“Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope.  It is a new and living hope that comes from God.  It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, with a passing smile. No.  It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.  Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts.  But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate.  Jesus’ hope is different.  He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life.” -Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR 

Where do we find HOPE in a PANDEMIC WORLD?

 

During Lent, we talked about adopting Lenten Practices as a Way Of Life on Easter Monday.

 

On Divine Mercy Sunday, Saint Faustina punctuates why that new Way Of Life is essential — because of the GIFT OF THE CROSS…the GIFT OF OUR NEW LIFE on Easter Monday through the Death of Jesus on Good Friday. 

 

She gives us a glimpse into the Font of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross – – purifying  us and sanctifying us in our Successes and our Failures, in times of Plenty and in times of Distress, and in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.

 

Saint Faustina tells us, ‘O My God, my only hope, I have placed all my hope in You, and I know I shall not be disappointed (Diary, 317).’ Saint Faustina goes on to describe this HOPE: ‘…our only hope in all the sufferings and adversities of life…our only hope in the midst of darkness and of storms within and without…our only hope in life and at the hour of death…our only hope in the midst of adversities and floods of despair…our only hope in the longing and pain in which no one will understand us (Diary, 356). Welcome, only Hope of sinful souls (Diary, 1733).’

 

Sufferings, Adversity, Darkness, Storms, Life and Death, Despair, Longing, Pain, Sinful Souls — this sounds a lot like the SUFFERINGS OF THE PANDEMIC! In this time, SUFFERING THROUGH FAITH will lead to the Salvation of our Souls. Isn’t that OUR ULTIMATE HOPE…isn’t that what Jesus taught us FROM THE CROSS…isn’t that the PROMISE OF DIVINE MERCY?

 

Pope Francis, in his Plenary Indulgence related to the Coronavirus Pandemic, has encouraged us TO PRAY for those who have been called home by the virus, TO PRAY for their families who may not have been with them at the time of their passing and mourn their loss, TO PRAY  for the technicians/doctors/nurses/emergency responders/first responders/caregivers who are ministering to those afflicted by the virus, and TO PRAY for those who are isolated by the virus. 

I would suggest for us TO PRAY also for those for whom Shelter in Place could result in Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Suicide, Clinical Anxiety, and Depression. 

 

REMEMBER…Prayer gives us Grace…and the Grace from a PRAYER FOR ANOTHER returns to you a hundredfold!

 

TODAY, GIVE your suffering — Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Physical, or Financial — to the Divine Mercy of Jesus…AND HE WILL RETURN TO YOU THE VIRTUE OF HOPE…a gift of YOUR FAITH…and given to you From The Cross through the ultimate act of HIS LOVE…

 

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

 

 

What is Divine Mercy?

When did we first see it? 

Our readings today give us a glimpse into that Font Of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross…purifying us and sanctifying us in our successes and our failures, in times of plenty and in times of distress, in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.

 

In the First Reading, Jesus’ Apostolic Church is defined as one that prays, teaches, and creates community…in the Name of Jesus Christ…WHOSE HEART IS LOVE ITSELF.

 

In the Second Reading, Saint Peter reminds us that God in HIS GREAT MERCY gave us a New Birth to a Living Hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…for an inheritance that will be kept in heaven for you… to be revealed in the final time.

Ironically, Saint Peter gives us some beautiful guidance about the testing of OUR FAITH during this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

 

He says, “…although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor…as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Saint Peter is telling you and me today, in the 2020 Pandemic, that SUFFERING THROUGH FAITH will lead to the salvation of our souls…isn’t that what Jesus taught us from the Cross?

 

And perhaps this Gospel is the first example of the Divine Mercy of Jesus related to HIS APOSTOLIC CHURCH.

His teaching, preaching, healing, and raising the dead during his Public Life was certainly the manifestation of God’s Divine Mercy… God working through Jesus. But today, Jesus in his Divinity as the Risen Christ has mercy on those closest to him.

Why is that important?

>They did not understand him.

>They abandoned him.

>They do not believe those who had seen the Risen Christ.

>They do not believe it is Christ Risen unless they see and touch for themselves.

And yet, what does he say? ‘Peace be with you.’

He does not scold them, he does not reject them, he does not condemn them…and ultimately, he sends them on HIS Mission!

Why? Because he knew that beneath their fear, their ignorance, and their stubbornness, are individuals dedicated to HIS Mission … to their end… to their death…

And all but one was martyred on Mission.

That Divine Mercy had a lifelong impact on each of The Eleven. 

 

And that brings us to today…Divine Mercy Sunday…and the lifelong impact of the Divine Mercy of Jesus on Pope Saint John Paul II.

Twenty years ago, on the Sunday after the Octave of Easter, Pope John Paul II instituted Divine Mercy Sunday…and it has a profound backstory!

 

Val Conlon tells us the story…

Pope John Paul II spoke on the Divine Mercy of Jesus on November 22, 1981, “I considered this message my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church, and the world.”

“The knowledge of St. Faustina and the revelations bestowed on her coming from Jesus became known to Pope John Paul II early in 1940. It was at the time when he was studying for the priesthood secretly, in a seminary in Krakow.

The first he heard of these revelations was from another seminarian Andrew Deskur who later became a Cardinal also. Andrew told him about Saint Faustina Kowalska and the message of Divine Mercy she claimed she had received from the Lord.”

“It was during the time that she received the messages from Our Lord, that Karol Wojtyla was forcibly working under the Nazi occupation forces in the factory, which was in view of the convent and can still be seen today from the convent cemetery where St. Faustina was first buried.”

“Karol Wojtyla visited the convent frequently, first as a priest and then as a bishop. He went there often to pray and in later years gave retreats there as well. It was Karol Wojtyla, as Archbishop of Krakow, who after St. Faustina’s death, was the first to consider bringing St. Faustina’s name before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for consideration as a figure worthy of being put forward for beatification.”

 

In his mystical way, he may have foreseen the trials of the new century and millennia. 

“In one of the most extraordinary homilies of his pontificate, on the Occasion of Her Canonization,” Val Conlon goes on, “Pope John Paul II repeated three times that Saint Faustina is “God’s gift to our time.” She made the message of Divine Mercy the “bridge to the third millennium.” He then said, “By this act of canonization of Saint Faustina I intend today to pass this message on to the third 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 neighbour. In fact, love of God and love of one’s neighbour are inseparable.”

 

For those who have been with us on our YouTube channel praying the Nine Days of the Divine Mercy Novena, what you have experienced are the individuals Jesus indicated to Saint Faustina upon whom he wanted to Shed His Mercy and open his Heart Of Compassion:

>All mankind, especially all sinners

>The souls of priests and religious

>All devout and faithful souls 

>Those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know me 

>The souls of those who have separated themselves from the Church 

>The meek and humble souls and the souls of little children 

>The souls who especially venerate and glorify my mercy 

>The souls who are detained in Purgatory 

>Souls who have become lukewarm

 

In the same way that we heard Jesus asking the Apostles to Cast their net for souls as Fishers of Men in the Gospel on Friday, in these delineations Jesus is Casting His Net For Eternity! 

WOW!…he excludes no one…and REMEMBER THAT TO YOUR LAST BREATH!

 

Let me say a little about today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and what you can do during this time of Shelter in Place.

In June 2002, John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who recite specific prayers on Divine Mercy Sunday.

 

 

 

 

In St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus tells St. Faustina:

I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).

How can you receive this complete forgiveness of sins and remission of all punishment during Shelter in Place? 

The National Shrine of Divine Mercy tell us to do these three things on Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from sin in your life:

  1. Make an Act of Contrition

Since you are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition.

  1. Make a Spiritual Communion

Since churches are closed and you cannot receive Holy Communion, make a Spiritual Communion instead, asking God to come into your heart as if you received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. 

Do this act of trust with the intent to return to the sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.

An Act of Spiritual Communion is on our Social Media. 

  1. Say a prayer like this:

Lord Jesus Christ, You promised St. Faustina that the soul that has been to Confession [I’m unable, but I made an Act of Contrition] and the soul that receives Holy Communion [I’m unable, but I made a Spiritual Communion] will receive the complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Please, Lord Jesus Christ, give me this grace.

This, too, is on our Social Media.

Everyone can ask for this grace to completely wipe their slate clean of not only all sin, but all punishment due to sin. Normally, the punishment is not remitted unless one has absolute perfect contrition.

And unlike a plenary indulgence, there is no requirement of having perfect detachment from sin. In other words, as long as we have a desire for this grace and intention to amend our lives, we can be completely cleansed with grace similar to our original Baptism. It is a way to really start over in our spiritual life!  

 

Many of you are suffering during this Pandemic…offer it for the Divine Mercy of Jesus…for yourself or others. 

We see examples of these prayers in the Intentions of the Holy Father in his Mass each day at Casa Marta. And Pope Francis, in his Plenary Indulgence related to the Coronavirus Pandemic, has also encouraged us to pray for those who have been called home by the virus, their families who may not have been with them at the time of their passing and mourn their loss, the medical technicians/doctors/nurses/emergency responders/first responders/caregivers who are ministering to those afflicted by the virus, and those who are isolated by the virus. 

Today I would suggest that we also pray for those affected at this time by the following:

>Domestic Violence

>Child Abuse 

>Suicide, Clinical Anxiety, and Depression 

Perhaps, even offer your Indulgence for them…REMEMBER…a grace given away to another returns to you a hundredfold…

It is no coincidence that Divine Mercy Sunday is occurring in the middle of the 2020 Pandemic…

GIVE your suffering — Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Physical, or Financial — to the Divine Mercy of Jesus…and HE WILL WORK MIRACLES!

“Merciful Jesus, I trust in you”

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

Very Rev. Ronald W Cattany

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love.” -Pope Francis

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Saint Thomas Aquinas tell us that TRUE LOVE is to Will the GOOD of Another.

Jesus tell us that the two Great Commandments are to LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.

But sometimes that’s really hard…isn’t it!

Is it easier to LOVE what we do not see rather than to LOVE what we do see? Is it easier to LOVE an abstract God than a concrete Neighbor?

The answer to that question can lead us to some enormously STARTLING CONCLUSIONS…about ourselves!

To LOVE God, who we do not see, requires the Virtue of FAITH. Your Faith informs you about God — His LOVE, His GOODNESS, and the fact that He LOVES All That He Created. Why? Because IT IS GOOD — God says so in the account of Creation. He GREATED ALL HUMANKIND TO BE GOOD!

Our Faith also tells us that out of LOVE, God created, redeemed, and sanctifies us…freely, selflessly, and abundantly. It is an unmerited GIFT to you and me.

What should we do with that GIFT? We should say, ‘Thank you.’ How do we do that? We do it by SHARING that GIFT with OTHERS. We share God’s GIFT of LOVE to us WITH OTHERS.

Most naturally, we Share the Gift of LOVE with THOSE WE SEE…family, friends, associates, and neighbors…THOSE WE LIKE TO SEE.

But GOD DEMANDS MORE. He wants us to LOVE THOSE HE LOVES. That includes THOSE WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE — those we envy, those we judge, those we hate, those who hate us, those we judge, those who make us uncomfortable, those we resent, those we ignore, those we do not LOVE for whatever reason…THOSE WHO ARE NOT LIKE US.

They, like you and me, are CREATED BY GOD and, by definition, are GOOD. God LOVES them, HIS CREATION, as much as he LOVES you and me — whether we like it or not.

This is one of the starkest realities in our Mortal Life…a reality for which we will be accountable on the Last Day…a reality that will define our Eternal Life.

THE GOD WE DO NOT SEE IS IN ALL THOSE WE SEE…not just those we Choose To See. To LOVE GOD means TRUE LOVE…FOR ALL…AND THAT IS THE GOSPEL…

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

Very Reverend Ronald W Cattany

Pastor and Rector