Posted tagged ‘Year of Mercy’

Mercy Milestone Meter: April

April 1, 2016

April MeterHello Easter!  Last month we were praying for Easter joy and I hope you’re practicing by remembering and celebrating the Resurrection every day!  One great way is to keep working through your Resurrection Appearances of Jesus booklet.  Isn’t it wonderful that He made His resurrection so very clear to the Apostles (and all of us)?  Another is to continue to pepper your conversation with lots of Alleluia’s and Christ is Risen (“Truly, He is risen!”).

This is also the month to remember God’s divine mercy in a special way and we suggest you pray a chaplet of Divine Mercy with your family.  You can use a rosary to count, but except for a few opening prayers it’s different – and shorter.

The condensed version goes in this order:

  • Sign of the Cross
  • Opening Prayer: “You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.  O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.”
  • “O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!”  (3 times)
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Apostles’ Creed
  • *(On the Our Father bead of your rosary pray) “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
  • *(On the 10 beads of each decade) “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
  • Repeat * 4 more times.
  • Closing prayer: “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself.  Amen.”

And if you want a really, really condensed version, just starting saying, “Jesus, I trust in You!”  over and over throughout your day and teach your children to do the same.

 

Mercy Milestone Meter: March

March 1, 2016

March meterWe’re still in the middle of Lent, but Easter is on this calendar page, so it’ll be here before we know it.  At this point in Lent you may find it necessary to review your resolutions and renew your resolve to persist.  Follow the example of your Savior; as He persists in His work in your life, continue your part of the deal by becoming more like Him!

Continue your family Mercy Card Challenge and whatever you’re doing as individuals, and by all means make Confession during Holy Week a high priority.  More than that though, look to the last Sunday of the month for the goal of all these good works.

Therefore Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts,” the “Solemnity of solemnities,” just as the Eucharist is the “Sacrament of sacraments” (the Great Sacrament). St. Athanasius calls Easter “the Great Sunday” and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week “the Great Week.” The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.  (CCC 1169)

Pope Saint John Paul II once said, “We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song!”  As we approach the end of Lent, let’s make plans to practice that song by celebrating all 50 days of Easter.  The joy of our redemption is too huge to contain in one day!  Share God’s mercy with others by being beacons of hope and joy in a world that needs to hear the message! Add this prayer by Blessed John Henry Newman to your daily prayer routine this Easter season and look for opportunities to share the sheer joy of Christianity with others! Click here for a printable version:  Radiating Christ prayer.

Radiating Christ
by Blessed John Henry Newman

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your Fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood My soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me
That every soul I come in contact with
May I feel Your presence in my soul
Let them look up to see no longer me, but only Jesus!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be the light to others;
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You;
None of it will be mine;
It will be you, shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

Radiating Christ prayer

 

Mercy Milestone Meter: February

February 1, 2016

February meterLent is the perfect time to grow in holiness and what better way to do so than through works of mercy?  It is a way of truly extending your love of Jesus to people who are dear to Him!  If you need a refresher course on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, refer back to pages 3-5 of your Family Formation Year of Mercy Activity Packet.  From there, you’re ready to go!

We’re convinced that Lent is super-charged with the potential for growth in holiness.  Combine that with tapping into the Year of Mercy graces, and your family can be well on their way to sainthood!   (Really!)   A great way to keep track of this growth and perhaps to make use of your family’s competitive spirit, is to use the Mercy Challenge Cards.  You have a page of them in your packet; feel free to make as many copies as you need to set up a little family competition.

  • How many acts of mercy can you do this month?  (Either as individuals or as a family)
  • Can you do things that fulfill each of the Corporal and Spiritual Works?

For each act of mercy, fill out a card and post it in a visible place in your home or tuck them into a box to tally later.  While we encourage you to do this challenge all year, this Lent is the perfect time to make this a habit.

Another thing we hope you’ll do is to choose one act of mercy that your family has done and fill out a Mercy Challenge Card to bring back to Family Formation in March.  You’ll not only have a chance to win a prize, but everyone else will benefit by getting a glimpse of how the Works of Mercy play out in your family’s life.  We can all learn from each other’s ideas!

And remember to make time for Confession this month!

A great book that we recommend that can help give your family practical ideas for putting these works of mercy into action is the book You Did It to Me: A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action by Father Michael Gaitley. [COSP families – Don’t forget that your family can win one of these books at our monthly Family Formation gatherings. When you share one thing that your family is doing around The Year of Mercy, your name will be put into a drawing.]

Our latest bulletin board

January 27, 2016

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A combo of this, this, and this.  Hooray for the internet!

Works of Mercy from a Parent’s Perspective

January 12, 2016

Mercy CardsWe were talking about the Mercy Challenge Cards at our January sessions and I may have mentioned once or twice that we (particularly parents) are practically always performing some act of mercy or another and one of the goals for the Jubilee Year is to simply become more aware of them.  If you agree, you may like this article by Kendra Tierney at Catholic All Year as she reflects on life with one of her kids.

This isn’t an excuse to rest on your laurels – God is always calling you to grow in virtue – but it’s possible you don’t need to feel too guilty if you have not yet figured out how you and your small children can fulfill all the Works.

Church of Saint Paul families – you can ring the bell!

January 8, 2016

Did you know that every day, precisely at 3:00, the church bell is rung and there are a group of people here praying the Divine Mercy chaplet for parish intentions?

Everyone is invited to participate and now you can sign up for a date to be the bell ringer!  Birthdays, Baptism days, patron saint days, special anniversaries, or even just random days when you know you’ll be available at 3:00 – all are open right now!  Sign up for your date in the Calendar Book in the entry.

You can also list your prayer intentions in the binder with the gold cover and they will be prayed for every day.  There’s a spot for you to write the answer to your prayers once it comes.  God’s mercy is so great!  We’re expecting wonderful things this year!

shrine

Mercy Milestone Meter: January

January 5, 2016

January meterDo you know what it means to have an epiphany?

It’s such a gift to have an epiphany, that aha moment when you finally get it. This revelation or new insight spurs on your growth and motivation. While this type of epiphany is good, it isn’t quite the kind of epiphany that we are taking about in this lesson.

The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts. It marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas, and is traditionally celebrated on January 6. Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “to reveal.” (Aha!) The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the Magi, or wise men from the East, visiting the Christ child and bringing Him gifts of….what?

  • Gold – was the sign of the wealth of a king
  • Frankincense – a plant resin, was used to make incense
  • Myrrh – an ointment made from a plant resin, was used to prepare the bodies of the dead for burial

So how are these three gifts appropriate gifts for a newborn wrapped in swaddling clothes? If that newborn is God Incarnate, then what better gifts than:

  • Frankincense to represent the prayers made to Him
  • Myrrh to remind us of the salvation He won for us on the cross
  • Gold to always keep before us that this most humble of creatures, a helpless newborn, is the King of kings

During the Epiphany, we, just like the Magi, can give Him our gifts as well; we can give Him our own versions of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Pope Francis is opening the door for us to embark on the Lord’s great gift of mercy in our lives. The Holy Father’s desire for us is for mercy to infiltrate our lives over this next year. Not only do we need to accept this gift with open arms and an open heart, we need to gift it to others.

To give the gift of mercy, try assembling some Mercy Bags.  The instructions are in Family Formation’s Year of Mercy Activity Packet and the recipients can vary with your circumstances.  If you occasionally see people on the street asking for food, money, or a job, you can be ready to hand them this bag of items that are both portable and immediately useful.  If you live in a place where that doesn’t happen, the Mercy Bags are still perfect to donate to a food shelf or local shelter.  Either way, this is a very easy project for your kids to help with and you’ll have lots of opportunity to talk about extending God’s love to everyone.  (Maybe an aha! moment for them!)

To receive the gift of mercy, the best suggestion we can possibly give is to go to confession regularly.  Whenever you go, Pope Francis says it’s “an encounter with Jesus whose mercy motivates us to do better.”  Who wouldn’t want their family to grow in that way?

It’s likely your family went sometime during Advent; why not keep this monthly Mercy momentum going?  Use the Reconciliation Challenge cards from the packet to help you keep track.

(Thanks to Janae for the help on this post!)

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