Should We Pray For People After They Die?

04/03/2016

Catholics say “pray for souls in Purgatory.”

Non-Catholic Christians say “there’s no need to pray for souls after they’re dead.”

In this final video of the 2016 Lent and Easter season, I ask some basic questions about this dichotomy.

Happy Feast of the Divine Mercy!

Pray the Chaplet. Today and every day.

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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 Eight – Easter Friday

04/01/2016

Today is the Mass of Christian Burial for Reverend Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation

Did Mother Angelica ascend to Heaven? Were her 5,207 days of suffering enough? She suffered a brain hemorrhage on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2001. She died last Sunday, Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. Was that sufficient suffering? Her Purgatory here on Earth?

We can all hope that the Lord kept her here, to suffer in silence for most of those days, the great communicator that she was, so that she doesn’t have to endure further purification in Purgatory.

But…

just in case…

… pray for her soul.

For we don’t know if her body is yet perfected.

There’s a little more here:

Today is also Day 8 of the Divine Mercy Novena

Jesus said to Saint Faustina

Today bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Our prayer:

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. 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.


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.


Tradition!

03/02/2016

What’s your favorite family tradition?

If you prefer to watch and listen to a slightly different version of this message, here’s a link:

We’ve had so many fun and touching family traditions. I’m blessed beyond belief to still be able to share holidays with Mom and Dad. We go to their house for the annual Fourth of July family bash. Thanksgiving dinner is Mom’s signature day. She still does almost all the cooking and most of the work. She is so in her element.

Growing up, we spent Christmases together with my grandparents, Christmas Eve at Babcia and Dziadzia Kwiecinski’s house and Christmas Day at Babcia and Dziadzia Konieczka’s house.

Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas tradition was and still is sharing oplatki. Oplatki is a flat wafer, resembling Communion wafer, although the texture and taste of oplatki is more like the wafer that those flying saucer candies came in.

Remember those?

Anyway, our oplatki tradition was — and still is — just before the meal, each of us takes a large piece of the wafer. Then we go around the room, breaking off a small piece of oplatki  and offering a handshake, a hug, a kiss, or any combination thereof with each other. It’s crowded. It can get a little raucous, but it is a deliberate exchange of love and good wishes with those we love.

I look forward to that as much as anything else every year. It’s so special to me.

Today’s two readings for the Catholic Mass focus on the commandments and expectations that God has for each of our lives.

Moses instructs the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9) about the statutes and decrees that the Lord commanded him to teach them. Keeping the commandments was one means to demonstrate to other nations that they were a “wise and intelligent people.”

And Jesus tells His disciples (Matthew 5:17-19) that He has not come “to abolish the law or the prophets… but to fulfill.”

But what strikes me today is that both Jesus and Moses emphasize tradition.

The first reading particularly speaks to this. The reading from Deuteronomy closes with Moses saying:

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”  –  Deuteronomy 4:9

Moses is talking about the traditions of the Israelites. Sharing the stories of their time in Egypt and their time in the desert. I’d argue that this could include all the traditions of the Old Testament, although this is not what Moses says.

The Catholic Church is rich in tradition. It is truly the Christian tradition. Our traditions separated and segmented thousands of years after Moses, but the traditions of the Bible are ours.

I couldn’t help but think of the passionate song from Fiddler on the Roof when I read and listened to Moses.

Tradition!

We share a rich and glorious Judeo-Christian history and tradition. The commandments of God are woven into these traditions. The extension of Jesus’ command that the Ten Commandments are merely the baseline of how we’re to behave as Christians in order to gain entrance to Heaven.

Remember when I mentioned Purgatory yesterday?

Let’s consider that for just a second and consider what Jesus told the disciples.

Matthew’s Gospel, just after today’s Gospel passage, says:

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill…'”  –  Matthew 5:21

“But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…”  –  Matthew 5:22

and later,

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not commit adultery.'”  –  Matthew 5:27

“But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  –  Matthew 5:28

So… if every time I have looked cross-eyed at a pretty girl, I’ve committed adultery, if every time I’ve become angry with someone, I have essentially committed murder, my soul will require a whole lot of cleansing.

How long will I endure Purgatory when I die? If I’m not clean, if I’m not perfect, I cannot enter Heaven.

How am I cleansed? What will it take?

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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.


Forgive and DON’T Forget!

03/01/2016

Revenge is so, so sweet, isn’t it?

If you prefer to watch and listen to this message, here’s a link:

I remember… Freshman year in college, Steve gave Jane and Jeannette access to our room in Gardner Hall. Room 307. The girls sewed the fly on our underwear shut and sprinkled crackers in our dresser drawers.

It took a little sleuthing to figure it all out, who did the deed, how they got in our room, but Bruce and I got to the bottom of it.

And… we got our revenge all right!

We stole a couple of whole pies from Baxter Hall (the cafeteria) and decorated Steve’s car.

Ohhhhh…. we had the last laugh, didn’t we?

Oh, sure, it was a tame prank on both sides. No big deal. No harm done. Just a little college prank.

Only, to do it, we had to steal. And then we had to inflict damage on someone’s property.

It was a silly prank. It was a silly revenge. Nobody got hurt. We exchanged many laughs about it over the years.

Thank God.

Often, revenge is about a lot more serious matters. I’ve been party to or had knowledge about some of those, too.

Year of Mercy

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35), Peter asks Jesus if we have to forgive someone seven times. What does Jesus say about that?

We have to forgive someone seventy-seven times!

That’s a lot of forgiving.

But that’s what we’re called to do.

It ain’t easy!

After telling Peter to forgive his brother 77 times, he tells the parable of the king who forgave the enormous debt of one of his officials.

The official begged for mercy. The king is moved with compassion and forgives the debt.

But not soon after, the king learns that the same official — after the king had shown him great mercy — confronts a servant who owed him a small amount, chokes the guy, demands his money, and has him thrown in prison.

What do you think the king does?

He punishes the official. And now he says “pay me what you owe me.”

Jesus says that His Heavenly Father will do the same to us unless we forgive from the heart.

Forgive and Don’t Forget!

Heard a little of Father Paul Scalia’s homily from the funeral of his father, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Father Paul reminded us that his dad still required our prayers. He wasn’t a saint yet! A bleak reminder that we’re all subject to Purgatory, which the Catholic Church teaches as referenced in the Book of Revelation.

If someone wrongs us, can’t we offer up our forgiveness and the pain it caused us as intercession for the souls in Purgatory? How about offering it up for the deceased members of our family? How about offering it up for the person who wronged us?

If we canonize our deceased relatives too soon, we forfeit an opportunity to pray for forgiveness of their sins. We fail to show them mercy.

It’s all a mystery. But so is Original Sin. It’s the imperfection of our human body, our human mind, our imperfect soul. We need to be perfected.

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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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