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.


Is It Okay To Sin?

03/21/2016

Do you suppose Jesus was surprised that Judas was stealing from the treasury?

Or do you think He knew it all along?

I’m pretty sure He knew.

So… let’s say Jesus did know. Why didn’t he stop Judas from stealing? Isn’t that one of the profound mysteries of our life?

Of all our lives?

Does Jesus know that you sin? Or are you doing a better job of hiding it from Him?

Why doesn’t He prevent you from doing it?

Same profound mystery.

God gave each of us free will. Along with Original Sin.

Oh, great… so He punishes us by making us sinful.

No. He gave us freedom of choice. Freedom to choose right or wrong. So we control our own eternal destiny.

But wait. If we’re born with Original Sin, aren’t we doomed to hell right off the bat?

Again, no. Because we are free to choose right from wrong.

Original Sin means we have the propensity to sin.

Original Sin means we are not perfect.

Only our Heavenly Father is perfect.

Original Sin means we are likely to suffer at the hands of other human beings or some other force of nature.

Original Sin means we are subject to the risks of the Earth.

Original Sin means we need to be perfected.

Original Sin means we have choices to make which will either draw us closer to God and heaven or separate us farther from Him.

Bottom line: Jesus knows that we sin. And he accepts that. Because we are human.

That doesn’t mean our sins are acceptable.

But it does make us eligible to receive God’s endless mercy.

And that’s what our journey through life, this profound mystery that’s unique to each person, teaches us.

We continue toward Calvary. Happy Monday of Holy Week.

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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.


“I Forgive You”

03/15/2016

Tonight is our Parish Reconciliation Service. I guess it’s good to get together as a community to pray for forgiveness of our sins. But I’ve gotta tell you… there’s nothing better than what follows the communal service.

As painful as it is to personally confess your sins to a priest — either face to face or behind a screen in a darkened confessional — with words that pour out of your own mouth, admitting your failings and shortcomings, acknowledging them out loud (well… okay, in a whispered hush, but nonetheless audible)…

the joy that washes over you when you realize that your sins are wiped away, your soul is clean, when Jesus says

“I forgive you…”

… that joy is truly indescribable.

Recognize confession for what it is. It’s not a psychoanalysis session. It’s not supposed to be a litany of your shortcomings, said for the purpose of making you feel bad or horrible or evil. It’s not a public flogging.

Confession, or penance, or reconciliation — whatever you want to call it — is an chance to say

“I’ve failed. And I’m sorry.”

It’s an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. It’s a one-on-one encounter with Jesus, through His Earthly representative, much the same as Holy Communion is a one-on-one encounter with Him.

Here’s what Pope Paul VI in 1968 said about confession.

“Let us examine the way in which we confess our sins, not in order to be over scrupulous in analyzing our faults, but in order to recognize the greatness of man on his knees before God.

“… In this way, God’s mercy… will… blow over us like a beneficial breeze, alleviating our sorrows.” (Ash Wednesday message, 1968)

God’s mercy!

When you think about the Creator of the Universe living just like you live, feeling the same human emotions, the same impulses, the same thoughts, what thoughts go through your head?

Can you contemplate it? Do you?

Why don’t you?

Go ahead.

If the Creator of the Universe, if the God who knew you before you were conceived, knows how easy it is to sin, don’t you think He can show you mercy? Don’t you think He can forgive you?

No matter what?

Hear what I have to say about the most joyous confession I ever experienced:

I hadn’t been to confession in years. I was harboring an “unforgivable sin.”

I couldn’t bring myself to face Christ — in the person of the priest. I was ashamed. I knew I could never get the words out of my mouth.

It was a period of great introspection. I searched my soul for answers that I couldn’t find. I was sad. I knew God loved me. I knew God forgave me.

But I also knew He expected me to use the Sacrament of Confession, too. To humbly and contritely acknowledge my failing.

I guess most importantly, I knew in my heart of hearts that not confessing my sins was ultimately separating me from God.

And it was my choice.

God gives us the tools and the resources. He gives us the freedom to make choices. He gives us the free will to do what’s right or wrong.

And He knows we will screw up.

We’re human. Just as He was in the person of Jesus. Just as He still is in the person of Jesus Christ present in every tabernacle in every sort of Catholic Church… in every church that carries on the ancient tradition of offertory and consecration and distribution of Holy Eucharist.

Only now His body is glorified. It’s been cleansed of its humanness.

But He knows our human shortcomings. He experienced them, too. Without sinning.

We sin. We are born with original sin. We’re not born with a divine nature. We’re born in the divine image, but we’re born with the capacity to sin.

I reflect on these things now. They were not part of my consciousness when I made this confession. At the time, my anxiety level overwhelmed me. Often.

It was at a Parish Reconciliation Service. I can’t recall whether it was Advent or Lent. All I know is I finally made it to one.

Then came time for individual confessions for those who wished to make one.

I wasn’t going to do it. I was afraid. Thanks to God, I overcame my fear and stepped into a line.

When it was my turn, I poured my heart out to the priest, my confessor. I barely made eye contact.

I finished and waited for my penance. Father absolved me of my sins. I looked at him. His eyes pierced my soul. He smiled and said something. I don’t remember what.

But I knew I was forgiven. The weight of a thousand chains was gone!

It was almost like his eyes said “You’re done! You’re free! Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? I’m so happy to forgive you. I’ve been waiting for you so long. And now, it’s over. You did it. Thank you.”

Go to confession.

Remember what Pope Paul VI said. Don’t be OCD about categorizing and listing your sins. Instead, consider how you approach your sins, how you approach Jesus through the priest, and how remorseful you are.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t gloss over an examination of conscience! Be thorough! Just make sure you examine patterns. Your major failings. Why you do what you do. How you can avoid repeating the patterns and failings.

You’re going to sin again.

We all do.

Don’t beat yourself up. Resolve to persevere.

None of us are perfect until our heavenly Father perfects us. In heaven.

 

The Act of Contrition I’ve said since I made my First Confession and First Holy Communion in 1965:

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment. But most of all, because they have offended Thee, my God, who art so good and so deserving of all my love, I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

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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.


Another Sex Scandal

03/14/2016

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Despite the “sexual revolution” we’ve experienced in the past fifty or sixty years, we’re really no different than we were thousands of years ago.

We obsess over sex. We want what we can’t have. And when we’re caught with our figurative (or literal) pants down…

*******   don’t jump all over me, grammar police  *******

… we lie.

We compound the problem.

We compound our sin.

 

The two guys in the reading from Daniel really get their pants in a knot today.

Susanna is accused by two elders. They were lying. They sought to have her put to death for not having sex with them. The people believed them. They were elders. They were respected. Daniel didn’t. Somehow, he saw through their false testimony. The men perjured themselves when Daniel cross-examined them.

The result was their death, not Susanna’s.

So what do we do with this?

Hear my case for confessing sins to a priest:

Correction (times two):
Okay, I apparently cannot speak coherently today. Correction #1: We are in the season of Lent. We are getting closer to Easter. And… Correction #2: I was speaking about going to confession and then referred to your parish’s Communion Service when I meant to say Penance (or Confession) Service. A thousand pardons.

 

There is no better feeling than the forgiveness you experience after confessing your sins. Getting the words out of your mouth. To another human being. And knowing you have been forgiven.

There is no greater freedom.

Is your parish conducting a Communal Penance Service?

GO!

Try it. You’ll like it.

Not kidding.

Try it once. Then tell me about your experience.

Try 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.


Confession and the Future

03/13/2016

The adulterous woman gets a pardon. Jesus points her to the future and doesn’t want her to dwell in the past. He also demands deeds of mercy from her accusers. Do you confess your sins? Do it! There is an incredible wave of freedom that washes over you. Try it. You’ll like it.

I’m not kidding. And I don’t say it lightly.

 

 

Jesus promised Saint Faustina that even the greatest sinner had hope of redemption if they would only confess their sins and ask the Lord for mercy.

Just ask.

 

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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.


Are You Ready?

03/11/2016

It’s the Fourth Friday of Lent. Only two weeks until Good Friday.

Are you ready to meet Christ at the foot of the cross?

How do you do that?

Here’s one thing you can do.

Show mercy.

That’s one way we can lift up our cross.

Jesus taught Saint Faustina that we have three ways of expressing mercy toward our neighbors. By deed, word, and prayer.

That’s how we can share in the burden of the cross.

As soon as we suffer with Jesus, we need to prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy! Never a dull moment.

Hear today’s message from the shore of Lake Michigan in Gillson Park, Wilmette, Illinois:

 

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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.


Unquestionable Proof of Love

03/05/2016

“It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.”  –  Responsorial psalm today, adapted from Hosea 6:6

The Lord doesn’t want our holocaust sacrifices. He wants us to sacrifice us!

How do we do that?

Listen in:

“I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

“I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first – by deed, the second – by word, the third – by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.”  –  Jesus to Saint Faustina, (Diary of Saint Faustina, entry 742 – partial)

Simple. Straightforward. Truth.

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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.


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