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[TEXT] The Divine Mercy Novena: Begins on Good Friday

Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday.  He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

“These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

“On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”

The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:

DAY 1 (Good Friday)  – All mankind, especially sinners

DAY  2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious

DAY 3 (Easter Sunday)  – All devout and faithful souls

DAY 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him

DAY  5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren

DAY  6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and the souls of children

DAY  7 (Easter Thursday)– The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy

DAY  8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory; 

DAY  9 (Easter Saturday) – The souls who have become lukewarm.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy may also be offered each day for the day’s intention, but is not strictly necessary to the Novena.


First Day
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.”

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.


Second Day
Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,

and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun “us” since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use. 


Third Day
Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.” 

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.


Fourth Day
Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, 

I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”  

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord’s original words here were “the pagans.” Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.


Fifth Day
Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”  

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord’s original words here were “heretics and schismatics,” since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord’s inspirations and orders, she declared: “I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus ” I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me” (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.


Sixth Day
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of  Little Children,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.    

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.


Seventh Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is “victim” souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes “every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,”we recommend the “active” souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.


Eighth Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.”   

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.


Ninth Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.” 

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

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.


Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Read more:http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/novena.htm#ixzz1KEX6diiV

SOURCE: EWTN

HAT TIP/Y. Bontkowski

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A voice crying out in the desert– Lent: Season of Penance, Season of Hope By Fr. John Corapi

 

An excerpt from Father Corapi‘s book, Letters.

Another Lenten season will be upon us soon. Although Lent is a season of penance; it is a season of hope more than anything. For as surely as Easter Sunday follows Good Friday, so the hope of Lent gives way to the fulfillment of that hope which is the Resurrection.

It seems to be a law woven into creation that there must be sacrifice before there can be victory. There must be a dying to sin and self before there can be a rebirth in Christ. As we walk the path of Lent we should use this graced time to exercise discipline in the small things of life. There can be no victory in anything: sports, business, military, or life in general, without self-discipline.

Examples of this discipline are many. They can be first and foremost in the area of charity to others, and this begins at home. Perhaps there is someone in your life that rubs you the wrong way, your “hair shirt”. Deny the inclination to bicker and complain. Love the person whether you feel like it or not. Do some small act of kindness for them.

Pray the Rosary every day (or once a week, or 3 times a week, etc.) of Lent, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If you love chocolate, exercise discipline and don’t eat it through the days of Lent, offering your sacrifice to Jesus through Mary for the salvation of souls.

Assist at holy Mass herhaps one or more days during the week as a preparation for the great gift of the Paschal mystery which unfolds during Holy Week. Discipline yourself to be more recollected and reverent at the Eucharist, realizing that this is nothing less than the same sacrifice of Calvary offered in a sacramental manner.

The discipline of Lent always opens the door for the bright light of Easter. The pain of Good Friday is at once the joy and triumph of the holy Cross. No passion and death, no Victory. In Jesus we walk through the trials and frequent darkness of this life to the unending joy and light of heaven. It is the Cross that wins that victory we know as Easter.

May this Lent be a time of true hope for you, a time of self-discipline and spiritual battle that leads to great personal triumph in Jesus Christ at Easter. Dying He destroyed our death, rising He restored our life, come, Lord Jesus, come!

With God’s blessing,

Fr. John Corapi, SOLT, STD

Pope Benedict — Never has he more resembled his divine savior than today…

PSALM 22

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning.

O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet thou art holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In thee our fathers trusted; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

To thee they cried, and were saved; in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people.

All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; “He committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts.

Upon thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help.

Many bulls encompass me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; thou dost lay me in the dust of death.

Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.

But thou, O LORD, be not far off! O thou my help, hasten to my aid!

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!

Save me from the mouth of the lion, my afflicted soul from the horns of the wild oxen!

I will tell of thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee: You who fear the LORD, praise him!

All you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel!

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

From thee comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD!

May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.

Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive.

Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.

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Waking up to Good Friday — Boston Cardinal O’Malley’s need for guidance on pro-abort Catholic politicians reception of holy communion

 “We have not had the kind of clear response that we need…”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston     

Vice President Joseph Biden (L), Sen. Paul G. Kirk Jr. (D-MA), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (2nd-R) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  

EDITOR NOTE: I woke up to the following angry e-mail on this first Friday of Lent:      

Since when has Cardinal O’Malley been concerned about Catholic politicians who support the killing of unborn children not being allowed to receive Communion? He even gave Ted Kennedy a saint’s send off, as he presided over his funeral services. Kennedy, a man who not only supported the killing of unborn children, but even while they were being born — the barbaric and excruciating painful partial-birth abortion.     

If that wasn’t enough, you have Kennedy’s support of homosexuality. Two of the greatest sins in the Bible are killing and homosexuality and Kennedy supported both of them.     

O’Malley wrote in a blog that he disagreed “in the strongest terms” with those who argued that Kennedy did not deserve a Catholic funeral, and he said such critics do “irreparable damage to the communion of the Church.”     

No, O’Malley, it is YOU who have done irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. You claim that Canon Law is not clear in denying Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians.     

I don’t know how it can be any clearer: Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states, in part: “Those…who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Communion.”     

Is not supporting killing a grave sin? I guess not, to O’Malley.   

***     

Let’s simplify with some questions: On January 2, 1960, John F. Kennedy officially declared his intent to seek the Democratic nomination for Presidency of the United States of America; if at that time he declared to do so on a plank supporting homosexuality and the killing of unborn children, including those being born, would he have:     

1. Won the Democratic nomination?     

2. Become President?     

3. Been allowed by his bishop to receive Holy Communion if found obstinate in promotion of such grave moral sin?     

So, what has changed?   

For Cardinal O’Malley to claim confusion in this matter is something akin to Moses retracing his steps back up Mt. Horeb in order to re-confirm with the All-Holy God on the religious and moral imperative to follow the 5th Commandment… 

Geth·sem·a·ne (gěth-sěm’ə-nē) Meaning:  Oil press.   

A poem for the sleeping…    

  

Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams  

Bridged over by our broken dreams;  

Behind the misty caps of years,  

Beyond the great salt font of tears,  

The garden lies. Strive as you may,  

You cannot miss it on your way.  

All paths that have been or shall be,  

Pass somewhere through Gethsemane.  

All those who journey, soon or late,  

Must pass within the garden’s gate;  

Must kneel alone in darkness there,  

And battle with some fierce despair.  

God pity those who cannot say,  

“Not mine but thine,” who only pray,  

“Let this cup pass,” and cannot see  

The purpose of Gethsemane.  

—Ella Wheeler Wilcox  

This story from Peter J. Smith at Life Site News explains the holy anger on this first Good Friday of Lent…   

WASHINGTON, DC, February 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The best way for the Church to ensure pro-abortion Catholic politicians do not receive Communion would be through a change in the Church’s Canon Law, or an official directive from the Pope himself, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told LifeSiteNews.com.      

LifeSiteNews.com caught up with O’Malley in Washington, DC last month, where he was among the concelebrating bishops for the Vigil Mass for Life at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. LSN asked O’Malley what he considered the appropriate pastoral response to pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion.       

“Well, I think that the only way that that solution [denying communion] should be invoked is if there were a large catechesis or if it was universal for the whole church,” the cardinal responded. “You can’t have people doing things in one parish and another, you would only divide the Church hopelessly.”       

(To view the full LSN interview transcript with Cardinal O’Malley, click here)       

For several years, the US Catholic Bishops have actively engaged the problem of how to correct the scandal of pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion – but developed no consensus on a uniform pastoral approach. Many orthodox Catholics continue to protest against pro-abortion politicians presenting themselves to receive the Church’s holiest sacrament, yet the practice is widespread.       

O’Malley said an official papal directive or change in Canon Law would be “the only way it is really going to work.”       

“That would be helpful if they did it,” he continued. “But if it is not done – to make it look like it’s an individual bishop sparring with the people of particular parties is only going to divide the Church in a very terrible way. Then you’ll have some priest who will obey and others who won’t, other divisions of the Church, more scandal, and undermining the authority of the bishops.”       

O’Malley revealed that he had been concerned about the issue for a long time, and asked Pope John Paul II for guidance when the pontiff was soliciting input from bishops for his pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae.       

“I wrote to him and asked him to please give us very clear direction on how to deal with politicians who will be pro-abortion and will be Catholic,” related O’Malley.       

“We have not had the kind of clear response that we need.”       

However, it seems the Vatican has already attempted to give the US bishops guidance on how to deal with the issue, through a 2004 letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.”       

The memo states that, once persistently pro-abortion Catholic politicians had been warned by their respective bishops not to approach the altar, they “must” be denied Communion.       

Unfortunately, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) never received the letter as Ratzinger intended. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, chairman of the USCCB task force on the issue, only referenced the document as an afterthought in his 12-page report to that committee.       

Later – in what may have been a Vatican end-run around McCarrick – Ratzinger’s letter hit international headlines after being leaked to Roman media.       

In the end, the US Bishops task force put out more generalized guidelines in the document “Catholics in Political Life,” which leaves the appropriate pastoral response towards pro-abortion politicians – including denial of Communion – to the prudential judgment of the individual bishop. Ratzinger would later affirm to the USCCB that the document was “very much in harmony” with his general principles.       

(To view the full LSN interview transcript with Cardinal O’Malley, click here)     

POEM CREDIT: LIVING SACRIFICE BLOG  

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Father Corapi Easter Blessing: This Holy Week and the Rest of Your Life

 

Fr. John Corapi
Fr. John Corapi

As I write this it is safe to say that there is more fear, insecurity, uncertainty, and distrust of authority than at any other time in my lifetime of over sixty years. This can be said for the United States and for most other countries in the Western world, probably the entire world. 

Why? 

The secular and worldly thinker will come up with a veritable flock of cackling, screeching, barking, whining and screaming excuses. 

They will all be wrong.

To understand our tenuous position, one must go to the order of causes rather than mere effects. The serious illness we see manifest socially, economically, and politically has its origin in the moral and spiritual realm. 

To be blunt and to the point, it concerns that “dour combat with the forces of evil” that haunts the entire history of humanity. 

We have divorced God in the public sphere. We have evicted the Owner of the house, forgetting that nature abhors a vacuum. If we reject the One that is Goodness and Truth, then it is guaranteed that He will be replaced by the one who is the “father of lies and murderer from the beginning,” as Jesus referred to the ancient adversary of man-Satan or the devil. 

If you don’t believe that you don’t believe in the existence of either the enemy or the war…You will have little chance to survive.

The newest spectator sport in America is watching the disintegration of the great nations of the world on the cable news networks. Each day there is more drama and adventure in the news than the wildest of fiction. Every day you have to worry

What’s next?” 

Mass murders multiply-in the workplace, in schools, public places, private homes. It is a frightening and sobering spectacle. The pundits marvel: How could it happen? Who could do that? The unthinkable becomes commonplace. The largest corporations vaporized in the twinkling of an eye. The net worth of millions of people cut in half in a matter of months. The politicians bluster and threaten. CEOs of major corporations fired by politicians, one wonders if the banking industry, the auto industry, the energy industries, etc. will soon be nationalized. Will the United States end up like some insolvent Third-World country. Will we bring wheelbarrows full of dollars to the checkout counter at Walmart soon for a few household items?

Why wonder?
We’ve divorced God.
.. 
Countries call abortion the “law of the land.” 

Can such societies that espouse what is tantamount to genocide be pleasing to God? 
Can they survive for long?

Please recall that this:

During Holy Week we celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over all of this avalanche of sin, Satan, and death. He nailed it to the Cross. “Dying He destroyed our death. Rising He restored our life.” It is necessary that we enter into the Paschal mystery one person at a time, fully and seriously. Live in a state of grace. Do not persist in sin, for your life and mine is shorter than we think. The only way a family, a school, a parish, a city, a country, or a world can be healed is one person at a time.

All of the suffering and darkness of Good Friday finds its meaning in the burst of Light that is Easter morning. All of the fear, the insecurity, and the uncertainty; all of the betrayal, the mockery, and the suffering are vanquished by the glory of the Cross. No pain, no gain! No cross, no crown! No battle, no glory.

So stop worrying! 

Trust the Lord Jesus...

After all, He is the Savior, and only He is the Savior. Place your trust in Him. All of this is really small potatoes. It simply provides a proving ground for saints. That’s all. We have no lasting dwelling in this valley of tears. It is the crucible wherein imperfect human beings are transformed by the fire of trial and the power of grace into the pure gold of God’s holy ones.

In the twinkling of an eye this will be over and we’ll stand before Jesus, Who will wipe away every tear, and having been faithful to our Faith we’ll hear those beautiful words:

“Well done my good and faithful servant! Now at last enter into the joy of your Master’s house.”

A blessed Holy Week to you, and may the Light and glory of Easter comfort you in your struggles and confirm you in your faith.

Fr. John Corapi

Fratres Daily Mass Readings: The Man of All Sorrows, Good Friday, 03.21.08

455px-christ_as_man_of_sorrows_between_four_angels.jpg 

Reading 1
Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 

R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading II
Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel
Jn 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM,”
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said,
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”

When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”

Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him,
“We do not have the right to execute anyone,“
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
“Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”

Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,”
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

Source: USCCB

Look To The Cross: Archbishop John Vlazny

                                    vlazny.gifWhen the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and even St. Patrick have to step aside to make room for something else, you know it has to be important. With Holy Week and Easter Week on the horizon, feasts of Mary, of Joseph and of the great Irish evangelizer are not being observed on their traditional dates this year. Mary’s Annunciation will be celebrated on Monday, April 7. St. Joseph’s Day is Saturday, March 15. St. Patrick’s Day is being observed on a variety of days, depending on the local pastor. Liturgically, it’s not on our calendar here this year.

            Yes, Holy Week and Easter Week are the centerpiece of the liturgical year of our Catholic family. It all begins on Palm Sunday with the blessing of the palms and the procession into our churches. It concludes on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 6, when we acknowledge that the paschal mystery of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection is the reason we are all confident that healing and reconciliation are indeed possible.

            This week I would like to say something about Holy Week in our parishes. Next week I will focus on our great Easter feast, one that actually lasts not just for a week but for several weeks. The news of the Lord’s resurrection is so good that one day or one week could never be enough to celebrate all those wonderful events that happened outside Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago.

            In his Holy Thursday homily last year, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the apparent contradiction between the gospel of St. John and the synoptic gospels about the Last Supper of Jesus. According to John, Jesus died on the cross precisely when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. Matthew, Mark and Luke suggest that the Last Supper was truly a Passover meal at which a slain lamb was already the centerpiece. Until the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran were discovered several decades ago, most exegetes concurred with the synoptics, believing that John was hesitant to tell the true historical date of the death of Jesus and chose a symbolic date. But the discovery of the scrolls now leads us to believe that John’s account is historically accurate.

            As our Holy Father relates, Jesus shed his own blood at the very time of the immolation of the lambs. More than likely He celebrated the Passover supper without a lamb, like the Qumran community. When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his friends, the lamb present was not one that had been sacrificed in the temple. The lamb was Jesus, who the next day gave himself, his own body and blood, for the salvation of the world!

            You may recall that at the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus was pointed out by John the Baptist who said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29) When Jesus was nailed to the cross on Good Friday, He himself became the lamb of sacrifice. It is for that reason that the cross has become the focal point of the new Passover of Jesus which we Christians celebrate whenever we gather for Eucharist. On Holy Thursday evening we commemorate the institution of the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. We receive Holy Communion with reverence and we spend a good part of the night in adoration before the Lamb present among us in the tabernacle of our altar.

            Another major celebration for us each year is the Mass of the Blessing of Holy Oils. According to the liturgical books, it should be celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday. But diocesan bishops are given permission to celebrate this liturgy at a time when priests may more conveniently gather to concelebrate this important Eucharist with their bishop. Here in the Archdiocese of Portland we celebrate this Mass on Monday night of Holy Week. Given the great distances many of our priests must travel, it would not be feasible for them to be present at the cathedral on Holy Thursday morning and then return in time to their parishes for the Holy Thursday evening liturgy. I am grateful each year for the wonderful turnout of religious and laity for this liturgical celebration.

            Through the Eucharist we are nourished with the very life of Jesus on our journey of faith. But the holy oils blessed each year before Easter also mark us in a very unique way as God’s holy people, chosen to be the instruments of his evangelizing mission in today’s world.

            The oil of the sick is usually reserved for healing in our parish communities. We still have some folks who misunderstand the use of this sacramental oil, waiting to call a priest for the sacred anointing only at the time of death. The name of the sacrament was changed years ago from Extreme Unction to the Anointing of the Sick so that people would understand the nature of these prayers for healing and forgiveness. The sacraments for the dying are Reconciliation and Viaticum, that is, Holy Communion, the important spiritual nourishment we need for the final and sometimes difficult steps on the journey of faith.

            The oil of catechumens is used to prepare those about to receive the sacraments of Initiation so that they will be assisted by the grace of God in their struggle with temptation and evil. On the very first Sunday of Lent we meditated on the temptations of Jesus. Like the Lord himself, we too are prompted by the devil to seek prestige, power and possessions rather than the will of God. Jesus resisted the temptations. It’s a much more difficult task for us, just as it was for our first parents, Adam and Eve. We see all around us how people want to be their own gods, controlling life and death, decrying virtue and embracing freedom in all things, even in the realm of what is both unhealthy and unholy.

            The final oil that we bless before Easter each year is the sacred chrism, our “Christ oil,” the sacramental sign whereby in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders Christians are set aside to be “other Christs,” bringing the love and care of Jesus to all around us. We all are gifted with the royal priesthood of Jesus in Baptism and re-anointed with chrism at Confirmation to remind us that the gift is one meant to be shared. Some are anointed again through Holy Orders so that they might carry on the servant-ministry of Jesus as did the first apostles.

            There is much to ponder in Holy Week each year. It is a most sacred time. I encourage all of you to attend the liturgical services in your parish churches throughout the week. Please pray for all of us clergy, bishops, priests and deacons, and all our lay pastoral ministers who have come among you to serve and not to be served. When we look to the cross throughout Holy Week, we do so with great love, abiding hope, and renewed faith that this Jesus who loved us to the end still lives among us and will be with us until our end.

Source: Catholic Sentinel