Reflection 169: Calm in the Presence of the King

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Meeting someone of great power can be cause for excitement.  For example, meeting with the president of a company you wish to work at, or meeting someone famous for the first time, or meeting with the bishop or the Holy Father may all cause a certain excitement.  But it could also cause a certain fear and anxiety.  Of course the most important and “influential” person you will ever meet is your God.  God is Omnipotent and Omniscient, that is, All-Powerful and All-Knowing.  He is also All-Loving and, in that perfect love, descends from His throne of grace and majesty to converse with you, to care for you, and to fulfill every need that you have.  He comes to fill you with the abundance of joy.  Each “meeting” with our Lord must be one of great excitement in that it must be taken seriously, with attention and love being offered back to this most important Person you will ever come to know (See Diary #885).

What is your interior experience when you go to Him in prayer?  Is it an encounter in which you are overly casual and unprepared?  Is it an encounter that gives you fear and anxiety, looking for ways to avoid Him?  Or do you allow yourself to be comforted and consoled by the fact that the God of the Universe cares for you enough to step down from His throne of grace and converse with you in your weakness and sin?  The Lord’s perfect humility should delight and amaze you and give you courage to turn to Him with your whole heart.

Lord, I am amazed at Your love for me.  You who are the God of the Universe come to me in my weakness and sin.  You are attentive to me and offer the perfect care of a loving Father.  Help me to always be in awe of the humility You manifest as You descend from Your throne of grace and enter my soul.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Henryk Siemiradzki

Reflection 168: Evoking the Mercy of God for Others

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There is one thing, and one thing only, that has the power to free sinners from the fires of hell.  That one thing is Mercy.  God offers His Mercy freely and in abundance, but He has also chosen to offer His Mercy in response to our prayers when they are prayed with the utmost faith and childlike confidence.  Jesus cannot refuse a heart that is pure and is filled with love for sinners.  Your heart must become this way.  You must strive to love sinners with such a burning love that the Lord is “obliged” to answer your request for Mercy.  He obliges Himself out of love in response to the love you have in your heart (See Diary #873).

Do you realize that you have a certain “power” over the Mercy of God?  This is only so because the Lord wills it.  He has willed to respond to the love you have in your own heart with an outpouring of His Mercy upon those whom you love.  Your love, when pure and unwavering, becomes a door through which the Heart of Christ pours forth His grace.  Reflect upon your love for sinners and place that love before the Lord as your powerful prayer.  He will see your love and respond with abundant generosity.

Lord, I love You and I love sinners.  Help me to love all people more deeply and to offer that love to You as my pure prayer.  May the love in my heart be the cause of Your own outpouring of grace and an instrument of Your Divine Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: Christ and Sinner by Henryk Siemiradzki via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 167: Desiring the Lord to the Greatest Degree

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When you pray, and when you pray long and hard, the Lord will enter in.  He will commune with you and unite His Heart to yours.  You will experience these effects in various ways.  One common effect is that the closer you are drawn into union with Christ, the more you will desire this union.  And the more you desire this union, the more you will be drawn into union.  Your prayer has a cyclical effect upon your union and your desire.  This is good to be aware of so as to allow our Lord to use your desires to be drawn into greater holiness of life (See Diary #867).

What do you desire the most in life?  What is the treasure you seek?  This is an important reflection to make in an honest and sincere way.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21).  If the Lord is your greatest treasure in life, then your heart will be drawn to Him in a powerful way.  You will desire intimacy with Him and that desire will draw you close.  Reflect, honestly, upon what you desire and allow the insight you gain to reorder the priorities you have.

Lord, please help me to make You the central Treasure of my life and to seek You and to desire You with all my heart.  As I am drawn to You, increase my desire, and as You increase my desire, draw me closer.  Lord, I pray that every aspect of my life may ultimately become consumed with a longing to serve You and Your holy Will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: St. Lawrence Distributing the Treasures of the Church by Bernardo Strozzi via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 166: The Power of Your Unity with Christ

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Imagine being All-Powerful, or being an intimate friend of one who is All-Powerful.  There is a story of Pope St. Leo I, who lived in the fifth century, which reveals the power of God.  It is said that Attila the Hun and his violent army sought to sack Rome.  Pope St. Leo met Attila and “persuaded” him to turn back.  Later, when Attila’s army asked why he turned back, Attila stated that he had been alarmed by a figure dressed as a priest who stood at the pope’s side.  This figure was holding a drawn sword and acted as if he would strike Attila dead if he advanced.  In fear, Attila turned around and left. 

This short story reveals the power of God to defend us against all wickedness.  Though an angel may not appear in physical form next to you, you can be assured that if you are immersed in the Mercy of God, there is nothing you need to fear.  All the powers of Heaven will be on your side.  The Lord will defend you against every evil and will give you strength to accomplish all that gives Him glory (See Diary #858).

Reflect, today, upon two things: 1) Your unity with Christ; 2) The power that flows from that unity.  Do you trust that the Lord will protect you from all evil?  Do you realize that fear is useless when you have faith and are clothed with the Mercy of God?  Reflect upon this fact and surrender yourself more fully to the Lord who must become your Sole Commander in life.

My Lord and my Sole Commander, I trust You with my life.  I entrust to You my whole being, especially all things that tempt me to fear.  Give me confidence in Your Divine Mercy and help me to rely upon You in all things without reserve.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image:  Located on Flickr – Pope Leo and Attila the Hun by  Nick Thompson via flickr

Reflection 165: The Perfect Contrition

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When we become aware of our sins we may have various reactions.  We may remain indifferent, or repent out of fear of God’s justice.  But the ideal response is to turn to God with love and to have true sorrow as a result of that love.  If we have a burning love for God, we will become attentive to even the smallest sin we carry.  And every sin we see, we will desire to be rid of.  This burning love brings us to an act of perfect contrition by which our love of God purifies the smallest speck of sin on our souls (See Diary #852).

Do you see your sin?  If so, how do you react to it?  The way you react to your sin is a good measure of your love of God and Your trust in His Divine Mercy.  If you react with indifference, your love is lacking.  If you react in guilt and fear of punishment, your love is lacking.  But if you react with trust in God and a total abandonment to His Divine Mercy, then the love you have in your life will become the source of even more Mercy poured upon you.  Think honestly about your reaction to your sin and pray that the Lord will bless you with such an abundance of love for Him that you will be overjoyed at seeing that of which you need to repent.

Lord, give me such a perfect love for You that I become aware of every sin in my soul that displeases You.  As I see my sins, even the smallest of sins, give me the grace to run to You in trust so that Your Mercy will purify me and make me holy.  I love You my dear Lord.  Help me to love You more.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: Repentance of St Peter by  Gerard Segers via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 164: Longing for the Souls of Sinners

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When you see someone with manifest sin, what is your reaction?  Many people react with disdain and harsh judgment.  When someone breaks the law, we harshly condemn them.  When someone lives an immoral lifestyle, we belittle them.  Very often, our attitude toward the sinner is merciless.  This is a problem.  True, we must see sin for what it is and work to oppose it, especially when it affects others.  But we must always hold in our hearts a deep love for sinners.  We must have a longing for their repentance and always see the innate dignity they have as persons (See Diary #842).

What is your reaction toward the sinner?  Be honest and look first at how you react interiorly.  We are all sinners.  Some sins are more manifest than others and some live sinful lives in an open and obstinate way.  But should we allow ourselves to condemn them?  We must judge an objective action for what it is, but the person must never be judged.  This is solely up to God.  Reflect upon your attitude toward those with more manifest sins.  Pray that instead of becoming harsh and critical you will long for their conversion and love them wholeheartedly despite their actions.

Lord, give me a heart of mercy for sinners.  Help me to love them with a burning love and to suspend my temptations to judge.  May I long for all people with Your Heart of Mercy desiring their holiness.  May I also be aware of my own sinfulness and daily seek Your merciful Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: Depiction of the Good Shepherd by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 163: Glorifying God in Your “Wretchedness”

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Do you see the wretchedness of your own soul?  Some may be offended by such a question.  But if we understood the Mercy of God, and realized that it is our “wretchedness” that enables Him to be glorified the most, we would not shy away from such a thought.  Many want to be holy and to see themselves as holy.  It’s easy to think, “If I am good, God will be pleased.”  But what we fail to realize is that God is glorified most when we see our littleness, our nothingness, and our wretchedness before Him.  It is then that He can manifest His glory to the greatest extent through us.  True, we have infinite dignity and value as persons as a result of being made in God’s image and as a result of God taking on our human nature.  But in our actions, we are sinners incapable of doing anything good.  When we realize this, we open the door for God to enter in and manifest His  Mercy.  We let Him act through our weakness and do glorious things.  This is the way we give glory to God (See Diary #836).

When you consider your holiness, do you tend to think highly of yourself, as if you have done many good things for God?  This is pride.  Humility is the virtue that allows you to see your weakness and complete dependence upon the Mercy of God.  It enables you to realize that without Him, you can do nothing.  It enables you to cry out with St. Paul, “Wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24).  But in that cry, you also perceive the unlimited Mercy of God using you in your weakness and, thus, become an image of His glory.

Lord, help me to see clearly my weakness.  Help me to humble myself before Your greatness and, in that act, to be open to Your transforming power in my life.  I give my littleness to You, dear Lord.  Manifest Your glory through me as You desire.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: The Publican and the Pharisee via flickr

Reflection 162: Light Dispels the Darkness

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Light dispels the darkness.  Scientifically speaking, we know that light and dark are not opposing forces; rather, dark is the absence of light.  And when light enters in, the darkness is no more.  So it is with the Mercy of God.  Without Mercy, our souls are dark.  We fall into doubt, confusion, fear and despair when Mercy is absent.  In this case, we are left in utter darkness where the filth of sin can reign.  But God desires to bring the light of His Mercy.  When this happens, and when we open our souls to this gift, the darkness of doubt, confusion, fear and despair vanish.  They cannot remain where the Light of Mercy resides (See Diary #831).

When you look at your soul, what do you see?  Is there darkness?  Do you see its foul effects?  Do you see doubt, confusion, fear or despair?  Do you see sin?  If so, the Lord desires to dispel the darkness that breeds these burdens and bring forth His merciful Light.  Reflect upon the part of your soul that appears to be in most need of His Mercy.  Know that He wants to enter that area of your life and waits on you for the permission to do so.  He will wait for you to let Him in.

Lord, please come into the darkness of my soul.  Bring forth the bright rays of Your Light and dispel all that is not of You.  Come refresh me and renew me, Lord.  Help me to see and to know Your great love.  I desire to live in the Light of Your Mercy, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to the Sacred Heart
Novena dates:June 2-10, 2021
June 11, 2021: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

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Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay 

Reflection 161: The Singular Love Given to You

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When pondering the love and the Mercy of God, it is tempting to see His love in a more general way, as if it were something evenly distributed to all people in the same way.  But God’s love for you is something so much more than a general gift to all people.  It is deeply personal and singular, being offered specifically for you, out of love for you.  God does not see you as one of many; rather, He sees you as a singular focus of His love.  Each and every person is loved by God in this singular and unique way.  Thus, you are loved as His one precious child for whom He has offered His life.  Know that God loves you as you.  He knows every detail of your life and pours His grace upon you (See Diary #824).

How aware are you of the unique and singular love God has for you?  His love is personal in that you are an object of His burning Heart of Mercy.  God is fully capable of loving each and every person in this way, seeing each one as His precious child and loving each person in their uniqueness and even in their sins.  Let yourself, today, experience this personal and abundant love of God in your life.  It will sustain you in all things and help you to always know that you are loved above all.

Lord, I love You and adore You and thank You for loving me with a perfect love.  Help me to receive Your unique gift of love offered to me as Your precious child.  May I return this love for You by acknowledging You as my one and only Lord and God.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to the Sacred Heart
Novena dates:June 2-11, 2020
June 11, 2021: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

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Image: Liberation of St. Peter by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo via Wikimedia Commons

Reflection 160: The Mercy of Confession

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Have you discovered the great joy of going to Confession?  Some do not consider the Sacrament of Confession to be a great joy.  Instead, they see it as a painful and humiliating experience.  But perhaps some need the humiliation of an honest confession to help break them out of their sin.  Others, those who sincerely seek the abundant Mercy of God, will take great delight in going to Confession because they see the glorious effect it has upon their soul.  Seek to love Confession.  Pray that it becomes something that you long for as you anticipate the wonderful fruits of this holy purification (See Diary #817).

When is the last time you went to Confession?  If it has been a while then this reflection is for you.  The Lord is calling you to receive the Mercy He has infused into this glorious Sacrament.  By going to Confession and receiving absolution you are encountering Jesus Himself.  It is He, hidden within the priest, who absolves you and cleanses your soul.  Do you believe this?  Do you want this grace for your soul?  Reflect upon that which deters you from Confession.  It may be inconvenience, or a busy schedule, or fear, or distrust of a particular priest.  Whatever it is, keeping you from this Sacrament, allow the Lord to remove it.  The Lord loves you and is calling you to His Merciful Heart.  Rejoice in that fact and foster within your soul a holy longing to receive all that He wishes to bestow through this sacred gift of Mercy.

Precious Jesus, I entrust myself to Your Mercy and pray that I will be open to this gift as You desire to bestow it.  I pray that I may have a burning desire for the Mercy You wish to offer me through this Sacrament.  Humble me Lord, and help me to confidently open the wounds of my soul to Your healing grace.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to the Sacred Heart
Novena dates:June 2-10, 2021
June 11, 2021: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

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Image: The Confession by Jacques Émile Édouard Brandon via Wikimedia Commons