Monday, November 23, 2015

Are You Ready for the Year of Mercy?

When we had the year of the Rosary, (2002-2003), everyone pretty much knew what to do. Pray the rosary. Learn the mysteries.  Contemplate the role of Mary as model for our spiritual life.

When we had the year of the Eucharist (2004-2005), again, most people could figure out...go, receive the Eucharist, contemplate Christ's incarnation, go to adoration, recognize that the bread and wine are not mere bread and wine, be awake to the graces and great gift we've been given in receiving our Lord into our own selves.

In 2012, when we celebrated the Year of Faith, I made a a list.  I know, I often make lists, but it's a useful tool and so it's how I roll.

This is the year of Mercy.

What do you do for a year to contemplate God's mercy?

1) Study the scripture.  "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13.   God wants us home. That's His whole plan in a nutshell, to love us and lavish us with grace until we drop our nets and begin the walk to our father's house.  One great source I've been enjoying this year is My Catholic Daily Bible.  I have it on my kindle, and read while I work out at the gym.

2) Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  There's a great song version here, but I find my mind wanders when I just listen so I use the Laudate app which has an interactive rosary component.   I also have Saint Faustina's Diary.  If you get it, it's a pretty thick book so it will take you through the whole year.

3) Give alms.  Charity of the body mirrors charity of the heart.  Today's gospel talks about the widow's mite.   Giving of yourself requires a sublimation of spirit, of want, in favor of the other.  Perhaps this year, resolve to do with less, and to give more.  Build to 10% by starting this month, December, by giving 1%...then 2% in February, and let the Holy Spirit lead you on.

4) Fasting.  Part of mercy is seeking to repair the wounds of the world caused by sin.  Mercy, forgiveness and grace are the balms for those wounds.  Fasting is a form of prayer, with a mindful intent toward begging for particular graces of healing.

5) Confession  You knew this was part of the Year of Mercy. The whole reason we need a Year of Mercy is, we need mercy.  The sacrament is one of mercy.  None of us deserve Heaven.  None of us deserve God's love.  We get it gratis, without tags or cost.  But that just means, we should be all the more grateful for a King that wants to wipe out all our debt.  Run to Him.

Here's a great talk on the sacrament of Reconciliation and an equally excellent one on Forgiveness.

I won't be blogging this week much --getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Have a blessed week.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Small Success Thursday

Every Thursday except last week when I spaced, you can find me over at...

Today, we talk about stopping time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Be Part of the Mercy

Nothing makes the idea of praying for your enemy seem more absurd than recognizing, you have an enemy.   Watching the attacks unfold in Paris, it's hard not to want to find the people responsible, and give them what they've given.  

But if we want a world that is not burning with rage, we will have to be better than that. I read Cardinal Parolin's talk about going on the Spiritual Offense with Mercy.  I thought, that is the best way to battle the incivility of the age.   This doesn't mean being syrupy or saccharine or a doormat.  Mercy is at its core, a radical muscular decision to turn the other cheek. It is Christ on the Cross saying, "Father, forgive them."

So I hope no government will change their political policy toward the oppressed and afflicted because some people who share a religion in name, but not in practice, tried to make the world burn.

 If you want to know how to engage in spiritual battle against the type of thinking that imagines and enacts such evil acts as took place last week in France and Beruit on the 12th, and in other places, I recommend Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble's article on the subject.

Knowing a few people in Paris, I sent an email when the attack first happened.  My contact wrote back how grateful she was for the show of support from around the world for the people of Paris, and how it heartened her on a dark day when it seemed, humanity favored letting the world burn.  Little gestures matter.  It is an incarnational reality of being human.  We understand when someone loves us by their words and their actions.  It means something to my son to see his siblings cheering as he runs.  They can't make him run one second faster. They can do nothing to affect the outcome of his efforts, except to encourage.   It still matters.

So pray, fast, give alms, welcome a refugee if you have the courage and the means..  When a great evil is inflicted on the world, the world cries out, "It shouldn't be this way." and the world is correct, because it was created to be something far more beautiful.   Lastly, if you're still feeling protective, still feeling nervous and concerned, "We don't help refugees because they are Christian. We help them because we are Christian. Are there microscopically small risks if we do? Yes. But there are astronomicaly graver and more certain consequences if we refuse: "Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me..."    

 To be charitable involves risk. It must. It's not misleading to say, we are called to be the good Samaritan. What it is, is difficult, which is why many of us, move to the other side of the road, or pretend we don't see the man left by thieves. It's not a lecture to recall Christ's words to us, when we ask the question, "Who is my neighbor?" in an attempt to justify ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit calling us to action, and our fallen will, wrestling with whether it will hear and answer, or ignore and walk by.

The world will be on fire one way or another, on fire with hate or love.  Be part of that beauty, and the world will shine with mercy.

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