Sunday, April 28, 2019

No Counterfeit Mercy

Fr. Paul D. Scalia: On Divine Mercy Sunday, Christ’s wounds remind us that being merciful requires the willingness to be wounded. To forgive means to cancel a debt.

Thomas knew what to look for. Sure, he shouldn’t have doubted. He should have believed the other Apostles. But for all his skepticism, he knew what to look for. He knew that the risen Lord of Easter Sundaymust have the wounds of Good Friday. Anything less than that would be a counterfeit mercy.
          “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (Jn 20:25) This near obsession with our Lord’s wounds indicates their importance for today’s Feast of Divine Mercy. Those wounds guard and express the truth about mercy. Especially in a culture so inclined to counterfeit mercies and false compassion, we need to focus with Thomas on the wounds of Christ.

The wounds defend the integrity of mercy by proclaiming the reality of sin. For mercy to be authentic, for it to have any power or meaning whatsoever, it must take sin seriously. “[H]e was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. . .the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all.” (Is 53:5,6) Our Lord’s wounds show that He knows our sins full well, even better than we do. He has suffered their full effect.
            It is no mercy to shrug off guilt or trivialize sin. Man has always tended to do so (e.g., “The woman gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it. . . .Am I my brother’s keeper?”). But today we have an entire philosophical system that seeks to justify that tendency. Moral relativism attracts people precisely because it promises to remove the sting of guilt by banishing all judgment. While it presents itself as mercy, moral relativism is in fact the greatest cruelty: it robs man of the ability to repent.
            Mercy depends on the truth about man and his moral choosing. Only when we know that there is evil to reject and good to choose can we turn from one to the other – which is the very meaning of repentance.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Pope says Christians can’t fight the devil by becoming ‘superstars’

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square
at the Vatican, Sunday, April 14, 2019. The Roman Catholic Church enters Holy Week,
retracing the story of the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection three days
later on Easter Sunday. (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia.)
ROME - Opening the holiest period on the Christian calendar, Pope Francis on Palm Sunday spoke about the battle between God and the “prince of this world,” saying those who follow Jesus are called to fight temptation and evil with silence and humility, not by being “superstars.”The pontiff said that just as Jesus was welcomed joyfully into Jerusalem, the devil had a “card up his sleeve: the card of triumphalism.”
“Yet the Lord responded by holding fast to his own way, the way of humility,” Francis said, before telling thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square that they, too, are called to do the same.
Triumphalism, Francis said during his Palm Sunday homily, lives off gestures and words “that are not forged in the crucible of the cross,” growing off looks askance at others and by judging others as “inferior, wanting, failures.”
“One subtle form of triumphalism is spiritual worldliness, which represents the greatest danger, the most treacherous temptation threatening the Church,” Francis said, quoting the late French theologian Father Henri de Lubac: “Jesus destroyed triumphalism by his Passion.”
Jesus knows, the pontiff continued, that true triumph involves “making room for God,” and that the only way to achieve such a triumph is by remaining silent, prayerful, accepting humiliation.
“There is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it,” Francis said. “By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.”
Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which leads up to his crucifixion on Good Friday. The Gospel reading is that of Christ’s Passion: “Festive acclamations and brutal torture,” as the pope noted in his homily.
Jesus’ silence throughout his Passion is “impressive,” the pope said, as, among other things, he is called to overcome the temptation to answer back or to act like a “superstar.”
Catholics, he argued, are called to follow the same path, to keep silent and to find the courage not to speak, in a silence that is meek “and not full of anger.” This attitude of meekness, Francis said, will “make us appear even weaker, humbler.”
It’s then that the devil will stir, he said, but “we need to resist him in silence, holding our position,” following Jesus’ attitude and knowing that the battle is between “God and the prince of this world,” so the way to combat evil is not with the sword but remaining “firm in the faith.”
“Our place of safety will be beneath the mantle of the holy Mother of God,” he said. “By our silent witness in prayer, we give ourselves and others an accounting for the hope that is within [us].”
“This will help us to live in the sacred tension between the memory of the promises made, the suffering present in the cross, and the hope of the resurrection,” Francis said.
Jesus, Francis said, shows those who follow him how to face moments of difficulty: “Preserving in our hearts a peace that is neither detachment nor superhuman impassivity, but confident abandonment to the Father and to his saving will, which bestows life and mercy.”
Towards the end, Francis noted that around the world Palm Sunday is also considered by the Catholic Church as the day of the youth. Speaking to young people, he urged them not to be ashamed to show their enthusiasm for Jesus, but at the same time, not to fear following “him on the way of the cross.”
The next World Youth Day, the global festival of Catholic youth launched by St. John Paul II, will be in Portugal in 2021.
The Palm Sunday Mass opened a busy Holy Week for Pope Francis, which will include the celebration of the Lord’s last supper at a local prison, the Good Friday service, leading thousands in the recitation of the Way of the Cross in Rome’s Coliseum, and then the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations.
As is tradition, Sunday Mass began with Francis blessing the palms for the service in front of the towering obelisk in St. Peter’s Square.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Divine Mercy Daily

Reflections from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

Thursday, April 11

The Chaplet of Mercy
Peace to the Tormented Soul

Today, the Lord came to me and said, My daughter, help Me to save souls. You will go to a dying sinner, and you will continue to recite the chaplet, and in this way you will obtain for him trust in My mercy, for he is already in despair (Diary, 1797).

Suddenly, I found myself in a strange cottage where an elderly man was dying amidst great torments. All about the bed was a multitude of demons and the family, who were crying. When I began to pray, the spirits of darkness fled, with hissing and threats directed at me. The soul became calm and, filled with trust, rested in the Lord.

At the same moment, I found myself again in my own room. How this happens ... I do not know (Diary, 1798).

See the catalog for the Audio Diary of St. Faustina

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Peaceful Prayer Presence at Planned Parenthood

                                                                                                                   Dan Lynch          
                                                                                                                                                        April 9, 2019

Recently, during the ongoing 40 Days for Life, and the playing of the movie Unplanned, I attended a Peaceful Prayer Presence at Planned Parenthood, praying the Rosary with my wife Sue (all photo credits to her, smile).

This Planned Parenthood facility in Sarasota, Florida, is the largest in the state and kills 1000 unborn children each year. Located in the shadows of its turquoise wall sits the Community Pregnancy Clinic offering care, compassion and pro-life choices. It’s like David in the shadow of Goliath.

As young women approached the entrance to Planned Parenthood, some of them freely asked for alternative solutions to an abortion. Our sidewalk counselor referred them to the adjoining Community Pregnancy Clinic and they followed her advice to go there.

The pro-life doctor is on call there 24/7. Her staff gave her a slingshot to honor her as their David. They wrote, "Even though David was small, he didn't even think twice about fighting the giant, because he knew God was HUGE!!!"

Another couple stopped their car at the curb and the man said, “We aren’t very religious, but we listen to conservative radio and we know that abortion is wrong!” The movie Unplanned is having an effect! It tells the story of a former Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year who converted after she saw a real abortion on a sonogram. Since then, she has led many other employees out from the evil of Planned Parenthood that sells abortions and is accused of selling aborted body parts.

The Community Pregnancy Clinic’s prayer room overlooks the Planned Parenthood parking lot. From the prayer room they see the sad and crying mothers being dropped off by their boyfriends, and the even sadder post-abortive mothers coming out. They pray for the mothers to change their choice for abortion and to choose life.

We prayed the rosary for post-abortive mothers to be healed, for the conversions of the abortionists and their supporters and for the Planned Parenthood abortion center to close forever.

May that day come soon!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019 Medjugorje Message

“Dear children, as a mother who knows her children, I know that you are crying out for my Son. I know that you are crying out for truth, for peace, for that which is pure and not deceptive. That is why I, as a mother, through the love of God, am addressing you and calling you that, by prayer and a pure and open heart within yourselves, you may come to know my Son – His love, His merciful Heart. My Son saw beauty in all things. He seeks the good in all souls—even that which is little and hidden—so as to forgive evil. Therefore, my children, apostles of my love, I am calling you to adore Him, to ceaselessly give Him thanks, and to be worthy. Because He has spoken to you Divine Words, the Words of God, the Words which are for all and forever. Therefore, my children, live joy, radiance, unity and mutual love. This is what you need in today’s world. In this way you will be apostles of my love. In this way you will witness my Son in the right way. Thank you.”