Lord Have Mercy

Last Thursday myself and 9 others embarked on a pilgrimage to…Canada! What’s in Canada you ask?

Well this:

St. Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal

and this:

Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre (Mary’s Mama)

But mostly this:

Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal

However before heading up to our northern neighbors, our first stop was in Stockbridge, MA at The Shrine of the Divine Mercy.   This was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I could have stayed there for days.

We met a young religious named Brother Thaddeus who brought me to tears as he lovingly recounted the origins of the divine mercy devotion and the shrine.  For those who are hazy on the details, here’s the cliffnotes version: In the early 1900’s Jesus appeared numerous times to St. Faustina Kowalska and shared with her the truth of his divine mercy.  He revealed to her that the thing that hurts His heart the most is distrust.  You may have seen the image associated with the devotion:

The Divine Mercy Image – “Jesus, I trust in you.”

The idea of mercy is something I have been struggling with lately so this visit came at the perfect time.  I’ve been asking, what exactly is the definition of mercy? Since one of the charisms of the TOR Sisters in merciful love, it seems this idea is important for me to contemplate.  I kept coming up short until I began reading Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael Gaitley. He put it very simply: mercy means to alleviate the suffering of another.   This is what God longs to do and He also asks us to help alleviate the suffering of others.

One of the main things that Jesus asked St. Faustina to do was to teach others to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  When Our Lord was teaching Faustina how to say the chaplet, he said of it: “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.”  He revealed the incredible power this chaplet has when it is said for those who are dying: “When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son.”  I could go on but here’s just two last quotes: “by saying this chaplet you are bringing humankind closer to Me.”

“My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you.  It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet.”

Jesus instructed that the chaplet should be prayed at 3 o’clock, but of course can be prayed at any time.  Consider taking 5 minutes out of your day to contemplate the divine mercy which God longs to shower upon us.  Here’s instructions on praying the chaplet with a rosary:

The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy – Stockbridge, MA

1. Make the Sign of the Cross

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

2. Optional Opening Prayers

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

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

3. Our Father

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

4. Hail Mary

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

5. The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

6. The Eternal Father

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

7. On the Ten Small Beads of Each Decade

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

8. Repeat for the remaining decades

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

9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)

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

10. Optional Closing Prayer

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

Personally, I love singing this chaplet, so here’s a musical version(pardon the cheesy gospelness):

Well That Was Easy

Crucifix in Notre Dame of Montreal. This basilica was simply breathtaking.

Sorry I’ve been missing for a while readers!  Last week I went on a (driving) pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA, St. Joseph’s Oratory, Notre Dame, and St. Ann’s Shrine in Montreal, the Shrine of the North American Martyrs and the Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha in NY.  This four-day trip was filled with prayer and good times with friends.  I’ll blog about it and put up pictures as soon as possible! Then I went home with my best friend, who was on the trip, and have been at her house for the past week.

In other news, God is so good to me all the time!  He has led me straight to His will once again, after all my useless worrying and stressing.  I’ll be joining Chi Rho Service Corps in September.  The process seemed almost too easy and seemed to just fall in my lap.  I was praying about this and could almost see God laughing.  Why do we think following God’s will has to complicated and difficult?  “My yoke is light, my burden easy.”

Also, donations and pledges are starting to come in and I want to thank everyone who has been incredibly generous!  One of the exciting things about this service program is that they offered to help me with my loan payments.  Like I said God has been pouring His blessings on me.

And just because, here’s a song I’ve had stuck in my head lately:

This Is My Body Given Up for You

Happy Solemnity of Corpus Christi!  Today we celebrate the source and summit of our faith – the Eucharist.  And I’m just going to turn to St. Francis to describe this most holy sacrament:

“Let everyone be struck with fear, let the whole world tremble, and let the heavens exult when Christ, the Son of the living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest! O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! The lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation he hides himself under an ordinary piece of bread! Brothers, look at the humility of God, and pour out your hearts before him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by him! Hold nothing back of yourselves for yourselves, that he who gives himself totally to you may receive you totally!”

Take some time today to contemplate Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist and what it means to receive Him.

Saying “I do” to Christ – Will You?

A few posts ago I touched upon the spousal love between God and His Church.  Over and over, marriage imagery is used in the Bible to describe the covenant between God and His people.  I didn’t understand why this was until I watched this video:

And here is the song he is referring to:

Wow.  The first time I watched that video journal my mind exploded into little bitty pieces.  Then I watched it again, and again.  Before watching this, I had no knowledge of Jewish marriage traditions and I imagine that is true for most Christians.  This is incredibly sad because obviously these traditions inform much of how God reveals His covenant with us.  You can read even more about this here.

Of course coming from a Catholic perspective, another layer can be added to these ideas.  The Eucharist is a renewal of our covenant with God.  Everytime we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, he is saying: this is my body and blood poured out for you, will you accept it?  Will you marry me?  He offers us the cup of the covenant, and we can choose to say “I do.”  And of course the implications about not knowing the day, time or hour that he will come again are astounding.  We know that when he does he will invite us to the most epic wedding feast ever.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of marriage imagery in my prayer(can’t imagine why) and have been drawn towards praying with scripture from Song of Songs.  For example, I’m learning that I need to let Jesus pursue and romance me, as any man would do when courting a woman.

I’ve also taken up the quest of finding songs which make reference to this biblical book.  I’ve found a few so far.  Some are:

Daughters of Jerusalem – David Brymer

Set Me as a Seal – Matt Maher

I couldn’t find a good video on youtube, but I just discovered Andrew Rose Gregory & The Color Red Band who made a whole album based on Song of Songs.  You can listen to it here.

The Cyber-Body of Christ

Sometimes computers are frustrating(ok most of the time), but right now I am loving the miraculous internet.  As Christians we believe that we are all connected by being part of the mystical body of Christ.  The internet can help make that connection tangible.  Whether its stalking Catholic blogs(my new hobby) or geeking out over pictures of nuns with my fellow nun wannabes over at Phatmass, the internet has connected me to other believers in ways that otherwise would not be possible.

God is especially using the power of the internet to help make His will a reality, in terms of getting my story out.  Several other bloggers, some I don’t know, have posted links to my blog.  My friends are helping spread the word through facebook.  Today someone else who is entering religious life messaged me about starting a blog and logistics of adding a paypal donate button.  Slowly, all of us who are trying to spread the message of God’s love are coming together in a beautiful online community.

And yet I can’t help wonder about the downside of this.  There is a certain intimacy lacking in an online relationship.  On the other hand, if we’re all connected supernaturally, perhaps there’s not?

What are your thoughts about this?

No Pants O’Clock!

A while ago I mentioned the Garden of Eden in The Power to Serve as God’s original vision for humanity.  Well I was listening to Pandora the other day and this song came on:

When the first light brightened the dark
Before the breaking of the human heart
There was You and there was me
Innocence was all I knew
‘Cause all I had to know was You
We were running underneath the trees

I wanna see you face to face
Where being in your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden

I remember how You’d call my name
And I would meet You at the garden gate
How the glory of Your love would shine
And I remember when the stars were young
You breathed life into my lungs
Oh I never felt so alive
I wanna see you face to face
Where being in your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden

To be naked and unashamed
In a sweet down pour of innocent rain
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden

Where my eyes can see the colors of glory
My hands can reach the heaven before me
Oh, my God I wanna be there with You
Where our hearts will beat with joy together
And love will reign forever and ever
Oh my God I wanna be there with You

I wanna see you face to face
Where being in your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden

To be naked and unashamed
In a sweet down pour of innocent rain
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden

I’ve been loving Phil Wickham songs lately, but this one takes the cake.  Pretty sure this man is creeping on my journal and Pandora somehow tapped into my brain.  Anyway, this perfectly explains what I was talking about and expresses what we should all desire: “I want it like it was back then, I wanna be in Eden.”

One line that stuck out to me was, “To be naked and unashamed.”  In reading about Theology of the Body, I learned what it really meant that Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.”  JPII calls it original nakedness.  They weren’t just physically naked – they had nothing to hide from God or each other.  As this blog explains, lust did not exist and they had no desire to use each other for physical pleasure.  They saw each other as whole beings and for who they truly were.  For now it’s important to ask: am I truly naked before God or do I try to hide behind fig leaves?