Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Month 2, Divine Mercy, and the Real Mitigation

For a week or so, there was a scripture bouncing around in my head--something about shortening the time so that we could endure. Finally, I looked it up, and it is Matthew 24:22:
And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake the elect they will be shortened.
Mark 13:30 is almost exactly the same.

This passage comes in the middle of Jesus's description of the end of the world. I want to be clear that I'm not saying that this is the END OF THE WORLD, but there are passages in the Bible that, while having one definitive meaning, also speak to other times and events in very specific ways. For instance, the massacre of the Holy Innocents reverberates throughout history.

Also, the world ends in different ways. The Civil War, for instance, was the end of the world of the 19th century South. And 9/11 was the end of our world in that ever since then, we have lived in a different sort of place. It stripped away our image of the United States as a safer sort of place than elsewhere. In our current situation, it's hard to see how we could get back to where we were six weeks ago.

As many people have noted, the onset of the virus in the United States was concurrent with the observance of Lent, and now we are in the middle of the strangest Easter week ever, a celebration of Passover that surely elicits more questions than the usual four, and remote liturgies for the end of the Orthodox Holy Week. We are also in the middle of the novena in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy on April 19, next Sunday.

I am not going to go into an explanation of what the Feast of Divine Mercy is all about. There are lots of places online that tell about the messages of Jesus to St. Faustina and explain the picture above and and the feastday if you need more information, e.g. this one, click Basic from the masthead. The one message that I am going to quote from St. Faustina's diary is this:
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners [all of us]. 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. . . . On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. 
So, getting back to that original scripture, what I have been praying for, and will particularly be praying for this Sunday is that the days will be shortened, and in a way that will be obvious. I am praying for a miracle.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Missing the Water

It hasn't been often that I have thought that the Lord was speaking to me directly--not aloud but clearly in my mind--but there have been a few times. Many years ago when I lived a half-mile from my parish church, I sensed the Lord telling me that one day I would not have access to the Eucharist, so I better take advantage while I could. In the 24 years that we lived in that house, there were years when we went to Mass everyday, and there were hiatuses. This must have been during one of the latter. I wondered for a long time what that could mean. Why would I not be able to receive Communion? Then, when we moved to our current home, which is 13 miles from the nearest church, and we only had one car which my husband took to work, I thought that must be it. We could still go to Mass on Sunday, but not during the week.

 But now.

I never imagined a time when most people could not go to Mass. It really makes Azariah's (he of the the three young men in the fiery furnace) prayer from Tuesday's first reading from the book of Daniel come alive:
  For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea. For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord.  Daniel 3:34-43
I feel like I am starving, although that is a bit hyperbolic since I went to Mass last Sunday, and probably would not have gone to daily Mass this week. And, thankfully, there are many opportunities to pray along with Mass online. We have been watching 12:05 p.m. Mass at the Shrine of St. Martin de Porres.

I've also found this article from The Catholic World Report on fasting from the Eucharistic by Joseph Ratzinger very helpful. Thanks to my friend Amy for linking to this.

I would like to think that once we can return Mass, I will not take it for granted, but I don't know. It's so easy to be the person who sees her face in the mirror and then goes away and forgets what she has seen. But I have the intention of not forgetting, and I am praying for that grace.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

I Hope I Remember How to Do This

I see it's been over a year since I posted here, but I'm hoping to write something soon. I thought I'd check and see if I remembered the way to do it. AMDG

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ringing the Bell

From the time I was 11, until I married at 21, I lived nextdoor to our parish church, and loved to hear the church bells ring. I love church bells that actually play hymns, but sometimes the one tolling bell is even more effective--and affecting. I also like change ringing very much, and have often thought that it would be great fun (and exercise) despite the fact that my knowledge of it comes almost entirely from mystery novels, or BBC detective series in which a murder occurs in the vicinity of the bells.

Given that I have a gimpy elbow, I'm pretty sure that no change ringing lies in my future; however, now that I am a cantor in my parish, I get to ring the bell before 8:30 a.m. Mass on the weeks when I am singing. It is no easy job to ring it even 10 times, but it's great. When I rang it on the feast of the Holy Family, it was still dressed up from Christmas.

I wonder if the bell has a name. I will have to ask.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations,
Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

Nativity, Fra Angelico