Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Blessed Are You: Ch. 5 Mercy

Blessed are You: Finding Inspiration from our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney examines each of the beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew and offers the example of four female saints or blesseds who put that beatitude into practice. Living the beatitudes are "a way to follow Jesus. They lay out an exceedingly difficult way to live," but these women show us that it is doable."


Today, I have the pleasure of discussing Ch. 5 on Mercy. "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." Matthew 5:7

How do we show mercy to others? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are two sets of merciful acts that we are called to perform. One set is corporal, or having to do with the body. These include "feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead." The second set of merciful acts are spiritual, including "instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, . . . forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently." (CCC 2447)

As Rigney emphasizes, some works of mercy are fairly easy to perform, while others may require an incredible amount of self-sacrifice. Yet, despite the amount of effort utilized to carry out these works of mercy, it is important to remember that "whether it's a corporal or spiritual work, there's no quid pro quo here through which we offer mercy and then the recipient cries and tells us what great Christians we are. Often, our offering will be ignored, scoffed at, or denigrated. That doesn't matter. We offer mercy because we love God; we love the person no matter how appreciative or unappreciative he or she is of the offering; and we love ourselves. We offer mercy because God has given and continues to give it to us without reservation or limit."

Rigney offers Mother Teresa, Maria Korlowska, Frances Xavier Cabrini, and Elizabeth Canori Mora as role models for this beatitude. While Mother Teresa and Frances Cabrini are well-known, Maria Korlowska and Elizabeth Mora are probably new to you. Maria founded the Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Divine Providence, a community devoted to those who were lost morally, especially prostitutes. They helped these women learn marketable skills so that they could support themselves and provided medical care for any STDs they might have had, as well as providing religious instruction for any who might want it.

While she did minister to the poor,  Elizabeth's main venue for carrying out works of mercy was within her own family, offering a role model for those who suffer in difficult marriages. "She did a lot of praying" especially for her wayward husband. While she didn't live to see it, he reformed his life after her death, eventually becoming a Franciscan priest.

We are all called to perform works of mercy every day. For mothers, those acts are often within one's own home, but whether we are ministering to our own families or going out to minister to the world at large, we must always remember to act out of love. We show others mercy because God has shown mercy to us, and we are called to love our neighbor as ourself.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Divine Mercy Praises

My parish has all-day adoration on Tuesdays with the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayed at 3 p.m. When I am available, I try to attend. After the Chaplet is said, we pray the Divine Mercy Praises. I had never heard these before, and wanted to share them with you. To find out more about Divine Mercy, please visit: http://www.divinemercy.org

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, fount gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, unfathomable by any intellect human or angelic,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, better than the heavens,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us and especially for sinners,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Heart,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the founding of the Holy Church,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the sacrament of Holy Baptism,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, astonishment for angels, incomprehensible to saints,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, crown of all God’s handy work,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls,
I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope,
I trust in You.

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: Parenting a Grieving Child

Please note: A new revised edition of Parenting a Grieving Child has just been released. This review is of the 2002 edition.

Parenting a Grieving Child was recommended to me by Heidi Hess Saxton as a reference for helping children who are in foster care or have been adopted. All of these children are grieving to one degree or another. This book by Mary DeTurris Proust does not deal directly with that sort of grief, but it should be required reading for all parents because at one time or another, all children grieve, and how we help them to cope with that grief is very important.

The loss may seem relatively small, like that of a goldfish, or huge such as losing a parent or sibling, but every child grieves every loss "on his or her terms." Just as for adults, there is no one right way to grieve, and what seems like a small loss to us may be extremely important to a child. We must guide them through the process.

Proust offers suggestions on talking about death and emphasizes the importance of telling children the truth about what has happened in an age-appropriate manner. She also provides a list of symptoms and behaviors that grieving children may exhibit, and red flags that professional help is needed.

Faith is an important component of this book. "We cannot separate our faith from our grief and mourning." What we believe about God and the afterlife will have a huge impact on how we and our children grieve. We need to offer spiritual support to our children, especially as they question how God could allow such pain and tragedy. "Faith offers a kind of support that cannot be found anywhere else."

Parenting a Grieving Child is a very valuable resource, perhaps best read when one is not in the midst of grieving, but rather as preparation for the inevitable. In addition to parents, it would be helpful for educators and those who work with children in a pastoral capacity.




Monday, August 17, 2015

Write a Gospel Reflection for CatholicMom.com

The CatholicMom.com team is looking for 366 volunteers to write a Gospel Reflection - one for each day of 2016. You don't need to be a professional writer to volunteer. They are looking for all ages and vocations. To find out more or to volunteer, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1sslneVxu3_0qTHz32J_NZZ30j7FEvwBGLNQK79CvAhU/viewform

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blessed are You Blog Tour

Blessed are You: Finding Inspiration from our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney examines each of the beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew and offers the example of four female saints or blesseds who put that beatitude into practice. Living the beatitudes are "a way to follow Jesus. They lay out an exceedingly difficult way to live," but these women show us that it is doable. Also, the beatitudes are in the present tense."

Rigney reminds us that the beatitudes are in the present tense. "You are blessed now, today and always, just like the women on these pages." Rigney also offers reflection questions and concrete ways to put the beatitudes into practice in our own lives. "Blessed are You" offers the opportunity to learn about some female saints and blesseds you may not have had the pleasure of encountering before, while giving you a roadmap of how to live a more Christ-like life.

In the blog tour, eight Catholic writers (including me) will reflect on each of the chapters. I invite you to follow along:


Monday, August 10, 2015

August 11th - Feast of St. Clare

Saint Clare of Assisi (sometimes spelled Clair, Claire, etc.) (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253), born Chiara Offreduccio, is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life—the first monastic rule known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.


Powerful Prayer to St. Clare of Assisi

O glorious Saint Clare!
God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress; we beseech you, obtain for us from Jesus, through Mary, His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls.
Saint Clare Pray For Us
Amen.

Prayer to Saint Clare


God of mercy,
You inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty.
By the help of her prayers
may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit
and come to the joyful vision of Your glory
in the Kingdom of heaven.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Amen.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Spiritual Exercises Offered in Weston, MA


The Spiritual Exercises are a silent retreat based on the well-proven method of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The Priests of Miles Christi, devoted to the preaching of these Ignatian retreats, frequently offer them in a weekend format. Throughout the centuries, the Spiritual Exercises have shown to be an excellent means of sanctification, highly praised by Popes and Saints.

“The Exercises are,in fact, a set of meditations and prayers in an atmosphere of contemplation and silence, and above all a special interior impulse–deriving from the Holy Spirit–to open ample spaces
of the soul to the action of grace.”
–Pope Saint John Paul II

For Women 16 and Over
September 11-13, 2015 in Weston, MA

For Men 16 and Over
Oct. 30 - Nov. 1, 2015 in Weston, MA

For more information and to register please contact Mary Jaye at boston@spiritualexercises.net or at (248) 767-1669