Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Increase Attendance At Church

The elderly priest, speaking to the younger priest, said, "It was a good idea to replace the first four pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. The front of the church always fills first now."

The young priest nodded, and the old priest continued, "And you told me adding a little more beat to the music would bring young people back to church, so I supported you when you brought in that rock'n'roll gospel choir. Now our Masses are consistently packed to the balcony."

"Thank you, Father," answered the young priest. "I am pleased that you are open to the new ideas of youth."

"All of these ideas have been well and good," said the elderly priest, "but I'm afraid you've gone too far with the drive-thru confessional."

"But, Father," protested the young priest, "my confessions and the donations have nearly doubled since I began that!" "Yes," replied the elderly priest, "And I appreciate that. But the flashing neon sign, 'Toot 'N Tell or Go to Hell' cannot stay on the church roof."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Love Between a Mother and Child Is Forever

The love that’s shared
is a bond of the strongest kind.
It is a love of the present,
interwoven with memories of the past
and dreams of the future.
It is strengthened by overcoming obstacles
and facing fears and challenges together.
It is having pride in each other
and knowing that our love
can withstand anything.
It is sacrifice and tears,
laughter and hugs.
It is understanding, patience,
and believing in each other.
It is wanting only the best
for each other
and wanting to help anytime
there is a need.
It is respect, a hug,
and unexpected kindness.
It is making time to be together
and knowing just what do and say.
It is an unconditional,
forever kind of love.
~ Barbara Cage

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Lord’s Clinic

I went to the Lord’s Clinic to have my routine check-up and I confirmed I was ill.
• When Jesus took my blood pressure, He saw I was low in tenderness.
• When He read my temperature, the thermometer registered 40o of anxiety.
• He ran an electrocardiogram and found that I needed several “love bypasses” since my arteries werer blocked with loneliness and could not provide for an empty heart.
• I went to orthopedics, because I could not walk by my brother’s side and I could not hug my friends, since I had fracture myself when tripping with envy.
• He also found I was short-sighted, since I could not see beyond the shortcomings of my brothers and sisters.
• When I complained about deafness, the diagnostic was that I had stopped listening to Jesus’ voice talking to me on a daily basis.
• For all of that, Jesus gave me a free consultation thanks to His mercifulness, so my pledge is to, once I leave this clinic, only take the natural remedies He prescribed through His words of truth:

1. Every morning, take a full glass of gratitude.
2. When going to work, take one spoon of peace.
3. Every hours, take one pill of patience, with a cup of brotherhood and a glass of humility.
4. On getting home, take one dose of love.
5. And on retiring, take two caplets of clear conscience.

I am not to give into sadness or desperation, for what has happened today.
God knows how I feel.
God knows exactly what is being allowed to happen to me at this precise moment.
God’s purpose for me is simply perfect.
He wants to show me things that only I will understand by living and being in the place I am right now.

So may God give me
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
a faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Florida Court Sets Atheist Holy Day!

In Florida , an atheist created a case against Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.
The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring,” Case dismissed!"
The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, How can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays..."
The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."
The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."
The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day.
Court is adjourned..."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
Divine Mercy Sunday is the title of the Second Sunday of the Easter season. It was named by Pope John Paul II at the canonization of St. Maria Faustina on April 30, 2000, and then officially decreed by the Vatican. Pope John Paul II said of Divine Mercy Sunday, “In a special way, it is the Sunday of thanksgiving for all the goodness that God has shown us in the whole Easter mystery” (April 23, 1995). Here, he underscored the Church’s understanding that Divine Mercy Sunday as the Octave Day of Easter brings us the fullness of Christ’s Resurrection — pointing back to the first day of our celebration on Easter
Sunday and now to its fullness on the eighth day, the Octave. Divine Mercy Sunday, then, can be seen as the convergence of all the mysteries and graces of both Holy Week and Easter Week. It is like a multiple-exposure photograph of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Week. On Mercy Sunday, the Octave Day of Easter, we celebrate the great graces that are available to us through our risen Lord’s victory over sin, death, and the Evil One. In fact, our Lord revealed to St. Faustina, the great Apostle of Divine Mercy that He desires on this day to pour out a flood of mercy on souls: My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy (Diary of St. Faustina, 699).

What graces can I receive on the day?
Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina His desire to flood us with His graces on that day. Reflect on each of the promises and desires that He expressed about Divine Mercy Sunday, which are recorded in entry 699 of the Diary of St. Faustina — the main passage about the Feast of Mercy:
• On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy [the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist].
• The soul that will go to Confession [beforehand] and receive Holy Communion [on that day] shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.
• On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.
• Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout eternity.
• Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity.
• The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness.
• It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.
• Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.
These promises and desires point to an amazing flood of graces that are available to us on Mercy Sunday including complete forgiveness of sins and punishment! The slate can be wiped clean, and we can be granted a completely fresh start in life.

What about the indulgences for Divine Mercy Sunday? How can I receive an indulgence for myself or for a soul in purgatory?
First, we need to make one thing clear: The extraordinary graces mentioned in the last answer, which are based on private revelations contained in St. Faustina’s Diary, are not replaced by the indulgences that the Church has granted for the feast day. Rather, the plenary and partial indulgences provide the faithful with another opportunity to receive graces on Mercy Sunday — either for oneself or a soul in purgatory. And this opportunity for graces is officially sanctioned by the Church. To understand these graces, we must understand what an indulgence is.
When we sin, we do not only offend God, but we also introduce disorder into our life and the lives of other people. It’s true that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we receive forgiveness from God through the ministry of the Church when we repent, confess our sins, and do penance with a firm intention to amend our lives. Even so, because of our sins, some disorder usually remains. There are also temporal consequences or punishments attached to that disorder. However, the good news is that Christ has given us His Church. As His Mystical Body, she has been granted the power to bind and loose in His name and to distribute graces from His superabundant treasury of merits — all flowing from His redemptive death. These treasures of redemption are available to all the faithful and can be used to remit or take away the temporal punishment due to sin for ourselves or the deceased. Further, they can be partial or plenary (complete). In the case of Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope John Paul II in 2002 granted plenary and partial indulgences “motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy … in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful,” according to the official decree.
• To receive the plenary indulgence, the decree explained that the faithful must go to confession, receive the Eucharist, and offer prayers for the intentions of the Pope. One must also “with a soul totally detached from affection to any sin, even venial, participate in the pious practices undertaken in honor of Divine Mercy, or at least to recite in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament … the Our Father, the Creed, and a pious invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus.”
• A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to Jesus a legitimately approved invocation or prayer.

Why should I go to confession beforehand?
You should go beforehand so that you can receive the best possible Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. Sin is the obstacle to our fervent reception of Holy Communion, and our sins can be wiped away by the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance. This is the Sacrament of Mercy that our Lord in St. Faustina’s Diary calls “the Tribunal of Mercy” (1448) and the “fountain of My mercy” (1602).
We should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Mercy Sunday for a couple of reasons.
• First, the purpose of Lent is to prepare us for Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, so we shouldn’t wait until the last moment.
• Second, going earlier shows pastoral sensitivity to the fact that there is usually a shortage of priests to hear everyone’s confession on the day itself.

What about receiving Holy Communion on the day itself?
In receiving Holy Communion, we receive Jesus who is Mercy Incarnate. Receiving Him on Mercy Sunday is extra special because He has promised to give us so many graces. Besides making a good confession, we should prepare through prayer, recollection, and expectation of the Lord’s desire to show us His mercy. Jesus told St. Faustina how much He desires to come to human hearts in the Holy Eucharist, but far too many of them are not well disposed to receive Him: “Know, My daughter, that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay attention to Me” (Diary, 1385). On Mercy Sunday, we should strive to make the best Holy Communion of our lives — with the eyes of our soul fixed on Jesus.

Why should the priest or deacon give his homily on Divine Mercy on that day?
The priest or deacon is called to give his homily on the Scripture readings of the day, and the readings of all three cycles for that Sunday (A, B, and C) are on mercy. Pope John Paul II emphasized this very point in his homily at St. Faustina’s canonization when he established Divine Mercy Sunday for the whole Church.
The Responsorial Psalm 118 is a hymn to God’s mercy. In John 20:19- 31, the Gospel of the day for all three cycles, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also, in the same Gospel reading, St. Thomas professes “my Lord and my God!” This is Thomas’s great act of trust in Divine Mercy Incarnate after the Merciful Savior shows him the wounds of mercy in His hands and in His side.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, should I venerate the image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy?
Yes, the image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy, is to be venerated on Mercy Sunday. It is to be given a
place of honor in our churches and homes on this Sunday. Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina and then directed her to have this appearance of Himself as the Merciful Savior painted and then venerated publicly. He told her, “I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it” (Diary, 341). In the image, our risen Savior has pale and red rays streaming from His side. These rays symbolize the Blood and Water that flowed from His side while He was on the cross. But, in His appearance to St. Faustina, they have been transformed into glorious rays, revealing a fount of healing graces for sinners who will turn to Him with trust. That is why the image always bears the inscription “Jesus, I trust in You!” In our churches and homes, we can venerate The Divine Mercy image by gazing upon the Merciful Savior in prayer and adoration. We can place candles and flowers before the image as signs of our love for Jesus.

What are some of the other aspects of preparing for and celebrating the day?
There are a great many options.
In preparation:
• We begin to prepare in Lent for our celebration of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday (its Octave Day).
• We especially focus on performing works of mercy, spending more time in prayer, as well as by doing penances and giving alms.
• Praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Novena to The Divine Mercy can be particularly helpful in our preparations.
• Many souls also benefit from doing more spiritual reading during Lent.
• Consider, for example, studying The Divine Mercy message and devotion through books, DVDs, and CDs.
• The celebration itself: Divine Mercy Sunday, for many parishes, involves large numbers of people gathering to celebrate Holy Masses at which God’s mercy is proclaimed by the priests or deacons.
• Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament can also be held at points throughout the weekend — perhaps starting before the Vigil Mass on Saturday.
• Additional priests may be present to hear the confessions of those parishioners who did not go before Mercy Sunday.
The liturgical celebrations themselves:
• When appropriate, The Divine Mercy Chaplet can be recited or even sung. Hymns of mercy and readings from Sacred Scripture, as well as readings from the Diary of St. Faustina, can be offered. A parish might show various DVDs or films.
• Organizers might provide a book table with a selection of Divine Mercy books, booklets, and pamphlets. All participants should be encouraged to venerate an image of The Divine Mercy and to perform a work of mercy on the day itself out of love for Jesus.
• A solemn service to mark the Hour of Great Mercy could be at three in the afternoon. At this time, we recall the hour when the Merciful Savior died on the cross for our sins. This is a particularly appropriate time for praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction.
• At the end of your Divine Mercy Sunday celebration, the pastor or deacon could encourage participants to avail themselves of the extraordinary graces that they’ve just received. He could encourage them to realize that Divine Mercy is a whole way of
• life — not just for Mercy Sunday. That means trusting in Jesus and being merciful every day of our lives.

The Rapture

You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to the game you want to see or meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you've ever heard fills the air. The sound is high above you. A trumpet? A choir? A choir of trumpets? You don't know, but you want to know.. So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up. As you do, you see you aren't the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot. Car doors are open, and people are staring at the sky. Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store. The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt. Players and parents are searching the clouds and what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen. As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the earth. There are no shadows. None.
From every hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky. North. South. East. West. Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, Holy, holy, holy.. The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship.
Suddenly, the heavens are quiet. All is quiet. The angels turn, you turn, the entire world turns and there He is..... Jesus. Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King. He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud. He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his declaration: I am the Alpha and the Omega.
The angels bow their heads... The elders remove their crowns.... And before you is a Figure so consuming that you know, instantly: Nothing else matters.. forget stock markets and school reports.... sales meetings and football games. Nothing is newsworthy... . All that mattered, matters no more... For Christ has come.
This morning when the Lord opened a window to Heaven, he saw me, and he asked: My child, what is your greatest wish for today? I responded: 'Lord please; take care of my family, my friends, those reading this message, their family and their special friends. They deserve it and I love them very much'. The love of God is like the ocean, you can see its beginnings but not its end.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)