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Sorrowful Mysteries

One can also draw needed graces by meditating on Scripture while praying the rosary. Please take your time. If you are running out of time, do just one – meditate on His Passion – and invest yourself in the meditation.

This particular meditation can be found in http://www.marystouch.org

Joyful Mysteries

Joyful Rosary – prayed.

Joyful Rosary – prayed with your participation:

One can also draw needed graces by meditating on Scripture while praying the rosary. Please take your time. If you are running out of time, do just one but do it from the heart.

Vespers

Lauds

Video of the Week








Adoration

Mercy Reflection


We are quite complex beings, often rather maddeningly so, yet it is often difficult for us to refrain from judging others merely by appearances instead of seeking the deeper reasons why they speak or behave in the ways they do. But Tugwell situates our psychological dynamics in a spiritual reality. We play all our silly and destructive games ultimately because of original sin, because we are fallen people living in a fallen world, and we somehow feel the need desperately to cover up that inescapable fact.

But it’s not enough, evidently, simply to recognize the fact that we try to put on false faces before others and even before God. It’s a long and difficult road honestly to open ourselves both to God’s love for ourselves and to his invitation to share it with others. We are something like abused children who do not easily trust the loving advances of another, even if they are pure and sincere. So we probe and test and make it as difficult as possible for another (or Another) to love us. The following lines from Tugwell go a long way toward understanding why some people react as they do, and it rings true in my own experience in dealing with “problematic” people: “The ingrained habit of suspicion can test love only by hurting it. And deep distrust may have to inflict deep hurt before it can rest content.” I have seen this played out before my eyes, and it is extremely difficult to endure, and more difficult still to help the person see what he is really doing.

But what is most important, I think, for our own spiritual lives is not so much understanding the psychological dynamics of wounded people, but understanding how God’s love deals with us in our own woundedness. I will quote a couple paragraphs here from the excerpt so you don’t have to scroll back:

“But here also is the ultimate test of God’s love. In Christ, God provokes man to do his very worst; and he continues to love. Here, then, is a love which has demonstrated that it does not flinch even when we do our worst. It is a love which can absorb our pathological drive to probe and wound. ‘He has borne our diseases’ (Matt. 8:17); and that means both that he has carried them away and disposed of them, and that he has endured them, loving ‘to the end’ (John 13:1).

“The cross of Christ confronts us with both God’s supreme consolation—‘Whatever you are, I can love you’—and with his supreme reproach—‘This is what you do to love, this is what you are really like.’ In accepting God’s love for ourselves, we must also accept the judgment of that reproach. Love, in our broken world of sin, can never be other than forgiveness.”

So God in Christ has, in effect, challenged us to do the worst we can to Him. Go ahead, probe, test, push Him to the limit. The Cross testifies that He can take it and still go on loving. For divine love “is a love which can absorb our pathological drive to probe and wound.” God’s two-fold response to our stubborn insistence on testing his love to the limit gives us an insight into the nature and the ways of God. It is both consolation and reproach. He assures us that nothing we can do to Him can make Him cease loving us, but at the same time He places a mirror before us so we can see the horror of what we have made of ourselves, and what we in our sin have done to the One who loves us so much. That is why the call to salvation—the call to eternal happiness with the One who loved us first—always begins with a call to repentance.

So he concludes: “Love, in our broken world of sin, can never be other than forgiveness.” This is why I placed as title of this post the equation of divine love and mercy. Divine mercy is divine love, as applied to our sinfulness. Despite what some forms of modern, superficial “me & Jesus” spirituality may suggest, we cannot engage as equals in a loving relationship with God. We are not on a par with Him, nor does He owe us anything. He will always and forever be Creator, Lord, Father, Judge, and Savior, even if He has, in his incomprehensible compassion and humility, invited us to friendship and intimacy with Him. What He loves in us primarily is his own image and our efforts to choose his will under the influence of his grace. “His love is the ultimate source of our very existence; there is no antecedent beauty on our part.” We have to realize that his love can only (at least in this life) take the form of mercy—and there are many forms of mercy—because we daily sin against Him and are forever in need of his saving grace to keep us from falling away to the place our sins would send us.

Therefore we are always “in arrears,” owing a debt we cannot repay, dependent upon Him who never ceases to forgive as long as we never cease to repent. We stand in awe and gratitude at the way his love has silently disarmed every missile we could hurl at Him, yet we stand in shame at what we cruelly made Him suffer to manifest that love. When we constantly pray in the Liturgy “Lord, have mercy,” we are, in a sense, asking Him to love us in the way we most need to be loved; we are asking Him to love us as only He can.

Finally, if we begin to “get it” at all, if we grasp even a little of the boundlessness of God’s love-turned-mercy in the face of our sin, we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit: “Go thou and do likewise.” Now, through the mercy that has been shown us—a mercy that is not a mere legal pardon but an overflowing of personal love—we have to start bearing the infirmities of others, absorbing what they hurl at us, and responding with the love-turned-mercy that comes from the presence of God within us. “Love one another as I have loved you,” said the Lord Jesus. To take up our cross is not just to carry it but to be crucified upon it, for love’s sake. As Christians worthy of the name we must, as Tugwell concludes, “be prepared to be wounded, and wounded precisely because we have become carriers of God’s love.”

So the whole process begins with our awareness of our hiding from God and our hypocrisy toward others, then to our first faltering acceptance of God’s love—mixed with testing and distrust—to a fuller awareness of the horror of our sin and the magnitude of God’s loving mercy, to a share in communicating that same divine love/mercy to others, while sharing also in its price, the mystery of the Cross. The final step is to experience love bearing its eternally sweet and wondrous fruit in the Kingdom of Heaven.

You know, whenever I learn something more about true Christianity, I’m always amazed at the depth and the richness of it, and also at its uncompromising character. This is the real thing. Nothing expresses the truth, depth, power, and love of God like his definitive revelation in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. (And He reveals not only Himself but He also shows us who we really are—for better and for worse!) Yet it’s not enough simply to read the Scriptures to understand this revelation and to let it deeply penetrate your soul. Its drama has to be played out in your own life, your own heart, your own suffering, your own relationships, your own prayer. We must always go deeper, for there are always more unexplored depths to the mystery of God. He won’t rest until He has brought us to perfection. When his mercy has finally accomplished its task, there will be nothing left in us in which He cannot delight, and we will be taken up forever into that
everlasting and unimaginable exchange of love that is the All-holy Trinity.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Care for the suffering
September 6, 1937. Today, I begin a new assignment. I go from the garden to the desert of the gate. [210] I went in to talk to the Lord for a while. I asked Him for a blessing and for graces to faithfully carry out the duties entrusted to me. I heard these words: My daughter, I am always with you. I have given you the opportunity to practice deeds of mercy which you will perform according to obedience. You will give Me much pleasure if, each evening, you will speak to Me especially about this task. (Diary, 1267)

The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor.


1. Feed the hungry

2. Give drink to the thirsty

3. Clothe the naked

4. Shelter the homeless

5. Visit the sick
Visit the Sick
6. Visit those in prison

7. Bury the dead

Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ’Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?’ And the king will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”

The corporal works of Mercy are oriented toward the body.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Spiritual Work of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in spiritual necessities (CCC #2447), those being focused on getting a soul to Heaven.


The seven Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful

Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

The spiritual works of mercy are oriented toward the soul

Deeds of Mercy


Evangelization is:
•Sharing the gift of faith that has been given to us
•An essential mission of the Church
•A basic duty of all the baptized: laity, religious and clergy
Evangelization is:

•Calling active believers to even deeper faith
•Bringing the message of Christ to inactive Catholics
•Inviting people to join the Catholic Church
•Making the Gospel real by applying it to the issues and conditions of our lives
In essence, evangelization is a way of life.

How Do We Evangelize?
“Evangelization will also always contain – as the foundation, center and, at the same time, summit of its dynamism – a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ.
salvation is offered to all, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.”
Evangelii Nuntiandi

Through The Power Of The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, who is at work in the heart of every person, is the principal agent of evangelization. The Spirit, the first gift of the risen Christ to his people, gives us both the ability to receive the Gospel of Jesus and the power to proclaim it. Without the Holy spirit, evangelization simply cannot occur.

Through Witness
Above all, the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness, that is, we are called to live our lives in such a way that it is obvious that we take our faith seriously. Our relationships and everyday activities in our families, workplaces and society are to be shaped by Gospel values. We witness as an evangelizing community when we gather around the Table of the Lord and when we reach out to those in need.

Through Sharing
All of us who have been given the gift of faith are asked to freely share this gift with others. We are urged to tell others how God is acting in our lives. We need to do this in our own way, using words that are comfortable for us.

We are encouraged to share the Gospel • with those who have no church community, and
• with those who have given up active participation in the Catholic community.

We also welcome those seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.

Sharing our faith needs to be done in the spirit of dialogue, with respect and concern for others.
• It involves listening and being open to how God is working in another person’s life.
• We need to have a gentle, non-threatening approach.
• We are not to proselytize, that is, we are not to manipulate or pressure anyone.

Evangelization is sharing the Good News that we have experienced and inviting others to join us.

As a parish community, we can develop strategies to help us in being proactive about evangelization.

•Know your parish – its strengths and challenges.
•Know your needs and those of the wider community.
•Be realistic about expectations and goals.
•Know your resources: human, financial and material.
•Affirm and encourage evangelization efforts already taking place.
•Build on the strengths you have in your parish.

The Role of the Laity in Evangelization
Evangelization is everyone’s responsibility. Pope John Paul II called for a “New Evangelization.” This means we are called to be proactive in our responsibility to be evangelizers. Until now, most Catholics have thought of evangelization as something Protestants do, or that it is a private action, in that we don’t wear our religion on our sleeves. Many Catholics even have a hard time saying out loud that they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Images of Protestant evangelizers have left an unpleasant taste in the mouths of Catholics, so that we, as Catholics, find it distasteful to impose our morality or our religion on others. “God talk” is not a typical subject of conversation like football, food or the movies and it even seems to be embarrassing to engage in it. Many Catholics feel ill-equipped to discuss their faith, especially when pitted against Protestants who can recite Bible verses on command.

Today, Catholics have taken a place among the best-educated and most prosperous citizens of this country. Most of the barriers to our full participation in Catholic life in the United States have fallen away. But our reluctance to share our faith with others has not. However, despite this reluctance, a growing number of Catholics are realizing their faith is not a treasure to bury under a bushel basket, but rather they are looking for concrete ways to share their faith. They, in effect, let their light shine.

The Vatican II document, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity , says,

” Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying,
and ruling in His name and power.
But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ
and therefore have their own share in the mission of the
whole people of God in the Church and in the world.”
Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity

Whom Are We Called to Evangelize?

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all of Creation”
Mark 15:16

Active Catholics: In order for us to evangelize others we must first be evangelized ourselves.
As active Catholics,
• we are called to ongoing conversion and renewal.
• We need to continually develop and deepen our faith.
As adults, we must pay special attention to how we evangelize our children. That is, how we hand on the faith that has been given to us.
Active Catholics, adults and children are most often evangelized by participation in vibrant faith communities which are committed to:
• Worshipping God in spirit and truth
• Creating and nourishing Christian community
• Proclaiming in word and deed the Good News of Jesus Christ
• Teaching the saving message of Jesus
• Serving all our brothers and sisters by acts of charity and working for justice and peace.

Active Catholics need to become excited Catholics eager to share their faith.

Inactive Catholics: Millions of Catholics for a variety of reasons no longer practice their faith.
• As an evangelizing community, we have to let our sisters and brothers know that we miss them and that they will always be welcomed back.
• We must be actively involved in seeking ways to help people be reconciled and reunited with Christ and the Church.

Those with no Church Affiliation
A significant number of people do not belong to any church. As Catholics we need to reach out and invite these people to be part of our faith community.

Our churches are to be places of welcome and centers of hospitality for all people of every race and culture .

How Can I Evangelize?

We can reach out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone and especially newcomers, inactive Catholics, the marginalized and the unchurched.

How?

•Become a sharing person who freely witnesses to the Catholic Faith and recount personal experiences openly with others.
•Invite a new parishioner, neighbor or friend to dinner or a social event to build a friendship based on Christ’s love.
•Visit a new parishioner or neighbor to build community and communion.
•Become a minister of care and bring Holy Communion to the homebound and hospitalized.
•Practice hospitality in the parish, neighborhood and workplace by listening, encouraging, affirming and celebrating others.
•Develop a welcoming atmosphere at home by being present for family meals and other family celebrations and special occasions.

The Parish as an Evangelizing Community
“Embracing all the activity of the parish is a basic vocation and commitment to evangelization.
Not only calling active believers to ever deeper faith, but also bringing the message
of Christ to alienated Catholics, inviting people to join in the Church’s
belief and worship, and making the Gospel real by applying it to the
issues and conditions of our lives.
The parish realizes that the most effective instrument of evangelization is its visible hospitality,
its vitality and its own faithfulness to Christ.”
The Parish – A People, A Mission , A Structure, NCCB

An Evangelizing Parish: •Provides an atmosphere of welcome, hospitality and belonging
•Fosters awareness of the Church’s mission to the world
•Encourages its members to live and share their faith in their families, workplaces and neighborhoods
•Provides opportunities for parishioners to discuss and reflect on their faith and their relationship to God, (e.g., Bible study groups, small faith sharing groups, etc.)
•Welcomes and seeks to reunite its inactive and alienated members
•Reaches out and welcomes all people, especially those who do not belong to any church
•Implements the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), actively involving the parish
•Promotes ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and participates in ecumenical and interreligious activities

An Evangelizing community plans activities and develops programs with an evangelizing perspective, that is, from the perspective of how these activities and programs can:
•Deepen the faith of the active members
•Reconcile those who are alienated
•Welcome back those who are inactive
•Reach out to those with no church affiliation
•Foster Gospel values in all of society

An Evangelizing Parish sees the ordinary and everyday events as “Evangelizing Moments”, especially:
•Baptisms
•First Communions Confirmations
•Weddings
•Funerals
•Parish Registrations
•Parish Visitations
•Parish Socials

For Reflection: •What are ways you can evangelize in your parish, neighborhood, etc.?
•How can you help make your parish an evangelizing community?