What is the significance of the “Year of Faith” for us Catholics in the Philippines?

The Year of Faith is a challenge to all the catholic faithful all over the world but more so to us Filipino Catholics. It is a time to rediscover our faith deeply. Faith is the lifelong companion that makes it possible to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that God works for us. Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world.” Faith is both a personal and a communal act: it is a gift from God that is lived in the communion of the Church and must be communicated to the world

The fundamental beliefs of the Christian religion are summarized in the Nicene Creed. For Catholics, they are detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Based on the promises of Christ in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.

Sacred Scripture consists of the 73 book Catholic Bible. This is made up of the 46 books found in the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament—known as the Septuagint and the 27 New Testament writings first found in the Codex Vaticanus Graecus1209 and listed in Athanasius’ Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter. Sacred Tradition consists of those teachings believed by the Church to have been handed down since the time of the Apostles. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are collectively known as the “deposit of faith” (depositum fidei). These are in turn interpreted by the Magisterium (from magister, Latin for “teacher”), the Church’s teaching authority, which is exercised by the Pope and the College of Bishops in union with the Pope, the bishop of Rome.

The Catholic Church is Trinitarian and defines its mission as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ,  administering the sacraments  and exercising charity.  Catholic worship is highly liturgical, focusing on the Mass or Divine Liturgy during which the sacrament of the Eucharist is celebrated. The Catholic Church practices closed communion and only baptized members of the Church in a state of grace are ordinarily permitted to receive the Eucharist

The Church holds the Blessed Virgin Mary, as mother of Jesus Christ, in special regard and has defined four specific Marian dogmatic teachings, namely her Immaculate Conception without original sin, her status as the Mother of God,  her perpetual virginity and her bodily Assumption into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. Numerous Marian devotions are also practiced

The Catholic Church is firm and maintains its stand on homosexuality and same sex marriages, ordination of women priest, artificial contraception and abortion, divorce and the sanctity of marriage.

Catholic social teaching emphasizes support for the sick, the poor and the afflicted through the corporal works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and medical services in the world. Catholic spiritual teaching emphasizes spread of the Gospel message and growth in spiritual discipline through the spiritual works of mercy. Church teaching calls for a preferential option for the poor while canon law prescribes that “The Christian faithful are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor.

The Church enumerates “corporal works of mercy” and “spiritual works of mercy” as follows:

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The Year of Faith should be designed to aid in the joyous rediscovery of the faith and its renewed transmission.  The goal of inviting all of the members of the Church to work so that this Year may be a special time in which we, as Christians, may share that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind, Universal King, “leader and perfecter of faith” (Hb 12: 2).

This is very significant for the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. The Catholics have to reiterate and do everything in the name of the Lord to stop the Reproductive Health Bill more popularly known as “RH Bill”. Some congressmen and senators are pushing for the passing of the bill stating that over-population is the main reason for the increasing rates in poverty and mortality of mothers and their newborn babies. In order to provide poor families with education and access to modern contraception as well as providing a sex education students as early as grade 5 or at the age of 10 to prevent teen pregnancies and spread of HIV/Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases.

First and foremost, I will give my view on this matter based on observation and facts regardless of faith and belief. It is a fact that the Philippines is not over populated. Yes, I agree that the people need to be educated but not particularly on sex and contraception. The government must concentrate on literacy program and teaching moral and family values to its citizenry instead of spending on contraception and reproductive health education as they say. There are more issues needing immediate attention and solutions. Besides Reproductive Health Bill can be incorporated in the national health bills and programs. Unless, there are hidden agendas or motives for those who are sponsoring and pushing for the passing of the bill.  And that’s what we have to be vigilant about. This could be another source of graft and corruption.

Second, On responsible parenthood – Who do you say responsible parents are? Parents or individuals who think and access on contraceptive in order to properly space their children or limit the number of children in the family? It can be true in some cases. But these families belong to the average and the educated. Not the poor and the illiterate in the remote places. How do you propose to educate them? Do you guarantee to be there or at least be able to send representatives to guide, assist, and provide them health care most of the time if not all the time they need to use those contraceptives? I don’t think so. Educating the poor takes time, patience and resources. It should start on basic education not jumping on the sex and contraception. You might even be misconstrued and make them feel being coerced to use contraceptives before they can exercise the only freedom they have.

Third, On early sex education in schools – Why do we need to worry about sex education on elementary students and take away the rights from suppose to be responsible parents? In the Philippines, wherein the family is the basic institution – it is the duty and responsibility of parents to educate and guide their children on family life and the dignity of human person.

Now, I am going to point this out base on my catholic faith. You don’t have to agree but this my belief, my faith and what and how I live by. I am not a fanatical Catholic but I try my best to live and adhere to the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. I believe that the CBCP has every right to defend and speak out its stance on the matter of Reproductive Health Bill because it opposes the Social teachings and doctrine of the Catholic Church. The CBCP is talking and appealing to the members, believers and faithful of the catholic church not to other sectors or religious groups who are responsible for own principles and belief.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle opposes the Reproductive Health Bill, along with abortion and contraception. Because 81% of Filipinos are Catholics, the Catholic Church exerts a strong influence in public and moral life. Its staunch opposition to the bill has drawn the controversy among non-Catholics and Catholics alike who support the bill whereby many invoke the principle of separation of church and state

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J, one of the drafters of the Philippine Constitution and a prominent lawyer and writer, explained that the concept of separation of church and state is directed towards the state, rather than the church, as it is a political concept. Technically it means “non-establishment of religion”, as the Constitution stated that “No law shall be passed respecting an establishment of religion …” It means that the state should be guided by the principle that it should support no specific religion. This means that government funding should not be allocated for building churches or mosques, and not favor any particular religion. The church cannot meddle in matters of the state, and should focus on religious matters, not political matters.

Pope Benedict the XVI  endorses the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” by Blessed Pope John Paul 2, as the guide  and basis for evangelization and preaching of the faith. And we all know his stands on the Social and moral issues – including artificial contraceptives and abortion.

In Blessed Pope John Paul 2’s  own words:

  • It is not a question of being severe
  • I could not refuse to tell the truth about men according to the gospel
  • The church proclaims the value of human life
  • Its sacredness and its enviable nature
  • If we consider the dignity of human being as a person
  • It is clear that sexuality cannot be separated from law
  • Reality can never change without the spiritual conception of the individual
  • That requires everyone to realize his/her own dignity
  • In the union of two souls and two bodies
  • There must be mutual devotion and respect
  • It needs a man and a woman to take responsibility for their relationship
  • And to defend the purity of love and sexuality
  • If someone is really in love
  • He or she would not allow that love to spread death
  • Easy solutions don’t help a man to be himself, to respect himself
  • If he is not capable of these, He won’t be capable of loving and respecting others
  • The church cares deeply about people’s pain and confusion
  • We don’t deal in abstract concept
  • But in the profound meaning of life and man
  • The materialistic world is not the whole world
  • The choice itself is not enough
  • The respect on human life does not depend on anyone’s choice
  • Nobody can choose imposing the rules of the rich on poor people

In 1995 World Youth Day – the 2nd visit of Pope John Paul 2 in the Philippines, more than 5 million Filipino Catholics was there to welcome and witness and hear his message. It was a wonderful moment, a Catholic Christian Celebration, a victorious moment, tears of joy, celebrating the Eucharist in unity with the SEE of ROME … Where are they now? Why don’t they speak out and express their support for the Roman Catholic Church against the passing of RH Bill?

Are we really one and united with the doctrines of faith and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

Are we one of those self-confessed or self-professed Catholics who do not have time to spare to go to confession and attend the mass and join the celebration of the Eucharist?

Are you one of those who are religious and regularly attending the mass but does not care what happens around him and the sufferings and challenges of his fellowmen?

Are you a reluctant catholic who lives just like the way you want and comfortable defying the teachings of the Catholic Church living an immoral life?

Are you a catholic who is being influenced by modernization, technology, development and contradicting the stand of the Catholic Church on moral issues?

What is your Stand?

I am a Catholic. I believe and adhere to the doctrine and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

I believe that God has the sole right and decision as to who will be born, live, survive or die. If God wills for babies to be born from parents anywhere and anytime – no amount of contraceptives, law or science can stop it from happening. If He wills to lessen the population, He has his ways.

Sources:

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The Declaration of the “YEAR OF FAITH” by Pope Benedict XVI

Year of Faith starts on October 11, 201 and will conclude on November 24, 2013. It marks two very important anniversaries in the Catholic Church: 1st: The 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the “Second Vatican Council (Oct. 11th-1962 to Dec 8th-1965)” and 2nd: The 20th Anniversary of the publication of “The Catechism of the Catholic Church (October 11-1992)” by Blessed Pope John Paul II.


Why does this matter?

Because it is a Fantastic way of knowing what the Catholic Church teaches. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the explanation of Faith divided into 4 broad sections: what we believe, how we worship, how we live and how we pray.

The Pope urges us to profess, celebrate and be witness to our faith.  He is aware of the fact and instances that the Catholic Church being ridiculed, criticized, persecuted and continually branded as the fake religion by other sectors more than ever.

But how can we profess and defend our faith? How can we celebrate and be witnesses to the truth, beauty and joys of our faith?

Profession of faith by learning the Apostle’s Creed by heart, reading the bible or few paragraphs of the catechism or studying the documents of the Vatican is not enough. We have to go to confession and attend mass and join in the celebration of the Eucharist, and join the church worldwide. We have to live by our faith and be able to share in the evangelization. We must be very proud and brave to show and profess our catholic faith. Evangelization starts in our own home and the family. The parents being able to at least take their kids to the church during the mass even though they still do not understand the full meaning of what and why they have to do such – awaken curiosity and pave the way to discovering by themselves the meaning and significance of the practices.

Let us not just be plain and self-confessed or professed catholic. We must live as “One”. Defend our faith instead of just being passive or mums about certain issues being thrown and accused against the Roman Catholic Church. Defense does not mean by revolt or any form of hostile uprising. We can defend by evangelizing, sharing, commenting on issues, prayer vigils, supporting the causes and programs of the church, helping others, living a Christian life and be example to others.

The Year of Faith is a challenge for us. There are issues now that we can show how we can be united in faith. As our Blessed Pope John Paul II said in his homily during his papal inauguration “Non abbiate paura!” meaning – Do not be afraid.

We are free and we have the right to voice out and stand firm on our faith. We are free and have the right to express our oppositions to issues such as same sex marriages, legalization of abortion, modern and artificial contraception, RH Bill, ordination of women priest and other issues against the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

More than ever, we have the responsibility to guard and defend the church. Spread, evangelize and be living witnesses to our faith. We have the right to vote and choose candidates who will rule our nations. Let us unite in the name of our faith in Christ. Ask His Guidance in choosing the right candidates for good governance. Let us go for religious freedom and stop suppression and persecution of the Catholic Church and the faithful.

Do not be afraid! Open, in deed, open wide the doors to Christ! Open to His saving power! Do not be afraid! Christ knows ‘what is inside a person’. Only he knows!

Sources:

San Pedro Calungsod

Pedro Calungsod (1654 – 2 April 1672) was a young Roman Catholic Filipino migrant sacristan and catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672. Through Calungsod and Servitors’ missionary efforts, many native  Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism. Calungsod was beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. On 18 February 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that Calungsod will be canonized on 21 October 2012.

Few details of his early life prior to missionary work and death are known. It is probable that he received basic education at a Jesuit boarding school, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. He likely honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry as these were necessary in missionary work. Calungsod would have been expected to have some aptitude in serving in the Tridentine Mass (now known as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite).

The only source of information regarding him is found in the documents on the martyrdom of P. Diego Luis San Vitores, SJ.  In these documents we know for sure that Calungsod was Padre Diego’s faithful assistant in the mission,  a “catechist”.

He was praised because “he merited the happiness of accompanying the Venerable Padre in his death” (“merecio la dicha de acompanar al Venerable Padre en su muerte”).  

Calungsod, then around 14, was among the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”). In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to these islands, renamed the Marianas Islands (Las Islas de Mariana) the year before in honor of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, Maria Ana of Austria, who funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to  catechize the native Chamorros. 

Missionary life was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain was difficult to traverse, and the islands were frequently devastated by typhoons. Despite all these, the mission persevered, and was able to convert a significant number of locals.

A Chinese merchant named Choco began spreading rumors that the baptismal water used by missionaries was poisonous. As some sickly Chamorro infants who were baptized eventually died, many believed the story and held the missionaries responsible. Choco was readily supported by the macanjas (medicine men) and the urritaos (young males) who despised the missionaries. 

In their search for a runaway companion named Esteban, Calungsod and San Vitores came to the village of Tumon, Guam on 2 April 1672. There they learnt that the wife of the village chief   Mata’pang gave birth to a daughter, and they immediately went to baptize the child. Influenced by the calumnies of Choco, the chief strongly opposed to give Mata’pang some time to calm down, the missionaries gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the tenets of the Catholic religion. They invited Mata’pang to join them, but he shouted back that he was angry with God and was fed up with Christian teachings.

Determined to kill the missionaries, Mata’pang went away and tried to enlist another villager, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. Hirao initially refused, mindful of the missionaries’ kindness towards the natives, but when Mata’pang branded him a coward, he became piqued and capitulated. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Mata’pang from his hut, San Vitores and Calungsod baptized the baby girl, with the consent of her Christian mother.

When Mata’pang learnt of his daughter’s baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Pedro, who was able to dodge the spears. Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not want to leave San Vitores alone. Those who knew Calungsod personally meanwhile believed that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons; San Vitores however banned his companions to carry arms. Calungsod was hit in the chest by a spear and he fell to the ground, then Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with machete blow to the head. San Vitores absolved Calungsod before he too was killed..

Mata’pang took San Vitores’ crucifix and pounded it with a stone whilst blaspheming God. Both assassins then denuded the corpses of Calungsod and San Vitroes, tied large stones to their feet, brought them out to sea on their proas and threw them into the water.

In the Roman Catholic Church, Calungsod’s martyrdom is called In Odium Fidei or In Hatred of the Faith, referring to the religious persecution endured by the person in evangelization.

 Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal blessing the official image of blessed Pedro Calungsod

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal blessing the official image of blessed Pedro Calungsod

A year after the martyrdom of San Vitores and Calungsod, a process for beatification was initiated but only for San Vitores. Political and religious turmoil, however, delayed and halted the process. When Hagåtña was preparing for its 20th anniversary as a diocese in 1981, the 1673 beatification cause of Padre Diego Luís de San Vitores was rediscovered in old manuscripts and revived until San Vitores was finally beatified on 6 October 1985. This gave recognition to Calungsod, paving the way for his own beatification.

In 1994, then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate the beatification and canonization cause of Pedro Calungsod. In March 1997, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the acta of the diocesan beatification process. That same year, Cardinal Vidal appointed Fr Ildebrando Leyson as vice-postulator for the cause, tasked with compiling a Positio Super Martyrio (position regarding the martyrdom) to be scrutinized by the Congregation. The position, which relied heavily on the documentation of San Vitores’ beatification, was completed in 1999.

Blessed John Paul II, wanting to include young Asian laypersons in his first beatification for the Jubilee Year 2000, paid particular attention to the cause of Calungsod. In January 2000, he approved the decree super martyrio (concerning the martyrdom) of Calungsod, setting his beatification for 5 March 2000 at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.

Regarding Calungsod’s charitable works and virtuous deeds, Pope John Paul II declared:

“…From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr. Diego, but as a “good soldier of Christ” preferred to die at the missionary’s side.” ”

On 19 December 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. The recognized miracle dates from 2002, when a Leyte woman who was pronounced clinically dead by accredited physicians two hours after a heart attack was revived when a doctor prayed for Calungsod’s intercession.

Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the declaration ceremony on behalf of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He later revealed that Pope Benedict XVI approved and signed the official promulgation decrees recognizing the miracles as authentic and worthy of belief. The College of Cardinals were then sent a dossier on the new saints, and they were asked to indicate their approval. On 18 February 2012, after the Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals, Cardinal Amato formally petitioned Pope Benedict XVI to announce the canonization of the new saints.  

The Pope set the date for the canonization on 21 October 2012 (World Mission Sunday), 340 years after Calungsod’s death.

After Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Calungsod will be the second Filipino declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Martyrology celebrates Calungsod’s feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every 2 April.

 

Sources:

  1. Wikipedia: Pedro Calungsod
  2. Pedro Calungsod Bisaya, Prospects of a Teenage Filipino by  Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Alino Leyson

Chaplet of the Divine Mercy And Novena

 

Chaplet of the Divine Mercy

Chaplet of the Divine Mercy

 

 

1.        Make the Sign of the Cross

2.        Pray the Opening Prayers

After making the Sign of the Cross, pray the following opening prayers. The second prayer is repeated three times:

“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 fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!” (three times)

3.        Pray the Our Father

4.        Pray the Hail Mary

5.        Say the Apostles’ Creed

6.        On the Our Father bead before each decade, pray the following prayer:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Amen.”

7.        On each of the Hail Mary beads in each decade, pray the following prayer:

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

8.        On each of the next four decades of the Chaplet, repeat steps 6 and 7 (pray the Eternal Father, followed by ten “For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion”).

9.        Pray the Concluding Doxology Three Times

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (3X)

10.     Pray the Closing Prayer

“Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Together with the Chaplet, the following prayers are recited for each day.

 

FIRST DAY

Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

 


 

SECOND DAY

Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

 

 


 

THIRD DAY

“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.”

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.

 

 


 

FOURTH DAY

“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”

 

PRAYER

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

 

 


 

FIFTH DAY

“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

 

 


 

SIXTH DAY

Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

 

 


 

SEVENTH DAY

Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

 

 


 

EIGHT DAY

“Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.”

 

PRAYER

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

 

 


 

NINTH DAY

“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My Mercy.”

PRAYER

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

 

LITANIES TO THE DIVINE MERCY

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus Christ hear us, Jesus Christ listen to us.
God Celestial Father, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, You who are One true God, have mercy on us.

*in You I Trust
Jesus, King of Mercy, you who have redeemed the world*
Jesus, King of Mercy, by whom all things were created.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who have sanctified us.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who have revealed to us the mystery of the Holy Trinity.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who have manifested the Omnipotence of God.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who manifest yourself in the creation of the celestial spirits.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who formed us from nothingness.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who embraces the whole universe.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who gives us eternal life.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who protects us from the punishment we deserved.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who liberates us from the misery of sin.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who grants us justification in the Incarnate Word.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who grants us mercy through your Sacred Wounds.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, which gushes forth from your Sacred Heart.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who gave us the Virgin Mary as Mother of Mercy.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, for which you have suffered your Incarnation, Passion and Death. *
Jesus, King of Mercy, by which you help all, in all places and always.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, by which you filled us with Your Graces.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, the one which you have manifested through the revelations of the Divine Mysteries.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, the one which by which you manifested by the institution of your Holy Church.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who having instituted the Holy Sacraments, opened for us the torrents of Your Graces.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, through which you have bestowed on us the Holy Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, through which you have bestowed on us the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who have called us to our Holy Faith.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who manifest it by the conversion of sinners.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who manifest it illuminating the faithful.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who reveal it by the sanctification of the just.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who take the saints to the summit of sanctity.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, the one which gushes forth from Your Holy wounds.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, the one which gushes forth from you Sacred Heart.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are consolation to the sick and afflicted.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the only consolation of afflicted hearts.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who give hope to the souls who are in despair.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who accompany all men, always and everywhere.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who fill us with the torrents of Your Graces.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the refuge of the dying.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the consolation of the souls in purgatory.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the crown of all the Saints.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the celestial joy of those who are saved.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the inexhaustible fountain of miracles.*
Jesus, King of Mercy, who are the salvation of the whole world.*

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Forgive us Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, Hear us Lord
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.

The Mercies of God are greater than all of his works. That is why I will sing the mercies of the Lord forever.

 

PRAISES TO THE DIVINE MERCY

 

THE LOVE OF GOD is the flower — Mercy the fruit. Let the doubting soul read these considerations on Divine Mercy and become trusting:

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, fountain gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, unfathomed by any intellect, human or angelic, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, better than the heavens, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us, and especially for sinners, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Host, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in the founding of the Holy Church, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, astonishment for Angels, incomprehensible to Saints, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, crown of all God’s handiwork, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls, I trust in You
Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope, I trust in You

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

“O incomprehensible and Limitless Mercy Divine, Who can extol and adore You worthily? Supreme attribute of Almighty God, You are the sweet hope for sinful man. Into one hymn yourselves unite, stars, earth and sea, and in one accord, thankfully and fervently sing of the incomprehensible Divine Mercy” 

 

Divine Mercy

The original Divine Mercy image  by Eugene Kazimierowski (Vilnius, Lithuania, 1934)

The original Divine Mercy image by Eugene Kazimierowski (Vilnius, Lithuania, 1934)

The original Divine Mercy image was painted by Eugene Kazimierowski in Vilnius, Lithuania (January to June 1934) under St. Faustina’s direction. However, according to her diary, she cried upon seeing that the finished picture was not as beautiful as the vision she had received, but Jesus comforted her saying, “Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace.

 

Divine Mercy image  by Adolf Hyla

Divine Mercy image by Adolf Hyla

The Divine Mercy image as painted by Adolf Hyla. The writing at the bottom is in polish and means “Jesus I Trust in You”. This painting hangs above the tomb of Saint Faustina in the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki, Poland. The painting was completed in 1943.

 

In her diary Faustina wrote that Jesus specified three o’clock each afternoon as the hour at which mercy was best received, and asked her to pray the Chaplet of Mercy and venerate the Divine Mercy image at that hour. On October 10, 1937, in her diary (Notebook V, item 1320) Faustina attributed the following statement to Jesus:

As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it, invoke it’s omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners, for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul.

Three o’clock in the afternoon corresponds to the hour at which Jesus died on the cross. This hour is called the “hour of Divine Mercy” or the “hour of great mercy”

The Feast of the Divine Mercy

The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by Pope John Paul II and is celebrated the Sunday after Easter on the General Roman Calendar, and is associated with specific indulgences.

Divine Mercy Sunday is also the day after the culmination of the novena of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Faustina wrote Jesus instructed her that the Feast of Mercy (the Sunday after Easter) be preceded by a Divine Mercy Novena which would begin on Good Friday.

In an entry in her diary, Faustina stated that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of their sins and punishments.

The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II who, On 30 April 2000, canonized Faustina Kowalska, and officially designated the Sunday after Easter as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar. A year after establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, on April 22, 2001 Pope John Paul II re-emphasized its message in the resurrection context of Easter:

The devotion to Divine Mercy Sunday grew rapidly after its designation by Pope John Paul II and is now widely celebrated by Catholics. The Divine Mercy image is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass.

The liturgical celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday reflects the devotional elements of Divine Mercy – the first prayer of that Mass beginning with:

“Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life”.

This opening prayer refers to Divine Mercy as the key element in the plan of God for salvation and emphasizes the belief that it was through mercy that God gave his only son for the redemption of mankind, after the fall of Adam.

John Paul II, who died in April 2005 on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, was himself beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

 

Maria Faustina Kowalska, “Apostle of Mercy”

Maria Faustina Kowalska, commonly known as Saint Faustina, born Helenka Kowalska (August 25, 1905, near Lodz, Poland then in the Russian Empire – Died October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland) was a Polish nun, mystic and visionary. She is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as a saint, and is known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

Throughout her life, she reported a number of visions of Jesus and conversations with him, which she wrote about in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations regarding the Divine Mercy devotion.

At age 20 she joined a convent in Warsaw and was later transferred to Plock, and then to Vilnius, where she met her confessor Michael Sopocko who supported her devotion to Divine Mercy. Faustina and Sopocko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Faustina’s reported vision of Jesus. Sopocko used the image to celebrate the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter – which later became known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

In her diary Faustina predicted that her work would be suppressed for some time, then accepted again. Two decades after her death the Divine Mercy devotion was banned by the Vatican, but was approved again in 1978 and she was declared the first saint of the 21st century in April 2000. The Divine Mercy devotion is now followed by over 100 million Catholics.

In late May 1933 Faustina was transferred to Vilnius as the gardener – her job also included growing vegetables. She remained in Vilnius for about 3 years, until March 1936. The convent in Vilnius had only 18 sisters at the time and consisted of a few scattered small houses, rather than a large building.

Shortly after arriving in Vilnius, Faustina met Father Michael Sopocko, the newly appointed confessor to the nuns. Faustina went to Sopocko for her first confession, she told him that she had been conversing with Jesus, who had a plan for her. After some time, in fall 1933 Father Sopocko insisted on a complete psychiatric evaluation of Faustina by Dr. Helena Maciejewska, a psychiatrist and a physician associated with the convent. Faustina passed the required tests and was declared of sound mind.

Sopocko began to have confidence in Faustina and supported her efforts. Sopocko also advised Faustina to begin writing a diary and to record the conversations and messages from Jesus which she was reporting. Faustina told Sopocko about the Divine Mercy image and in January 1934 Sopocko introduced her to the artist Eugene Kazimierowski, who was also a professor at the university.

By June 1934, Kazimierowski had finished painting the image based on the direction of Faustina and Father Sopocko. That was the only Divine Mercy painting Faustina saw. After Faustina’s death, a number of other artists painted the image, with the depiction by Adolf Hyla being among the most reproduced.

While she was in Vilnius, Faustina predicted that her message of Divine Mercy would be suppressed for some time, and appear to be “utterly undone” but that it would be accepted again. On February 8, 1935, she wrote in her diary (Notebook I, item 378):

There will come a time when this work, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.

Over twenty years later, in 1959, her messages were suppressed by the Vatican, but were accepted again in 1978.

Faustina wrote in her diary (Notebook I item 414) that on Good Friday April 19, 1935 Jesus told her that he wanted the Divine Mercy image publicly honored. On Friday April 26, 1935 Father Sopocko delivered the first sermon ever on the Divine Mercy – and Faustina attended the sermon.

The first Mass during which the Divine Mercy image was displayed was on April 28, 1935, the second Sunday after Easter and was attended by Faustina. April 28 1935. was also the celebration of the end of the Jubilee of the Redemption by Pope Pius XI. However, Father Michael Sopocko (Faustina’s confessor) managed to obtained Archbishop Jałbrzykowski’s permission to place the Divine Mercy image within the Gate of Dawn church in Vilnius during the Mass that Sunday and celebrated the Mass himself.

On September 13, 1935, while still in Vilnius, Faustina wrote of a vision about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in her diary (Notebook I item 476). The chaplet is about a third of the length of the Rosary. Faustina wrote that the purpose for chaplet’s prayers for mercy are threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ’s mercy, and to show mercy to others.

In November 1935 Faustina wrote the rules for a new contemplative religious congregation devoted to Divine Mercy, and in December she visited a house in Vilnius which she said she had seen in a vision as the first convent for the congregation.

In January 1936 Faustina went to see Archbishop Jałbrzykowski to discuss a new congregation for Divine Mercy. But he reminded her that she was perpetually vowed to her current order. In March 1936 Faustina told her superiors that she was thinking of leaving the order to start a new order specifically devoted to Divine Mercy, but she was transferred to Walendow, southwest of Warsaw.

In the summer of 1936 Father Sopocko wrote the first brochure on the Divine Mercy devotion and Archbishop Jalbrzykowski provided his imprimatur for it. The brochure carried the Divine Mercy image on the cover. Sopocko sent copies of the brochure to Faustina in Warsaw.

Later in 1936, Faustina became ill, since speculated to be tuberculosis. She was moved to the sanatorium in Pradnik, Kraków. She continued to spend much time in prayer, reciting the chaplet and praying for the conversion of sinners. The last two years of her life were spent praying and keeping her diary.

On March 23, 1937, Faustina wrote in her diary (Notebook III, item 1044) that she had a vision that the feast of Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel, and would be attended by large crowds, and that the same celebration would be held in Rome attended by the Pope.

In July 1937 the first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were printed and in August Father Sopocko asked Faustina to write the instructions for the Novena of Divine Mercy which she had reported as a message from Jesus on Good Friday 1937

Throughout 1937 progress was made in promoting the messages of Divine Mercy and in November 1937 a pamphlet was published with the title Christ, King of Mercy. The pamphlet included the chaplet, novena and the litany of Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy image appeared on the cover, with the signature, “Jesus I Trust in You”. On November 10, 1937 Mother Irene, Faustina’s superior, showed her the booklets while Faustina rested in her bed

As her health deteriorated at the end of 1937, her reported visions intensified, and she was said to be looking forward to an end to her life. In April 1938 Faustina’s illness had progressed and she was sent to rest in the sanatorium in Pradnick, for what was to be her final stay there. By June 1938, Faustina was so ill that she could no longer write.

In September 1938 Father Sopocko visited her at sanatorium and found her very ill, but in ecstasy as she was praying. Later in September 1938 she was taken back home to Krakow, to await her death there. Father Sopocko visited her at the convent for a last time on September 26, 1938.

On October 5, 1938 Faustina made her final confession and died in Krakow, 13 years after entering the convent. She was buried on October 7th and now rests at the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland.

Before her death Faustina predicted that “there will be a war, a terrible, terrible war” and asked the nuns to pray for Poland. In 1939, a year after Faustina’s death when Archbishop Jałbrzykowski noticed that her predictions about the war had taken place, he allowed public access to the Divine Mercy image which resulted in large crowds that led to the spread of the Divine Mercy devotion. The Divine Mercy devotion became a source of strength and inspiration for many people in Poland. By 1941 the devotion had reached the United States and millions of copies of Divine Mercy prayer cards were printed and distributed worldwide.

In 1942 Jałbrzykowski was arrested by the Nazis, but Father Sopocko and other professors went into hiding near Vilnius for about two years. During that period Sopocko used his time to establish a new religious congregation based on the Divine Mercy messages reported by Faustina. After the War, Sopocko wrote the constitution for the congregation and helped the formation of what is now the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Mercy. By 1951, thirteen years after Faustina’s death there were 150 Divine Mercy centers in Poland.

After the death of St. Faustina, the nuns at her convent sent her writings to the Vatican. Prior to 1966, any reported visions of Jesus and Mary required approval from the Holy See before they could be released to the public. After a failed attempt to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a condemnation, Cardinal Alfredo Ottavianiat the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII in 1959. The Pope signed the decree that placed her work on the Index of Forbidden Books and they remained on the Index until it was abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI. In 1959, as the Vatican forbade the Divine Mercy devotion, it also severely reprimanded Sopocko, and all his work was suppressed. However, Eugeniusz Baziak, the archbishop of Kraków, permitted the nuns to leave the original picture hanging in their chapel so that those who wished to continue to pray before it could do so.

In 1965 Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Krakow and later Pope John Paul II opened a new investigation, interviewed witnesses and in 1967 submitted a number of documents about Faustina to the Vatican, requesting the start of the process of her beatification. The case was accepted for review in 1968.

In 1977, over a year before he was elected as John Paul II, Archbishop Wojtyla asked the Vatican to review and lift the ban on the Divine Mercy devotion, and the ban ended in 1978. In April 1978, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the Notification ban was no longer binding, and stated that misunderstandings were created by a faulty Italian translation of Kowalska’s Diary. Afterward, the questionable material could not be correlated with the original because of difficulties in communication throughout World War II and the subsequent Communist era.

The formal beatification of Faustina involved the case of Maureen Digan of Massachusetts. In March 1981 Digan reported a healing, while praying at the tomb of Faustina. Digan had suffered from Lymphedema (a disease which causes significant swelling due to fluid retention) for decades, and had undergone 10 operations, including a leg amputation. Digan reported that while praying at Faustina’s tomb, she heard a voice saying “ask for my help and I will help you” and her constant pain stopped. After 2 days Digan reported that her shoe became too large for her because her body stopped undue liquid retention.

Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000 – the first saint in the 21st century.Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Second Sunday of Easter (which is the first Sunday after Easter).

 

Why are they called “Evangelists?

The Four Evangelists are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are called evangelists because they proclaim and preach the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence. Convention has traditionally held the authors to have been two of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, John and Matthew, and two “apostolic men,” Mark and Luke.

  1.  Matthew – a former tax collector who was called by Jesus to be one of the Twelve Apostles.
  2.  Mark – a follower of Peter and so an “apostolic man”.
  3. Luke – a doctor who wrote what is now the book of Luke to a friend Theophilus. Also believed to have written the book of Acts (or Acts of the Apostles) and a close friend of Paul of Tarsus.
  4. John – a disciple of Jesus and possibly the youngest of his Twelve Apostles.

 

In iconography the evangelists often appear in Evangelist portraits derived from classical tradition, and are also frequently represented by the following symbols, which originate from the four “living creatures” that draw the throne-chariot of God, the Merkabah, in the vision in the Book of Ezekiel (Chapter 1) reflected in the Book of Revelation (4.6-9ff), though neither source links the creatures to the Evangelists. They are normally, but not invariably, all shown with wings like angels. The meanings accruing to the symbols grew over centuries, and were fully expressed by Rabanus Maurus, who set out three layers of meaning for the beasts, as representing firstly the Evangelists, secondly the nature of Christ, and thirdly the virtues required of a Christian for salvation:

Slide14

Matthew the Evangelist, the author of the first gospel account is symbolized by a winged man, or angel. Matthew’s gospel starts with Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham; it represents Jesus’ Incarnation, and so Christ’s human nature. This signifies that Christians should use their reason for salvation.

Slide15

 Mark the Evangelist, the author of the second gospel account is symbolized by a winged lion – a figure of courage and monarchy. Mark has John the Baptist preaching “like a lion roaring” at the beginning of his Gospel. It also represents Jesus’ Resurrection (because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, a comparison with Christ in the tomb), and Christ as king. This signifies that Christians should be courageous on the path of salvation.

Slide16

§  Luke the Evangelist, the author of the third gospel account (and the Acts of the Apostles) is symbolized by a winged ox or bull – a figure of sacrifice, service and strength. Luke’s account begins with the duties of Zacharias in the temple; it represents Jesus’ sacrifice in His Passion and Crucifixion, as well as Christ being High priest (this also represents Mary’s obedience). The ox signifies that Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves in following Christ.

Slide17

John the Evangelist, the author of the fourth gospel account is symbolized by an eagle – a figure of the sky, and believed to be able to look straight into the sun. John starts with an eternal overview of Jesus the Logos and goes on to describe many things with a “higher” level than the other three (synoptic) gospels; it represents Jesus’ Ascension, and Christ’s divine nature. This represents that Christians should look on eternity without flinching as they journey towards their goal of union with God.

Each of the symbols is depicted with wings following the biblical sources first in Ezekiel 1-2, and in Revelation. The symbols are shown with, or in place of, the Evangelists in early medieval Gospel Books, and are the usual accompaniment to Christ in Majesty when portrayed during the same period, reflecting the vision in Revelations. They were presented as one of the most common motifs found on church portals and apses, as well as many other locations. When surrounding Christ, the figure of the man is usually at top left – above Christ’s right hand, with the lion above Christ’s left arm. Underneath the man is the ox and underneath the lion is the eagle. This both reflects the medieval idea of the order of “nobility” of nature of the beasts (man, lion, ox, eagle) and the text of Ezekiel 1.10. From the thirteenth century their use began to decline, as a new conception of Christ in Majesty, showing the wounds of the Passion, began to be used.

Whilst Matthew is often cited as the “first Gospel account,” not only owing to its place in the canon but also in view of the patristic witness to this effect. Most biblical scholars see the gospel account of Mark as having been written first and John’s gospel account as having been written last.

It has become customary to speak of “the Gospel of Matthew”  “the Gospel of John”, not least because it is shorter and rolls much more smoothly off the tongue; but it is worth noting that the ancient titles do not use the genitive of possession, but the preposition “according to”, signifying that each evangelist sets forth the one “Gospel of God” according to his own capacity, but not in the sense of creating his own story.

Images of tetramorphs, unions of different elements into one symbol, were originally used by the Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks. The image of the sphinx, found in Egypt and Babylon, depicted the body of a lion and the head of a human, while the harpies of Greek mythology showed bird-like human women. The Egyptians and Assyrians in particular were the first to attach wings to their divine images (insert citation). The tetramorphs of the Evangelists can be traced back to the winged animals of Assyrians art and sculpture. Ezekiel’s vision, from which the images of the tetramorphs are derived, are believed to have been influenced by the ancient art of Assyria.

The animals associated with the tetramorphs of the Evangelists originate from the Babylonian symbols of the four fixed signs of the zodiac: the ox, representing Taurus; the lion, representing Leo; the eagle, representing Scorpio; the man, representing Aquarius.  The four symbols also represented the four pagan elements earth, air, fire, and water. These animals were also common in Egyptian, Greek, and Assyrian mythology. The early Christians adopted this symbolism and adapted it for the four Evangelists   as the tetramorphs, which first appear in Christian art in the 5th century.

The images of the tetramorphs in Christian theology first appear in the vision of Ezekiel, who describes the four creatures as they appear to him in his book:

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”

 

They are described later in the Apocalypse of the Revelation of John:

”And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”

Though there are several inconsistencies between the records of St. Augustine, Irenaeus, and St Jerome, St Jerome is generally credited with assigning the tetramorphs to each of the Evangelists. The tetramorphs, just as the four gospels of the Evangelists, represent four facets of Christ.

§  Matthew the Evangelist is represented as the winged man, or an angel. He is represented in human form because his gospel centres on the human nature and life of Christ. St Jerome writes -”The first face of a man signifies Matthew, who began his narrative as though about a man: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Chris the son of David, the son of Abraham’”.

Mark the Evangelist is represented as a lion. He is represented in the form of a lion because he proclaims the royal dignity of Christ, the lion being the king of beasts. ”The second [face signifies] Mark in whom the voice of a lion roaring in the wilderness is heard: ‘A voice of one shouting in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Luke the Evangelist is represented as an ox, or a calf. He is represented in the form of an ox as his gospel dwells on the atonement and the sacrifice of Christ, the ox being an ancient symbol of sacrifice. ”The third [is the face] of the calf which prefigures that the evangelist Like began with Zachariah the priest.”

John the Evangelist is represented as an eagle. He is represented as an eagle as his gospel describes Christ’s Ascension and the incarnation of the divine Logos, the eagle itself a symbol of ascension and flight.”The fourth [face signifies] John the evangelist who, having taken up eagle’s wings and hastening toward higher matters, discusses the Word of God.”

The tetramorphs as they appear in their animal forms are predominantly shown as winged figures. The wings, an ancient symbol of divinity, represent the divinity of the Evangelists, the divine nature of Christ, and the virtues required for Christian salvation In regards to the depiction of St Mark in particular, the use of wings distinguish him from images of St Jerome, who is also associated with the image of a lion.

The perfect human body of Christ was originally represented as a winged man, and was later adapted for St Matthew in order to symbolize Christ’s humanity. In the context of the tetramorphs, the winged man indicates Christ’s humanity and reason, as well as Matthew’s account of the Incarnation of Christ.  The lion of St Mark represents courage, resurrection, and royalty, coinciding with the theme of Christ as king in Mark’s gospel. It is also interpreted as the Lion of Judah as a reference to Christ’s royal lineage.  The ox, or bull, is an ancient Christian symbol of redemption and life through sacrifice,  signifying Luke’s records of Christ as a priest and his ultimate sacrifice for the future of humanity. The eagle represents the sky, heavens, and the human spirit, paralleling the divine nature of Christ.

In their earliest appearances, the Evangelists were depicted in their human forms each with a scroll or a book to represent the Gospels. By the 5th century, images of the Evangelists evolved into their respective tetramorphs.  By the later middle ages, the tetramorphs were used less frequently and the Evangelists were often shown in their human forms accompanied by their symbolic creatures, or as human men with the heads of animals.

In images where the creatures surround Christ, the winged man and the eagle are often depicted at Christ’s sides, with the lion and the ox positioned lower by his feet, with the man on Christ’s right, taking precedence over the eagle, and the lion to the left of the ox. This position reflects the medieval great chain of being.

The four Gospels originally circulated anonymously; none of them bear the name of their authors. The names that are presently attached to our canonical Gospels are the product of second-century speculation, and they are intended to stress the apostolic credentials of the Gospels. Most of us assume that the Gospels are the direct products of either Jesus’ apostles (John and Matthew) or their loyal lieutenants (Mark and Luke); however, this is not the overwhelming view of the majority of biblical scholars.

Is it really important to be more certain who the real authors of the Gospels are?  Isn’t it enough that our faith tells us that these were written by the apostles of Jesus Christ and are therefore divinely inspired?

The more I read those articles of different Scholars and Critics of the Catholic or Christian faith the more it gets complex and confusing.

I believe that man will be saved by his own faith…That is Faith in One and Only true God – The Son Of God the Father, who became Man – To deliver mankind from sins. Amen!

Judas Iscariot, The Apostle

Judas Iscariot (Hebrew: Yehuda), according to the New Testament, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. He was the first of the apostles to die.

In the Greek New Testament, Judas is called. “Judas” (spelled “Ioudas” in ancient Greek and “Iudas” in Latin, pronounced yudas in both) is the Greek form of the common name Judah, Hebrew for “God is praised”). The Greek spelling underlies other names in the New Testament that are traditionally rendered differently in English: Judah and Jude.

The significance of “Iscariot” is uncertain. There are several major theories on etymology:

judas iscariot 3

One popular explanation derives Iscariot from a Hebrew meaning “man of Kerioth”. The Gospel of John refers to Judas as “son of Simon Iscariot” (although the biblical text only refers to him as “the son of Simon”. Some speculate that Kerioth refers to a region in Judea, but it is also the name of two known Judean towns.

A second theory is that “Iscariot” identifies Judas as a member of the sicarii. These were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea. However, some historians maintain the sicarii arose in the 40s or 50s of the 1st century, in which case Judas could not have been a member.

Judas is mentioned in the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John and at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles.

Mark states that the chief priests were looking for a sly way to arrest Jesus. They decided not to do so during the feast since they were afraid that people would riot; instead, they chose the night before the feast to arrest him. In the Gospel of Luke, Satan enters Judas at this time.

According to the account in the Gospel of John, Judas carried the disciples’ money bag. He betrayed Jesus for a bribe of “thirty pieces of silver” by identifying him with a kiss — “the kiss of Judas” — to arresting soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas, who then turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate’s soldiers.

There are a few descriptions of the death of Judas, two of which are included in the modern Biblical canon:

Matthew 27:3-10 says that Judas returned the money to the priests and committed suicide by hanging himself. They used it to buy the potter’s field. The Gospel account presents this as a fulfillment of prophecy

The Acts of the Apostles says that Judas used the money to buy a field, but fell headfirst, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This field is called Akeldama or Field of Blood.

St. Simon Zelotes, The Apostle

 

Apostles called him Simon the Zealot, and Simon Kananaios or Simon Cananeus (“Simon” signifying שמעון “hearkening; listening”, Standard Hebrew Šimʿon, Tiberian Hebrew Šimʿôn), was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name. A few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him, and Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus.

The name of Simon occurs in all of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of apostles, without further details: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas [“the son” is interpolated] of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios, or Kananites, the “Zealot”. Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana, in which case his epithet would have been “Kanaios” or even from the region of Canaan. The translation of the word “the Cananite” or “the Canaanite” is traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

simon-the-zealot

Another tradition holds that this is the Simeon of Jerusalem who became the second bishop of Jerusalem, although he was born in Galilee.

St. Isidore of Seville drew together the accumulated anecdotes of St. Simon in De Vita et Morte; the fully developed aura of legend is presented in the Legenda Aurea.

In later tradition, Simon is often associated with St. Judeas an evangelizing team; they share their feast day on 28 October. The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia or Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD. This version is the one found in the Golden Legend. He may have suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem.

One tradition states that he traveled in the Middle East and Africa. Christian Ethiopians claim that he was crucified in Samaria, while Justus Lipsius writes that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia. However, Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia. Tradition also claims he died peacefully at Edessa. Another tradition says he visited Britain — possibly Glastonbury — and was martyred in Caistor, modern-day Lincolnshire. Another, doubtless inspired by his title “the Zealot”, states that he was involved in a Jewish revolt against the Romans, which was brutally suppressed.

In art, Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because according to legend, he was put to death by a saw.

St. Simon, like the other Apostles, is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church.

St. Jude, “The Apostle”

St. Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, “brother of Jesus”, but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple, the betrayer of Jesus.

The Armenian Apostolic Church honors Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. In the Roman Catholic ChurJude thaddeus 4ch he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.

Saint Jude’s attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Another common attribute is Jude holding an image of Jesus Christ, in the image of Edessa. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter’s rule.

Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and later the betrayer of Jesus. Both “Jude” and “Judas” are translations of the name Ιούδας in the Greek original New Testament, which in turn is a Greek variant of Judah, a name which was common among Jews at the time. In most bibles in languages other than English and French, Jude and Judas are referred to by the same name.

“Jude of James” is only mentioned twice in the New Testament: in the lists of apostles in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.

The name by which Luke calls the Apostle, “Jude of James” is ambiguous as to the relationship of Jude to this James. Though such a construction sometimes connote a relationship of father and son, it has been traditionally interpreted as “Jude, brother of James or (for instance, the New International Version translation) usually identify him as “Jude son of James”.

Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesapotamia and Libya. He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the emissary of latter mission is also identified as Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy. The 14th-century writer Nicephorus Callistus makes Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana.

The legend reports that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in Galilee later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi. In all probability he spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade. According to the legend, St. Jude was a son of Clopas and his wife Mary, a sister of the Virgin Mary. Tradition has it that Jude’s father, Clopas, was murdered because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ. After Mary’s death, miracles were attributed to her intercession.

Although Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the “Apostle to the Armenians”, when he baptized King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301, converting the Armenians, the Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Saint Thaddeus Monastery (now in northern Iran) and Saint Bartholomew Monastery (now in southeastern Turkey) which were both constructed in what was then Armenia.

According to the Armenian tradition, Saint Jude suffered martyrdom about 65 AD in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria, together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude that was among the collection of passions and legends traditionally associated with the legendary Abdias, bishop of Babylon, and said to have been translated into Latin by his disciple Tropaeus Africanus, according to the Golden Legend account of the saints.

Sometime after his death, Saint Jude’s body was brought from Beirut to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica which is visited by many devotees. According to popular tradition, the remains of St. Jude were preserved in an Armenian monastery on an island in the northern part ofIssyk-Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan at least until the mid-15th century. Later legends either deny that the remains are preserved there or claim that they were moved to a yet more desolate stronghold in the Pamir Mountains. Recent discovery of the ruins of what could be that monastery may put an end to the dispute.

Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest, betokening the legend of the Image of Edessa, recorded in apocryphal correspondence between Jesus and Abgar. King Abgar of Edessa (now Şanlıurfa in southeast Turkey) sent a letter to Jesus seeking a cure for an illness afflicting him. With the letter he sent his envoy Hannan, the keeper of the archives, offering his own home city to Jesus as a safe dwelling place. The envoy painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints (or alternatively, impressed with Abgar’s faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to Hannan) to take to Abgar with his answer. Upon seeing Jesus’ image, the king placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses. After Christ’s execution, Thomas the Apostle sent Jude to King Abgar and the king was cured. Astonished, he converted to Christianity, along with many of the people under his rule. Additionally, St. Jude is often depicted with a flame above his head, representing his presence at Pentecost, when he was said to have received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.

Saint Jude is the patron saint of the Chicago Police Department and of Clube de Regatas do Flamengo (a soccer team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). His other patronages include desperate situations and hospitals. One of his namesakes is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families since its founding in 1962. His feast day is October 28 (Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church) and June 19 (Eastern Orthodox Church).