Second Sunday of Easter
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY-ST. STANISLAUS
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for FEAR of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. Do you live in fear of failure or are you locking the doors of your heart to new opportunities? When you let in the spirit of Christ you open yourself to empowerment.
The Law of Empowerment
The job of leadership is to lead with the intent to work yourself out of a job. Imagine what would happen if our politicos did this! This is what Jesus did. After Christ gave His Peace to the apostles, he breathed on them to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and thus empowered them to live the supernatural life. We in turn by the power of the successors of the apostles are heirs to this. Christ wants us to be change agents to bring about the Kingdom. How can we begin? What steps can we take to mentor and empower others?
1. Pray for conviction and vision.
2. Select a person or group from your sphere of influence to mentor.
3. Meet and discuss expectations and goals.
4. Cast a vision to them for spiritual reproduction.
5. Ask for commitment.
6. Determine what tools or resources you will use together.
7. Prepare yourself and set goals for each meeting.
8. Meet regularly for a set time.
9. Discuss and apply the truths you learn together.
10. Invest yourself in the person, the process, and the purpose.
11. Help them find a potential person to mentor.
12. Evaluate and launch them to try the
ON KEEPING THE LORDS DAY HOLY
The Day of the Risen Lord
and of the Gift
of the Holy Spirit
Growing distinction from the Sabbath
23. It was this newness which the catechesis of the first centuries stressed as it sought to show the prominence of Sunday relative to the Jewish Sabbath. It was on the Sabbath that the Jewish people had to gather in the synagogue and to rest in the way prescribed by the Law. The Apostles, and in particular Saint Paul, continued initially to attend the synagogue so that there they might proclaim Jesus Christ, commenting upon "the words of the prophets which are read every Sabbath" (Acts 13:27). Some communities observed the Sabbath while also celebrating Sunday. Soon, however, the two days began to be distinguished ever more clearly, in reaction chiefly to the insistence of those Christians whose origins in Judaism made them inclined to maintain the obligation of the old Law. Saint Ignatius of Antioch writes: "If those who were living in the former state of things have come to a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath but keeping the Lord's Day, the day on which our life has appeared through him and his death ..., that mystery from which we have received our faith and in which we persevere in order to be judged disciples of Christ, our only Master, how could we then live without him, given that the prophets too, as his disciples in the Spirit, awaited him as master?". Saint Augustine notes in turn: "Therefore the Lord too has placed his seal on his day, which is the third after the Passion. In the weekly cycle, however, it is the eighth day after the seventh, that is after the Sabbath, and the first day of the week". The distinction of Sunday from the Jewish Sabbath grew ever stronger in the mind of the Church, even though there have been times in history when, because the obligation of Sunday rest was so emphasized, the Lord's Day tended to become more like the Sabbath. Moreover, there have always been groups within Christianity which observe both the Sabbath and Sunday as "two brother days".
Second Sunday after Easter
Dominica in Albis, or Low Sunday.
WHY is this Sunday called Dominica in Albis, (White Sunday)? Because, in the earlier times, those who had been baptized on Holy Saturday on this day laid aside the white garments which they had then received, and put on their necks an, “Agnus Dei” made of white wax, and blessed by the Pope, to remind them continually that they were bound to preserve that innocence unstained. The Church therefore sings, at the Introit of the Mass, as new-born babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia (1 Pet. ii. 2). Rejoice to God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. Ps. Ixxx. 1).
Prayer. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who have performed the paschal solemnities, may, by Thy grace, preserve them in our life and conduct.
EPISTLE, i. John v. 4-10.
Dearly Beloved: Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. And there are three Who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself.
Explanation. By loving faith in Jesus as the Son of God, we can surely overcome the world, because that faith shows us in God, our Father; in the world to come, our true country; in Jesus, our example; teaching us to love God above all things, to disregard the world, and worldly goods, and to strive for the eternal. That Jesus is the Son of God, St. John shows:
1. By the threefold testimony on earth, of the water at the baptism in Jordan, of the blood at the death on the cross, of the spirit in the miraculous effects wrought in those that believed.
2. By the threefold testimony from heaven of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Aspiration. O Jesus, I believe in Thee, as the Son of the living God! Grant that through this faith I may victoriously combat the flesh, the world, the devil, and every inclination to evil, and obtain everlasting life.
GOSPEL. John xx. 19-31.
At that time: When it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands, and His side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then He saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side: and be not faithless but believing. Thomas answered, and said to Him: My Lord and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in His name.
Why does Jesus so often say, Peace be to you? To signify that He had restored peace between God and man; to show how men might know His disciples; and how necessary to salvation the preservation of peace is.
Why did God permit Thomas to disbelieve the appearance of Christ to the other disciples? That we might thereby be strengthened in faith, for as Christ took away all doubt from Thomas, by appearing again, the resurrection of Christ by that means becomes, as St. Gregory says, so much the more credible and certain.
What is it to believe in God? To receive as immovably certain what God has revealed to us, although we cannot understand it.
What must we, therefore, believe? All that God has revealed.
Why must we believe all this? Because God, the infallible truth, has revealed it. This belief is as necessary to salvation as it is reasonable in itself.
How can we certainly know what God has or has not revealed, and which this one true faith is? Through His Church, which is guided by the Holy Ghost to all truth, and in which Jesus Christ dwells till the end of time.
How can we know the Church of Christ? By this, that, like the truth, she is one, holy, apostolic, and catholic.
Which is this true Church of Christ? The Roman Catholic, since she alone possesses the abovementioned marks of the true Church. She alone has preserved unity in faith and in the holy sacraments, and is subordinate to one visible head, the Pope. She alone can trace her derivation from the apostles to the present day, and can demonstrate this origin as well by her doctrine, as by the succession of her popes and bishops. She alone has all the means of salvation, and she alone has produced saints. Finally, she alone embraces all ages, and shines, as St. Augustine says, from one end of the world to the other, in the splendor of one and the same faith, inviting all to her bosom, to bring them to Jesus.
What answer should a Catholic make to objections against the Mass, purgatory, and such like? He should say, I believe these and the like matters of faith, because God, Who is Truth, has revealed them: I believe that He has thus revealed them, because the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches them to me, has all the marks of the true Church of Christ, guided by God, and cannot therefore deceive me.
Is it sufficient for salvation to have the true faith, and to belong to the true Church? No; we must live according to that faith, that is, we must observe what it commands, avoid what it forbids, and often, particularly in temptation, make an act of faith.
Divine Mercy Sunday
Reflect what it took to make Christ the gentle shepherd of our souls: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy! Calling all Catholics, come to the Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. Did you know that the Lord said that this feast would one day be the “last hope of salvation”? Have you considered what would happen to you if you suddenly died in the state of mortal sin? Did you know that in the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus, Himself requested through St. Faustina that a very special Feast of Divine Mercy be established in His Church and solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter every year?
In the Jubilee Year 2000, after many years of study, Saint Pope John Paul II fulfilled the will of Christ by establishing this special Feast of Divine Mercy in the Catholic Church and gave it the name of Divine Mercy Sunday! By God’s Providence, Saint John Paul II died on this feast in 2005. What is so special about this new Feast of Divine Mercy you might be asking yourself?
It is the promise of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment for any soul that would go to Confession and then receive Jesus in Holy Communion on that very special Feast of Divine Mercy! Why would Jesus offer us something so great at this time?
Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in very great abundance before He comes again as the Just Judge and as the very last hope of salvation. If you have been away from the practice of your Catholic faith, and if you would like to come back into the, one, true Catholic Church, then this is the most perfect opportunity for you, if you are prepared to repent and turn from sin. Many former fallen-away Catholics have taken advantage of this great Feast of Mercy to get a brand-new start in life and to be totally prepared to stand before the Lord.
If you have been away from the Catholic faith and if you have any questions about coming back home, then come in and talk to a priest at any Catholic Church. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that its teachings and practices are the same at all the parishes. You may have concerns, such as: marriage outside of the Church; un-confessed abortions; or other issues that could be preventing you from receiving Holy Communion or you may have questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t remain in doubt. Call your local parish office to find out the necessary steps to come back to the Catholic faith. Don’t consider yourself as without hope. Our Lord Jesus wants to pardon completely even the worst sinners possible. Remember, Jesus has come for sinners, not the righteous. Jesus said that even if our sins were as numerous as the grains of sand, they would be lost in His Ocean of Mercy. If you are truly repentant of your sins and are well prepared to confess your sins in the Sacrament of Confession, you’ll experience a tremendous peace. You’ll experience a great weight lifted from you and get a brand-new start in life! Once you have confessed your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then you must continue to practice your faith as a good Catholic. This involves attending Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, supporting your local parish, and confessing your serious sins at least once a year. In Confession, you must be truly sorry for your sins and you must intend to continue to practice your faith.
Jesus is in the Confessional
One of the most reassuring things Our Lord Jesus revealed to us through Saint Faustina includes the several times when He indicated to her that He is really there in the Confessional when we are making our individual Confessions to the priests. Jesus said that every time we enter the Confessional, that He Himself is there waiting for us, and that He is only hidden by the priest. Jesus said never to analyze what sort of a priest that He is making use of, but for us to reveal our souls to Him and that He will fill us with His peace and light. Some have wondered why Jesus would want us to confess our sins to a priest, but the answer is in the very first instruction that Jesus gave to His Apostles directly after His Resurrection from the dead. On the evening of the Resurrection, Jesus walked through the door of the Upper Room where the Apostles were hiding and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit, what sins you forgive are forgiven them, what sins you retain are retained”. This was the start of Confessions. For sure, that command was not only for the Apostles to be able to forgive sins, and then to be forgotten, but for that power to be passed on to all the ordained priests of today in the Catholic Church. Jesus said that the greater the sinner, the greater the right they have to His mercy! Don’t continue to carry your sins, Jesus forgives!
To properly celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy and to receive the forgiveness of all sins and punishment, you must go to Confession to a Catholic priest within 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday. Or if you are in the state of very serious or mortal sin, you must always confess them before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, or you will also commit a sacrilege, which is also a very serious sin. If you haven’t been going to Sunday Mass without any good reason, you may be in a state of serious sin and you must confess before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. For more information about the Feast of Divine Mercy and a Confession Guide, go to: http://www.DivineMercySunday.com or call 772-873-4581.
Jesus to Sr. Faustina
On one occasion, I heard these words: "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. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion 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 all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. 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.
"From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy."
Excerpted from Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska.
Things to Do:
- Read the Apostolic Penitentiary Decree on the Indulgences attached to devotions in honor of Divine Mercy
- Read Dives in misericordia, the encyclical Letter of John Paul II on Mercy.
STOP and PRAY
At 3:00 o'clock we can pray:
In His revelations to Blessed Faustina, Jesus asked for special, daily remembrance at three o'clock, the very hour He died for us on the cross:
"At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony: This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion." (Diary, 1320).
At 3:00 o'clock we can pray:
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fountain of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. (Diary, 1319).
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You. (Diary, 84
I shall content myself with relating the history of St. Stanislaus, Bishop of Cracow, Poland, who restored to life a man who had been dead for three years, attended by such singular circumstances, and in so public a manner, that the thing is beyond the severest criticism.... This incident was known by countless persons and by all the court of King Boleslaus II (reigned 1058-1080) St. Stanislaus, bought from a man named Piotr [Peter] an estate situated on the banks of the Vistula in the territory of Lublin for the use of his church at Cracow. The Prelate gave the full price of it to the seller. This was done in the presence of witnesses, and with the solemnities required in that country, but without written deeds, for written accounts of transactions of this kind were seldom made in Poland at that time. They contented themselves with having witnesses. Stanislaus took possession of this estate, and his church enjoyed it peaceably for about three years. In the interim, Piotr, who had sold it, happened to die. The King of Poland, Boleslaus, had conceived an implacable hatred against the holy Bishop because he had frequently reproved him for his excesses. Therefore, seeking to cause him trouble, the King excited the three sons of Piotr, his heirs, against their father and told them to claim the estate which their father had sold, on the pretense that it had not been paid for. He promised to support their demand, and to cause the estate to be restored to them. Thus, these three men had the Bishop cited to appear before the King, who was then at Solec, occupied in rendering justice under some tents in the country, according to the ancient custom of the land, in the general assembly of the nation. The Bishop was cited before the King and maintained that he had bought and paid for the estate in question. The day was beginning to close, and the Bishop ran great risk of being condemned by the King and his counselors. Suddenly, as if inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Bishop promised the King to bring before him in three days Piotr, the deceased man who had sold it to him. The condition was accepted mockingly, as a thing impossible to be executed. The holy Bishop retired to his Church a distance away, where he prayed and fasted with his household for three days. On the third day, he went in his pontifical robes, accompanied by his clergy and a multitude of people, ordered the gravestone to be raised, and made them dig until they found the corpse of the defunct, all fleshless and corrupted. Then St. Stanislaus commanded him to come forth and bear witness to the truth before the King's tribunal. The Bishop touched the bones with his crosier, and they filled out with flesh. The dead Piotr rose; they covered him with a cloak. The Saint took him by the hand and led him alive to the feet of the King. No one had the boldness to interrogate him. But Piotr himself spoke out freely and declared that he had in good faith sold the estate to the Prelate and that he had received the value of it. After stating this, he severely reprimanded his sons, who had so maliciously accused the holy Bishop. Stanislaus asked Piotr if he wished to remain alive to do penance. Piotr thanked him and said he would not expose himself anew to the danger of sinning. Stanislaus re-conducted him to his tomb, where he again fell asleep in the Lord. It may be supposed that such a scene had numerous witnesses, and that all Poland was quickly informed of it. The King was only the more irritated against the Saint. Sometime after [on May 8, 1079], he killed the Bishop with his own hands as he was coming from the altar in Wawel Castle outside the walls of Cracow. He then ordered that the Prelate’s body be hacked into 72 pieces so that they might never be collected together to be paid the honor due to them as the body of a martyr for the truth and for pastoral liberty. St. Stanislaus was canonized in 1253 by Pope Innocent IV. He is the patron of Poland and of the city and Diocese of Cracow and is invoked in battle.
Things to Do:
· Sometimes evil has to be confronted boldly, whatever the consequences. Brave men like St. Stanislaus of Cracow risked death in facing evil. There is little chance today that we will ever be in that danger, but we must always be willing to defend the truth, and it should be very clear, in the face of genuine evil, where we stand. Christ our Lord can expect no less from us. Say an extra prayer today for the gift of fortitude.
· Learn a little more about the city of Kracow where both St. Stanislaus and Pope John Paul II came from.
· For those who are extremely interested in knowing more about Polish history this online book, Polish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland may prove to be a good source of information.
· The final work of Franz Liszt is the unfinished oratorio St. Stanislaus, for which he left two scenes (one and four) and two polonaises. Learn more about this oratorio here and if you are able find a copy and listen.
Novena for the Poor Souls
O Mother most merciful, pray for the souls in Purgatory!
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.
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.
SUNDAY O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in the Garden, deliver the souls in Purgatory, and especially that one which is the most forsaken of all, and bring it into Thy glory, where it may praise and bless Thee forever. Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
 John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained