Take Time to be Aware
"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
"An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’
"The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all."
~Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196
Challenge: Visit those in Need. Visit a nursing home/someone alone or a sick neighbor.
“I was sick, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36)
By Father Donald Calloway, MIC
Another translation of this work of mercy is to “comfort” the sick. In all cases, the first step is reaching out to those in need. Whether they are physically ailing or “sick at heart” from social isolation, being forgotten, or missing the basic human need of friendship, just a visit can be healing. One beautiful aspect of this corporal act of mercy is that it does not require wealth, research, skills, experience, or even travel: There are lonely people near most of us in nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
You might still be wondering what you should do when you visit the sick. I know I did. I remember during my first year of seminary, I was on vacation and a neighbor came over and said that his elderly mother was on her deathbed. My neighbor asked me if I could “do something.” I told him I wasn’t a priest yet, but that I would be more than willing to visit with his mother. I really didn’t know what to do other than spend time visiting and praying with the family. What I discovered when I got there was that she was not at peace because she had not lived a holy life. My response was to turn to the Divine Mercy Chaplet and pray it by her bedside. Since the family did not know how to pray it, I prayed it out loud. What happened next was amazing. Right in front of all of us in the room, the dying woman went from torturous agony and fear of death to a peaceful and happy countenance. Immediately after the Divine Mercy Chaplet was finished, she passed away. I can’t help but think that the Lord took her soul to himself with a loving embrace at that very moment. To this day, the encounter remains one of the most powerful events I have ever experienced. It proved to me that visiting the sick and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them is extremely powerful.
Just being present and praying is all that is needed. Visit, sit with the person, and pray. That’s all there is to it!
What is Divine Mercy?
The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion
The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.
The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:
A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.
This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in this web site and other publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.
Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.
How to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
The Miracle of the Image – Ugo Festa
Ugo Festa was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1951. He was struck down at an early age with multiple sclerosis. Gradually his health deteriorated. This led to many other problems in his young life. By the age of 39, he was suffering from multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy. Early in 1990, his spine was becoming distorted and he was having seizures daily. He had been continually attending doctors since he first contracted the disease, but they could do nothing for him. He decided there was nothing left to try but prayer.
On the 28th April 1990, Ugo went with a pilgrimage to Rome. In his unfortunate situation, he was introduced to Mother Teresa who was in Rome at the time with a group whom he also became acquainted with. Ugo was invited along with this group to a retreat at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Trent, but he refused. On leaving, one of the group, a nun, gave him five copies of the Divine Image Picture and a Divine Mercy medal. The following day the 29th April 1990, Ugo wore the medal and carried in his arms the Images to be blessed to the papal audience at the Vatican. At the bottom of the steps to St. Peters the Holy Father passed by. Ugo asked him to bless his Divine Mercy pictures. After blessing the pictures the Pope asked him how he was.
Ugo told him he felt very despondent and was at a crisis in his life. The Holy Father said “How could you have a crisis with Jesus the Divine Mercy in your arms? Entrust yourself to him and pray to my Sr. Faustina to intercede.” With this advice Ugo changed his mind and decided that he would go to the the Divine Mercy Shrine in Trent.
At the side altar in the Villa O’Santissima Villazzano, Trent, there is a shrine to the Divine Mercy with a life size icon of the Divine Image. On the fourth day of praying in front of this icon Ugo suddenly noticed the arms of the Image stretched out to him and tremendous warmth flowed through his body. He found himself standing on his feet with his arms outstretched to the Lord and he heard himself loudly praising Jesus the Divine Mercy. He saw Jesus coming down to him, his white garment blowing as if in a breeze, he thought, “My God, this is the man from Galilee coming towards me”. He heard Jesus say in a clear voice, “Rise up and walk”. He began to walk. All his ailments were at that instant cured and he was more physically perfect than he had ever been in his life.
On August 19th, 1990, Ugo returned to the Vatican and during a Papal Audience at Paul VI Hall, was taken to meet Pope John Paul II again. He told him about the great grace he had received and thanked him for the words of inspiration which led him to Trent, and resulted in this great miracle of Divine Mercy. He gave Pope John Paul II a copy of the Divine Image, with the signatures on the back of the many people who witnessed the miracle on that day.
Ugo Festa thereafter devoted his life to Jesus, voluntarily working with disabled people and spreading the Message of Divine Mercy throughout Italy.