Psalm 33, verse 18-19
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who FEAR him, upon
those who count on his mercy, 19To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through
You cannot receive if you do not ask. Let us ask for God’s mercy and count on it, to deliver our soul from death and keep us alive through this earthly famine for ourselves and others. In fact, one pious work we could do this week is a Novena to the Divine Mercy. In the novena Christ asks us to pray each day for certain groups of people.
1. All Sinners
2. Priests and Religious
3. Devout Souls
8. Those in purgatory
9. And the Lukewarm
A good time to pray the
novena is the hour of Christ’s death. “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…”
Today if you have time would be a good day to read Saint John Paul II’s encyclical letter-Rich in Mercy
To praise and thank God for the mystery of redemption, the Church sings at the Introit of the Mass: He hath given them the water of wisdom to drink, alleluia. He shall be made strong in them, and shall not be moved, alleluia. And He shall exalt them forever, alleluia, alleluia (Ecclus. xv. 3). Give glory to the Lord, and call upon His name, declare His deeds among the Gentiles (Ps. civ. 1).
Prayer. O God, Who dost ever multiply thy Church by a new progeny, grant to Thy servants that they may retain in their lives the mystery which they have received by faith.
EPISTLE. Acts xiii. 26-33.
In those days, Paul rising up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing Jesus, nor the voices of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, judging Him have fulfilled them. And finding no cause of death in Him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill Him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of Him, taking Him down from the tree they laid Him in a sepulcher. But God raised Him up from the dead the third day: Who was seen for many days by them, who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are His witnesses to the people. And we declare unto you that the promise, which was made to our fathers, this same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus Christ our Lord.
Like St. Peter, so St. Paul founds the truth of his doctrine upon the resurrection of Jesus, because Christ had given this as the special proof of the truth of His doctrine. Had He not risen from the dead He would not have been the Son of God and could not have redeemed mankind. The resurrection is, therefore, the foundation of our belief. On that account He allowed His disciples for a while to doubt, and only to believe after He had given them proofs of His resurrection by repeatedly appearing to them; that by their doubts and cautious unbelief the wounds of unbelief in our hearts might be healed, and we might know how true is the resurrection, and how firmly founded our faith.
GOSPEL. Luke xxiv. 36-47.
At that time: Jesus stood in the midst of His disciples, and saith to them: Peace be to you: it is I, fear not. But they being troubled and frighted, supposed that they saw a spirit. And He said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself; handle, and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, He said: Have you here anything to eat?
And they offered Him a piece of a broiled fish and a honeycomb. And when He had eaten before them, taking the remains He gave to them. And He said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And He said to them: Thus, it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day: and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all nations.
Why does Jesus greet His disciples with the words, “Peace be to you?”
1. Because He came to restore to men that peace with God, with themselves, with their neighbor, which sin had destroyed.
2. Because peace is a mark of the children of God, as discord is of sinners.
3. Because peace is the greatest of all goods. Therefore, it is that He will have His apostles, after His example, give the greeting of peace on entering a house.
4. Finally, Because He desired to encourage His disciples to confidence by His friendliness.
Why did Our Savior retain the marks of His wounds after His resurrection?
· To show that it was the same body which had been wounded during His passion, and to show that He was really risen from the dead.
· To teach us that we too shall, in like manner, rise with our bodies.
· To make known to us the greatness of His love, through which He has graven us, as it were, on His hands and feet, and in His heart.
· To impart to us confidence in His endless mercy, and to encourage us to combat against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
· To prepare a place of refuge, and an inexhaustible fountain of consolation for all the miserable, afflicted, and tempted.
· To terrify the impenitent, whom, on the Day of Judgment, He will show how much He has suffered for them, and that they have been the cause of their own destruction. Oh, let us endeavor to think often on the wounds of Jesus, that we may thereby be encouraged to lead pious lives acceptable to God.
O Jesus, grant that the precious blood which flowed from Thy wounds for me and all sinners may not be lost.
Instruction on what we ought to believe concerning the Holy Scriptures.
“He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke xxiv. 45.
Is it free to everyone to read and explain Holy Scripture according to his own opinion?
No; that must be done with submission and conformity to the teaching of the Church. Questions of faith cannot be settled by appealing to the Holy Scriptures alone, since they themselves are liable to be misunderstood. For this reason, the Church has done wisely in making the printing, reading, and explaining of Holy Scripture depend upon the permission of lawful spiritual superiors.
What, therefore, must one do who desires to read the Holy Scriptures?
§ He must read them, only with the permission of the ecclesiastical superiors.
§ With the subjection of his own opinion to the decisions of the Church, and the interpretation of the holy fathers.
§ With suitable preparation, by prayer and fasting, as St. Thomas of Aquinas did, and with devotion and care.
After 40 days of Fasting-Easter marks 50 Days of Feasting
Easter week is the week of the baptized. They have passed from death to life, from the darkness of sin to the life of grace in the light of Christ. They are governed by the principle enunciated by St. Paul that, risen with Christ, the Christian must raise his desires to heaven, detach himself from earthly pleasures in order to love those of heaven. The Fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one "great Sunday."
The Sundays of this season rank as the paschal Sundays and, after Easter Sunday itself, are called the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Sundays of Easter. The period of fifty sacred days ends on Pentecost Sunday. The first eight days of the Easter Season make up the octave of Easter and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord.
On the fortieth day after Easter the Ascension is celebrated, except in places where, not being a holy day of obligation, it has been transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This solemnity directs our attention to Christ, who ascended into heaven before the eyes of his disciples, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, invested with royal power, who is there to prepare a place for us in the kingdom of heaven; and who is destined to come again at the end of time.
The weekdays after the Ascension until the Saturday before Pentecost inclusive are a preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Divine Mercy Novena
Fifth Day - Today Bring to Me the Souls of Heretics and Schismatics.
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.
Eternal Father turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics, and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your Own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
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.
TUESDAY O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in Purgatory, and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers, in order that it may not long be delayed in praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee forever. Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
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.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER THREE-THE LIFE OF PRAYER
Article 1-EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER
2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.
2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.
2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.
2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.
2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.
PRAYERS AND TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
How to Baptize in case of an Emergency
When an individual is on their deathbed, anyone can baptize them into the Christian faith.
Baptism is a beautiful sacrament, one that opens the doorway to God’s grace into a person’s soul, initiating them into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word” (CCC 1213).
In normal circumstances, a bishop, priest or deacon is the ordinary minister of the sacrament. However, in an emergency, anyone can baptize a person who wants to be baptized.
In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation. (CCC 1256)
Most often this is seen in birthing centers, where newborn infants are quickly baptized by a nurse or doctor, when death appears imminent. In this particular case, the parents request this to be done (usually beforehand) and those administering baptism do so with the right intention. Sometimes a baby will recover, in which case the parish priest will perform additional rites surrounding the sacrament of baptism, as it is not possible to be baptized twice.
At the other end of the spectrum, adults who are dying can also be baptized if they request it, by anyone who is present. Fr. Paul de Ladurantaye explains in the Arlington Catholic Herald exactly how this is done.
In the case of necessity (e.g., the danger of death), the person who baptizes pours water three times over the candidate’s head, or immerses the candidate three times in water, while simultaneously pronouncing the baptismal formula: “N., I baptize you in the name of the Father (the minster pours water or immerses the first time), and of the Son (the minister pours water or immerses a second time), and of the Holy Spirit (the minister pours water or immerses a third time).” A lay person who administers an emergency baptism must at least have the intention to do what the Church does when baptizing. It is also desirable that, as far as possible, one or two witnesses to the baptism be present.
It must be kept in mind that this type of baptism performed by laypeople should only be administered to people in an emergency situation. If the person recovers and returns to full health, then that person should present themselves to the nearest parish and explain their situation so that they can be fully welcomed into the Catholic Church.
If a priest or deacon is available and able to come to the bedside of someone dying, then that option should be pursued first. However, if that is not an option and time does not allow an extensive search for an ordained minister, a layperson should step in.
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained