Thursday in the Octave of Easter or Easter Thursday
Isaiah, Chapter 51, verse 7
Hear me, you who know justice, you people who have my teaching at heart: Do not fear the reproach of others; remain firm at their reviling’s.
What is God’s justice and what teaching should we have at heart?
The Old Testament established the seven laws of Noah, or the Noahide Laws which were given by God as binding on all of humanity. Any person who adheres to these is regarded as righteous and is assured a place in the world to come.
These laws are:
1. Don’t Deny God
2. Don’t Blaspheme God
3. Don’t Murder
4. Don’t Engage in Incest, Adultery or Homosexuality.
5. Don’t Steal
6. Don’t Eat of a Live Animal
7. Do establish Functioning Courts of Law
Jesus said to his disciples; “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mt. 5:17)
Thursday in the Octave of Easter or Easter Thursday is a day for Commemoration of the departed which is a Slavic tradition. Thursday of the Dead is described as a universal day for visiting tombs, engaged in most diligently by townspeople, followed by fellaheen ("peasants"), and then Bedouins. Women would go to the cemetery before sunrise to pray for the departed and distribute bread cakes known as kaʿak al-asfar ("the yellow roll") and dried fruit to the poor, to children, and to relatives. Children would also receive painted eggs, generally yellow in color. The sharing of this tradition between Christians and Muslims is thought to date back to at least the 12th century when Saladin urged Muslims to adopt Christian customs in order to promote religious tolerance in the region.
Novena for the Poor Souls
ON EVERY DAY OF THE NOVENA V. O Lord, hear my prayer, R. And let my cry come unto Thee. O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
THURSDAY O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus, which He Himself, on the night before His Passion, gave as meat and drink to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed to His holy Church to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life-giving nourishment of His faithful people, deliver the souls in Purgatory, but most of all, that soul which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, in order that it may praise Thee therefore, together with Thy divine Son and the Holy Spirit in Thy glory forever. Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
PRAYER OF ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT O Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory and for sinners everywhere— for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and for those within my family. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE DYING O Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother, to wash in Thy Most Precious Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who will die today. Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying! Amen.
Faith and Healing
Shallow minds are easily scandalized at the thought that, despite Christ Jesus' divine mission and His heroic earnestness in fulfilling it, despite the limitless possibilities of the Sacrifice of Calvary glorified in the power of the Resurrection, even now so many human souls are still sick and diseased, even dead in sin and seemingly lost in impenitence. But think for a moment of some definite astounding force in nature, as for instance lightning, or even better, of so simple a force as the stroke of a hammer or the approach of a lighted match; notice the vast difference in the effects produced on a block of granite, on a cake of ice, and on a keg of powder. Even so, the definite effect of the same graces upon different individual souls depends on the receptivity of each. Yet never doubt, the doors of the treasury of the merits and fruits of Calvary are wide open; the fountains of the Savior are pouring out heavenly waters to purify and cure and refresh souls; the invitation goes out to all:
"Come, eat My bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. All you that thirst come to the waters, and you that have no money, make haste, buy, and eat come ye, buy wine and milk without money! Come! to experience the virtue of the waters, and of the food, and of the medicine, and of the fire. Come and drink lest you die of thirst! Come and eat lest your soul hunger and starve! Come, approach the fire of My charity, to be stirred out of your spiritual coldness and numbness!"
Anointing of the Sick
The Apostles must have been astonished at their power to heal the bodies of the faithful while on the road when Christ sent them out before His death. Yet, the greatest power was to come after His death and resurrection. Jesus made it perfectly clear that the power to forgive sins is far greater than the power to heal. (Mk. 2:9) Jesus healed people of every disease as a sign of the greater work of forgiveness of sins. For in the gospel he states, “That you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sin.” (Mk 2:10) The physical signs were there for the sake of a spiritual reality. “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” (Jas. 5:14-15) This is the sacrament we know as the Anointing of the Sick. It must be noted that grave physical suffering is often accompanied by a great spiritual trial. Sacramental anointing gives us the grace we need to face our trials. Oils have been used for millennia to convey the grace and health of God. Anointing helps us transform physical suffering into something more deeply curative, something truly releasing. Don’t wait! At the first sign of serious ailment seek the aid of Christ through this sacrament.
Preparation for Death
All Christian life is a preparation for death. We cannot predict the moment of our passing, but we should be prepared for it both remotely and near term when our death is imminent. It is best to prepare far in advance by making a lifetime habit of confession and reception of the Holy Eucharist. However, if seriously ill do not wait to take action. Confession must be made while we are still thinking clearly and have the energy for the task, and we should make arrangements to receive sacramental anointing. Do not rely on others to do this for you. It is important for you, if you are able, to contact the hospital chaplain or priest. Remember there is more after our death for the church teaches us that after our death there is judgment, heaven and hell. Do not be a nilly willy and avoid thinking about death and we should remind ourselves that death is a normal part of life and we should have a sense of humor and it is not a license to make others miserable. We should try to get our affairs in order so to make it easier on others. We should choose a Catholic cemetery for the burial of our mortal remains, as a sign of our belief in the resurrection of the body. Our flesh has been divinized in baptism, made one the flesh of Jesus in Holy Communion, and so its repose is a matter of some consequence. We should keep in mind that at our death as said by Cardinal Newman, “Life is changed, not ended” and “All who ever lived still live.”
Marie Bernarde ('Bernadette') Soubirous was the eldest child of an impoverished miller. At the age of fourteen she was ailing and undersized, sensitive and of pleasant disposition but accounted backward and slow. Between 11 February and 16 July 1858, in a shallow cave on the bank of the river Gave, she had a series of remarkable experiences. On eighteen occasions she saw a very young and beautiful lady, who made various requests and communications to her, pointing out a forgotten spring of water and enjoining prayer and penitence. The lady eventually identified herself as the Virgin Mary, under the title of 'the Immaculate Conception'. Some of these happenings took place in the presence of many people, but no one besides Bernadette claimed to see or hear 'the Lady', and there was no disorder or emotional extravagance. After the appearances ceased, however, there was an epidemic of false visionaries and morbid religiosity in the district, which increased the reserved attitude of the church authorities towards Bernadette's experiences. For some years she suffered greatly from the suspicious disbelief of some and the tactless enthusiasm and insensitive attentions of others; these trials she bore with impressive patience and dignity. In 1866 she was admitted to the convent of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers. Here she was more sheltered from trying publicity, but not from the 'stuffiness' of the convent superiors nor from the tightening grip of asthma. 'I am getting on with my job,' she would say. 'What is that?' someone asked. 'Being ill,' was the reply. Thus, she lived out her self-effacing life, dying at the age of thirty-five. The events of 1858 resulted in Lourdes becoming one of the greatest pilgrim shrines in the history of Christendom. But St Bernadette took no part in these developments; nor was it for her visions that she was canonized, but for the humble simplicity and religious trustingness that characterized her whole life.
Patron: Bodily ills; illness; Lourdes, France; people ridiculed for their piety; poverty; shepherdesses; shepherds; sick people; sickness.
Divine Mercy Novena
Seventh Day - Today Bring Me the Souls Who Especially Venerate and Glorify My Mercy.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident in Your Mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.
Eternal Father turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy and their spirit, overflowing with joy, sings a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them, "I Myself will defend as My own glory, during their lifetime, and especially at the hour of their death, those souls who will venerate My fathomless mercy."
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 22. Anointing of the Sick.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 39. Preparation for Death.