“Hail Mary, full of grace! Blessed are you among women!”
After this cold dreary winter we are all ready for the beautiful month of May; Our Lady’s month. I pray that this month finds you all healthy and happy.
I would like to tell you about our beautiful day of grace; Divine Mercy Sunday which was April 8th. So many of the Friars and Sisters were able to come this year. It was a powerfully grace-filled day with Adoration, prayer, praise music, witnessing, confessions, and fellowship.
Fr. John Paul preached a wonderful homily. He began by telling us how good it is that God has given us this feast. He said when he was a boy growing up in Reno, Nevada, he would love to go to the library there. He described it as have a six-story spiral staircase in the middle with books on each level. Running up and down the staircase as he would like to do gave him so many different perspectives of the library. The spiral staircase he said helps us to see the same thing from different levels.
He told us that all of us present there in the church are at different levels in the spiritual life. Some of us were being drawn to the first level for the first time. We were seeking God’s mercy.
Some of us were on various floors in the middle, seeking to integrate mercy into our lives. We are trying to accept God’s mercy, and apply it ourselves and others.
Some people, present in the church, were seeking to be an “apostle of mercy.” An “apostle of mercy” is one who offers all their suffering as a form of mercy for the world.
Fr. John Paul explained that even if we don’t know what to say, just by approaching the confessional, mercy will be given.
Fr. John Paul recalled a teaching by Fr. Groeschel. He Fr. Groeschell taught that there are two ways to observe the law of God. The law of God is to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor. The first way to do this is “perfectly.” We can love God and neighbor perfectly as the saints do. Take for example, St. Francis, St. Claire, St. Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa, St. Faustina. Each one focused their lives on different elements from scripture; poverty, love, mercy.
The second way to observe the law of God is the way most of us do it; by failing. Most of us are struggling sinners; falling, repenting, confessing, starting again, falling, repenting, confessing, starting again and again and again. We often confess the same thing over and over, allowing the mercy of God to develop in our hearts.
Fr. John Paul also quoted from St. Faustina’s Diary # 1158.
“Everyone ought to perform at least one act of mercy a day; at least one, but there can be many more, for such deeds can easily be carried out by anyone, even the very poorest. For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray. That too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy.”
Fr. John Paul continued to encourage us with his words of mercy. He said; “whatever stage we are at, the source of the graces come from our baptismal promises.”
Here are a few more words from St. Faustina’s Diary:
146. “There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer.”
140 “Only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love.”
134 “How good it is to abandon oneself totally to God and so give Him full freedom to act in one’s soul.”
We are so blessed to be Catholic! We have so many saints and opportunities to grow closer to God.
We are so blessed to be Catholic! We have so many saints and opportunities to grow closer to God. Sometimes life can seem so hard but just knowing that God is so merciful is such a reassurance and comfort. Having the Franciscan Friars and Sisters so close to us is such encouragement. They are “Apostles of His mercy.” They are here for us and we are here for them as well. This is what God wants.
It is nice that the weather is finally getting nicer. We will be able to do a lot of our food packing outside again. This gives us more room, and makes the cleanup easier. We are still shopping, packing, sorting groceries every month for the Friars and Sisters. It’s become a “food packing party” with the help of so many volunteers. Young and old; we get the job done. Thank you for all the volunteers who come each month. Thank you to all of you who contribute monthly. We couldn’t do this without you. Doing the food shopping for the Franciscans Friars and Sisters is a tremendous help for them. It relieves them of this obligation both in time and money and gives them more time for prayer and ministry to the poor and people like us. It’s a good thing all around for everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if the early Christians had a committee something like “Friar Suppliers. “ For Scripture says: “And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 43-47. Sounds to me like “Friar Suppliers”
Amen, there is cause for rejoicing here: On Saturday, May 26th @ 9am @ St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, four of the Franciscan brothers will be ordained to the priesthood. They are: Br. Marc Mary, Br Pierre Toussaint, Br. Angelus, and Br. Francesco. Please pray for them during the month of May. Congratulations Brothers! We are so proud of you!
Thank you Friar Suppliers!