Divine Mercy Novena: Day Three, Happy Easter

03/27/2016

Can you imagine standing around the empty tomb, wondering what the heck was going on?

Where was He?

Where’s the Body?

What have they done with Him?

Who did this?

Can you imagine seeing a man who you thought was dead rise again?

Without being melodramatic, without overstating, in no way comparing the two situations…

I can answer “yes!” An emphatic YES!

When Dad was ill in 2014, nobody — and I mean nobody — on his medical team offered us even a glimmer of hope.

In fact, I couldn’t even trick them into uttering the word.

I also think that more than one of them left the room crying, on the verge of tears, or red-eyed.

It was somber. It was awful.

Dad’s still alive. Two years later. Five times by my count, I thought we lost him. Five times.

He beat the odds. He defied the doctors. He cheated death.

He had to learn to talk again (no, it wasn’t a stroke). He had to learn to swallow again (not kidding). He had to learn to take a sip again. He had to learn to eat, to sit up, to stand for more than a second…

On and on and on…

Today, he and Mom will be at our house to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

I have witnessed miracles. First-hand.

And Jesus, demonstrating the greatest miracle ever on the greatest day of the year, really… truly rose from the dead. It transformed His disciples. It transformed a people. It transformed the world.

Today is the third day of the Divine Mercy Novena. Today, Jesus asks us to pray for all the devout and faithful souls that helped Him complete the painful walk to Calvary.

So that He could rise from the dead.

After visiting Hell.

To save us all. Even the greatest sinner. Even if you don’t believe.

Jesus said to Saint Faustina

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

And we pray:

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 grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

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.

Follow this short novena prayer by praying The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Please click this link, http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/chaplet.php, to visit the website of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for resources on how to pray The Chaplet.

 

Novena paragraphs excerpted from
“The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, ‘Divine Mercy in My Soul'”
© Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.
http://www.thedivinemercy.org/

The Divine Mercy Image, displayed outside The Chapel of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Marytown, Libertyville, Illinois, when it was on display, August 2014.

The Divine Mercy Image, displayed outside The Chapel of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Marytown, Libertyville, Illinois, when it was on display, August 2014.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 and continuing through Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday, and finally to the Feast of Mercy. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Divine Mercy Novena: Day One, Good Friday

03/25/2016

It’s Good Friday evening.

I’ve tried to stay in the spirit of the day today, around appointments with clients and Easter shopping.

I heard a beautiful rebroadcast of an old Mother Angelica Live program on EWTN Radio this morning. She was going through the Stations of the Cross and inviting callers to recite prayers that they thought appropriate for the particular Station. Mother has a simple manner of explaining challenging concepts. And she is funny! An engaging dry wit.

Tonight, we’re watching “Son of God.”  It’s a 2014 film, told from the perspective of the apostle, John. It’s not bad. Not as gripping as “The Passion of the Christ,” but it attempts to tell a slightly more complete story. And again, “Son of God” is told from John’s perspective. And…

nothing is as moving as Mel Gibson’s movie.

Last night, we watched “The Robe.”

I cannot watch any of the countless movies written about or surrounding the life of Jesus without getting emotional. In this, The Week That Changed The World, this is the saddest day.

Today is also Day One of the Novena to The Divine Mercy.

Jesus told Sister Maria Faustina that the Feast of Mercy should be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Jesus requested that the Feast be preceded by a Novena that should begin on Good Friday (a novena is typically nine days of prayer that prepares us for a feast day).

Today, the first day.

Jesus told Sister Faustina

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.

And we pray:

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.

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 for ever and ever. Amen.

Follow this short novena prayer by praying The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Please click this link, http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/chaplet.php, to visit the website of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for resources on how to pray The Chaplet.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 and continuing through Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday, and finally to the Feast of Mercy. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Why I Posted a Video a Day for Lent

03/23/2016

Today is the last full day of Lent. Tomorrow evening, Holy Thursday, at the evening Mass, Lent officially ends and we begin the Triduum, the three days that unfold the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.

We’ve walked through Lent together. Thanks for enduring this daily video series. The genesis for this excursion began — unknowingly — in January 2014.

It may have been a few months before that, when Dad’s health really began to decline. But the decision that he made to endure life-changing surgery touched my life more than I could have ever anticipated.

We had no idea what he would endure.

What he would suffer.

What Mom would endure. What she would suffer.

What we would endure. What we would suffer.

Not that he needed it, but Dad had the blessing and support of Mom, Karen, Stephanie, me, and our families. We were there for him, for Mom, for each other.

Dad had the freedom to say no. He didn’t. He wasn’t ready to let his heart fail and give up the chance for a few better years or months.

None of us knew.

We had the freedom to say no. But how could we? Dad… always so full of life. The past six to twelve months had been rough.

His heart wasn’t pumping the way it needed. The left ventricle had grown too weak to squeeze the blood into the aorta. He had heart failure. His body retained fluid. We could see it. Just looking at him. Seeing him move slower and slower.

Then, during another stay in the hospital, Dad was presented with a life-saving option.

How could any of us say no if Dad said yes?

Walking with Dad as he lie nearly motionless for days on end, no signs of improvement imminent. Five times when we were sure he was going to die and we’d never talk to him again.

Hearing no words of comfort from his doctors, nurses, surgeons. They wouldn’t even utter the word “hopeful.” I’ll never forget it.

Watching Mom keep vigil. Seeing her hurt. Feeling her love for him. Feeling her sorrow. Feeling her numbness.

My entire concept of life and what the hell is really important and what it all comes down to in the end changed forever.

Yes, I had experienced the death of a loved one. Even the unexpected death of a loved one. Never my parent. This, however, made all previous experiences pale in comparison.

It was the worst time of my life.

And I never want to forget it.

It changed the way I prayed. It changed the way I approached my day, my family, my work.

I’m still the same ol’ cranky, obsessive compulsive, intense, sarcastic, prideful son of a buck that I’ve always been.

I ain’t no holy roller and I don’t mean to come across as one. I’m just a guy trying to figure it out, one step at a time.

I’ve been blessed with such a variety of experiences in my life. I’ve been blessed to get away with making so many mistakes… more than I can possibly remember… and having the opportunity to ask God for forgiveness.

And I wanted to, in some meager way, start to share my thoughts.

What better time than Lent?

What better way than video? The real me. All the blemishes.

This isn’t the end, this end of Lent.

This is just the beginning. God willing.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Can Slaving Over the Cat Boxes Save Me From Purgatory?

03/22/2016

All I did was express a simple hope. And you scoffed at me.

All I did was jokingly suggest that my cat box penance might help me out in Purgatory.

And then we got into this huge discussion about the existence of Purgatory and hell isn’t real and this concept of the devil is so Middle Ages… and Original Sin? That’s some Catholic concoction; get real.

Okay, okay… believe what you want. But if you think Purgatory is a crock and hell and the devil are primitive concepts with no basis in reality and Original Sin is part of that whole Mary obsession that Catholics invented, then we better keep talking after Lent.

Which technically ends tomorrow, by the way. But never fear, you’re going to keep hearing from me daily until Easter.

The Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.

We’ll have a ton to discuss about Divine Mercy beginning this Friday, Good Friday, which is the first day of the nine-day Divine Mercy Novena.

Until then, you’ll have to watch the video to get the full gist of today’s message.

It’s Tax Season. Did I mention?

Yes, still a recovering CPA.

And writer.

And personal fitness trainer.

And cat lover. Trapped in a dog lover’s body.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Who Was the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved?

03/17/2016

If you spent a few years with Mary, the mother of God, would your life be any different?

Kind of a crazy question, right?

Of course you would be different!

So was John, author of the fourth Gospel and other New Testament writings, and the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Not everyone agrees with this assessment.

Here are some thoughts about it:

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Santana and the King of the Ninevites

02/17/2016

What do Santana and the King of the Ninevites have in common?

Would you believe that in some parallel universe, Back to the Future-ish, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure sort of way, the King of Nineveh may have been channeling the Latin rock group, Santana, when he proclaimed to the Ninevites “you’ve got to change your Evil Ways…?”

No?

Me either.

But hey, that’s the that immediately coursed through my brain matter as I listened to today’s reading from Jonah:

The irritable, reluctant prophet, Jonah begrudgingly accepts God’s call to trudge through Nineveh to warn the people of God’s imminent wrath. The King gets word of Jonah’s warning and proclaims a fast for humans and animals alike. He dons sackcloth and dives into the ash heap, hoping against hope that God relents.

Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh: “By decree of the king and his nobles, neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.

Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish.”

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.   –  Jonah 3:7-10

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls the generation of the time “an evil generation,” and today’s Gospel concludes with Jesus saying:

“At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”  –  Luke 11:32

What about our generation? Do we need to repent? Will we? What will happen to us?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Even a Perfect Seed Needs TLC. And Good Soil!

05/07/2015

Dad can grow anything. He has the green thumb in our family.

Last year, when he realized he was going to be in the hospital for such a long time, one of his biggest worries was “who’s going to take care of my plants?”

They survived, thanks to the joint efforts of Mom, sister Stephanie, daughter Martha, and even a small assist from me.

Dad recently got home from the hospital after another of what seem like regular monthly visits since his discharge a year ago May.

It was Fat Tuesday. Easy to remember. Mom was scheduled for an outpatient procedure that morning. Dad was going to go, but just home from the hospital hours before, we thought the best place for him would be at home. My sister, Karen, was picking Mom up for the procedure. Kathy had the day off and I rearranged my schedule so we could spend the time with Dad.

He agreed, albeit reluctantly, to stay home.

Kathy and I got to the house after Mom and Karen had left for Lutheran General. Dad was already hard at work, carrying each of his orchids from their perch in the sun near the southwest windows over to the sink for their weekly drenching.

His orchids are beautiful. Without a doubt, he has the green thumb.

One of Dad's orchids.

One of Dad’s orchids.

I, on the other hand, tell everyone that I have crispy brown thumbs. I didn’t inherit Dad’s touch with plants. But he was able to coach me up — from the confines of his hospital bed — just enough to keep his precious babies alive.

TLC is part of it. Good soil is also essential.

In the Gospel for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter (John 15:1-8), Jesus continues teaching the disciples that he is the true vine and God is the vine grower.

In Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI (copyright 2007, Ignatius Press), Pope Benedict uses the analogy of Mary as the willing soil, accepting the seed of God, the seed that becomes Jesus.

What a perfect analogy of the importance of Mary in the life of every believer!

Even a perfect seed needs the right soil.

Jesus taught us about seed that falls on different types of ground, too. Remember? So this analogy makes perfect sense, right?

The Word became flesh.

Pope Benedict explains that seed “assimilates the earth’s energies and changes them into itself.”

“Mary, the holy soil of the Church, is an essential part of Christ. The mystery of Mary means precisely that God’s Word did not remain alone. Rather, it became Man in the soil of His mother, and then fused with the soil of the whole of humanity returned to God in a new form…

“To be soil for the Word means that the soil must allow itself to be absorbed by the seed.

Mary’s maternity means that she willing places her own substance, body and soul, into the seed so that new life can grow.”

Without Mary, God’s Word remains apart from Man. Or maybe Man cannot assimilate to God’s Word.

Mary’s willingness to allow God’s Word, God’s seed, to meld with her flesh is essential to Jesus becoming Man. Her humble submission is an essential, vital part of our salvation.

Did you ever stop to think where Jesus got His hair color, His eyes, His voice, His stature? From the soil of His mother.

And where and how did the helpless baby Jesus learn human love and respect? From the TLC of His mother and stepfather.

If Jesus was truly human, His humanness is as essential as His divinity. His Earthly parents are truly part of Him. And Mary is truly present in His physical presence.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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