SPIRITUAL FORMATION: Mercy Within Mercy Within Mercy by Christine M. Bochen

July 20, 2017

(Presidential Address – ITMS Seventh General Meeting June 7, 2001) Epiphanies of Mercy Christians, who celebrate annually the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, know that an epiphany is a manifestation of the divine in our midst. Epiphany is revelation. Mercy, Thomas Merton writes in the opening paragraph of The Climate of Mercy, is the “epiphany of hidden truth and of God’s redeeming Love.” Mercy is a “revelation of God,” a revelation of God’s very Self – “as Love, as Creator and Father, as Son and Savior, as Life-Giving Spirit.” Mercy is not an intellectual deduction; it is a happening: “an event in which God reveals himself to us [...]

SACRIFICE: The Raven’s Fate

March 2, 2017

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole Earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the [...]

FORGIVENESS: Role Reversal At Tables—Jesus, a Pharisee, and a Sinful Woman by John T. Carroll

January 26, 2017

From Luke: A Commentary Jesus, the man with the well-earned reputation of enjoying a good meal and befriending sinners, finds himself in a banquet setting where he can befriend the righteous.  At the home of a Pharisee, however, the unexpected appearance of a woman with her own reputation in the town – as a sinner – turns the occasion into another display of feasting and embracing, and being embraced by, a sinner.  The twin themes of inside-out role reversal and divergent responses to Jesus continue, bound up with differing views of his identity.  Jesus defends the uninvited guest who honors him and criticizes the righteous host who finds fault with him.  Within the realm of God, honor and virtue are not what, in polite company, [...]

A CLOUD OF WITNESSES: Prayer And The Christian Way Of Life (Part Four) by Claire E. Wolfteich

October 27, 2016

From Lord, Have Mercy: Praying for Justice with Conviction and Humility The Power and the Ambiguity What these stories of the desert elders, Ignatius, and Teresa show is a common thread of the tradition: the centrality of prayer to the Christian way of life.  The practice of prayer actually is the path to knowledge of God; prayer is part of the faith that seeks understanding.  This understanding of prayer has unfortunately been undermined by a false separation of spirituality from theology that began in the high Middle Ages and continues today, leaving devotion privatized and disconnected from a whole life that seeks wisdom.  For the desert elders, Ignatius, and Teresa, the practice of prayer was integral to a way of life that seeks [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: Bothering To Love by James Martin

February 16, 2016

From Huffington Post One Priest’s Modest Proposal for Lent What have you given up for Lent? That’s what many Christians – from almost every denomination, and especially Roman Catholics – are asking one another this time of year.  The most common thing to forego, I would wager, is some kind of food: soda and chocolate seem to be the Most Favored Sacrifices, with cigarettes and liquor running a close third.  Each year, in fact, a Jewish friend from my college days calls me on Ash Wednesday to tell me what to give up, since he thinks my deciding on my own is too easy.  Last year it was chicken wings, which was harder than you might think.  (I’ll save the story of how he came to assign my abstinence for another [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: Message For Lent by Pope Francis

February 15, 2016

Make your hearts firm. (James 5:8) Dear Brothers and Sisters, Lent is a time of renewal for the whole church, for each community and every believer.  Above all it is a time of grace.  God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us.  We love because he first has loved us.  He is not aloof from us.  Each one of us has a place in his heart.  He knows us by name, he cares for us, and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him.  He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us.  Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings, and the [...]

THE CHURCH: The Religion Of Mercy by Robin R. Meyers

May 1, 2014

From Morning Sun on a White Piano For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. —Hosea On a bright spring morning, three days after Easter in Oklahoma City, a clean-cut but lonesome drifter with a pathological hatred for the U. S. government drove a truck packed with homemade explosives to the front door of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and blew a gaping hole in the myth of the American Heartland. Bottle-fed on Hate Radio, and estranged from everything and everyone, including himself, this crusader against the Evil One has finally shown us what the politics of fear can produce: sow enough bad seeds, and eventually you harvest a mutant crop. This is the city where I live and work, [...]

MISSION: Catherine McAuley (1778-1841) by Moira Bergin

July 9, 2013

From Treasures of Irish Christianity: People and Places, Images and Texts Catherine Elizabeth McAuley was born on 29 September 1778 in Drumcondra, Dublin, to James and Elinor McAuley.   As a young woman she would begin a mission of mercy that grew and spread over the years and is still relevant today.  Catherine had a sister, Mary, and a brother, James.  Her father died in 1783 and, as a result, life for the children changed dramatically, both economically and socially.  During her late teenage years her mother became seriously ill, necessitating Catherine to nurse her until she died in 1798.  Catherine, together wither her brother and sister, were cared for by their relatives. In 1799, Catherine met William Callaghan, a wealthy [...]

SERMON: (from) Sermon For The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost, by Anthony of Padua

June 16, 2013

The Gospel for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Be ye merciful, which is divided into four clauses. [PROLOGUE] (First, a sermon for the preacher or prelate of the Church: David, sitting in the chair.) 1. At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful. [Luke 6.36] It says in the second book of Kings, towards the end: David, sitting in the chair, the wisest chief among three, was like the most tender little worm of the wood; who killed eight hundred men at one onset. [2Kg(Sm) 23.8] David represents the preacher, who should ‘sit in the chair, etc’. Take note of all the words. The ‘chair’ signifies humility of mind; ‘wisest’ implies clearness; the ‘chief’ is constancy; the [...]

MERCY: God’s Mercy And Love by Simone Weil

March 26, 2013

From Waiting for God It is in affliction itself that the splendor of God’s mercy shines, from its very depths, in the heart of its inconsolable bitterness.  If still persevering in our love, we fail to the point where the soul cannot keep back the dry, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, if we remain at this point without ceasing to love, we end by touching something that is not affliction, not joy, something that is the central essence, necessary and pure, something not of the senses, common to joy and sorrow: the very love of God. We know then that joy is the sweetness of contact with the love of God, that affliction is the wound of this same contact when it is painful, and that only the contact matters, not the [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Faustina—Painting the Portrait of the Divine

January 18, 2012

A passage from the diary of Faustina: Jesus made known to me how very pleasing to him were prayers of atonement.  He said to me, The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of my father and draws down an ocean of blessings.  After the adoration, half way to my cell, I was surrounded by a pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear me to pieces.  I realized that they were not dogs, but demons.  One of them spoke up in a rage, “Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.”  I answered, “If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, [...]

PRAYER: How To Pray The Chaplet Of Divine Mercy

January 18, 2012

(A chaplet is a prayer that is said with the aid of a rosary.  This chaplet can be used as a novena.  I include the daily prayers for the novena at the end of the list of prayers for the chaplet.  This chaplet is sometimes sung.  There are various tunes used for this purpose, and some can be heard on YouTube.) Optional Opening Prayer You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.  O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty yourself out upon us.  O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you. Amen. On the cross The Our Father Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer To Be Merciful To Others

January 18, 2012

Author unknown O Most Holy Trinity, as many times as I breathe, as many times as my heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many thousand times do I want to glorify your mercy. I want to be completely transformed into your mercy and to be your living reflection, O Lord.  May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor. Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue. Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings. [...]