-EXCELLENT website recommendation Catholics Come Home with a MUST WATCH 2-minute video
- The Church speaks in quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in every e-weekly (in green).
-Divine Mercy and Last Hope of Salvation-Expansion of the Divine Mercy message for our world today (end of e-weekly)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
DIVINE MERCY Novena
"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him,
because he always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:25
A VERY BLESSED AND HAPPY EASTER! However looking into the Easter Season, the Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, an unfathomable gift of God that is explained in more detail at the end of this e-weekly. From Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday Jesus asked that a special novena (see term below) be offered which I include below in this week's e-mail.
We say we always want to do what God wants us to do; well this Novena makes God's will clear. We are to pray, obtain mercy, and be vessels of Mercy for these individuals especially listed in these 9-days of prayer, which is being perpetually offered at the above shrine.
Look over and please pray this novena, learn more about it and Divine Mercy! If things in the world and our lives seem to only be getting worse sometimes, then let us finally be convinced that only God can truly change me, change our lives, and change the world!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. > > > Readings
Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Reading 1 Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
We Are Forgetful Creatures
Novena (from Latin novéna "nine each" feminine use of singular of novenas; novem "nine")
- nine days of prayer for some intention or occasion
[Its origin goes back to the nine days that the Disciples and Mary spent together in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. In modern times the one before Pentecost was prescribed for parochial churches.]
Divine Mercy Novena (from Latin divinus "god, godly" + from Latin merces "price paid" = "price paid by God"; from Latin novéna "nine each" feminine use of singular of novenas; novem "nine")
- nine days of prayer from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter) in which special prayers are offered for special intentions revealed Jesus to all through St. Faustina Maria Kowalska
Divine Mercy (from Latin divinus "god, godly" + from Latin merces "price paid" = "price paid by God")
- the unfathomable ready willingness of God, Who feels sympathy for us, to reconcile the sinner; that which was revealed to all through St. Faustina Maria Kowalska
Divine Mercy Sunday (see above and from Old English sunnandæg, trans. of Latin diés sōlis "day of the sun")
- Second Sunday of Easter so named by Pope John Paul II in 2000 A.D.
Important things you DO NOT do during a flood
- DO NOT drive where the water is over the roads. Parts of the road may already be washed out.
- If your car stalls in a flooded area, DO NOT remain in the car. Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding. DO NOT try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. You could be swept away by strong currents.
- DO NOT sight-see in flooded areas and do not make unnecessary trips. Use the telephone only for emergencies or to report dangerous conditions.
Catholics Come Home
Have you been away from the Catholic Faith? Do you know those who have or have family members who no longer practice? This website is for you and them!
You can go to the above website to view and play an audio and visual introduction or go here:
http://catholicscomehome.org/ for a personalized encounter.
Catholic or not, practicing or not be sure to click here and watch this 2 minute video:
Click on English Version in middle of page
By Elise Harris and Martin Rothweiler
Vatican City, Apr 16, 2017 / 05:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA) -
Archbishop Gänswein has been Benedict's personal secretary since 2003, while the latter was still Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has remained close at Benedict's side throughout his papacy, resignation and his life of retirement.
In anticipation of Benedict XVI's 90th birthday, which this year falls on Easter Sunday, April 16, Gänswein gave a lengthy interview to EWTN.TV in German, sharing insights into how the Pope Emeritus plans to celebrate his birthday and highlights and personal memories of his pontificate.
Among other things, the archbishop recalls how Benedict handled his election, the frequently negative media-firestorm that enveloped much of his pontificate, his hope for what people take from his papacy as well as how he spends his days in retirement.
Please read below for the full interview with Archbishop Gänswein, conducted by the head of EWTN.TV Martin Rothweiler, and translated from the original German by EWTN’s Silvia Kritzenberger:
EWTN.TV: The question everyone's interested in is, of course: How is Pope Benedict? The Psalm says: “Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years.” That happens to be psalm 90. And now on the 16th of April, Pope Benedict will celebrate his 90th birthday! How is he?
Gänswein: Yes, indeed, on Easter Sunday he will turn 90! Considering his age, he is remarkably well. He is also in good spirits, very clear in his head and still has a good sense of humor. What bothers him are his legs, so he uses a walker for help, and he gets along very well. And this walker guarantees him freedom of movement and autonomy. So, for a 90-year old, he is doing pretty well – even though, from time to time, he complains of this or that minor ailment.
EWTN.TV: How will he celebrate his birthday?
Gänswein: On Easter Sunday, priority will of course be given to liturgy. On Easter Monday, in the afternoon, we will hold a small celebration. He wanted something not too exhausting, appropriate to his strengths. He didn't want to have a big celebration. That was never an option for him. A small delegation from Bavaria will come, the Mountain troops will come... The Bavarian Prime Minister will come to the monastery, and there we will hold a small birthday party in true Bavarian style!
EWTN.TV: Have you any idea if Pope Francis will come to see him?
Gänswein: That is quite likely. He will surely do so.
EWTN.TV: No one knows Pope Benedict better than you – apart from his brother Georg Ratzinger. How did you get to know Pope Benedict?
Gänswein: Actually, through literature. Back in the day, when I was just about to finish gymnasium, my parish priest gave me Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, urging me: “You absolutely have to read this! That's the future!” I said: “Okay, but have you read it?” “No,” he replied, “but you have to read it!” And I did. Later, when I started to study theology in Freiburg, and then in Rome, and then again back in Freiburg, I had practically read everything the then-professor and cardinal had written. But it was only 21, or maybe 22 years ago, that I finally met him in person here in Rome, when I was asked to become a collaborator of the Roman Curia … More concretely, I met him in the Teutonic College, that is, in the chapel, where Cardinal Ratzinger used to celebrate Mass for the German pilgrims every Thursday, joining us for breakfast. That was how the first personal contact with Cardinal Ratzinger came about, and since then we never lost that contact.
EWTN.TV: At some point, he decided to call you to his side. Why did his choice fall on you?
Gänswein: Well, you must know that I didn't come directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; my first employment was at the Congregation for Divine Worship. But when, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a German priest left after a certain period of time in order to go back to Germany, Ratzinger asked me to come. “I think you are suitable for the post, and I would like you to come,” he said to me. “If you agree, I would like to speak with the respective authorities.” And he did. That was how it came about that, in 1996, I entered the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post I held until 2003. Afterwards, he made me his Personal Secretary – which I still am, to this very day.
EWTN.TV: What was your first impression of him? What did you think when he called you to work closely with him?
Gänswein: My first thought was: Have I done something wrong? Don't I have a clean record? So I examined my conscience, but my conscience was clear. And then he said: “No, it is something that concerns your future. Something I think might be a good task for you. Consider it carefully!” Of course, I was very pleased that he thought I was capable of working in his entourage. It is indeed a very demanding task, one that requires all your strength.
EWTN.TV: Which personality traits and characteristics did you discover in him?
Gänswein: The same I had already discovered in his writings: a sharp intellect, a clear diction. And then, in his personal relations, a great clemency, quite the contrary of what he has always been associated with and still is, of what has always been said about him, when he was described as a “Panzerkardinal” (army tank Cardinal), someone rough – which he is not. On the contrary, he is very confident when dealing with others, but also when he has to deal with problems, when he has to solve problems, and, above all, in the presentation of the faith, the defense of the faith. But what moved me most, was to see how this man managed to proclaim our faith with simple, but profound words, against all odds and despite all hostilities.
EWTN.TV: What were the main issues on his agenda when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?
Gänswein: When I joined the Congregation, he was dealing with the encyclical letter Fides et Ratio, and then with Dominus Jesus, documents which date back to years when I was already part of the Congregation. Later, of course, it was also about religious dialogue – a subject he revisited and deepened also after he'd become Pope. And then the big issue of faith and reason. A whole chain of subjects, so to say, I could witness in person. And it was all highly interesting, and a great challenge, too.
EWTN.TV: It was Pope John Paul II who nominated Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. What kind of relationship did they have? What kind of relationship did Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, have with the Pope who was, as we now know, a holy man?
Gänswein: Cardinal Ratzinger, that is to say, Pope Benedict, had contributed with a relatively long essay to a small, but beautiful little book that was published on the occasion of the canonization of John Paul II. An essay, in which he describes his relationship with the holy Pope John Paul II – after all, they had worked closely together for 23 years – and the great admiration he has for him. He spoke of him very often. It is of course a great gift, an immense grace, to work for so long, and so intensely, side by side with a man like John Paul II, facing also many a storm together! And the then Cardinal Ratzinger had to take many blows for John Paul II, since the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clearly cannot be everybody's darling: He has to offer his back, so that he can take the blows that are actually meant for the Pope.
EWTN.TV: How strong was his influence on the pontificate of John Paul II?
Gänswein: I am convinced of the fact that the pontificate of John Paul II was strongly influenced and supported not only by the person of the then Prefect of the Congregation of Faith, but also by his thoughts and his actions.
EWTN.TV: Pope Benedict once said that he had learned and understood much of John Paul II when he watched him celebrate Mass; when he saw how he prayed, how very united he was with God, far beyond his philosophical and mental capacities. What do you think when you watch Pope Benedict celebrate Mass, when you might be present while he is praying?
Gänswein: In fact, that is something I see every day, but especially since the moment I became secretary to Pope Benedict. Before, I was already his secretary, but we didn’t live together. It did happen that we celebrated Mass together, of course. But from the very moment of his election, it was no longer a work communion, but also a communion of life. And the daily Mass has become part of this life, then and today. It is moving to watch Pope Benedict during Mass simply abandon himself to what is happening, even now, in his old days, with all the physical handicaps that come with it; to see how intensely he enters the depths of prayer, but also afterwards, during the thanksgiving in front of the tabernacle, in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As far as I am concerned, it makes me enter the depths of prayer. That is highly motivating, and I am very thankful that I was given the chance to have an experience like this.
EWTN.TV: 2005 is the year that marked the end of the long and public suffering and death of John Paul II. How does Pope Benedict XVI remember this moment today? After all, with his resignation, he has chosen to let his own pontificate end in a different way...How does he remember the suffering and the death of John Paul II?
Gänswein: I remember very clearly what he said to me when he made me his secretary. He said: “We two are interim arrangements. I will soon retire, and you will accompany me until that moment comes.” That was in 2003. Time passed by...and then came 2005. The interim arrangement lasts and lasts. And he was really looking forward to having some time off in order to be able to finish writing his book about Jesus. But then things turned out differently. And, well, I think that after the death of Pope John Paul II he had other plans, hoping that the new Pope would let him take his leave, entering his well-deserved retirement. But once again, things turned out differently: he became Pope himself, and the Lord took him up on his promise once again. He had plans, but there was another who had different plans for him.
EWTN.TV: Did he expect – or fear – that in any way?
Gänswein: He certainly did not expect it – but, at a certain point, he might have feared it. In this context, I always remember his first press conference (as Pope), where he described the 19th of April, the day of his election when, in the late afternoon, the ballot was so clear that it became obvious that he would be elected. Well, the image he used, the one of the guillotine, was a very strong one, and full of tension. And later, in Munich, referring to the image of the bear of St. Corbinian, he said that the bear was actually supposed to accompany the then-bishop Corbinian to Rome, and then return to where he had come from, whereas he, unlike the bear in the legend, couldn't go back, but has remained in Rome to this very day.
EWTN.TV: How was your first encounter, after he had become Pope? What did he say to you?
Gänswein: We had our first encounter in the Sistine Chapel, right under the Last Judgement. The cardinals had approached him and sworn obedience to him. And since I had been allowed to be present at the Conclave – Ratzinger, being the Deacon of the Cardinals, had the right to take a priest with him, and his choice had fallen on me – I was the last in the queue. There were others before me, I was the last. And in this very moment...I remember it so well…I can still see him, for the first time all dressed in white: white pileolus, white cassock, white hair – and all white in the face! Practically a whole small cloud of white...He sat there, and in this moment I granted the Holy Father my unconditional availability, promising him that I would always gladly do whatever he might ask of me; that he would always be able to count on me, that I would back him, and that I would gladly do so.
EWTN.TV: What were the joys of this pontificate? Usually, the burden of the Petrine ministry is what first comes to mind. But are there also moments, events, when you could feel the joy Pope Benedict experienced in carrying out his ministry?
Gänswein: There were, without any doubt, moments in which he felt utter joy, and also manifested it. I think, for example, of various encounters, not only during his travels. Encounters with the Successor of Peter are always special encounters; even here, during the General Audiences or the Private Audiences – and, in another, very special way, when he acts as officiant, that is, during the celebration of the Holy Mass or other liturgical celebrations. There were indeed moments full of joy, fulfilled with joy. And afterwards, he never failed to remark on it. It made him really happy.
EWTN.TV: Are there any events you remember particularly well, especially in connection with Pope Benedict’s visits to Germany, which we all remember vividly, for example the first World Youth Day?
Gänswein: Yes, well, the first encounter hadn't been brought about by Pope Benedict himself, but by John Paul II. And so, in 2005, as we all know, it was Benedict’s turn to travel to Cologne. It was surely something great, something really moving. It was the first time in his life he met such an immense crowd of young people, who were all waiting for him! How will it go? Will the ice break, will the ice melt? Or will it take some time? And how will we get along with one another? But there was no ice at all! It simply worked, right from the start! And I think, he himself was more surprised by it than the young people he met.
EWTN.TV: What are the key messages of his Pontificate? His first encyclical letter was Deus Caritas est, “God Is Love.” The second one was dedicated to hope; his third encyclical, the one on faith, was passed on to his successor who completed it. Don't you think that especially Deus Caritas est, so full of tenderness and poetic language, was something many didn't expect?
Gänswein: Yes, one has to say, he published three encyclical letters. And we must not omit Caritas in veritate, which is very important. In fact, the one about the third theological virtue, faith, fides, was then published under his successor: Lumen fidei. But these four encyclicals clearly contain a fundamental message that has moved him his whole life long; a message he wanted to bequeath to men, to the Church.
Another constant of Pope Benedict is a very important word, a very important element: joy, “la gioia,” in Italian. He always spoke of the joy of faith, not of the burden, the hardship, the weight of faith, but of the joy that comes with it. And he said that this joy is an important fruit of faith – and also the one thing that gives men wings; that this is how faith gives human life wings: wings which, otherwise without faith, man would never have.
Another important thing for him is – obviously – liturgy, that is to say the direct encounter with God. Liturgy does not represent something theatrical – it means to be called into a relationship with the living God. And then, in theology, we have the person of Jesus Christ: not a historical “something,” a historical person long lost in the past. No, through the scriptures and liturgy, Jesus Christ comes into this world, here and now, and above all: he also comes into my own life. These are the pearls Pope Benedict has bestowed upon us. And we should treat these pearls very carefully, just as we do with precious jewelry.
EWTN.TV: This joy of faith is something Benedict never lost, despite often even heavy media criticism. He never really was the media's darling, at least not as far as the German media are concerned. How did he account for that?
Gänswein: Well, I have to say, to me that is still a mystery. Whoever defends the truth of faith – to say it with Saint Paul – be it convenient or not, cannot always trigger joy. That is clear. Some essential things just aren't for sale, and then there's always a hail of criticism. But he has never answered to provocation, nor let himself be intimidated by criticism. Wherever the substance of the faith is at stake, he had no doubts, and always reacted explicitly, without any inner conflict whatsoever.
On other points, I have to say, there was a mixture of incomprehension, and also aggression, aggressiveness, that became like a clustered ball that consistently hit at the person of the Pope. The incomprehension of many, and especially the media, is still a mystery to me, something I have to take note of, but cannot sort out. I simply have no answer to it.
EWTN.TV: Pope Benedict was never shy about talking to journalists. In the introduction you wrote to the book Über den Wolken mit Papst Benedikt XVI. (Above the Clouds with Pope Benedict XVI), published to mark his 90th birthday – above the clouds, because it contains interviews often given during Papal flights – you state that these conversations reveal his particular cordiality, his often not understood or underestimated humanity...
Gänswein: Pope Benedict has never shunned away from personal contact with the media, with the journalists. And one great gift was that everything he says is well-worded, ready for printing. He was never shy about answering questions, even questions that were embarrassing – well, not embarrassing, but difficult. And that made it even more incomprehensible that it was exactly this corner from where the arrows came, where the fire was set – and for no clear reason at all. He, too, took notice of it. Of course, there were also things which offended, hurt him. Especially when it was clear to see that there was no reason at all, when you couldn't help asking yourself: why this snappish remark, this acrimonious presentation? Things like that would hurt anyone, that's only normal. But, on the other side, we also know that our measure is not the applause we get; our measure is inner righteousness, the example of the Gospel. That thought has always comforted him; it was the line of reasoning he has always pursued, until the end.
EWTN.TV: But was he also aware of the value of the media in the process of evangelization? After all, he has awarded the Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice to Mother Angelica, founder of our television network, which means he must really appreciate her! How did he judge the role of the media in the concrete work of evangelization?
Gänswein: The media are an important means; a means that will become ever more important, especially in our time. He has never failed to recognize the value of the media, of the work done by the media and those who are behind it. Because media work is done by people, not by “something.” Behind every camera, every written word, every book, there is a person, there are people he appreciated, whose work he appreciated, regardless of what sometimes had been used or said against him.
EWTN.TV: One cannot think of Pope Benedict without rekindling the memory of his resignation. That is not about to change, and will continue to be a subject that stirs people's interest. So I would like to ask you again: Did you see it coming? Was it clear to him that he would go down that road one day?
Gänswein: Well, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't see it coming. If and since when he started to nurture this thought, is something I don't know. The only thing I know is that he told me about it when the decision was already made. But I definitely didn't see it coming – and that made the shock for me even greater.
EWTN.TV: In his latest memoirs – I refer to the interview-book Last conversations with Peter Seewald – Benedict XVI makes it very clear that external pressure or adversities would never have made him resign. So this cannot have been the case…
Gänswein: That's right.
EWTN.TV: …So this is the final word that puts an end to the discussion on possible motives...
Gänswein: In another book – the penultimate project carried out with Peter Seewald in Castel Gandolfo – he had already answered the question whether or not a Pope could resign, in the affirmative. I don't know in how far he had, already then, considered resignation, stepping back from his office, an option for himself. When you start to have thoughts like that, you do it for a reason. And he has named these reasons very openly…and very honestly, too, one has to say: the waning of his forces, spiritual and physical. The Church needs a strong navigator, and he didn't have the feeling that he could be that strong navigator. That's why he wanted to put the faculty bestowed upon him by Jesus back into His hands, so that the College of Cardinals could elect his successor. So obviously, the pontificate of Benedict XVI will also go down in history because of his resignation, that is clear, inevitable...
EWTN.TV: I found it really moving to watch him deliver his last speech to the priests of the diocese of Rome, the one on the Second Vatican Council. In that moment, I couldn't help asking myself: Why does this man resign? There was clearly a spiritual force! It was an extemporaneous speech in which he exposed one more time his whole legacy, so to say, on the Second Vatican Council, expressing his wish it might one day be fulfilled...
Gänswein: In fact, that was in the Audience Hall. There was this traditional encounter, established many years ago, where the Pope, every Thursday after Ash Wednesday, met with the clergy of Rome, the clergy of his diocese. There were questions and answers, or even other forms of encounter. And in 2013, he was asked to talk about the Second Vatican Council, which he did. He delivered an extemporaneous speech in which he described, one more time and from his point of view, the whole situation and development of the Council, giving also his evaluation. It is something that will remain; something very important for the comprehension of the Second Vatican Council and Ratzinger's interpretation of it. As far as I know, up to this day there is no other theologian who has defended the documents of the Second Vatican Council on so many levels, and so intensely and cogently as he did. And that is very important also for the inner life of the Church and the people of God!
EWTN.TV: And I think it is safe to say that he contributed to the shaping of the Council...
Gänswein: In fact, being the consultor, the advisor of Cardinal Frings, he did have a part in it. Many of the theological contributions of the Cardinal of Cologne had actually been written by Professor Ratzinger. There are lots of documents where you can clearly see that. And there are also dissertations on this subject which investigate into the possible influence of the then-Professor Ratzinger.
EWTN.TV: Let's come back to the moment of his resignation, the very last hours. Whoever watched it on TV, was surely moved to see the helicopter departing for Castel Gandolfo. You, too, were visibly moved…And then, the final moment, when the doors in Castel Gandolfo closed. That was the moment when I – and I guess, many others – thought that we might never see Pope Benedict again. But then things turned out quite differently…
Gänswein: Yes, indeed, the farewell: the transfer to the heliport, the flight in the helicopter over the city of Rome to Castel Gandolfo, the arrival at the Papal Villa. And indeed, at 8 p.m. the closing of the doors. Before, Pope Benedict had delivered a short speech from the balcony, his farewell speech. And then? Well, the works in the monastery Mater Ecclesiae hadn't been finished yet, so the question was: where could he stay? And the decision was quickly taken: the best option would be Castel Gandolfo. There he will have everything he needs, since no one knows how long the works will last; so he can stay there as long as necessary.
And so two months later, he returned to Rome, and has been living in the monastery Mater Ecclesiae ever since. He himself had said that he would withdraw, going up to the mountain in order to pray. He didn't mean a withdrawal into private life, but into a life of prayer, meditation and contemplation, in order to serve the Church and his successor. His successor often told him that he shouldn't hide. He invites him often to important public liturgies, consistories like – I remember it well – the inauguration ceremony of the Holy Year on the 8th of December 2015.
He is present, even when no one sees him. But often he has been seen. He simply wants to be present, as much as possible, while remaining all the same invisible.
EWTN.TV: Many people wish to meet him, and he allows them to. Does he enjoy these encounters? I myself had the chance of a brief encounter with him. There are still many people who ask to see him.
Gänswein: Yes, there are many people who ask to meet him; and many are sad when this is not possible. But those who come, are all very happy, very glad. And the same goes for him. Every encounter is also a sign of affection, a sign, so to say, of approval. And human encounters always do us good.
EWTN.TV: Do some of these people also ask him for advice?
Gänswein: Definitely. I'm convinced of that. I'm never there, though; these encounters are private. Of course, he sometimes talks about it, we talk about those visits. There are indeed people who seek his advice on personal matters. And I'm convinced that the advice they receive is indeed good…
EWTN.TV: Does he still receive many letters? Who writes to him?
Gänswein: People he has known in the past. And also people I don't know, and he doesn't know, but who have clearly re-discovered him through literature. They express their gratitude, their happiness, but also their worries: people from all around the world. The people who write to him are very different; they do not belong to the same category, no: it's people of different ages, of different positions, from all walks of life, a complete mixture.
EWTN.TV: We have talked about “seeking advice:” Pope Francis, who is of a certain age himself, has always said that we should ask our grandparents for advice. Has Pope Francis ever asked Benedict for advice? What kind of relationship do they have?
Gänswein: Yes, indeed, in one of his interviews, Pope Francis is said to be happy about having a grandfather like Benedict – a “wise” grandfather: an adjective not to be omitted! And I am convinced that, as far as this is concerned, one thing or another will come up, or come out, from their contacts and encounters.
EWTN.TV: Your relationship with Benedict is a very close, very personal one. I don't know if it would be appropriate to talk about a relationship between father and son. Have you ever talked with him about your future?
EWTN.TV: It is known that you would love to engage in pastoral care, that you already do engage in pastoral care.
Gänswein: It was always like that: we didn't talk about it. Only the very moment he said that he would resign, he asked me to accept the office I still hold. It was his decision, and he hadn't talked with me about it beforehand. I was very skeptical, and remarked: “Holy Father, that might not be my thing. But if you think it is right for me, I will gladly and obediently accept it.” And he replied: “I do think so, and I ask you to accept.” That was the only time we talked about me and my future career.
EWTN.TV: What are the subjects you talk about? What are the issues that concern him in our world full of crises; what worries him about the situation of the Church?
Gänswein: Well, of course, Pope Benedict takes an interest in what happens in this world, in the Church. Every day, as the conclusion to the day, we watch the news on Italian TV. And he reads the newspapers, the Vatican press review. That is a large range of information. Often we also talk about actual issues that concern our world, about the latest developments here in the Vatican, and beyond the Vatican, or simply common memories regarding things happened in the past.
EWTN.TV: Is he very worried about the Church?
Gänswein: Of course, he has noted that the faith, the substance of the faith, is about to crumble, above all in his homeland, and that inevitably worries, troubles him. But he is not the kind of man – he never was and never will be – who will have the joy taken away from him! On the contrary: he brings his worries to his prayers, hoping that his prayers will help to put things right.
EWTN.TV: He brings them to his prayers and surely also to Holy Mass. On Sundays, he delivers homilies, and is also keeping notes. What happens to these notes?
Gänswein: Well, it is true that Pope Benedict comments on the Gospel. He does so every Sunday, and most of the time only in the presence of the (consecrated laywomen of) “Memores Domini” and myself. Sometimes there might also be a visitor, or – should I not be there – a fellow priest who will then concelebrate. His homilies are always extemporaneous. It is true, he has a sermon notebook, and he takes notes. And I have been asking myself the same question: what happens to these notes? Of course we will keep a record of them. I would like to ask him one day if he could take a look at the notes we have, in order to approve them. I don't know, though, if that day will ever come.
EWTN.TV: Pope Benedict is undoubtedly one of the greatest theologians...as far as of our century is concerned, he surely is! He has been referred to as the “Mozart of theology.” In your introduction to the already mentioned book Über den Wolken mit Papst Benedikt XVI (Above the Clouds with Pope Benedict XVI) you wrote: “Pope Benedict XVI is a Doctor of the Church. And he has been my teacher up to this day.” What have you learned from him, maybe even in the last weeks?
Gänswein: As I already said, my theological thinking started with the reading of Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity. The theological teacher who accompanied my theological studies, and the time that followed, has always been the theologian Ratzinger, and still is. Being given the chance to meet him in person, to learn from his personal example, is of course an additional gift, something unexpected, and I am very grateful for that. I know it is a grace – a grace for which I will thank the Lord every single day.
EWTN.TV: So what could be, in your opinion, the lesson Pope Benedict would like us to learn from his pontificate?
Gänswein: His great concern was that the faith could evaporate. And it is surely his greatest wish that every man be in direct relationship with God, the Lord, with Christ, and that we might dedicate to this relationship our time, strength and affection. Whoever does that, will prove the same sentiment Benedict has in mind when he talks about “joy.” I think the greatest gift would be, if men allowed his proposal or what moved him, to become part of their lives.
EWTN.TV: Our wish to you: could you please assure Pope Benedict also in the name of our viewers, of our thankfulness, our sentiments of appreciation, and convey him our heartfelt best wishes for his 90th birthday! And thank you so much for this conversation!
Gänswein: Thank you. I will gladly convey your wishes, and thank you for having me!
by Elise Harris
"Today's liturgy teaches us that the Lord has not saved us by his triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles," the Pope said March 20.
Instead, in the day's second reading from St. Paul to the Philippians, the apostle "epitomizes in two verbs the path of redemption: Jesus 'emptied' and 'humbled' himself."
These two verbs, Francis said, "show the boundlessness of God's love for us. Jesus emptied himself: he did not cling to the glory that was his as the Son of God, but became the Son of man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet he was without sin."
Jesus chose to take on the condition of a servant rather than that of a king or a prince, the Pope observed, adding that "the abyss" of Jesus' humiliation seems to be "bottomless" as Holy Week approaches.
However, just as he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, Jesus also wants to enter our lives and cities in the same way, Francis said. "He comes to us in humility; he comes in the name of the Lord."
Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square for his Palm Sunday Mass.
Before opening the celebration, he blessed the palms used in the day's liturgy from the obelisk in St. Peter's Square, and led a procession up to the main altar.
After listening to the lengthy account of Jesus' Passion and Death from the Gospel of Luke, Francis told attendees that the first sign of Jesus' humble and endless love in Holy Week is expressed in the washing of his disciples' feet on Holy Thursday.
By washing their feet, Jesus shows us by example "that we need to allow his love to reach us, a love which bends down to us," he said.
"We cannot do any less, we cannot love without letting ourselves be loved by him first, without experiencing his surprising tenderness and without accepting that true love consists in concrete service."
However, Francis noted that this act is "only the beginning," and that Jesus' humiliation reaches its climax during his Passion, when he is sold for 30 pieces of silver and betrayed by the kiss of a man whom he had chosen and called as his disciple, and whom he called a friend.
In addition to Judas' betrayal, Jesus is abandoned by nearly all the rest of his disciples, he is denied by Peter three times, and is humiliated by mockery, spitting, insults and physical beatings.
Jesus "suffers in his body terrible brutality: the blows, the scourging and the crown of thorns make his face unrecognizable," the Pope said, noting how Jesus was also shamed by the condemnation of religious and political leaders.
In being sent from Pilate to Herod and then back to the Roman governor, Jesus experiences indifference "in his own flesh," because "no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate," Francis observed.
Even the crowd, who had previously welcomed him, call for his crucifixion and ask that a murderer be released instead, the Pope recalled. This then leads to Jesus' death in the "most painful form of shame" intended for traitors, slaves and the worst of criminals.
However, as if his isolation, defamation and pain weren't enough, Jesus takes it a step further, Pope Francis said, explaining that in order to be in complete solidarity with man, "he also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father."
Jesus faces his final temptation while hanging from the Cross, when he is challenged to come down and save himself. Though instead of giving in, the Lord entrusts himself to his Father in order to conquer evil for good and show the face "of a powerful and invincible God," he said.
Francis explained that even at "the height of his annihilation, (Jesus) reveals the true face of God, which is mercy," by forgiving those who crucify him, moving the heart of the centurion and promising paradise to the repentant thief.
"If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell," the Pope said.
Jesus, he added, "takes upon himself all our pain that he may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred."
Pope Francis concluded his homily by noting how God's way of acting seems to be distant from our own, since "he was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little."
"He comes to save us; we are called to choose his way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves," he said, and encouraged attendees to pause during Holy Week to contemplate the Crucifix.
By humbling himself, Jesus invites us to walk the same path, Francis said, urging pilgrims to ask him "for the grace to understand something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this week."
After Mass Pope Francis greeted youth present for the 31st World Youth Day, the national celebration of which will take place July 25-31 in Krakow, and led pilgrims in praying the Angelus.
"Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly."
When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercyfor pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1456
Cats Are SmarterCats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.
How to Shock a Time TravelerIf someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared, what would be the most difficult thing to explain about life today? One answer: “I possess a device in my pocket that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.”
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?'
'No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'
A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!'
While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray,
'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!'
An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.'
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On each of the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Sign of the Cross.
Divine Mercy Novena
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in theGarden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
DAY 1 (Good Friday) - All mankind, especially sinners
DAY 2 (Holy Saturday) - The souls of priests and religious
DAY 3 (Easter Sunday) - All devout and faithful souls
DAY 4 (Easter Monday) - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
DAY 5 (Easter Tuesday) - The souls of separated brethren
DAY 6 (Easter Wednesday) - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
DAY 7 (Easter Thursday) - The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
DAY 8 (Easter Friday) - The souls who are detained in purgatory;
DAY 9 (Easter Saturday) - The souls who have become lukewarm.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy may also be offered each day for the day's intention, but is not strictly necessary to the Novena.
"Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me."
Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
"Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,
and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind."
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard -- upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun "us" since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use.
"Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."
Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
"Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,
I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "the pagans." Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.
"Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion."
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 those who have separated themselves from Your Church. 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 those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by 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 His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "heretics and schismatics," since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council's Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord's inspirations and orders, she declared: "I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus " I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me" (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.
Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.
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 of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they 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 hearts, overflowing with joy, sing 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 that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.
*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is "victim" souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes "every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,"we recommend the "active" souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.
"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice."
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.
"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.
"It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."-Catechism of the Catholic Church #393
There was a girl named Elena who lived in Poland during the early part of the 20th century. While at a dance during her teenage years, Jesus Christ on the Cross appeared to Elena. Bleeding and bruised He appealed to her with the words, "How long must I wait for you?" This being the final confirmation that God was calling her to follow Him by being a nun, Elena left the dance immediately going to a nearby church to pray. Without even returning home, Elena then went to the city of Crawcow so that Jesus would not have to wait anymore. And the world has never been the same as Elena, later known as Saint Faustina Maria Kowalska, brought the world: Divine Mercy!
Friends, we are now in the time of great joy called the Easter Octave. The Easter Octave is the 8-day extension of Easter Sunday. It is as if all this time is one big EASTER SUNDAY. The Easter Octave extends until the Second Sunday of Easter, which is now called Divine Mercy Sunday. The Easter Octave is like eight Sundays day after day to celebrate the key of our Faith, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
There were three individuals in the early 20th century who lived at the same time, in the same country (Poland), and at one time, were no further than 15 miles away from each, though they never met face to face. Divine Mercy (that is, the Love of God manifested) enveloped them, and Consecration to Mary infused them with zeal. Because of their abandonment to Jesus, the world has never been the same. Their names are St. Faustina Maria Kowalska-the Apostle of Divine Mercy; St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe-Founder of the Militia Immaculatae; and Pope John Paul the Great.
Jesus Christ appeared to St. Mary Faustina many times in her life as she records in her diary called Divine Mercy in My Soul. St. Maximilian spread the message that Jesus gave, and Pope John Paul II received that message and fulfilled Christ Jesus's will by proclaiming Divine Mercy Sunday in the great Jubilee Year of 2000.
The details of Divine Mercy Sunday can be found below. The second website is about the message of Divine Mercy, the third website is about St. Maximilian Kolbe, and the fourth is more on the life of Saint Mary Faustina:
May the Divine Mercy envelope us all!
"The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands". By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy". By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that 'I AM'." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #211
The Last Hope of Salvation
First published April 11th, 2007.
THE FEAST OF WHAT?
THIS coming Sunday, the eighth day in the Octave of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Many Catholics still have no idea what this is. which as you'll see, is a tragedy.
According to Saint Faustina's diary, Jesus said of this Feast day:
I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. -Diary of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, n. 965
The "last hope of salvation"? One might be tempted to dismiss this along with other dramatic private revelation-except for the fact it was Pope John Paul II who inaugurated the Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday according to this private revelation! (See Part II for a complete understanding of Diary entry 965 which does not restrict salvation to Divine Mercy Sunday.)
Consider these other facts:
. After he was shot in 1981, Pope John Paul asked that the diary of St. Faustina be entirely re-read to him.
. JPII instituted the Divine Mercy Feast in the year 2000. at the beginning of the millennium which he considered the "threshold of hope."
. St. Faustina wrote: "From [Poland] will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming."
. In 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love, John Paul II said,
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter's See in Rome, I consider this message [of Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God. -JPII, November 22, 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy
. During a 1997 pilgrimage to St. Faustina's tomb, JPII testified:
The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me. [it] forms the image of this pontificate.
Forms the image of his pontificate! And it was spoken at the tomb of St. Faustina, whom Jesus called His "Secretary of Divine Mercy."
. And as a rather dramatic exclamation point from Heaven, the Pope died in the beginning hours of the Feast of Divine Mercy.
The other title I considered for this article was "When God hits us on the head with a hammer." How can the significance of this Feast escape us when we consider these facts? How can bishops and priests fail to preach, then, the message of Divine Mercy which the Pope considered his "task before God", and therefore, the task of all those in communion with him?
AN OCEAN OF PROMISES
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. -Ibid. n. 699
Some pastors ignore this Feast because "there are other days, such as Good Friday, when God remits sins and punishment under similar conditions." That's true. But that's not all Christ said of Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus is promising to "pour out a whole ocean of graces."
On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. -Ibid.
What Jesus is offering is not just forgiveness, but incomprehensible graces to heal, deliver, and strengthen the soul. I say incomprehensible, because this devotion has a special purpose. Jesus said to St. Faustina:
You will prepare the world for My final coming. -Ibid. n. 429
If that is so, then this opportunity for grace has paramount significance for the Church and for the world. This is indicated with a certain urgency when Jesus says to Faustina:
Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of my justice, is near. -Ibid. n. 965
TIME OF MERCY
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. In one of her apparitions, the children witnessed an angel hovering above the world about to strike the earth with a flaming sword. But a light emanating from Mary stopped the angel, and justice was delayed. The Mother of Mercy was able to implore God to grant the world a "time of grace."
We know this because Jesus appeared a short time later to a Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska to "officially" announce this time of grace:
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. -Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1160, 1588.
Christ's words further indicate the proximate times we are living in, as foretold in Scripture:
Before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day [.] it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:20-21)
As I wrote in Prophetic Perspective, God is patient, allowing His plan to come to fruition, even over the course of generations. However, this does not mean His plan cannot enter its next phase at any moment.
The signs of the times tell us that it could be "soon."
TODAY IS THE DAY
"Today is the day of salvation," says Scripture. And this Sunday is the Day of Mercy. It was asked for by Jesus, and made so by John Paul the Great. We should be shouting to the world at this point-for an ocean of graces is to be poured out, and it is only hours away.
This is what Christ promised on Divine Mercy Sunday:
I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. -n. 1109
And so, the Holy Father has granted a plenary indulgence ("complete pardon") under the following conditions:
.a plenary indulgence [will be] granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!") -Apostolic Penitentiary Decree, Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy; Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Tit. Archbishop of Nova Major Pro-Penitentiary;