✝️💫 REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 16, 2023, Sunday

“Renewing our commitment to a life of holiness, offering our weaknesses and sins totally to the unfathomable Mercy of God and becoming a Missionary of Mercy to all!”

(Based on Acts 2:42-47, 1 Pet 1:3-9 and Jn 20:19-31 – 2nd Sunday of Easter – Sunday of Divine Mercy)

St. John Maria Vianney is the patron saint of priests.

As a model priest, he helped all the needy in his parish or in the region around him.

Once, word was sent to him that a very sick man of his parish was seeking to make confession.

However, this man was pretty far off from the place where the church was.
It was a time when vehicles were too sparse.
The climate was bitter cold and the rain storm was blowing in.

But the zeal in the heart of the Saintly Priest was still greater.

So, he picked up his cloak and started his walk to the sick man’s house.

The freezing cold pierced through his frail bones
The lashing winds wrenched his body in frosty pain
Yet, St John Vianney trekked on!

Finally he reached the house of the sick man.

By the time he arrived, St Vianney himself was shivering and wobbly with high fever.
He fell so ill, that he had to hear the confession, lying down, beside the sick man’s bed.
Many in fact, even thought, that the priest was more sick than the penitent ill-man!

It was the personal experiences of God’s Mercy that helped St John Vianney to share God’s immense mercy! God’s Mercy always reaches out – to the one who is in need, to the one who seeks!

All of us are to have an experience of the Lord’s forgiving love and be a Missionary of Mercy

Pope St John Paul II beautifully tells us: “Divine Mercy! This is the Easter Gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to Humanity at the dawn of the third millennium!”

Today as we celebrate God’s Mercy – on this Divine Mercy Sunday – we are presented with the example of St Thomas, the Apostle, who is a consolation to all who face uncertainties in spiritual life

St Thomas sometimes is considered by others, as being “adamant” and “proud.”

… it was his search for convictions in life that made him seek for a proof for the Lord’s appearance
… it was his desire for certainty in life that caused him to doubt the words of his companions

When we go through the life of St Thomas as seen in the Gospels, we encounter a person constantly displaying courage, expressing commitment and seeking for convictions.

It was probably St Thomas who first expressed his desire to give up his life for the Lord and His Kingdom… “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (Jn 11: 16)

St Thomas becomes a motivation for all those who follow Christ, to be bold and brave and even to give up one’s life for the Lord and His Kingdom

St Thomas also had the simplicity and the openness to ask Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5)

St Thomas becomes a consolation to all those who face genuine uncertainties in spiritual life and encourages to remain like a child – in openness, simplicity and frankness.

St Thomas refused to trust the words of his companions on the issue of the Jesus’ Resurrection.

He knew that many of his companions had impulsive reactions and therefore, could not be believed for their words.

Therefore, he insisted that his belief in Christ’s Resurrection would depend only on His personal experience with the Lord
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in His Hands and put my finger into His side, I will not believe” (Jn 20:25)

St Thomas becomes a refuge for all those who grapple with spiritual anxieties – lack of consolation in prayer life, deep longing to experience God and many confusions regarding spiritual teachings and faith experiences

St Thomas is a shining beacon of courage.

He had his doubts. But once cleared, he became a person of immense conviction.

It was the personal experience of God’s Mercy that helped St Thomas to cry out with conviction: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28) and to share God’s immense mercy to others!

This intimate experience made him to travel across many lands to give witness to Jesus, His Lord and Master… and even to give up His life, in martyrdom!

The Feast of the Divine Mercy is an invitation for all of us to plunge into the ocean of God’s Mercy…
… even though often we are crushed under the weight of sin, struggles, failures and helplessness!

Let’s remember “the ocean of God’s Mercy is greater than all our sins, failures and weaknesses!”

St Faustina, in The Diary, reminds us the Mind of the Lord:
“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.

On that day the very depths of My Tender Mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of Graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy.
The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment!”

Let this Feast of the Divine Mercy be an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to a life of holiness, offer our weaknesses and sins totally to the unfathomable Mercy of God…
… and with this personal experience of God’s Mercy, become a Missionary of Mercy to all!

Happy Feast of the Mercy of the Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

For the bishop, this is first of all a grace of strength (“the governing spirit”: Prayer of Episcopal Consecration in the Latin rite): the grace to guide and defend his Church with strength and prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy.

This grace impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not fearing to give his life for his sheep. (CCC # 1586)

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