Sunday, March 31, 2013

Novena to Divine Mercy, Day 3 (Easter Sunday)

 Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.

Most merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

The miracles of mercy are impenetrable.
Neither the sinner no just one with fathom them.
When you cast upon us an eye of pity,
You draw us all closer to Your love.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.


(1214-1215 in Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul)

Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
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.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Novena to the Divine Mercy, Day 2 (Holy Saturday)

Today bring to me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me the strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them, as through channels, My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy, and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven. 

The fountain of God's love
Dwells in pure hearts,
Bathed in the Sea of Mercy,
Radiant as stars, bright as the dawn.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen ones] in your vineyard - upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation, and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.


(1212-1213 in Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul)

Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
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.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Novena to the Divine Mercy, Day 1 (Good Friday)

Today, bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Oh omnipotence of Divine Mercy,
Salvation of sinful people, 
You are a sea of mercy and compassion;
You aid those who entreat You with humility.

Eternal Father, turn your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy forever and ever. Amen. (1210-1211 in Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul
)


Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
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.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Holy Thursday

The Lord's Supper is laid,
Jesus sits down at table with His Apostles,
His Being all transformed into love,
For such was the Holy Trinity's counsel.

With great desire, I desire to eat with you,
Before I suffer death.
About to leave you, love holds Me in your midst.
He sheds His Blood, gives His life, for He loves immensely.

Love hides beneath the appearance of bread,
Departing, He remains with us.
Such self-abasement was not needed,
Yet burning love hid Him under these species.

Over the bread and wine He says these words:
"This is My Blood, this is My Body."
Although mysterious, these are words of love.
The He passes the Cup among His disciples.

Jesus grew deeply troubled within
And said, "One of you will betray his Master."
They fell silent, with a silence as of the tomb,
And John inclined his head on His breast.

The supper is ended.
Let us go to Gethsemane.
Love is satisfied,
And there the traitor is waiting. (1002)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Kids

This is an interesting article that has been making the rounds in homeschool circles: 18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children

One issue she raises that I find is definitely true is the ability to get more sleep. Because I am a foster-mom, I have had two children in traditional school this year (one in high school, one in pre-school - foster children have to go to school). One thing I certainly have not missed the past five years was the morning need to get up exceedingly early to get everyone up, fed, dressed, and out of the house for the morning commute.

Fortunately, given the age of the two I have in school, lack of sleep hasn't been a real issue for anyone but me (and, well, I have a toddler getting me up exceedingly early anyway, but still, on the rare days she graces us with sleep, it would be so nice to be able to stay in bed). The high schooler makes her own hours (although she is not a morning person and makes up her sleep debt on the weekends) and the preschooler goes to bed early enough to be able to wake up early. But, I know that this is a HUGE issue in the elementary years. There just isn't enough hours in the day for after-school activities, dinner, and homework. Children get to bed too late to be able to get up as early as they need to in order to go to school. That low-grade constant sleep-deprivation adds up and negatively impact attitude and cognitive ability.

Just one more reason why I am glad that I homeschool.

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 37

Once, as I was going down the hall to the kitchen, I heard these words in my soul: Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy. (687)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quilt Block in Honor of St. Monica

My latest Patron Saint Quilt is in honor of St. Monica, the long-suffering mother of St. Augustine. To find out more and download the free pattern, please visit Patron Saint Quilts:  Quilt Block in Honor of St. Monica

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 36

Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:
The First Torture that constitutes hell is: The loss of God.
The Second is: Perpetual remorse of conscience.
The Third is: That one's condition will never change.
The Fourth is: The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God's anger.
The Fifth Torture is: Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own.
The Sixth Torture is: The constant company of Satan.
The Seventh Torture is: Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.
These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.

There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipoten
ce of God had not supported me.
 

 Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like...how terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin." (741)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 35

Jesus, Life and Truth, my Master, guide every step of my life, that I may act according to Your holy will. (688)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Book Review: Blessed, Beautiful, Bodacious




Our present culture does not value and esteem womanhood very much. Catholic writer, speaker, and podcaster Pat Gohn is working to change that. With Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood , Gohn “seeks to celebrate womanhood by exploring a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission.”

As one might expect from the title, Gohn describes women as blessed, beautiful, and bodacious. “We are blessed that we have simply been called to be.” Baptism serves as a tattoo on our souls. We have been branded by God, “claimed as his own.” We are children of God with a loving Father who “always knows what’s best for his daughters.” 

Our beauty is more than skin deep. It is centered on “four dynamic gifts” from God: receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity. Receptivity is “receiving another person for his own merits.” It is “saying yes to love.”  When we make that decision to love, we also live generously. “We may never know who might be ultimately blessed by our generosity. The ripple effects are often shielded from our sight. But God uses our generosity for good, to bear good fruit.” Sensitivity is also part of love. It involves seeing with one’s heart, to be able to help and serve others when and where they need it most. Maternity encompasses more than the physical ability to give birth. “All women are entrusted with the call to care for the people within their sphere of influence.” In this section, Gohn discusses the beauty and responsibilities of both physical and spiritual motherhood.

Bodacious refers to our reason for being on this earth, our individual mission given to us by God. A combination of bold and audacious, this gift invites us to embrace all that God made us to be.
Gohn writes in a very conversational style, sharing stories from her own life in order to illustrate how God works in a person’s world. She tells of her romance with her husband, the challenges of parenting, the importance of friends, and her experience with cancer while still in her thirties.  She shares her fears and joys and how she developed a relationship with Mary, whom she holds up as a model of all that a Christian woman should be.

With a Master’s Degree in Theology and certificates in adult faith formation leadership and the theology of the body, Gohn brings much to the conversation of what it means to be a modern Catholic woman, a daughter of God. Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious is wonderful reading for any woman who wants to embrace the gifts God gave her. 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday. During Mass, my soul was steeped in the bitterness and suffering of Jesus. Jesus gave me to understand how much He had suffered in that triumphal procession. "Hosanna" was reverberating in Jesus' heart as an echo of "Crucify." (1028)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 34

O Incomprehensible God, how great is your mercy! It surpasses the combined understanding of all men and angels. All the angels and all humans have emerged from the very depths of Your tender mercy. Mercy is the flower of love. God is love, and mercy is His deed. In love it is conceived; in mercy it is revealed. Everything I look at speaks to me of God's mercy. Even God's very justice speaks to me about His fathomless mercy, because justice flows from love. (651)

From Diary of Divine Mercy: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 33

O my Jesus, Your goodness surpasses all understanding, and no one will exhaust Your mercy. Damnation is for the soul who wants to be damned; but for the one who desires salvation, there is the inexhaustible ocean of the Lord's mercy to draw from. (631)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: The Christian Alphabet Book



By Tracy Sands
Suwanee, Georgia: Love the Dove Publishing, 2012

In 1999, Tracy Sands was inspired while listening to Christian music at a church event. With only a pen and the program she received at the door to work with, she began sketching quickly. The urge to create was so strong she “felt as though she would pop if she didn’t get the ideas out of her brain immediately.” Over the next nine months, she would revise those initial sketches and ultimately create The Christian Alphabet, a series of drawings of the letters of the alphabet filled with Christian symbolism designed to help teach children about the faith.

The Christian Alphabet Book is a new book to help share this alphabet with the world. Each letter of the alphabet is featured on a two-page spread. The right-hand page showcases a large image of the letter design along with a relevant scripture passage and an activity to find the symbols hidden in the letter. The left-hand page includes a lesson related to the letter and a prayer. 

For example, the letter A shows a girl praying, holding a cross. “A is for Always. Always means all the time, never-ending, forever. God always loves us and is always with us.”

The tradition of illustrating letters is an ancient one. One need only think of the beautiful medieval illuminated manuscripts. Sands, who has a Master’s Degree in Art Education and is the mother of three young children, has put a modern take on this idea. Her art is simple and appealing and it is evident that a great deal of thought and imagination went into this project. In the back of the book, Sands has included a detailed listing explaining the symbols in each of the letters.

While this is a Christian alphabet and is intended for a wide audience, there is nothing in this book that is contrary to the Catholic faith and a Catholic priest helped advise Sands while creating the book. 

The Christian Alphabet Book would be ideal for children ages four through eight, although other ages can certainly appreciate and learn from it as well. The associated website, www.ChristianAlphabet.com also features a Christian version of the alphabet song to help children learn the concepts included in this book.



 

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 32

On one occasion, when I dropped by the chapel for a five-minute adoration and was praying for a certain soul, I came to understand that God does not always accept our petitions for the souls we have in mind, but directs these to other souls. Hence, although we do not relieve the souls we intended to relieve in their purgatorial suffering, still our prayer is not lost. (621)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 31

Oh, how great is the mercy of the Lord; it surpasses all His other qualities! Mercy is the greatest attribute of God; everything that surrounds me speaks to me of this. Mercy is the life of souls; His compassion is inexhaustible. O Lord, look on us and deal with us according to Your countless mercies, according to Your great mercy. (611)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pre-Order a Biography of Our New Pope

To be released by St. Benedict Press next month: Pope Francis: The Pope From the End of the Earth by Thomas Craughwell


Lent with St. Faustina, Day 30

My Jesus, despite Your graces, I see and feel all my misery. I begin my day with battle and end it with battle. As soon as I conquer one obstacle, ten more appear to take its place. But I am not worried, because I know that this is the time of struggle, not peace. When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish. O my Jesus, how prone I am to evil, and this forces me to be constantly vigilant. But I do not lose heart. I trust God's grace, which abounds in the worst misery. (606)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul


Monday, March 18, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 29

Oh, how ardently I desire that every soul would praise Your mercy. Happy is the soul that calls upon the mercy of the Lord. It will see that the Lord will defend it as His glory, as He said. And who would dare fight against God? All you souls, praise the Lord's mercy by trusting in His mercy all your life and especially at the hour of your death. And fear nothing, dear soul, whoever you are; the greater the sinner, the greater his right to Your mercy, O lord. O Incomprehensible Goodness! God is the first to stoop to the sinner. O Jesus, I wish to glorify Your mercy on behalf of thousands of souls. I know very well, O my Jesus, that I am to keep telling souls about Your goodness, about your incomprehensible mercy. (598)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, 5th Sunday of Lent

Love casts out fear. Since I came to love God with my whole being and with all the strength of my heart, fear has left me. Even if I were to hear the most terrifying things about God's justice, I would not fear Him at all, because I have come to know Him well. God is love, and His spirit is peace. I see now that my deeds which have flowed from love are more perfect than those which I have done out of fear. I have places my trust in God and fear nothing. I have given myself over to His holy will; let Him do with me as He wishes, and I will still love Him. (589)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 28

Ingratitude in return for so many graces is My Heart's constant food, on the part of [such] a chosen soul. Their love is lukewarm, and My Heart cannot bear it; these souls force Me to reject them. Others distrust My goodness and have no desire to experience that sweet intimacy in their own hearts, but go in search of Me, off in the distance, and do not find Me. This distrust of My goodness hurts Me very much. If My death has not convinced you of My love, what will? Often a soul wounds Me mortally, and then no one can comfort Me. They use my graces to offend Me. There are souls who despise My graces as well as all the proofs of My love. They do not wish to hear My call, but process into the abyss of hell. The loss of these souls plunges Me into deadly sorrow. God though I am, I cannot help such a soul because it scorns Me; having a free will, it can spurn Me or love Me. (580)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Friday, March 15, 2013

Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

This was part of the message that Pope Francis gave to the Cardinals today.

"Let us never give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day. Do not give in to pessimism and discouragement. We have the firm certainty that the Holy Spirit gives the Church with His mighty breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it responds to the deep needs of human existence, convincingly announcing that Christ is the only Savior of the whole person and of all persons. This announcement is as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity when there was a great missionary expansion of the Gospel." - Pope Francis

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 27

O my Jesus, Eternal Truth, I fear nothing, neither hardships nor sufferings; I fear only one thing, and that is to offend You. My Jesus, I would rather not exist than make You sad. Jesus, You know that my love knows no one but You. My soul is absorbed in You. (571)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker



Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
by Jennifer Chiaverini
New York: Dutton, 2013

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts series for years. Her latest novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, is her first stand-alone historical novel and is an incredible achievement. Chiaverini tells the story of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a woman who was born a slave but who ultimately bought her freedom and moved to Washington D.C., where she established herself as a dressmaker in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. She counted among her clients such notables as the wives of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. 

It was Mary Todd Lincoln, however, who would become her most famous customer and a dear friend. As modiste to the First Lady, Keckley was invited into the inner circle of White House life during the Lincoln years and this novel tells of her perspective of President and Mrs. Lincoln, their children, and the Civil War. While this takes up the largest part of the novel, the story continues to share what happened after President Lincoln’s assassination and the difficult years that Mrs. Lincoln faced. 

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker is a history buff’s delight. While it is a novel, it was very well researched and is largely based on historical events. It is a wonderful read for anyone interested in women’s history, African-American history, or the Civil War era. It would also make a great educational experience for high school or college students studying this time period. 

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 26

Eternal God, Goodness itself, whose mercy is incomprehensible to every intellect, whether human or angelic, help me, your feeble child, to do your holy will as You make it known to me. I desire nothing but to fulfill God's desires. Lord, here are my soul and my body, my mind and my will, my heart and all my love. Rule me according to Your eternal plans. (492)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Welcome to Pope Francis!

Welcome to Pope Francis! I was so excited to see the throngs in St. Peter's Square, and the whole world gathered in prayer and celebration. What a historic day for the Church!

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 25

What a joy it is to be a faithful child of the Church! Oh, how much I love Holy Church and all those who live in it! I look upon them as living members of Christ, who is their Head. I burn with love for those who love; I suffer with those who suffer. I am consumed with sorrow at the sight of those who are cold and ungrateful; and I then try to have such a love for God that it will make amends for those who do not love Him, those who feed their Savior with ingratitude at its worst. (481)

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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Lent with St. Faustina, Day 24

This prayer will serve to appease my wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one OUR FATHER and HAIL MARY and I BELIEVE IN GOD. Then on the OUR FATHER beads you will say the following words: "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." On the HAIL MARY beads you will say the following words: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world." In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world." (476)

Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Monday, March 11, 2013

Does the Holy Spirit Choose the Pope?

This is a wonderful answer by Fr. James Martin on a question weighing on a lot of minds as the conclave starts tomorrow: Does the Holy Spirit Choose the Pope?

It also has some great tidbits on discernment and free will in our own lives.

Lent with St. Faustina, Day 23

On one occasion, the Lord said to me, Why are you fearful and why do you tremble when you are united to Me? I am displeased when a soul yields to vain terrors. Who will dare to touch me when you are with Me? Most dear to Me is the soul that strongly believes in My goodness and has complete trust in Me. I heap My confidence upon it and give it all it asks. ( 453) 

From Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul