Reflection 184: The Mercy of the Ministry of Priests

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No, priests are not perfect.  They sin day in and day out.  They are in constant need of repentance and conversion in their daily lives just like all the rest of humanity.  But they are priests.  And because of their sacred ordination, the Lord speaks through them in a clear yet mysterious way.  Some speak with the authority of Christ only when speaking the words of Consecration at Mass or the words of Absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Others embrace the charism of their ordination and are used by God in a multitude of other ways, through their preaching, their holy living, and their words of counsel offered to their flock.  Seek out these holy priests.  Listen to them and allow the Lord to guide you through them.  For in listening to the voice of God, spoken through them, you will be blessed with an abundance of Mercy (See Diary #968).

Ponder today, with all charity, the priests that God has placed in your life.  It may be your own parish priest, or a priest speaking through the written word, or a priest speaking through some other form of modern communication.  God will point you to His holy priests and will speak to you directly through them.  Listen to them, for in hearing their words you will be hearing the words of the Mercy of God.

Lord, I thank You for establishing the sacred priesthood as a sign of Your continued sacramental presence in the world.  I pray for all priests, especially those You have entrusted with my pastoral care.  May I always be open to You, speaking through them, in their sacred ministry.  And may I respond with abandon and generosity at the sound of Your voice spoken from their lips. Give me humility, dear Lord, that I may always hear Your voice spoken through priests.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured Image above: Vicente Carducho, “Ordenación y primera misa de san Juan de Mata” By Museo del Prado, via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 183: Attentiveness to the Value of Suffering


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When we suffer, we look for a way out.  We seek relief.  But from Heaven, we will be able to look back and see the immense power of freely chosen and embraced suffering.  It’s not that suffering is good in and of itself; rather, it’s that suffering has been redeemed and endowed with a spiritual power by God as a result of the sufferings of Christ.  Therefore, if you trust in the Lord, let Him reveal to you, here and now, the great value of your suffering freely embraced.  By embracing every hardship that comes your way, you will be making an offering to God that can only be understood by grace.  This will not make sense to the world, but it will become a powerful weapon of Mercy through which the Lord will do great things to you and through you, He will flood the world with His grace.  Do not wait until Heaven to become aware of this sacred gift of the redemption of your inner suffering offered in confident prayer to God (See Diary #963).

Are you aware of the power of your suffering when you freely unite it to the sufferings of Christ?  Does this make sense to you?  This realization is only possible by grace and is only embraced by that same grace.  Reflect, today, upon what you do suffer interiorly and do not shy away from it.  Face it, embrace it and love it.  For in that holy embrace, God will work wondrously in and through your life.

Lord, make me attentive to the value of all I suffer in my soul.  Help me to see this as a gift of Your Divine Mercy.  I recognize the fact that I do not recognize the power in this holy gift.  Give me Your eyes to see my suffering as You see it, and Your Will to embrace it with a holy embrace.  I make this offering to You, this day, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Reflection 182: Wisdom to Penetrate the Secrets of Pride

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Pride can consume us.  When it does, all we think about is ourselves and our own pain.  Perhaps you can relate to this.  Maybe you’ve encountered a wound and you sit and sulk over that wound.  It creates bitterness in your heart and you seek to heal that wound.  But when this happens, it is often our pride that leads us to remedy hurt through a form of revenge, anger or self-pity.  We can even fool ourselves into thinking that our desire to solve our problem and rid ourselves of the hurt is justified by God.  But if you are willing to let the Lord penetrate the inner secret of your soul, you will see that your motivation in many things is your wounded pride.  This is not the solution.  What is needed is Mercy.  Mercy solves every problem.  First, you must seek Mercy from God, then you must offer it unconditionally to others.  There is no other way to resolve the hurt and confusion present in your soul.  This is a hard lesson to learn, but necessary (See Diary #958).

What is it that motivates you?  Perhaps you have some interior obsession that you can’t seem to shake.  Perhaps it lingers in your mind day and night.  Be attentive to this and identify it as your own sin.  Do not hesitate to humble yourself to the fullest extent and do not be afraid to take ownership of the pain you feel.  Pointing the finger at another does not heal and does not remedy anything.  We are solely responsible as a result of our pride.  Seeing this is a grace of the Lord’s mysterious and unfathomable Mercy.

Lord, I cannot shake the anger, the hurt and the pain I feel at times.  It is overwhelming and all-consuming, subtle and deceptive.  But it is my sin, lurking within me drawing me from You, keeping me from true repentance.  Lord, I do repent and I beg You to humble me so that I may love You with my whole being.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Reflection 181: Holy Indifference

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Does it matter what the Will of God is for you?  That may sound like a strange question at first.  But think about it.  Does it matter what God wills of you?  What if He were to call you to constant work?  Or what if He were to call you to a restful repose?  Or what if He were to fill you with delight?  Or remove all delight from your soul?  Or call you to be extolled and honored in the sight of many?  Or draw you into the desert of solitude and hiddenness?

The truth is that it matters not what God’s call is in our lives, it only matters that He calls.  We must strive for a holy indifference in our lives.  A “holy” indifference is not indifference to God and His Will; rather, a holy indifference is a detachment to all preferences regarding what the Lord asks of us.  We must be ready for all but we must be willing to receive nothing.  The goal is to be ready for God and His Will, whatever it may be (See Diary #952).

Reflect upon whether or not you are ready and willing to accept whatever God wills of you.  What He wills is not as important as the fact that He wills.  This may be a difficult subtlety to grasp at first.  But it’s important to understand.  The simple truth is that we should be ready for anything God asks of us without clinging to our personal preference.  If you can achieve this level of detachment, the Mercy of God will begin to flow in abundance in your life, and through you into the lives of many others.

Lord, I surrender to You all my selfish preferences in life.  I give You complete freedom to do whatever You will in my life.  No matter what You ask of me, I accept, and no matter what You take from me, I give to You.  Give me, dear Lord, the grace of a holy indifference so that I may be free to love You and Your holy Will more than life itself.  Jesus, I trust in You.  

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Reflection 180: The Passion of Jesus

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We who are familiar with the Gospels may suffer, at times, from a certain indifference to the sufferings of Christ.  We hear the story read each year, have seen many images of the Passion, and as a result of this familiarity, we can fail to allow it to have the proper effect on our lives.  But the Passion is real, it happened, and we should give it our full attention.  Though it may not be pleasant, on one level, it is an act of love so mysterious that it requires much grace to enable us to penetrate its meaning and significance in our lives.  Every scourge, ridicule, nail and thorn wounded not only our Lord’s body, but it caused excruciating pain to His soul.  But every pain that He endured He took into His Heart and redeemed it, offering it to the Father for the salvation of all.  We must see this great mystery of our faith and gaze upon it in awe and holy wonder (See Diary #948).

Have you gazed upon the suffering Jesus?  Have you allowed yourself to see His pain and His suffering?  Have you seen Him endure all in silence and acceptance?  Reflect upon this incredible mystery of our faith this day and allow yourself to grow in love and compassion for Him who endured so much for you.  Know that His suffering destroyed the effects of sin and transformed suffering itself into the instrument of His Divine Mercy.

Precious Lord, I thank You for Your suffering.  For in this act You took human suffering into Your glorious soul and redeemed it.  You endured the effects of my sin and said not a word.  Lord, You paid the price for my sins and You did so with perfect love and resolve.  Give me the grace, dear Lord, to embrace all that I suffer and to unite it to the redeeming power of Your holy Cross.  In that unity, free me from my sins and pour forth Your abundance of Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: Christ as the Suffering Redeemer by Andrea Mantegna via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 179: Dealing with Interior Desolation

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“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away…” (Job 1:21).  How true this is.  There are times in life when we experience the abundant consolation of God.  It may be at moments of great family joy, or when we experience the unconditional love of another.  At times we sense the powerful presence of God in our life of prayer and are filled with joy.  But there are many other moments in life when God seems distant and our souls feel desolate.  Do not worry about this.  If this is caused by sin, then face that sin, confess it and move on.  But if it’s not a result of any sin, then know it’s an opportunity for you to deepen your faith and your love of God despite how you feel.  This is a true grace and we should be grateful that God loves us enough to call us to faith even when we feel very little inside (See Diary #943).

What do you experience in your soul right now?  Do you sense the closeness of God and does that closeness give you great consolation?  Or do you feel dry and desolate as if God is hidden from you?  We must rejoice in each experience and know that God offers the grace we need for each moment.  Renew your faith this day no matter how you feel.  Do it especially in moments of much desolation.  Your act of faith in those moments will open the gates of God’s Mercy to you and to the world more than you may realize.

Lord, I love You now and always and renew my love for You no matter how I feel.  In good times and in difficult ones I choose to love You, to have faith in You and to trust in You.  You are the God of consolation and the God of desolation.  I choose You no matter what.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Reflection 178: Sanctity is Never Achieved on Our Own

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Do you aspire to holiness of life?  If so, you cannot do this on your own.  You need the help of another, and even many others.  The Lord has given us numerous ways to be directed by the loving hand of others.  Some are blessed to have a spiritual director of many years who directs them in accord with the Mind and Heart of Christ.  But most are called to rely upon the general direction offered by Christ through His Church.  We do so when we find a confessor to whom we regularly confess our sins.  We do so when we study the lives of the saints and learn from their wisdom.  We do so when we listen attentively at Mass seeking to soak in the words our Lord wishes to speak.  And we do so when we allow people of true holiness to come to know our souls so as to offer their humble counsel (See Diary #938).

How do you allow the Lord to direct your soul?  Do you listen to Him speak to you in Confession?  Do you listen attentively at Mass, through the wisdom of the saints and through the teachings of the Church?  Do you seek out those people whom God has placed in your life to help you on your way?  Reflect, today, upon the ways that God wants to use others to help direct your life toward holiness and embrace this gift as His act of abundant Mercy.

Lord, You and You alone are my Director and Guide.  But You choose to guide me through the mediation of others.  May I always be willing to humble myself so as to receive the many helps You offer me through this journey of life. I pray I will never turn away from these instruments of Your Mercy and grace.   Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: St Peter Preaching in the Presence of St Mark by Fra Angelico via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 177:  Holy Obedience

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One of the greatest safeguards against doing our own will rather than God’s is holy obedience.  Those in religious life are blessed to live this in a literal and external way, allowing the external practice to be interiorized so as to become certain that they are living the Will of God.  But obedience must be lived in every life, not only religious.  Obedience is achieved in many ways.  It’s achieved in family life when we submit our will to the preferences of others, subjecting ourselves in a form of obedience so as to foster love and unity.  It’s achieved in a profound way when we submit our will to the voice and teaching of our Church.  We will never go wrong by living holy obedience to that which the Lord speaks through His Church.  When we live this obedience, the Will of God will not be imposed upon us from outside; rather, we will hear Him speak first in our heart and then it will be confirmed exteriorly (See Diary #932-933).

Do you hear God calling you, gently and subtly, to submit to the preference of another?  You ought not submit to those things that are contrary to the Will of God, but there are numerous opportunities each day to die to yourself and “obediently” embrace the will of another.  If you can do this always in regard to the Will of God spoken through His Church, you will see the gates of Mercy opened and your humble submission will bring you great holiness.

Lord, it is so very hard at times to let go of my own will and to embrace the will of another.  Help me to see these small acts as acts of true love and holy submission to You.  May I allow You to mold my will into Yours as I act in holy obedience, especially when this requires great sacrifice.  I also choose Your Will as it is revealed through Your Church and always submit to that revelation over my own ideas.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Reflection 176:  Combating the Sin of the World

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When God looks at the world, what does He see?  Most certainly He sees the beauty of His creation, the perfect order of His design and the presence of His sons and daughters.  But He also sees the horror of the multitude of sins.  Even the slightest sin or imperfection cannot escape His sight.  Imagine trying to take in the sins of the world with one glance.  But in His perfect Mercy He allows Himself to be consoled by those humble and holy souls who are specially chosen by Him.  Yes, all people are chosen, but certain souls respond to the heights of holiness more than others, and in so doing, combat the evils of our world in a powerful way.  This is one of the unique callings of those living in the cloistered religious life, hidden from the world with a single focus on interior conversion.  We may not see the benefit to such holy souls, but God does and His wrath is turned into Mercy, especially on account of these and all holy souls (See Diary #926).

Reflect upon the fact that you are one of these chosen souls.  You may not be called to the hidden life of a cloister, but you are called to achieve great sanctity.  As God sees the holiness of your life, His justice is satisfied and His Mercy flows forth.  Though the things you say, the thoughts you have and the prayers you pray may never be known by another, God who sees all things sees your heart and the holiness that you achieve in life.  This holiness will do more than all the words and actions you could ever accomplish on your own.  You are a chosen soul.  Fulfill that mission and you will become a powerful instrument of the Mercy of God.

Lord, I thank You for choosing me for holiness.  I accept this calling and seek to serve You with my whole heart.  My life is Yours, dear Lord, do with me what You Will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to the Sacred Heart
Novena dates: June 15-23, 2022
June 24, 2022: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

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Reflection 175:  Love is Found in the Details of Life

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How nice it is when you have a friend that you trust with every detail of your life.  We long to know others and we long to be known by others.  When you find someone in whom you can confide even the smallest struggle or express the smallest joy, you have found a true friend.  The Lord desires to be your closest friend.  You must work to foster a “detailed” relationship with Him.  He knows all things and knows you better than you know yourself.  But this should not prevent you from pouring your heart out to Him.  You must express to Him even the slightest concerns you carry and rejoice with Him over the smallest of joys.  Speaking to God about the details of life brings joy to His Heart (See Diary #921).

When you speak to God, are you honest?  Do you trust Him?  Do you open every part of your life and face it in His presence?  The Lord knows all but He wants to hear it from you in prayer.  Speak to Him today.  Reflect upon how often you go to Him with the smallest concern or the slightest joy.  Give joy to Him today as you speak to Him as your closest friend and confidant in life.

Lord, You know all things and You know me through and through.  As I recognize this fact, help me to always be fully honest with You.  Help my prayer to always reflect the truth of my heart.  And as I speak to You about the details of my life, I allow You to enter in, to help, to heal and to rejoice in all that You reveal.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to the Sacred Heart
Novena dates: June 15-23, 2022
June 24, 2022: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

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Featured image above: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well via flickr