. Luke 1:28), the Angel clearly calls Her Immaculate. When and how was She filled with grace? Surely it was just at the moment of Her immaculate conception. This fullness of grace is prodigious, is unique, is for ever. Were it not so, the Angel could not have uttered these words.

There have indeed been many saints with great sanctity and great grace; but none with such plenitude. At least at the moment of their birth, due to original sin they had no grace whatsoever. But with Mary it was not so. At every instance and always, She was full of grace. Therefore She was never with sin, not even original sin. Consequently, when the Angel hails Her as
full of grace, he equivalently calls Her Immaculate. Relish these sweet words and thank the Angel for having made such a panegyric of Mary Immaculate.

[From 'Marian Meditations']



Today, October 16, is the Feast Day of St. Hedwig & St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. There is another great Saint celebrated today and his name is:

SAINT GERARD MAJELLA, who is the patron of the unborn!

[Saint Gerard Majella]
Memorial
16 October
Profile
Son of a tailor who died when the boy was 12, leaving the family in poverty. Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but his health prevented it He was accepted as a Redemptorist lay brother serving his congregation as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. Wonder worker.

When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence; she later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. Reputed to bilocate and read consciences. His last will consisted of the following small note on the door of his cell: "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills."

A life frail and brief

Born April 6, 1726, in Muro Lucano, Italy, St. Gerard's special intercession for mothers and unborn children is perhaps explained by his own frail health at birth, which was cause for him to be baptized immediately.

His feeble condition persisted throughout his 29 years, until his death on Oct. 16, 1755 of tuberculosis.

Despite his condition, it fell to him to support his family after his father died while Gerard was very young. He apprenticed as a tailor, but had a foreman who belittled his devotion to the Eucharist and his constant works of charity.

Gerard withstood the criticism, however, dividing his earnings equally between his family, the poor and Mass stipends for the release of souls in purgatory.

Gerard's mother, Benedetta, said her son "was born for heaven," and told how he spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament "until he forgot it was dinnertime."

He tried to join two religious orders but was rejected as too weak. He was finally admitted as a lay brother in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer after the superior saw "he could do the work of three men."

The Redemptorists, as they are commonly known, had been founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori only a few years earlier. To their usual vows Gerard added one: "To always do that which would seem most pleasing to God."

So trusted was he that, after joining the monastery, he was made the spiritual director for several communities of nuns.

In 1753, however, a young woman who had quit the convent wrote to St. Alphonsus and accused Gerard of having an affair with a local townswoman.

Gerard refused to offer a self-defense, and St. Alphonsus saw no recourse but to consider him guilty of adultery and violating his vows He disciplined Gerard by ordering him confined to the monastery and forbidding him to receive Holy Communion—a punishment that for Gerard was like being denied food.

Gerard's only comment was, "There is a God in heaven. He will prevail."

Months later, as his accuser lay on her deathbed, she was stricken with remorse and confessed to fabricating her story. When St. Alphonsus asked Gerard why he had not defended himself, Gerard replied: "But, Father, our holy rule says that we are to bear in silence mortifications imposed on us by our superiors."

St. Gerard spent many hours each day on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament to praise God and give thanks for His blessings.

Many of the gifts attributed to the frail saint were attributed to this time spent in prayer before the Eucharist. It was because of those gifts that his fellow monks frequently brought him with them when they would visit the homes of the sick.

Gerard had the ability to "read" souls and bring sinners back to God by quietly revealing to them their secret misdeeds, or sins they had been too embarrassed to confess.

Only one instance is recorded of his curing an expectant mother of her illness while he was alive, but there were many women who claimed that they and their children were granted graces through the prayers of Gerard.

The famous "handkerchief story" goes like this: While he was leaving the house of a family he had gone to visit, he dropped his handkerchief. A young woman retrieved it, but as she handed it to him, Gerard told her mysteriously, "Keep it. One day it will be of service to you."

Although puzzled, the woman did keep it. And a few years later, she faced life threatening complications as she was about to give birth to her first child. She remembered the mysterious hanky and the promise, and asked that it be brought to her in her travail. She held it to her womb and immediately the pain ceased and she delivered a normal, healthy child.

The miraculous handkerchief was passed from mother to mother as they were about to give birth in the town of Olive to Citra. The first mother passed the precious relic on to her niece and on it went through the generations.

Some families took small pieces of it and only a small shred remained when Gerard was canonized on Dec. 11, 1904. It was enough, though, to pass its special graces on to other cloths touched to it.

Now new handkerchiefs with St. Gerard's likeness, also touched to his relics, are given to visitors to the International Shrine of St. Gerard Majella in Materdomini, Italy, as well as at the national shrine in Newark.

Each year, thousands of expectant mothers, mothers with children and couples wanting to have children, visit the shrine in Newark, where Italian immigrants from Caposele, Teora and other towns around Materdomini settled in the 1900s, bringing their devotion to the saint with them.

A prayer for life;

Almighty and Eternal Father, in your all-wise providence you have raised up St. Gerard Majella to be the glorious protector of the mother and her unborn child Humbly we ask you that, through the powerful intercession of this, your faithful servant, we might have the courage to oppose the forces of anti-life in this world and to stand firm in our support of life in all stages of its development Grant that the ideal of the Christian family may flourish to the praise and glory of your Holy Name We ask this through Christ, our Lord Amen

Sunday, October 15, 2006




MARIAN MEDITATION #3
MARY IMMACULATE THE EVIDENCE

When the happy time scheduled by God for the salvation of mankind arrived, Our Blessed Lady was conceived, yet not like the rest of men, but pure and spotless, without contracting original sin. Let us meditate on the evidence which establishes this consoling truth.

1. God.
Remember the sin of Adam and Eve and God's punishment. He curses the serpent in these words:
I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed. She shall crush thy head and thou shall bruise her heel. (Gen 3:15) [Douay-Rheims Bible]

In these words consider three points: 1, that an extraordinary woman and her offspring would take revenge on the serpent; 2, that between the woman and the serpent there would be eternal enmity, and 3, that the devil will be conquered by the woman. Well, then; had not Mary been immaculate, had She been stained with the slightest shadow of sin, there would not have been perpetual enmity, since sin is an act of friendship with the devil. Moreover, She would not be the Vanquisher but the vanquished because sin is a triumph of the devil. Victory goes to the Woman and her offspring, and that offspring is none other than Her Son, Jesus Christ, and we ourselves, Christ's brothers [and sisters]. Consequently, with Her, and through Her we must fight the devil, thereby following Her immaculate purity through our fight and victory over Satan.
[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations' by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar]


Saturday, October 14, 2006




As a follow-up to the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, where Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding out the Scapular for all the world, I'm posting this information sheet on devotion to this wonderful sacramental:

THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

is a gift to us from Our Heavenly Mother.

It is an assurance of salvation.

"WHOSOEVER DIES CLOTHED IN THIS (SCAPULAR) SHALL NOT SUFFER ETERNAL FIRE. "This is the Blessed Virgin Mary's PROMISE, made July 16, 1251, to St. Simon Stock.

Love the Scapular.
Wear it always.
Venerate it often.

True devotion to Mary consists in three things:
VENERATION, CONFIDENCE, LOVE.Without saying to Mary that we venerate her, love her, and trust in her protection, we tell her these things every moment of the day by simply wearing the Scapular.

THE SCAPULAR THEN IS A PRAYER.Our Lord taught us to say the "Our Father." Mary taught us the value of the Scapular. When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son. It is well, therefore, to HOLD THE SCAPULAR IN THE HAND while addressing Our Lady. A prayer uttered thus, while holding the mystical Scapular, is as perfect as a prayer can be. It is especially in TIME OF TEMPTATION that we need the powerful intercession of God's Mother. The evil spirit is utterly powerless when a Scapular-wearer, besides his silent devotion, faces temptation calling upon Mary. "If thou hadst recommended thyself to me, thou wouldst not have run into such danger," was Our Lady's gentle reproach to Blessed Alan de la Roche.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori says:
"Just as men take pride in having others wear their livery, so the most holy Mary is pleased when her servants wear her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to her service, and are members of the Family of the Mother of God."


Pope Benedict XV granted a partial indulgence EACH TIME the Scapular is kissed.

Pope John Paul II in a Message to the Carmelites said: "The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives. The Scapular is essentially a "habit". Those who receive it are associated more or less closely with the Order of Carmel and dedicate themselves to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church (cf. "Formula of Enrolment in the Scapular", in the Rite of Blessing of and Enrolment in the Scapular, approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 5 January 1996).

"Those who wear the Scapular are thus brought into the land of Carmel, so that they may "eat its fruits and its good things" (cf. Jer 2: 7), and experience the loving and motherly presence of Mary in their daily commitment to be clothed in Jesus Christ and to manifest him in their life for the good of the Church and the whole of humanity (cf. "Formula of Enrolment in the Scapular", cit.).

Therefore two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular: on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; on the other, the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honour on certain occasions, but must become a "habit", that is, a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In this way the Scapular becomes a sign of the "covenant" and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful: indeed, it concretely translates the gift of his Mother, which Jesus gave on the Cross to John and, through him, to all of us, and the entrustment of the beloved Apostle and of us to her, who became our spiritual Mother.

"A splendid example of this Marian spirituality, which inwardly moulds individuals and conforms them to Christ, the firstborn of many brethren, is the witness to holiness and wisdom given by so many Carmelite saints, all of whom grew up in the shadow and under the protection of their Mother.

"I too have worn the Scapular of Carmel over my heart for a long time! Out of my love for our common heavenly Mother, whose protection I constantly experience, I hope that this Marian year will help all the men and women religious of Carmel and the devout faithful who venerate her with filial affection to grow in her love and to radiate to the world the presence of this Woman of silence and prayer, invoked as Mother of Mercy, Mother of Hope and Grace.
With these wishes, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to all the friars, nuns, sisters and lay people of the Carmelite Family, who work so hard to spread among the people of God true devotion to Mary, Star of the Sea and Flower of Carmel!"
From the Vatican, 25 March 2001.

PROFESS YOUR DEVOTION

To be eligible for THE SCAPULAR PROMISE one must be enrolled in the Family of Carmel by a priest or deacon.

SHORT ENROLLMENT

"Receive this scapular, a sign of your special relationship with Mary the Mother of Jesus, whom you pledge to imitate. May it be a reminder to you of your dignity as a Christian, in serving others and imitating Mary. Wear it as a sign of her protection and of belonging to the family of Carmel, voluntarily doing the will of God and devoting yourself to building a world true to his plan of community, justice and peace."

MARY'S GIFT OF THE SCAPULAR IS FOR ALL HER CHILDREN
MARY'S MOTHERHOOD is not limited to Catholics; it is extended to ALL PEOPLE. Many miracles of conversion have been wrought in favor of non-Catholics who have practiced the Scapular devotion.

I've worn the Brown Scapular for over 35 years, I never take it off, even in the shower! I firmly believe in it's sacramental grace and its binding of my soul to Mother Mary. Time and time again, She has come to my rescue in temporal and spiritual matters. I can never thank Our Lady enough for all the grace She has given me and how She has led me to grow in love with God, who created me, redeemed me and anointed me. Mother Mary has especially led me to Her Divine Son, Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, where my hunger for Him never ceases.

O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament!


Friday, October 13, 2006



MIRACLE OF THE SUN

"And nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting." (St. Matthew, 17: 20)

On this day, October 13, 89 years ago, occurred the great "Miracle of the Sun", in the village of Fatima, Portugal. Let us recall the story leading up to this great prodigy.
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to three little shepherd children, Jacinta, seven years old; Francisco, nine; and Lucia, who was the oldest at ten. Our Lady told them that God wanted to establish throughout the world devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. She said that men must stop offending Her Divine Son, and that they should pray the Rosary in order to end the war (World War One) which was then raging. This apparition took place at noon on May 13, 1917. Our Blessed Lady asked Her young friends to come back to the same place on the 13th of each month for the next six months.

Despite opposition from parents and town authorities, the children came back each month except for August (they were held in jail by the mayor, who had threatened them with death unless they told him the Secret.) Mary told them to recite the Rosary every day and spend some time thinking about the Mysteries, instead of just mumbling prayers. She asked that people go to Confession and Communion on the First Saturday of five consecutive months. If this was done, Mary promised to help at the hour of death with the graces needed for salvation.

Our Blessed Lady also uttered a solemn warning that, if Her requests were not heeded, another terrible war would break out, different nations would be destroyed, famine and persecution would reign, many would be martyred, and the Holy Father would suffer much.

On the other hand, if the faithful heeded Her warnings and mended their lives and were devoted to Her Immaculate Heart, even Russia would be converted and there would be world peace.

So, on that October 13 of 1917, about 70,000 people gathered, in the heavy rain, at the spot where Mary appeared to the children. In honor of His Blessed Mother God worked a stupendous miracle, the so-called Miracle of the Sun. As the tremendous crowd starred at the sky, the sun changed color from gold to silver. It sent in every direction rays of different colored lights. Three times for four minutes each time the sun moved around like a wheel of fire and then to the consternation of everyone, plunged towards the earth, coming so close that many thought the end of the world was at hand. When the sun went back to its place, everyone realized that the rain had stopped and everything was miraculously dry, the earth and the people, as if their clothes had been to the dry cleaners.

In the sky the children saw Our Lady with St. Joseph and the Divine Infant, who later blessed the crowd. Finally Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, She then said: "I am the Lady of the Rosary."
"People must amend their lives, ask pardon for their sins and not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended."

What is the meaning of the Fatima story for you and me? Clearly, Our Lady of Fatima has brought an on-going message for the world, a message that has four main points:

1. We should turn away from sin. We should make many sacrifices by fulfilling our duties of our state in life.
2. Consecrate ourselves without reserve to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and live that consecration.
3. Recite the Rosary every day, adding after each decade: "O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."
4. Keep the five First Saturdays devotion by receiving the sacraments (Confession and Holy Communion), by reciting five decades of the Rosary, by meditating fifteen minutes on the Mysteries of the Rosary, and by praying for the Holy Father, offering all this in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Our Lady asks of us two things in particular: prayer and penance. The devils of destruction are everywhere in the world today, driving nations into war, even fratricide, destroying peace in the hearts of individuals and in the council chamber of nations. Only prayer and penance can win peace. Listen to the call of Our Lady of Fatima. Mary said: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be an Era of Peace!" Let's tell Our Lady that we will heed Her warnings and follow Her advise so that Christ, Her Divine Son, will reign in the hearts of all mankind! Amen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FEAST OF THE MATERNITY OF OUR LADY
Why Stress Mary's Divine Maternity Today?
There is an urgent reason for stressing the Divine Maternity of Our Lady today. It is a widespread undermining of this cardinal truth of our faith in nominally Catholic circles of the twentieth century. The movie “The Last Temptation” was a blasphemous portrayal of Christ as a sinner. This movie was warmly endorsed and had not a few Catholic supporters, including a professedly Catholic scripture scholar whom I had as a teacher.
On a wider scale, the teaching of sex education in many Catholic schools today presents Christ, in so many words, as “a human person,” who had the same fallen human nature as our own.”
It is therefore imperative that, in today's confused world, we emphasize, underline, underscore, focus on, stress, concentrate on Mary as the Mother of God. I do not hesitate saying that recitation of the Rosary is an outstanding sign of our profession of faith in Our Lady's Divine Motherhood.
Remember, too, why we Catholics have two parts to what we now call the “
Hail Mary.” The second part is really the “Holy Mary,” which was officially added to the “Hail Mary” by the Church. Why? Precisely in order to profess our Catholic Faith in Mary as the Mother of God, which was being undermined by the founders of Protestantism in the sixteenth century. [Excerpted from a conference by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. 1914-2000+r.i.p.]

As we celebrate this Feast of the Maternity of Our Lady (October 12), we would like to consider three things:
1. Mary is truly the Mother of God.
2. As the Mother of God Mary claims the greatest dignity next to God.
3. As Mother of God we must honor and venerate Her above all other creatures in heaven and on earth.

1. The greatest joy of a mother is to see her son honored and respected. Mary experienced that joy. She knew that Jesus was God. Read the true story in St. Luke, 1: 26-35, of the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to Mary that She was to be the Mother of God. Let me quote the concluding words of the angel:
"The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God."

The Son of Mary is called the Son of the Most High, the Son of God. As soon as Mary gave Her consent, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took a body and soul in Her most chaste womb. From the very first instant of their existence the body and soul of Christ were united to His Divinity.

Christ, remember, had two natures, the divine and the human. But Christ was only one Person, the divine, and this Divine Person was true Man while He remained true God.
"Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is God with us." (Isaiah 7:14)

Again in St. Luke, 1:43, cousin Elizabeth was inspired to exclaim:
"And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Holy Mother Church, the infallible teacher of God's truth, has expressly declared that Mary is the Mother of God.

2. As Mother of God Mary enjoys the greatest dignity next to that of God Himself. A creature becomes the Mother of the Creator. A young maiden becomes the Mother of the Allpowerful and Eternal God.

3. Because Mary is the Mother of God, because She enjoys a place next to God Himself, because She enjoys such a high dignity, it is only reasonable that we should honor and venerate Her above all creatures. We Catholics do not adore or worship Her. We adore God alone. However, we do honor Her, we do respect Her, we do venerate the Mother of Jesus. And we hope that others will honor Her too!

The attention we give to Mary does not take away from the worship of Her Son. On the contrary, it increases the devotion to Her Child. May Mary lead us and the whole world, during these turbulent and error filled times, to the Sacred Heart of Her Son, who is Divine Mercy Himself! Amen.

Monday, October 09, 2006




Someone sent this to me!


F A M I L Y

I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
"Oh excuse me please" was my reply.
He said, "Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you."
We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.
But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.
While I lay awake in bed,
God's still small voice came to me and said,
"While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.
Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You'll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."
By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
"Wake up, little one, wake up," I said.
"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"
He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree.
I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."
I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."
He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay.
I love you anyway."
I said, "Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."
FAMILY
Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company
that we are working for could easily replace us in
a matter of days.
But the family we left behind will feel the loss
for the rest of their lives.
And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more
into work than into our own family,
an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?
So what is behind the story?
Do you know what the word FAMILY means?
FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU
Pass this message to 7 people except you and me ..
You will receive a miracle tomorrow.
Don't ignore and God will bless you



Sunday, October 08, 2006



MARY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

3. The Figures.
The famous women of the Old Testament are likewise figures of Mary: Eve, the Mother of mankind --but for its perdition-- whilst Mary is to be the real Mother for our salvation. Abigail, who with her beauty charms David, represents Mary loving God Himself and being loved by Him. Jahel, who pierces with a nail the head of Sisara, the enemy of the people of God, represents Our Lady crushing the head of the devil.
Judith, when killing Holophernes and setting her people free from that tyrant, is an image of Mary through whom we are freed from Satan.
Esther, before the throne of the king, interceding for her people, depicts Our Lady who continuously prays and intercedes for us before the throne of God.
And so on. As the great figures of the Old Testament pass before us, we would find Mary in them.
Don't be confused in God's love for Mary. See Him so in love with Her that He continuously speaks of Her in prophecy, symbol and figure.
Mary seems to be ruling, the constant, ever present thought of the Almighty.
Are you also thus inclined towards your Mother? Is She the central thought of your mind? Do you think of Her, speak of Her, see Her everywhere? Are you united to Her, do you live for Her and in Her, can you do anything without Her? Reflect and draw the unavoidable consequence: to love with insatiable love your loving Mother.
[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations']

Saturday, October 07, 2006


OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

This Feast was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory, in a naval battle, over the Turks at Lapanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory asking the help of the holy Mother!

The Rosary is a powerful means of uniting families, communities, and nations in the Mystical Body of Christ, which is so badly needed in these modern times. In reciting the Rosary, we say, "pray for us sinners," not "pray for me." The prayers of the Rosary take us out of ourselves by adoring and thanking God, and particularly by meditating on the doctrinal truths of the 20 Mysteries. Moreover, as Pope Leo XIII wrote, "The Rosary is by far the best prayer by which to plead before Her (Mary) the cause of our separated brethren."

Pope John Paul II said: "It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful Hearts of Christ and His Mother. The Rosary does indeed 'mark the rhythm of human life,' bringing it into harmony with the 'rhythm' of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing."

You say you have no time for this? I found that there is always time to pray the Holy Rosary. On the way to work, turn off the radio and say a few decades . . . At lunch, instaed of gabbing and fooling around, sit by yourself and pray . . . Going to the doctor, dentist; car getting repaired? all this takes time and waiting, waiting . . . a great time to pray a few decades and see how the time flys as you immerse yourself in God and His Blessed Mother.

And the Mysteries remind us of the realities taking place before us. The Rosary is a miniture Gospel, living and breathing in your life today!

The Joyful Mysteries remind us of Christ's Annunciation, Incarnation, Birth, Presentation, and Presense in the temple. Place yourself there in those sacred events, thinking about your own conception, birth, baptism, confirmation, First Eucharist, and your conversion.

The Luminous Mysteries remind us of Christ's Baptism, Miracles, Preaching, Transfiguration, and institution of the Eucharist and holy Priesthood. Place yourself into these sacred events, thinking about your own Christian life with all it's highs and lows, lights and dark nights of the soul.

The Sorrowful Mysteries remind us of Christ's sacred Passion and Death on the Cross, as we unite all our sufferings, mental and physical, with His sufferings, offering everything to the Father through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Glorious Mysteries remind us that the victory has been won; that Jesus and Mary are reigning in Heaven, awaiting us to finally enter the Father's Kingdom "where there are many mansions!"

Yes, our whole life is wrapped up in the Rosary Mysteries, the Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, forever united with Mary, His Most Blessed Mother; Two Hearts, never to be separated, with our hearts placed in-between, for all eternity.

It seems impossible that a weak frail thing like a string of roses can do such heavy duty in our stresses of life, a true life preserver, but if we hang on to It, wear It, pray It, we will be buoyed up above the waves of life, and we will always have the strength and courage to live in imitation of Jesus and Mary. The Rosary will do this and more. Try It!



MARY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

2. Symbols.
These are more numerous still. In the earthly paradise the Tree of Life signifies Our Blessed Lady, who is the veritable paradise where Christ, the real Tree of Life lived. Noah's Ark, that was saved from the floods, the dove of the Ark which rather than alight on the mud of the earth, returns white and immaculate to the Ark with a green branch in its beak.
Jacob's ladder, that joins heaven with earth, Aaron's rod which blossoms forth in the darkness of the Tabernacle only in the presence of God. The Ark of the Covenant, built with incorruptible timber and enclosing the great mysteries. The burning bush which, surrounded by the majesty of God, flamed with divine fire without being consumed. These and a thousand other symbols to be found in Holy Writ reveal the beauty, the dignity, the greatness, the excellence of Mary. We could say that God has made use of everything available to call to the minds of men the thought of His Mother so that they should live in expectation of Her.
[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations.']

Friday, October 06, 2006



MARY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament is full of prophecies, symbols and figures, referring to the Messiah and His Mother. Let us briefly see some of them.

1. Prophecy.
By prophecy we mean the fore-telling of future events which are not known by natural reason. As only God can know the future with certainty, prophecy is a mark of divinity.
a) The first prophecy about Our Lady was made by God Himself in the Garden. A woman will crush thy head [see Genesis 3:15], He tells the infernal serpent.
Plumb the depth of these words. How good is God! He punishes, and at the same time, He forgives. The very instant He sentences us to death, He also promises a Messiah to free us, together with a woman who will crush the devil. How reassuring it is to know that the devil will always be under the feet of Mary! What a sense of security is ours when we learn neither She nor Her children will ever be reached by Satan.
Give thanks to God and your congratulations to man for the triumph and grace She brought. Draw the conclusion that the more closely your soul is linked to Mary, the tighter you will hold the devil under your feet. How enraged he must be to realize that it is a woman and through Her all mankind, that will always crush his head!
b) Let us also consider the prophecy of Isaiah that from the branch of Jesse would blossom a flower on which the Lord would rest.
Elsewhere He announces Her virginity. Behold! a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son who will be called Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Here you have the two crowns of Our Blessed Lady: Her divine maternity and Her virginity.
c) In this manner we could go through many other prophecies, for all the books, especially the Psalms of David and the Canticles of Solomon, contain splendid prophecies about Her. God multiplied these prophecies about Her just as He did with His Son.
[Excerpted from 'Marian Meditations'.]



Thursday, October 05, 2006



ST. FAUSTINA KOWALSKA FEAST DAY

In honor of Saint Faustina, I am posting this homily by Pope John Paul II.

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
MASS IN ST PETER'S SQUARE FOR THE CANONIZATION
OF SR MARY FAUSTINA KOWALSKA
Sunday, 30 April 2000

1. "Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius"; "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever" (Ps 118: 1). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ's lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20: 21-23).
Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world: "The two rays", Jesus himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water" (Diary, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 132).
2. Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a solider on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (cf. Jn 19: 34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3: 5; 4: 14; 7: 37-39).
Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified: "My daughter, say that I am love and mercy personified", Jesus will ask Sr Faustina (Diary, p. 374). Christ pours out this mercy on humanity though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. And is not mercy love's "second name" (cf. Dives in misericordia, n. 7), understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its immense capacity for forgiveness?
Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.
Jesus told Sr Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.
3. What will the years ahead bring us? What will man's future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina's charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium.
However, as the Apostles once did, today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats: Peace be with you! Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Spirit given to it by the risen Christ. It is the Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart, pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one another, and at the same time, restores the joy of the Father's love and of fraternal unity.
4. It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday". In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that "man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called "to practise mercy' towards others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5: 7)" (Dives et misericordia, n. 14). He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs. Jesus bent over every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual.
His message of mercy continues to reach us through his hands held out to suffering man. This is how Sr Faustina saw him and proclaimed him to people on all the continents when, hidden in her convent at £agiewniki in Krak√≥w, she made her life a hymn to mercy: Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo.
5. Sr Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence: by this act I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren.
In fact, love of God and love of one's brothers and sisters are inseparable, as the First Letter of John has reminded us: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments" (5: 2). Here the Apostle reminds us of the truth of love, showing us its measure and criterion in the observance of the commandments.
It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God's love. Looking at him, being one with his fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!
To the extent that humanity penetrates the mystery of this merciful gaze, it will seem possible to fulfil the ideal we heard in today's first reading: "The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather everything was held in common" (Acts 4: 32). Here mercy gave form to human relations and community life; it constituted the basis for the sharing of goods. This led to the spiritual and corporal "works of mercy". Here mercy became a concrete way of being "neighbour" to one's neediest brothers and sisters.
6. Sr Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary: "I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbours. All my neighbours' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbour" (Diary, p. 365). This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure!
It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.
7. This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer "Jesus, I trust in you", which Providence intimated through Sr Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. Jezu, ufam tobie.
8. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps 88 [89]: 2). Let us too, the pilgrim Church, join our voice to the voice of Mary most holy, "Mother of Mercy", to the voice of this new saint who sings of mercy with all God's friends in the heavenly Jerusalem.
And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!