Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Divine Mercy: God’s love, God’s presence, God’s compassion

When John Paul beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 2003, he said of her, in part:

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.jpg“As you did to one of the least of these my brethren,
you did it to me” (Mt 25: 40). This Gospel passage, so crucial in
understanding Mother Teresa’s service to the poor, was the basis of her
faith-filled conviction that in touching the broken bodies of the poor she was
touching the body of Christ. It was to Jesus himself, hidden under the
distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, that her service was directed.
Mother Teresa highlights the deepest meaning of service – an act of love done
to the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners (cf. Mt 25: 34-36)
is done to Jesus himself
.


Recognizing him, she ministered to him with
wholehearted devotion, expressing the delicacy of her spousal love. Thus, in
total gift of herself to God and neighbor, Mother Teresa found her greatest
fulfillment and lived the noblest qualities of her femininity. She wanted to be
a sign of “God’s love, God’s presence and God’s compassion,” and so remind all
of the value and dignity of each of God’s children, “created to love and be
loved.” Thus was Mother Teresa “bringing souls to God and God to souls” and
satiating Christ’s thirst, especially for those most in need, those whose
vision of God had been dimmed by suffering and pain.

Divine Mercy: Jesus bending over our humanity

Divine Mercy is a not a mere theological datum. It is another way of calling God, of meeting and loving God and living in relation to others. But is Divine Mercy? Blessed  John Paul II spoke of Divine Mercy in his canonization homily for Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. She became a modern mirror for God’s tremendous love for all humanity. Saint Faustina reminds us that Mercy is crucial for everyone, just ask for the grace of Mercy. An excerpt:

St Faustina Kowalska.jpgWhat will the years ahead bring us? What will man’s
future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that
in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful
experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to
return to the world through Sr Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for
the men and women of the third millennium.


However, as the Apostles once did,
today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen
Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats:  Peace be
with you! Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Spirit given
to it by the risen Christ
. It is the Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart,
pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one
another, and at the same time, restores the joy of the Father’s love and of
fraternal unity.

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Preparing for (real) Christian life

Good question: how does one prepare one self for Christian living? I’d suggest 

  • look for ways to grow in virtue by practice and asking for the grace from Jesus;
  • reduce time sitting in front of the TV, vedging-out; drinking, and eating bad food;
  • be aware of the ways in which self-ish behavior is the norm and make changes;
  • spend time doing lectio divina, praying the rosary and praying for enemies one’s conversion;
  • seek ways to be generous, self-sacrificing by offer a sincere gift of self, self mastery relationship with the Lord.
Many come to a conversion of life from within marriage (and some through religious vows and priesthood) but how we live our life right now is the question; it is also a matter of formation that will bear fruit later in life. Ask for the grace to live a real Christian life.

Is the Pope’s Irish proposal reasonable?

Haven’t been thinking of the Pope’s letter to the Church in Ireland regarding the sexual abuse problems in a while? Let’s start thinking anew: the year of prayer that the Pope asked for is coming to an with Easter. I’d like to know what’s different.


No one I know takes issue with what the Pope has been doing with the sexual abuse matters. That may be a point of criticism of me and my friends, but I don’t have all the answers to such a complex issue such as pedodphilia and ephebophilia and I tend to lean toward diagnosing the problem not merely from psychological and sociological criteria but most importantly from spiritual criteria. What does one do with sin in one’s spiritual life? My experience with secular and religious clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and of course the laity, is that there is lots of mediocre spiritual lives in the Catholic; I might even argue for an acceptance that there are a lot of spiritually dead men of the cloth pastoring souls today. Since the Pope’s March letter to Ireland of a year ago I have been thinking and praying about the matter, as you have you some concrete initiatives to address the situation, in addition to a special investigation into the way certain dioceses took responsibility for the crimes.



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We remain images of Christ, no matter what happens…

A perplexing issue of one’s faith is accepting that no matter what we do, no matter who we become, we remain a son or daughter of God. There is no unforgivable sin except the sin of presumption against the Holy Spirit. We can do the most heinous of things, even deny God’s existence, we remain in Christ’s reach for mercy in His washing us with His own Precious Blood. History has several good examples of people doing terrible things to others and destabilizing society, but is it impossible to have mercy on these people? The question eventually becomes: Can a person who does evil things be forgiven and saved? Is forgiveness outside the realm of possibility for God, for us? If not for God, why is it that we find so difficult to be merciful toward others?


As scripture say, all have sinned and fallen short of
God’s glory (Rom 3:23) so that all of us are at some time in our lives
potentially (and unfortunately all too actually) capable of real evil. Yet no
matter how depraved people may become, they remain always images of Christ the
true Image of God. That image-quality may be soiled, tarnished, obscured and
disfigured, but is never wholly lost, never totally destroyed.

The more we
commit sin the more we weave a web around ourselves, voluntarily blocking out
his light. That is why in the incarnation God punched a hole in our self-woven
cocoon and thrust in a hand to drag us out: that is why Christ descended into
our hell of God-forsakeness – so that we could not go on pretending to
ourselves – and in that way justifying our own ghastliness to ourselves and
others.

Meeting Christ in His Mysteries
Father Gregory Collins, OSB

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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