THE CLOSENESS OF GOD TRANSFORMS REALITY
VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2011 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to Psalm 23 which begins with the words: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want". "Addressing the Lord in prayer implies a radical act of confidence, the awareness of entrusting oneself to God Who is good", he said. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Psalm 23 is an example of such confidence. "The Psalmist expresses his tranquil certainty that he will be guided and protected, sheltered from all danger because the Lord is his shepherd. ... The image evokes an atmosphere of trust, intimacy, tenderness. The shepherd knows his sheep individually, he calls them by name and they follow him because they recognise and trust him. He takes care of them, protects them like a treasure, and is ready to defend them in order to guarantee their wellbeing, to ensure they live in peace. They shall want nothing if the shepherd is with them".
The Psalm describes the oasis of peace to which the shepherd leads his flock. The setting is a desert landscape, "yet the shepherd knows where to find pasture and water, which are essential for life, he knows the way to the oasis in which the soul can be 'restored' with new energies to start the journey afresh. As the Psalmist says, God guides him to 'green pastures' and 'still waters' where all things are in abundance. ... If the Lord is the shepherd, even in the desert, a place of scarcity and death, we do not lose our certainty in the radical presence of life".
The shepherd adapts his rhythms and his needs to those of his flock. "If we walk behind the 'Good Shepherd'", the Pope said, " however difficult, tortuous and long the paths of our life may seem, we too can be certain that they are right for us, that the Lord guides us and that He is always close".
Hence the Psalmist adds: "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me". Benedict XVI explained how, although the Psalmist here uses a Hebrew expression which evokes the shadows of death, he nonetheless proceeds without fear because he knows the Lord is with him. "This is a proclamation of unshakeable trust and encapsulates a radical experience of faith: the closeness of God transforms reality, the darkest valley loses all its perils".
This image concludes the first part of the Psalm and opens the way to a change of scene. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows". The Lord is now presented "as the One Who welcomes the Psalmist with generous hospitality. ... Food, oil, wine are the gifts that enable us to live, they bring joy because they lie beyond what is strictly necessary, an expression of the gratitude and abundance of love". In the meantime the enemies look on powerlessly because "when God opens His tent to welcome us, nothing can harm us".
The Psalmist goes on "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long". The Psalmist's journey "acquires fresh meaning and becomes a pilgrimage towards the Temple of the Lord, the holy place in which he wishes 'to dwell' forever". Likewise, living near God and His goodness is what all believers long for, the Holy Father said.
This Psalm has accompanied the entire history and religious experience of the People of Israel, but only in Jesus Christ is its evocative strength "fulfilled and fully expressed: Jesus is the 'Good Shepherd' Who goes in search of the lost sheep, Who knows His sheep and gives His life for them. He is the way, the way that leads to life, the light that illuminates the dark valley and overcomes all our fears. He is the generous host Who welcomes us and saves us from our enemies, preparing the banquet of His Body and His Blood for us, and the definitive banquet ... in heaven. He is the regal Shepherd, King in meekness and mercy, enthroned on the glorious seat of the cross".
Psalm 23 invites us to renew our trust in God, the Pope concluded, "to abandon ourselves completely in His hands. Let us, then, trustingly ask the Lord to allow us always to walk on His paths, even along the difficult paths of our own times, as a docile and obedient flock; let us ask Him to welcome us into His house, at His table, and to lead us to 'still waters' so that, in welcoming the gift of His Spirit, we may drink from His spring, source of that living water which 'gushes up to eternal life'".
VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Following his catechesis during this morning's general audience the Holy Father launched an appeal to the international community to help people suffering famine in the Horn of Africa.
"Dramatic news continues to arrive concerning the famine which has struck the Horn of Africa", he said. "I greet Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', and Bishop Giorgio Bertin O.F.M., apostolic administrator ofMogadishu, who are present at this audience with a number of representatives of Catholic charity organisations. They will meet to analyse initiatives aimed at resolving this humanitarian emergency; and their meeting will also be attended by a representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has likewise made a plea in support of the people affected.
"I renew my heartfelt appeal to the international community to continue its commitment to these people. At the same time I invite everyone to offer prayers and concrete support to so many sorely tried brothers and sisters, particularly to the children of the region who are dying every day because of the lack of water and food".
Before making his appeal for Somalia, the Pope had greeted a delegation from the Theology Faculty of the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, which has awarded him with the Apostle Jason of Thessaloniki Gold Medal. "I am deeply honoured by this gracious gesture", he said, "which is an eloquent sign of the growing understanding and dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Christians. I pray that it will be a harbinger of ever greater progress in our efforts to respond in fidelity, truth and charity to the Lord's summons to unity".
VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:
- Archbishop Hubert Constant O.M.I., emeritus of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on 23 September at the age of 80.
- Archbishop Clemente Faccani, apostolic nuncio, on 15 September at the age of 90.
- Archbishop Philip Mathew Hannan, emeritus of New Orleans, U.S.A., on 29 September at the age of 98.
- Bishop Marcelino Palentini S.C.I. of Jujuy, Argentina, on 18 September at the age of 68.
- Bishop Joseph Trinh Chinh Truc, emeritus of Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam, on 23 September at the age of 85.
If you have been hearing the buzz but are not completely up to speed on the new Roman Missal, here are ten things you need to know:
- It is not a new Mass, it is a new translation for a new edition of the Missal. Because a new edition of the Missale Romanum, the Latin Roman Missal, was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2000, it was necessary for all the countries of the world to translate this missal into the various local languages. The new missal has added features: prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. In the case of the English-speaking world, a common translation of the common text was sought through the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) to ensure uniformity.
- Vatican guidelines for translation.The translation of the new Roman Missal was carried out under the newest Vatican guidelines for translating prayers into modern local (i.e., vernacular) languages. These were given in the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam, published in 2001, urging a stronger adherence to the original Latin wording and structure than earlier directives. In the new translation, the unique style of the Roman Rite is closely maintained. The texts are marked by a heightened style of English speech and a grammatical structure that follows closely the Latin text. In addition, many biblical and poetic images—such as “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…” (Communion Rite, taken from Matthew 8:8) and “…from the rising of the sun to its setting” (Eucharistic Prayer III, taken from Psalm 113), that were lost in the 1973 translation—have been restored.
- Particular adaptations to the U.S. are included. The new English-language Missal also includes Vatican-approved adaptations requested by the Bishops of the United States as well as texts for observances that are proper to the United States (such as the prayers for the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and prayers for Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day).
- “And with your spirit.” The translation of several phrases in the Order of Mass had been previously decided by the Vatican in the instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Among these are “certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony…” Such is the case of the response “Et cum spiritu tuo.” What had originally been translated in 1973 as “And also with you” becomes now “And with your spirit.” This places the English translation in line with the way this has always been translated in most other languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Italian
- Changes in the people’s parts. In addition to the response to the greeting “The Lord be with you”, people are going to find a number of other changes in the translation of common prayers throughout. This includes the various parts of the Penitential act (“I confess to Almighty God…”), the Gloria, the Creed (both in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed), the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the Mystery of Faith, and the invitation to communion. (Samples of comparative texts for the new and old responses can be found at the USCCB Roman Missalwebsite.
- “For many.” One of the points that has generated more discussion is the translation ofqui pro vobis et pro multis effundétur in remissiónem peccatórum, presently translated “which will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be given.” In the new edition of theRoman Missal, “for all” will be changed to “for many.” There a several reasons for this change. First, “for many” is a more accurate translation of the Latin phrase pro multis than the present translation. This is also the wording used in the Biblical narrative account of the Last Supper found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Even though it is a dogmatic teaching of the Church that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women, the expression “for many” is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought automatically, without one’s own willing participation, but rather is a gift to be accepted. Also, in the context of the Last Supper, Jesus was speaking to the Twelve, extending the reach of his sacrifice beyond the boundary of his closest disciples. In the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, the phrase “for you and for many” connects the particular gathered assembly with the larger sense of the Church in every time and place, as if to say “not only you gathered here, but many more as well.”
- Gradual implementation for Musical Settings. Though official implementation is set for the First Sunday of Advent 2011, Diocesan bishops may permit the gradual implementation of various musical settings of the people’s parts in the Order of Mass starting in September to allow the congregation time to learn them. This applies only to the Glory to God, the Holy, Holy, Holy, and the Memorial Acclamations. Composers have readjusted previous musical settings and new compositions are also being prepared. New musical settings of the Amen and theLamb of God, the texts of which are not changing, can be introduced at any time.
- What’s not changing. The structure and rite of the Mass itself is not changing, so the Mass will look and feel the same. Some texts of the Mass are not changing, including the Lord’s Prayer and the Lamb of God. The translation of Scripture readings used at Mass will remain the same, so those who proclaim the readings (lectors and deacons) will not be affected in their ministry by the introduction of the new Missal.Much of the hymnody and other chants sung at Mass will not be affected by the changes, although many hymnals and other participation aids are being revised to reflect the changes in the parts of the Mass.
- Symbolism of posture and gestures. The symbolism of some traditional gestures has been recaptured in the new missal. The gestures themselves have always been prescribed, but the introduction of the new Missal provides an opportunity to teach about these long-standing customs. One such example is striking oneself over the chest during the Penitential Act (Confiteor) while reciting the words “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” (mea culpa), as a show of remorse, a tradition that had not always been followed in the U.S. Another example is the reverent bow during the recitation of the Creed. After the words “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,” at the words that follow up, “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man” all bow as a sign of reverence for the mystery of the Incarnation.
- Proximate preparation. Parishes and dioceses are now abuzz with preparations for the reception of the new Missal. The Roman Missal itself is the primary source of training and instruction for the new translation. It displays rubrics, sentences printed in red that instruct a priest on what to say and do, how and when to gesture, and when to sing the common prayers in the Order of Mass. It provides instructions that guide the celebrant in leading the liturgy and the people assembled in ritual response for each occasion. It also dictates the words used by a priest during the Mass. In addition to the homily at Mass, during which many priests will offer instruction about the new text, many parishes are making use of various small- and large-group catecheticalsessions to help the people learn the new responses and be aware of upcoming changes. A variety of print and online resources for use in parishes, in group settings, and in homes are available from many publishers.
The introduction of a new translation for the Roman Missal gives people an opportunity to pause to think about the words they are saying every time they participate in the Mass. It is an opportunity for the entire Church in the United States to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, of its meaning and importance in their lives. It also puts Catholics in contact with the Church’s tradition of prayer and helps create a historical awareness. The new translation and the education Catholics shall receive before it is implemented offer Catholics a chance to “brush up” on their knowledge of the Mass and of the Church’s beliefs. Those leading the efforts to educate the community hope the changes “will invite the faithful to pause and reflect on what, after so many years, we may have taken for granted” and that such meditation will redound in an “enrichment of people’s spiritual life.”
To learn more about the new English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, visit the USCCBRoman Missal website.
The collection of over 50 accessible pieces has been assembled with ordinary choirs in mind, including those with limitations on the numbers of available voices. It draws on music spanning thousands of years from the Psalms of David to spirituals moulded out of the slave trade era and contemporary songs. Some psalm compositions are for congregation and choir, including Psalm 23 and a lively setting of Psalm 150 by John Barnard, himself a highly-regarded hymn-tune composer.
This collection also contains a number of songs from composers such as Stuart Townend and Graham Kendrick; most such as Kendrick’s ‘Here is bread’ have been arranged for three or four part choir. Speaking in a podcast on the RSCM website (www.rscm.com/media), John Barnard says that he hopes choirs who tend to reject this style of music will like the fact that they can sing it in harmony. John Barnard thinks harmony of a deeper kind could occur in churches where tastes differ. “I hope it will be bridge-building within those church communities that tend to pull one way or the other.”
David Iliff, currently Organist at Great Malvern Priory, hopes the pieces will add to church services. “Hymns are excellent but they tend to be ‘of a kind’ and we feel the variety offered by these songs, psalms and spirituals adds a richness to worship that’s often missed out.”
Songs Psalms & Spirituals comes with a CD-ROM containing two and three part arrangements of some items including many for sopranos, altos and men. Like the previous collections from the same team, The RSCM Carol Book, The RSCM Carol Book Supplement, and Season by Season, churches and schools with a Christian Copyright Licence (CCLI) may photocopy these pieces - something which schools will find invaluable. “We know the financial pressure on schools these days,” says John Barnard. “We believe we’re supplying the kind of material they can use, and that the latest collection will certainly appeal.”
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) is an educational charity that promotes the best use of music in churches of all denominations and the wider community. The RSCM also publishes music and training resources, and organises courses, short workshops and activities. With around 8,500 affiliates, members and friends in over 40 countries, it is an international network, supported by over 600 volunteers and a small team of staff based throughout the UK. For more information see:http://www.rscm.com
REPORT OF Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Oct 2011
A superb bronze sculpture of Australia's first saint will be unveiled and blessed by the Archdiocese of Sydney's Bishop Emeritus, the Most Rev Geoffrey Robinson at the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney on 17 October.
The life-size statue was commissioned by the Sisters of Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the congregation founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison and will be part of the celebrations to commemorate the first anniversary of her canonisation in Rome last year.
Installed last week outside the doors of the historic chapel, the sculpture will remain covered until the ceremony on 17 October which will take place following Mass at 10 am. More than 1000 are expected to attend the Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Robinson and the sculpture's unveiling with a further 1000 expected to visit the chapel during the day to pray beside the tomb of Australia's first saint.
Created by acclaimed South Australian ceramist, portraitist and sculptor, Judith Rolevink, the bronze sculpture depicts St Mary of the Cross MacKillop with two children and marks the second time the artist has been asked to create a statue of Australia's beloved saint, educator and champion of women and the poor and oppressed.
In 2009, Judith was asked by the Archdiocese of Adelaide to create a life size sculpture of Australia's first saint - then known as Blessed Mary MacKillop - to stand in front of St Xavier Francis Cathedral in the heart of the city.
"Like most people, I'd knew a bit about Mary MacKillop but very little detail about her life," Judith says and explains that her research not only included reading books and combing through archives but also included a visit to Penola, site of the first school Mary MacKillop established and now home to the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre with its museum, and detailed collection of letters, early photographs and memorabilia of her life and works.
At the request of the Adelaide Archdiocese, the sculpture Judith created depicts St Mary of the Cross MacKillop from this time as a vibrant young woman in her 20s. The sculpture is alive with energy and movement with the Saint captured full stride, holding the hands of a young girl and an Aboriginal boy.
The statue quickly became a favourite of the Sisters of Joseph and when they commissioned their own statue for Sydney's historic Mary MacKillop Place, they were keen for Judith to capture the same wonderful swirl of movement where it seems at any moment the children and St Mary of the Cross will step off the pedestal and into real life.
"But rather than portraying her in her 20s, the Sisters wanted her as she would have been in her 40s, which was her age when she moved to Sydney, founded the Mother House and where she based herself for the rest of her life," Judith explains.
Although many sculptures of the Australian saint, including the one outside Adelaide's Cathedral, depict her accompanied by children, the Sydney sculpture reveals a confident, compassionate, warm woman now in the prime of her life, standing alone, her arm outstretched in welcome.
As the sculpture would be positioned just outside the chapel doors, the Sisters were eager, the depiction conveyed a real sense of welcome to the thousands of pilgrims who visit the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel each year to pray beside her tomb, and to visit the adjacent museum and gardens where her life, work and spirituality is remembered and celebrated.
Judith says she was given the commission late last year, not long after the Sisters returned from the canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. After several discussions with the Sisters, Judith says she came up with different ideas for the statue and made a series of drawings. From these the Sisters in collaboration with Judith chose the one they liked best.
But before beginning work on the actual sculpture, Judith says she spent several weeks on research, pouring over photographs, letters and books on the Saint's life.
"For me, the research never stops. The more you do, the more of a feeling you get for your subject, and as a result I know her a lot better than I did," she says.
One of the difficulties for all artists creating a sculpture of Mary MacKillop is that although photographs, drawings and even paintings of her exist, none show her in profile or what she might have looked like from behind.
"While I don't know what her profile was like, from all the research I have a pretty good idea and try to get as close to that as I can," she says.
For four months Judith worked in her South Australian studio modelling the life size sculpture in clay. It was then a team from Melbourne's Fundere Foundry which specialises in fine arts, travelled to Adelaide to take moulds of the statue. Returning to Melbourne, wax impressions were then made from the moulds and using a melting wax process, casting of the sculpture in bronze began.
Judith then spent the next few weeks on patination - colouring the bronze to create an even more life-like effect. Then finally last week, the sculpture was complete and on its way to Sydney.
On 28 September, with Judith on hand, the statue was installed outside the doors of the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, then covered to await the anniversary Mass of the canonisation on Monday morning, 17 October and the sculpture's unveiling and blessing.
"It will be very exciting," says Judith who will fly to Sydney for the ceremony.
A Church researcher yesterday said reports of a Filipina maid’s detention in Dubai for giving birth without proof of marriage shows the government’s weakness in supporting women workers in the Middle East.
Maruja Asis, director of research and publications at theScalabrini Migration Center (SMC), told ucanews.com the potential of laws, aimed at enhancing protection of migrant workers, has not been realized because of the lack of enforcement and monitoring mechanisms.
“Women have difficulties going out on their own. If they are living with a male companion, they must have proof when caught by religious authorities to show that they are legally married,” Asis said.
A Philippine maid working in the UAE was recently detained and faces a court hearing for failing to show proof of marriage after giving birth to a child.
The domestic worker came to Dubai in 2009, was not paid by her employer after three months, and then sought the help of the Philippine embassy.
When her employer cancelled her residency visa she looked for another job in Dubai, where her Filipino husband had been working for three years. The woman moved in with a friend in Rashidiya after her husband left Dubai to renew his visa.
On May 2, she gave birth to a boy at the Al Wasl Hospital. She remains in detention with her baby until she gets a copy of her marriage contract.
The woman reportedly told public prosecutors she was married five years ago and never had an illicit affair.
Asis cited a joint study of SMC and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies published this year that found risks and vulnerabilities to migrant workers, particularly to women, continue to exist despite various measures to protect them.
“Many departing migrant workers were not aware of basic work rights and government regulations…. Knowing the right information is crucial to workers’ empowerment but policies are not properly communicated to stakeholders,” researchers have found.
UAE was the 3rd most popular destination for Philippine household service workers, with 13,184 workers arriving there in 2010, according to data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Overseas Filipino Workers from the UAE contributed more than US$775,000 of a total of $18.76 billion in remittances in 2010.
"In rural areas of Upper Egypt the law of the strongest often prevails and the police take a partisan position", said Fr. Giovanni Esti, a Comboni missionary who works in Cairo in an interview with Fides. The missionary places this episode "in the pre-election climate (elections are scheduled on Nov. 28), as the city are covered with posters on which there are often references to religion. On behalf of fundamentalist groups there is a widespread idea that Islam is at risk and therefore to vote for Muslim parties means defending them. This encourages episodes of fanatism"
"The problem which is mostly perceived is economical", continues Fr. John. "The country from this point of view is blocked. Until there is a stable government, foreign companies will not return to invest in Egypt, creating jobs. If a solution is not found, forms of protest are at risk that can include different groups, including fundamentalists, but this is due to the desperation of people and has nothing to do with the religious aspect".
According to the Egyptian Union of Human Rights (EUHR), a Coptic NGO, about 100,000 Egyptians belonging to the Coptic religion have fled the country since March 2011 because of religious persecution. "I have no way of confirming whether these findings are real or not", said Fr. Giovanni. "This is surely an argument which is at the center of the debate in the Coptic community. Copts with whom we have contact say that in their communities everyone tries to escape abroad or obtain a dual citizenship. It is true that there are episodes of intolerance. For example, a Christian girl who walks open-faced in the streets of a working class neighborhood often becomes the object of insults from passers-by".
"On the other hand – continues the missionary - it is necessary to say that the Egyptian Christian world is hypersensitive about episodes of persecution, at times it also tends to exaggerate. Certainly there are forms of discrimination, linked more to the social aspect than strictly religious, but I think that on some occasions facts tend to be exaggerated. It is also true that for some Christians to declare religious persecution can be seen as an opportunity to obtain an entry visa to a Western country".
Fr. Giovanni, however acknowledges that "incidents of discrimination, unlike the recent past, are now reported by the media", and concludes: "I do not know if these acts are more frequent than before. In the past they happened, but were not published by the press, remaining episodes known only at a local level. Now there is more attention and even episodes such as the Church of Aswan, which did not cause victims, are brought to public attention, and this is certainly a good thing". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/10/2011)
APOSTLE OF DIVINE MERCY
Feast: October 5
25 August 1905, Głogowiec, Poland
October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland
30 April 2000, Pope John Paul II
Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków, Poland
World Youth Day
St Mary Faustina Kowalska was born on 25 August 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor, religious family of peasants, the third of 10 children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Swinice Warckle. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her First Holy Communion and attended school for three years. At the age of 16 she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in Aleksandrow, Lodz and Ostrowek in order to support herself and to help her parents.
At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sr Mary Faustina. She lived in the congregation for 13 years, residing in Krakow, Plock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.
Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected, yet very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour. Although her life was apparently insignificant and monotonous, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.
It is the mystery of God's mercy, which she contemplated in the word of God as well as in her everyday activities, that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God's mercy helped to develop within Sr Mary Faustina the attitude of childlike trust in God and of mercy towards her neighbour. "0 my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, 0 Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life" (Diary 1242). Sr Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church. Conscious of her role in the Church, she cooperated with God's mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of the Lord Jesus and following his example, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. Her spiritual life was also distinguished by a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.
The years she spent in the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, bilocation, the reading of human souls, prophecy and the rare gift of mystical espousal and marriage. Her living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the angels, the saints, the souls in purgatory—with the entire supernatural world—was as real for her as the world she perceived with the senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God" (Diary 1107).
The Lord Jesus chose Sr Mary Faustina as the apostle and "secretary" of his mercy, so that she could tell the world about his great message. "In the Old Covenant", he said to her, "I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful Heart" (Diary 1588).
The mission of Sr Mary Faustina consists in three tasks:
—reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God towards every human being;
—entreating God's mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: "Jesus, I trust in you"; the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter; chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one's life to God and practised active love of neighbour;
—initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy, whose task is to proclaim and entreat God's mercy for the world and to strive for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by Sr Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to have an attitude of childlike trust in God, expressed in fulfilling his will, and an attitude of mercy toward one's neighbour. Today millions of people throughout the world are involved in this Church movement: it includes religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, confraternities, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individuals who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr Mary Faustina.
Sr Mary Faustina's mission was recorded in her Diary, which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it she faithfully wrote down all of the Lord's wishes and described the encounters between her soul and him. "Secretary of my most profound mystery", the Lord said to Sr Faustina, "know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about my mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach me" (Diary 1693). Sr Mary Faustina's work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights not only simple, uneducated people, but also scholars, who look upon it as an additional source of theological research.
Sr Mary Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and innumerable sufferings, which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of 33 on 5 October 1938, with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. Her reputation for holiness grew, as did the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the graces received from God through her intercession. Pope John Paul II beatified Sr Faustina on 18 April 1993. Her mortal remains rest at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki.
|Luke 11: 1 - 4|
|1||He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."|
|2||And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.|
|3||Give us each day our daily bread;|
|4||and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."|