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Divine Mercy Sunday

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday! (April 23, 2017)  The Sunday after Easter.  Don’t let this beautiful opportunity pass you by.  If you go to Confession, Communion and praying for the Intentions of the Pope (saying an Our Father and a Hail Mary), you will receive a plenary indulgence.  This plenary indulgence rids us of our sins and also our punishment for those sins after our death.  This is Jesus’ Mercy.  Learn the small phrase, “Jesus, I trust in You.”  It is in this trust we have for Him that He gives us His oceans of Mercy.  We certainly don’t deserve His Mercy but He wants to step forward to us and give us that Mercy and help our unbelief.  We can’t be like St. Thomas, needing to put our fingers in the nail holes before we believe.  We need to have child-like hearts of trust and have faith in His power and Mercy.  Even though the doors to our hearts are locked, Jesus will come in and love us.

Check out this video by Chris Stefanick about Mercy.  Click on the video called Ocean of Mercy.

Check on the What is Divine Mercy page or the Divine Mercy page for more information.

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What is Divine Mercy?

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness.  Jesus came to Sister Faustina in Poland in the 1920’s and 30’s asking her to write down His words for the world.  He asks for everyone to come to Him and ask forgiveness and if possible come to Reconciliation.  He wants us to repent and come back to Him.  She became His “Secretary”, keeping journals of His visits to her and His words during that time.  The picture below is the picture of Divine Mercy.  The rays from Jesus’ heart represent Blood and Water.  The white rays represent Baptism and Reconciliation.  The red rays represent the Eucharist and the Blood He shed for us. St. Faustina was canonized as a saint in the year 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

The Sunday after Easter is the Divine Mercy Sunday.   “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.  On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow.  Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.”  (Jesus’ words in the Diary 699)  We get our sins forgiven in Confession but we don’t stop to think about the punishment for our sins.  If one of our children smashes a window, we can forgive them but they still will be grounded for doing it and may have to work to pay for the damage.  They need to learn from their mistakes.  God deals with us the same way, as a Father would.  It doesn’t mean we would go to hell but we may spend time in Purgatory for it.  If we go to Divine Mercy Sunday and do what’s required, we not only have that sin forgiven but the punishment will be gone too.

Jesus gave us the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  This is a devotional prayer said on beads like the rosary but it’s said to Jesus.  This prayer helps us to accept His mercy and to be perfected in it.  The best time to say it is 3:00 pm because that’s the time Jesus died.

Check out the two links on the Links page for Divine Mercy and the Diary of St. Faustina.

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Jesus, I trust in you.

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Why do Catholics go to Reconciliation/Confession?

One of the seven sacraments is called Reconciliation or Confession.  Catholics have a gift that can be found no where else, going to Confession.  In Confession, we go in to the Confessional and receive great blessings and graces from God in this sacrament.  These graces help us to perfect our virtues and to detach ourselves from sin.  The priest sits in Persona Christi, or in the person of Christ.  This means that the priest acts as Christ on earth.  This doesn’t mean he’s God, he’s doing what Jesus would do and he’s also acting on the authority of Jesus.  Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins.  ” I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19  This authority is only given through the Catholic Church passed down through Jesus.  Contrary to beliefs in other churches, this is not a valid authority in other denominations.

Can’t I just go directly to God for forgiveness?  You can for smaller sins, if your life is in danger, or you can ask for forgiveness directly from God but if you go to Confession, you will receive so much more.  You will receive large amounts of grace to resist sin and you will also be affirmed hearing the priest say the words of absolution.  God and Jesus meant for all to go to Reconciliation and to benefit from the sacrament by putting it into place through the apostles.

When we go into the Confessional, we can either sit facing the priest or we can go behind a screen in anonymity.  We make the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me father for I have sinned.  It’s been ( how many months or years) since my last confession and these are my sins.  (State your sins here and their severity or frequency)  For these sins and the sins I can’t remember, I am sorry for.”  At this point, the priest counsels the person on the sins and gives them penance, then absolves them of their sins.  The words of absolution are very comforting to hear and you have a sense of relief that your sins are gone.  You don’t get that when you confess to a minister of a different church.

The Seal of the Confessional is the absolute vow that the priest will not reveal what is discussed in the confessional.  Even if a person confesses they committed a grave sin, that sin cannot be revealed to anyone else.  The priest can’t even reveal anything if they are subpoenaed to court.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God.  When we go to Reconciliation, we “Reconcile” with God again because we repent and amend our lives, detaching ourselves from sin.

Penance is given by the priest to maybe help us with understanding a teaching or some prayers.  Penance is meant to “make up” or in reparation to God for what we have harmed with our sins.

Reconciliation/Confession is a wonderful gift from God to people who want to rid themselves of the shame, guilt and burden of sin.  You can walk out of the Confessional feeling refreshed, lighter, relieved and knowing the true gift of God’s mercy when we really don’t deserve it.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

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What are the Chief Truths Taught by Jesus?

We can find the chief truths taught by Jesus in the Catholic Church found in the Apostles’ Creed.

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

These are the chief truths of the Catholic Church.  More explanation is below.

Jesus taught us that God is: all knowing, almighty, all-good.  These are God’s perfections that we praise.  He is the Supreme Being, eternal, and all-present (everywhere).  Jesus taught us that the Trinity is three Divine Persons but one God.

When we say hell in the Apostles’ Creed, we mean “the place where the good souls were waiting until heaven was reopened by Christ”.  We don’t mean the place of the damned.(The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism)

When we say that we believe in the Holy Catholic Church, we mean that Jesus chose and gave the power to Peter to be the first Pope. The successor of St. Peter is the Holy Father, the Pope now.  Jesus gave the power to teach, to sanctify and to rule the Church. “The Church is the congregation (body) of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice and the same sacraments, under the Holy Father, the Pope.” (Baltimore Catechism)  There is only one Church with one head, the Pope.  This is how Jesus founded it.

The Communion of Saints is our family of saints and deceased loved ones who all pray for us, intercede for us and are our family in heaven.

The power to forgive sins was given to Peter and the apostles only and is offered through Confession in the Church.  The power was not given to anyone except the apostles and their successors.  That means that other churches/pastors do not have this Jesus-given power because they broke succession.

Resurrection of the body means that our bodies will be resurrected up when Jesus comes which means that we should take special care of our bodies after death.  If we have received the Eucharist during our life, we are the tabernacle of the Lord.  We should not be cremated if we can help it and if we are, our ashes are not to be scattered; instead they should be buried right away and not left on someone’s mantle.  Our bodies should be blessed and have a proper funeral in the Church.

Life everlasting is what Jesus promised us if we ate of His Body and Blood, the Eucharist in John 6.  This is what Jesus instituted.  This is what the Mass is about.  This is the core of Catholicism.  If we don’t eat of it, then we have “no life within us.” John 6.

If you believe this, then you are on your way to being Catholic.

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A Letter Written Just for You

I felt a strong pull to write this letter.  It didn’t come from me.  I was just the pencil to write it.

Dear Child of God,

I am writing this letter to you because you are so special in the eyes of God.  He loves you more than you could ever know here on earth.  Even if you have turned your back on Him, He still loves you and will welcome you back with open arms.  Jesus wants to wipe your every tear away.  He sees your tears as precious diamonds that He cherishes because He knows your fears, your anguish, your anger and your pain.

If you are reading this letter, Jesus has led you to it and wants you to find His church, have an intimate relationship with Him and to learn to love Him as He has loved you since the beginning of time.  When He was at the rock praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He saw you, He saw all of your sins and He saw you coming back to Him.  The blood He sweat on His brow was from His very love for you.  This love for you gave Him the strength to go through with the crucifixion and beating He endured.  He loves you that much!  He doesn’t want to lose you to sin and He wants you in Heaven with Him.

Keep your eyes on the truth and keep your eyes on Him.  This will never fail you.  Even if it feels strange, let Him lead you to the truth.  Don’t try to drive the ship, let Him lead you.  Put your trust in Him and tell Him that you trust Him.  Keep your heart open to the truth and allow Jesus to transform your heart to His will.  You will never be sorry for following this path.  It will open up a whole new world for you and things will become crystal clear for you.

Jesus loves you as a precious child of God.