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Today is Divine Mercy Sunday!

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Today is Divine Mercy Sunday!

It is based on the private revelations of St. Faustina Kowalska, which recommended a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy. In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and, during the ceremony, he declared: It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday”.

To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff [John Paul II] himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

To observe the Feast of Mercy well, which is the Sunday after Easter, and to gain a plenary indulgence, we should:

1) Celebrate the Feast on Divine Mercy Sunday,

2) venerate the Image of the Divine Mercy [perform some act or make some gesture of deep religious respect toward it, because it represents our Most Merciful Savior],

3) be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf,

4) place our complete trust in Jesus,

5) have the intention of gaining a plenary indulgence,

6) pray the Divine Mercy novena,

7) detach ourselves from all sin,

8) go to Confession, preferably before the Feast [we may go within 20 days before or after the Feast, according to previously issued norms for plenary indulgences],

9) pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intentions of Pope Francis, and

10) receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast.

The Divine Mercy image is a depiction of Jesus based on a vision that St. Faustina had in 1931. This image shows Jesus raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one (pale) white.
The depictions often contains the message “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary – 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy”.

Jesus I trust in You. 

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Why does it matter if you leave the Catholic Church?

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Why does it matter if you leave the Catholic Church?

It matters because as Catholics we think it is important to belong to the Church that Christ founded 2000 years ago. It matters because when you leave the Catholic Church, you leave the Eucharist – and all the sacraments that Christ Himself instituted. It matters because as Catholics we believe the Church contains the fullness of the truth because it was founded by Christ Himself.

What is the “pillar and foundation of truth”? According to the Bible, it is the Church:

1 Timothy 3: 14-15 “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

Jesus left us a Church to guide us in Truth. He chose Peter as the first Pope when He said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). And then, this Church – the Catholic Church, decided what books belonged in the Bible in the 4th century. It was the authority of the Catholic Church that decided what books were inspired and belonged in the Bible. (Think about this – something “outside” the Bible determined what books belonged in the Bible.) The Catholic Church came before the Bible.

This does not mean that we think other religions and Christian denominations do not contain any truth, for they do. But the Catholic Church, since it was founded by Jesus, contains the fullness of truth, so we think it is very important to belong to the church that Christ founded, and share our faith with our children, grandchildren, and others.

There are many things Christians have in common that we should celebrate – mainly our belief in Jesus Christ. Many say as long as we agree on the essentials it’s all good, and that it doesn’t matter what church you go to.

But who decides what is “essential”?

To a Catholic, the Eucharist is essential. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. To many non-Catholics, it is merely a symbol.

To a Catholic, baptizing our children is essential. To many others, it doesn’t matter if you wait until the teenage years.

To a Catholic, our love and devotion to our Blessed Mother is essential. To many non-Catholics, our Blessed Mother is only thought about (if at all), during Christmas.

To a Catholic, the belief that all life is to be protected from conception to natural death is essential. To many others faiths, abortion and euthanasia are justified.

To a Catholic marriage is a sacrament, and is the belief that it is between one man and one woman is essential. To many others, marriage can easily be re-defined, and living together before marriage is no big deal because everybody is doing it.

To a Catholic, being required to go to Mass every Sunday is essential. To many others, its no big deal to miss Mass if you’re on vacation, want to sleep in, or think you can just watch it on TV.

To a Catholic, praying for the souls in purgatory is essential. Other Christian faiths think purgatory doesn’t exist and is something they think Catholics made up. (Even though purgatory has been part of the church history for 2000 years. – Actually, the Jews prayed for the dead before Christ was born so there is both scripture and tradition to support it centuries before this.)

All of these “essentials” matter to a Catholic.

Does this mean that Catholics are holier than non-Catholics? Absolutely not. Some of the holiest people I know are Catholic, and some of the most unholiest people I know are Catholic. We’ve been given this beautiful gift of our Catholic faith, and yet too many of us have taken it for granted, pick and choose what we want to believe, or have not appreciated what we have.

The Catholic Church is both human and divine. Because it is divine, it will last forever. Because it is human, it will have scandals, and sinful people in it, just like what you will find in all denominations and religions. Scandals do not prove that the Catholic Church is false. They only prove what is obvious: that the Church contains sinners as well as saints.

There is evil everywhere. Evil and abuse exists in Protestant denominations, organizations, public and private schools, companies, nursing homes, seminaries, Hollywood, and inside so many families today. Child abuse, abortion and human trafficking are horrific evils, and are rampant in today’s world. Evil exists in our beautiful Catholic Church and none of it should tolerated. God sees it all.

Remember Judas? Jesus picked him to be one of His original twelve disciples. Despite Judas’ betrayal, 2000 year later the Church that Jesus founded still exists.
Despite humans messing things up at times, the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and will FOREVER be guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time, as quoted in scripture:

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Among all the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots, each with their own man made traditions.

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches to which door-to-door missionaries belong are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established.

The Catholic Church has existed for 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members—even some of its leaders (popes, cardinals, bishops and priests)—have been unwise, corrupt, abusive, or prone to heresy. Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The fact that the Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.

If you have never studied Church history, study it now and see what the early Church was really like, what Catholics believed, and what they practiced. If you study it you will see that the early Church was totally Catholic. The early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Early Christians did pray for their dead; Christ did give the apostles the power to forgive sins; Peter was clearly chosen by Christ as the leader of His Church; Mary was loved and honored by the early Christians; Whole households (including babies) were baptized. Think about it – if you are looking for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can’t get more personal than when you receive His body, blood, soul, and divinity in the holy Eucharist, and are a part of the actual Church that Christ founded.

It’s important to know history, know why we are Catholic, and embrace the beauty and truth of our faith. So many people, including many protestant pastors, converted to the Catholic Church after studying Church history, particularly regarding the issue of authority. Two great books to read on church history are: “Four Witnesses”, by Rod Bennett, and “Where we got the Bible: Our debt to the Catholic Church” by Henry Graham. Two great sites that have helped many people on their journey to the Catholic faith are Catholics Come Home –www.catholicscomehome.org. and The Coming Home Network – http://www.chnetwork.org/

The Catholic Church, founded by Christ, contains the fullness of Truth.

Yes, evil exists, but light will win over darkness. Never tolerate evil, never stop praying, and never give up hope on our beautiful Catholic Church. God needs soldiers to be holy, strong, faithful catholics who fight the good fight, look evil in the eye and stand up for truth. Be holy, humble and grateful as you embrace the beautiful gift of our Catholic faith. Never stop seeking truth. Be thankful for all seven of our sacraments. Pray every day and develop a personal relationship with Jesus and our dear Blessed Mother. Do what you can to pass on your Catholic faith with all our beautiful traditions to your children and grandchildren.

Let us all spread the beauty and truth of our Catholic faith!

If we don’t, who will? 

In Christ,
Liz

 

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

My mission is to help you grow deeper in your love for Christ, His Church, and our Blessed Mother, while at the same time give you some easy-to-understand answers to questions you might have been asked by others about our faith.

If you’re enjoying this blog, or my Love Being Catholic Facebook page, and it has been a blessing to you, please consider supporting it with even a modest donation. If you have donated already, I thank you wholeheartedly for helping to allow me to keep running this page as I have for the past several years.

Please also keep me in your prayers – you are all in my prayers as well!

To make a secure donation visit: https://lovebeingcatholic.com/donate/

In Christ, 

Liz

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St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also known as The Lorica of Saint Patrick

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I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

[Note that people sometimes pray a shorter version of this prayer just with these 15 lines about Christ above. The conclusion follows below.]

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

Thank you so much for following this blog or my Facebook page, “Love Being Catholic.” My mission is to help you grow deeper in your love for Christ, His Church, and our Blessed Mother, while at the same time give you some easy-to-understand answers to questions you might have been asked by others about our faith. Through the grace of God, the Facebook page and blog have over 235,000 friends and are reaching several million people around the world each month.

As the sole administrator of Love Being Catholic, it takes many hours to research, write and maintain these sites, and any support is appreciated! If you’re enjoying this page, and it has been a blessing to you, please consider supporting it with even a modest donation – every little bit helps.

If you have donated already, I thank you wholeheartedly for making all of this possible. Thank you all for your support! Please also keep me in your prayers, and know that you are all in mine!

To make a secure donation visit: https://lovebeingcatholic.com/donate/

In Christ,
Liz

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Evening Prayer

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Thank you Lord for the goodness of this day.

I was not always aware of Your presence. But you were there. For those times I drifted away from Your Spirit within me, I am sorry. I hope tomorrow, and all my tomorrows, will be filled with a more lively sense of Your will for me and Your presence in the world around me. Give me a good night’s sleep so that I can rise in the morning refreshed and with renewed faith, hope and love. Amen.

Lord, thank you for this time of rest. I place all my trust in You this night. In preparing for sleep, I have taken a moment to acknowledge my need for forgiveness, encouragement and reassurance. I place before You all the concerns and worries I have for myself and for others this evening. Trusting in Your everlasting love, I pray for a tranquil spirit and deep rest. May these and all my prayers be in accordance with Your holy will. Amen.

Jesus, help me to let go of my cares and frustrations so I can surrender to Your embrace in the loving arms of sleep. Amen.