Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236

We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord.  As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far.  Has it changed your perspective on life?  Has it changed you?  If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life.  If it has not, reflect upon why!

Sometimes we need more than the words we read.  We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.”  Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper.  Read them prayerfully and carefully.  Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did.  Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.

The Lord wants to do great things in your life!  Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!

 

Reflection 189: Overcoming Fear

Fear results from various causes.  The perception of some immediate threat causes sudden fear as a sort of defense mechanism.  In fact, this could save your life if, for example, the immediate threat is a car swerving into your lane.  Sudden fear compels you to take action and avoid a collision.  However, fear can also result from other more remote factors that we experience as threats to our well-being.  For example, one may struggle with fear over an economic downturn or loss of profit in a business.  The fear may be, “How will I support my family?”  Or one may have health issues and this causes increasing fear about the future.  And the list could go on.  Though some forms of fear are healthy (swerving to avoid a car accident), most others are not.  Specifically, when fear causes anxiety and worry, leading one to lose trust in God and His providence, this is a problem.  But if God is alive in your heart, living and reigning there, His presence produces a supernatural confidence and trust in the midst of any and every struggle we face (See Diary #1001).

Reflect upon the specific fear you struggle with right now.  What is it that causes excessive worry and anxiety?  Whatever it may be, the Lord wants you to trust Him.  Yes, a certain “holy” fear can help us evaluate all situations properly and act diligently and responsibly, but too often what we actually struggle with is a lack of trust in God.  Reflect upon your fear and your trust and invite Christ more deeply into your heart so that His presence will cast out all useless fear, enabling you to fully trust in His care, providence and Mercy.

Lord, I do trust in You.  Help me to trust You all the more.  I surrender to You all that tempts me to fear.  I trust in Your perfect love and desire to rely completely on Your Mercy in my life.  My life is Yours, dear Lord, do with me as You will and guide me always.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 190: All Creation Gives Glory to God

All things are made for one ultimate purpose: to give praise and glory to the Most Holy Trinity.  We are made for nothing more, nothing less and nothing other than this purpose.  As people, we are called to give the unique praise and glory of our adoration to God through lives fully committed and surrendered to Him.  This surrender and total submission of our mind and will to Him offers God the praise that is due His name.  But all Creation shares in the glory of God in that all creation reflects His perfect order and, especially, His perfect Mercy.  For example, the providence that God manifests in caring for the birds of the sky, creatures of the sea and all living things on Earth reveals His glory and gives Him glory by their very existence.  We must see this, rejoice in it and give God glory for His Mercy that keeps all things in being (See Diary #1005).

Do you recognize the Mercy of God as manifested in all of Creation?  It may be easier to recognize His Mercy when offered to us through the forgiveness of our sins and His invitation to us to share in His life.  But we must also see the perfect order of Creation and, in that order, see His providential care for it as an act of great Mercy.  Reflect, today, upon Creation.  Think of the flowers, the bees, the animals and all the small details that make up the design of the physical world.  It’s truly amazing and mysterious and reveals a God of perfect wisdom and love.  Creation is a powerful revelation of God’s Mercy.

Lord, I thank You for all that You have done in this world.  I thank You for designing it, creating it and keeping it all in existence in accord with Your providence.  May I discover Your Heart of Mercy in all that You have made and grow in admiration of You through this gift.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 191: The Talkative Soul

A true danger to the interior life of communion with God is an excessive need to talk.  No, talking is not a sin and many times is an act of Mercy toward another.  But there are times when being too talkative is a hindrance to the Mercy of God.  Talking, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil.  The goal is to form our words in accord with the Mind and Will of God.  That’s it.  We must see the words we speak as a sacred tool to bring forth Truth and to manifest God’s love.  Excessive words, or words that do not flow from our love of God or others, can do more damage than we may realize.  Therefore, consecrate your speech to the Lord and seek to let Him speak through you as He will, when He will and to the extent He wills (See Diary #1008).

Do you talk a lot?  Do you talk too little?  It’s not about how many words we say, it’s about saying the right words at the right time in the right way.  Our words can cause much hurt, but they can also bring the healing balm of God’s Mercy.  Reflect upon the conversations you have had over this past week.  Were they pleasing to God?  Did they give God glory and edify yourself and others?  Reflect, also, upon any ways that you neglected to say what the Lord wanted you to say.  These omissions of silence can also be the cause of hurt and can be the reason for a loss of Mercy in our world.  Give your speech to the Lord and let Him manifest Himself through you.

Lord, I love You and I offer You my love, this day, through a consecration of my words to You.  You are the Eternal Word spoken from the Father.  You are the Truth that sets all people free.  Give me wisdom, temperance, and courage to speak only what You call me to speak and to listen only to that which You speak.  May my tongue be a sword piercing through the darkness of this world and my ear be a sponge for Your Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 192: Loving God in Good Times and Bad

It’s easy to “love” God when all is well.  But when all is well, our love is not tested.  The testing that comes from human suffering clarifies our love of God.  This can be very fruitful for our spiritual lives.  It’s easy to believe that difficulties in life are nothing other than sad and unfortunate burdens and should be avoided at all costs.  Though we would be foolish to create difficulties intentionally, we will each have our share of them in this life.  Therefore, every difficulty and suffering in life must be embraced as an opportunity for you to increase your trust in God and, in so doing, to increase your love of Him.   How blessed is the soul who suffers greatly in this life while choosing to love God throughout, making that suffering the source of its increase in holiness (See Diary #1014).

What do you complain about each day?  What is it that burdens you?  Too often we run from these burdens or get angry.  Try to look at your struggles in a new light.  Try to see them as opportunities to deepen your trust and your love.  Every suffering and every burden in life has the potential of being infused with the spiritual power of the Cross.  By embracing them in love, we embrace the Cross.  And by embracing the Cross, we love God all the more.  Do not think that hardships deal you a poor quality of life.  Recognize them for what they are as a result of grace.  They are opportunities for holiness and for an increase in the reception of the Mercy of God.

Lord, when I get down, angry or despairing in life, on account of the difficulties I endure, help me to use that struggle as an opportunity for greater trust.  Lord, I desire to run to the Cross and to receive the love that poured forth from Your Cross so that I may become more like You in all things.  Increase my love, dear Lord, especially through every suffering in life that I surrender to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 193: Do Not Hesitate

If you won a million dollars you probably wouldn’t say, “No, just give me $100, that’s all I want.”  And yet that is what we often do with the Mercy of God.  God offers an abundance of wealth and we choose to take only a small portion.  Why is that?  His Mercy is limitless.  It is infinite.  If we understood all that God wants to do in our souls, and then cooperated with Him and allowed Him to do it, we’d be in absolute awe and eternally grateful that we discovered this priceless treasure.  Perhaps the problem that many face in accepting His Mercy more fully is that it’s risky.  It’s risky in the sense that we must change.  Would a million dollars change your life?  Probably.  It would most likely change a number of things in your life, and not necessarily for the good.  But the Mercy of God is a treasure of infinitely more value.  Don’t hesitate! Take the risk to accept it and to allow it to change you for the good (See Diary #1017).

Do you hesitate in accepting God’s Mercy?  If you do it’s important to realize this, admit to it and face the reason why.  It’s a rare soul who is completely open to all that God wishes to bestow.  It’s a rare soul who is not cowed by the risk of total abandonment to the Mercy of God.  Choose to be one of those rare souls and embrace, without hesitation, all that God wants to pour out upon you and rejoice as you see His grace change your life.

Precious Lord, I thank You for Your abundance of Mercy.  I thank You for loving me with such a perfect love that You burn with desire to lavish the riches of Your grace on my life in an endless way.  May I cease all hesitation in the face of this glorious gift and willingly accept You and all that Your Mercy will do in my soul.  I thank You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 194: Satisfaction in Life

What is it that satisfies you in life?  The answers to this question could be quite varied from person to person.  One may find satisfaction in work, another in family activities, another in community service, another in wealth and worldly rewards.  There are many and varied responses people will give.  But the answer shouldn’t be varied.  There should be one answer for us all.  And that answer is that you find true satisfaction in life by being with your Lord, resting in His Heart and being close to Him.  This may make sense to most people in a theoretical way, but in a practical way it may not connect.  What does it mean to be “resting in His Heart and being close to Him?”  The only way to discover this real and practical meaning is to do it.  All the books in the world will not teach you.  You must discover His Heart, love His Heart, be alone in His presence, and only then will you discover what true satisfaction is all about (See Diary #1021).

Do you understand, practically and experientially, the total satisfaction in life that comes from living close to the Heart of Christ?  When you hear this does it make sense to you?  Reflect upon this question today and if you realize that you do not know what it is to know Him this way, then admit that to yourself and begin to seek Him out.  If you seek, with your whole heart, you will find.  And when you find, you will be eternally grateful you did.

Lord, I want to be one with You.  I want to dwell in Your presence and bask in Your Divine Mercy.  Help me in my weakness to turn to You with every power of my soul and to encounter Your Divine Essence.  I reject all false “satisfactions” in life and turn to You and You alone.  My Jesus, my Lord, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 195: Our Sweet Delight

If you were an expert in the area of wine tasting, and you had a choice between an excellent bottle of wine and a cheap one, obviously you would choose the excellent one.  You would know the difference and you would not find much delight in the cheap wine knowing that the good wine was available.  So it is with our souls.  When we’ve tasted of the Mercy of God, and taken a sweet delight in His presence, we will long for more.  We will also begin to realize that all the other “delights” in life do not compare.  They are poor “tastes” of the glory of God.  Drink the good wine of God’s Mercy and become accustomed to it.  If you do, you will find that all the other delights in life pale in comparison (See Diary #1026).

Have you tasted of the sweetness of the Lord?  Have you discovered the aroma of His Mercy and His presence in your life?  If you have, then you know what it means to want more and you will find yourself seeking Him out every day.  If you have not, you do not know what you are missing.  And when you do not know what you are missing, it’s hard to actually miss it.  But know this, you do not want to miss out on the Mercy of God.  Reflect, today, upon this question.  Have I tasted of the sweetness of my Lord?  God wants to flood you with the delight of His presence.  Let Him do so and you will never seek out the cheap wine of life again.

Lord, I do want to become inebriated with Your Mercy.  I desire that this Mercy fill me with the aroma of Your abundant grace.  May my love for You become an appetite so strong that I turn to You as the only delight of my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 196: Loving Jesus in Others

We are quite familiar with the Gospel passage, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me” (Matthew 25:40).  But do you believe this?  If you do, then you will discover that loving Jesus is easy and that you have an opportunity to do so all day long, every time you encounter another.  It may be through a kind smile or word.  It may be through an act of generosity, forgiveness or service.  But whatever you do to another in love, you do to Jesus.  This is true.  And it’s also true that when we treat another with harshness or a lack of Mercy we wound the Heart of our Lord.  This basic truth is easily understood as a concept in our minds, but not so easily understood through our actions.  It can be hard to actually see Jesus in another and to believe that we are loving our Lord by our service of them.  But just because it’s hard to believe doesn’t mean we should not believe it and live it (See Diary #1029).

Think of the people that you encounter daily.  When you look at them, do you see their presence as an invitation to love our Lord?  Is it hard to do this?  We must believe that Jesus is there, hidden within them, waiting to be loved.  Reflect upon your hidden Lord waiting for you in the persons you encounter this day.  Do not hesitate to love our Lord through them.  For in them, the font of Divine Mercy waits to be opened.

Lord, You desire that I show an abundance of Mercy to those I encounter every day.  Give me the grace to see You in them and to love You in each and every person I encounter.  May I have the eyes to see You, dear Lord, and as I discover You in others, help me to open my heart to them, loving them with the Mercy You give to me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 197: I Thirst

“I thirst.”  These two simple words have so much meaning.  They were spoken by our Lord from the Cross.  A soldier tried to offer some comfort by offering Him a sponge soaked in wine-vinegar to satiate Him.  The wine turned to vinegar is a symbol of the soul turned sour from sin.  After taking this sour wine Jesus cried, “It is finished!”  And then He died.  What does Jesus thirst for?  He thirsts for you, a sinner.  He does not turn away from you on account of your sins and the effect that they have had on your soul, He thirsts for you anyway.  He thirsts for your love.  He wants you to satiate His thirst by loving Him as you are despite your sins.  Pay no attention to foulness of your soul as a result of your sins.  Our Lord was satisfied with the wine turned vinegar so as to say that He is satisfied with you coming to Him in your fallen condition (See Diary #1032).

Reflect upon the image of the Crucifixion.  Ponder Jesus hanging there, broken and suffering.  In this state of great humiliation, Jesus cries out to you to bring comfort to His suffering.  He seeks your love.  Will you give it to Him?  Can you offer Him yourself so as to enable Him to cry out that it is finished?  It is finished when you love Him and give your life to Him.  Go to our Lord this day in prayer, and tell Him you love Him and desire to spend this life with Him and on through eternity.  In that act, you will quench His thirst.

Lord, I thank You for thirsting for me in the midst of Your own suffering and pain.  Thank You for giving Your life to me, without reserve, as You hung upon the Cross.  Your love is the only thing that will ultimately satiate my thirsting soul.  Give me the grace I need to come to You, in my brokenness and sin, so as to offer You all that I have for Your thirst.  I love You, dear Lord, help me to love You more.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 198: The Mercy of True Empathy

The lack of true heartfelt empathy is a clear sign of a certain psychological, emotional and even spiritual disorder.  This is mentioned because the opposite is true also.  The presence of true heartfelt empathy is a sign that one is psychologically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.  Empathy means that you are aware of the other.  You sense when someone is hurting or when they are joyful.  Furthermore, you feel the pain they feel and experience the joy that they experience. This is an act of mercy in your heart flowing from the Mercy of God.  (See Diary #1039).

Reflect, today, upon your empathy or lack thereof.  What takes place within your mind, heart and emotions when you encounter either the joys or the sufferings of another.  Do you walk right past them, not caring and not engaging them?  Or do you see their humanity, recognize their dignity, and treat them with care, compassion and respect?  Empathy is ultimately all about the dignity of each and every person and our ability to acknowledge that dignity through our thoughts, feelings, words and actions.  Try to honestly look at your own empathy today and if you are surprised at a lacking in this area, look deeper at the reason why.  Do not be afraid to admit to this lacking and do not be afraid to seek its remedy.  But if you see yourself blessed with a heart of compassion, filled with an awareness of the other, then rejoice because your heart is sharing in and dispensing the Mercy of God.

Lord, I pray that my heart will become an instrument of Your own merciful Heart.  In any way that I lack the empathy and compassion flowing from Your Heart, bring me healing.  And in every way that I have been blessed to experience the struggles and joys of others on account of sharing in Your Mercy, I thank You.  Lord, my deep desire is to share in Your life and love so that my heart may become like unto Yours.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 199: Unity with Jesus is Unity with Others

The Church is glorious for many reasons.  One glorious aspect of the Church is the unity found within it.  It’s true that there is, at times, much internal disunity, hurt and disorder of every kind.  But these are not qualities of the Church.  These are the effects of the sins of Her members.  The Church Herself is the Spotless Bride of Christ.  And the more we enter into union with Christ Jesus, the more fully we are a member of this glorious Church.  By uniting ourselves to Christ we unite ourselves to the Holy Father.  And by uniting ourselves to the Holy Father, we unite ourselves to St. Peter, all the Apostles and all the saints who are living and in Heaven.  We become mystically united with Christians throughout the world and our prayer and adoration of God becomes one song of praise rising to the glory of Heaven.  And as we unite ourselves, through our unity with Christ, we receive the overabundance of Mercy from God making us one (See Diary #1044).

Do you see yourself as a member of the one Body of Christ?  Do you understand that you are called to share in the unity that comes from your union with Him?  Loving Jesus with your whole mind, heart, soul and strength brings about a profound love for others.  If it does not, then it is not authentic love of God.  Reflect upon the effect that your love of God has on your relationship with others.  Let your love of God affect you in such a way that you discover an outpouring of love for all people, especially those within the Church.  And let that love reveal the deep bond of unity that is established as a result.  Unity is glorious.  It is a central blessing flowing from the Church and a sign of the Mercy of God.

Lord, help me to always live in union with You and with others.  May my love for You overflow into my love for others, especially those who are members of Your Church.  I love You, dear Lord, and I trust in You.

 

Reflection 200: The Unity of Love and Suffering

Are love and suffering opposed?  In other words, if you feel much suffering can you also have great love?  One question to consider is this: What is the source of your suffering?  Is it your sin?  Is it compassion for another?  Is it a physical or psychological wound?  The truth is that every suffering is able to be united with love in your heart.  This is true even of the suffering you endure as a result of your sin.  Sin is clearly not from God, but when you experience interior suffering as a result of your sin, it’s a sign that your conscience is at work and that is good.  The goal is to take every form of suffering you endure, be it from sin or any other source, and let it become an impetus for mercy.  First, you must allow the Mercy of God to soothe the pain you feel, and then you must let that love coming from the Lord’s Mercy transform your suffering into your own mercy.  Suffering and Mercy must meet within your heart and from there, extend out to others (See Diary #1050).

What do you see in your heart?  Specifically identify any suffering you endure.  No matter what the cause, look at it and experience it.  As you do this, allow the grace flowing from the Heart of Christ to enter in.  And as you allow it to enter in, let Him transform your hurt into a heart full of mercy and compassion for all, starting with yourself.  The Mercy of God is abundant and can overshadow everything we experience in life, even our pain.  Let your pain meet Divine Mercy in your heart and you will be forever changed.

Lord, I invite You into my heart.  Come and dwell there and transform everything within me through an abundant outpouring of Your Divine Mercy.  May I love You, dear Lord, above all things and allow Your presence in my life to change me for Your glory.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 201: The Night with Jesus, In Prison

Imagine what it would be like if you could somehow be mystically transported to the night of Holy Thursday.  And imagine if you could somehow see and experience everything that Jesus went through.  Imagine the Agony in the Garden, the ridicule and harsh treatment, the mockery, the night alone in prison, the trial, the scourging, the carrying of the Cross and the Crucifixion.  This would be too much to bear.  To face Jesus and all His interior and exterior sufferings would be overwhelming.  But, if you could do it, and face every experience that He had, it would change your life.  The sufferings of Christ should not be ignored.  They should not be turned away from and they should not be shunned.  His Passion must be faced, understood, loved and lived by each one of us.  When we do this we will be changed forever (See Diary #1054).

Try to spend time today letting yourself be drawn in, deeply, to the mysterious and profound sufferings of Jesus.  Let the Lord reveal to you a taste of what He endured.  Facing His sufferings is not only facing a great evil; rather, it’s facing love in its purest form.  To face the Cross and all that it encompassed is to face the greatest act of love ever known, revealed through the greatest scandal ever experienced.  God is astonishing to us, in a holy way, when we discover His love in His suffering.  Ponder it today, let it sit in your heart, seek to understand the mystery and allow God to transform you through it.

Lord, please give me the grace to turn toward You on the throne of Your Cross and to gaze upon You now and for all eternity.  Help me to discover Love in its most pure form as I fix my eyes on You and all that You endured.  My Suffering Lord Jesus, I love You and I trust in You.

 

Reflection 202: A Daily Anniversary

Anniversaries are blessed opportunities for reflection and gratitude.  Some anniversaries are joyous, such as the anniversary of spouses celebrating a long and holy marriage.  Other anniversaries are difficult, such as the anniversary of the death of a loved one.  Yet even in the difficulty of reliving the loss, it is a yearly reminder of your love for that person.  There are many annual celebrations within the Church that point us to a remembrance of a particular aspect of Christ’s life.  But there is one “anniversary” which is celebrated daily.  It’s the daily commemoration of the death of our Lord at three o’clock in the afternoon.  This hour is a sacred hour and is an important time to stop and reflect upon all that Jesus did for us.  It’s a time of gratitude as well as a time to mourn His sufferings with a holy sorrow.  This hour is especially honored on Good Friday, but it’s important to commemorate it every day (See Diary #1055).

Do you remember the three o’clock hour?  It’s easy to forget this most sacred moment of the day.  Our lives can become busy and hectic and we can fail to pause and recall our Lord’s agony of love.  But try to see it as your daily anniversary with the Lord.  It is this hour that our prayers are most effective.  There are special graces of Mercy bestowed upon those who pause and pray at this hour.  Commit yourself to this holy devotion and our Lord will bless you abundantly.

My Jesus, You hung on the Cross from noon until three in the afternoon.  And at that holy hour You uttered Your final word, breathed Your last and died.  May I always remember to honor this hour.  May it be my daily reminder of Your perfect love.  Help me to grow in devotion to Your sacred Passion, dear Lord, and through this practice, pour forth the Mercy of Your wounded Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 203: The Depth and Breadth of Mercy

Imagine being given the task of counting every grain of sand in the world.  It would obviously be an impossible task.  In fact, all the people in the world could not accomplish such a task together.  Some things are simply beyond us.  Another task that would even be more difficult to accomplish is to fully fathom the Mercy of God.  This is impossible.  The Mercy of God is completely beyond us.  Its depths and breadth are infinite.  You could spend your whole life contemplating and experiencing the Mercy of God and you would only begin to penetrate the surface.  In fact, if every person ever created spent eternity contemplating the Mercy of God, our combined effort would not even suffice to comprehend it.  Understanding that the Mercy of God is infinite will enable us to turn to Him no matter our struggle and no matter our sin, trusting in Him with all the powers of our soul (See Diary #1059).

Have you tried to comprehend the Mercy of God?  Do you even understand that you can never fully understand this infinite Gift?  If you are to trust in our Lord, you must begin this impossible mission of Divine contemplation.  It’s what you will do eternally in Heaven.  And your Heaven must begin now.  Doing so will deepen your ability to trust, and your trust will enable you to surrender.  Do not wait, begin this glorious task today.

Lord of Mercy, I thank You for the infinite nature of Your love and for calling me to begin my journey into this unfathomable mystery.  Give me the grace to open my eyes so that I may begin to plunge into Your Mercy and in so doing, deepen my trust in You this day.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 204: The Calyx of Your Soul

The calyx of a flower is the outer leaf surrounding the forming petals, keeping them safe as they develop.  It forms a sort of “nursery” for the tender petals to grow.  As they grow within this hidden place, the calyx keeps them safe.  And once they become developed, the calyx opens and reveals the beauty within.  So it is with your soul.  The “calyx of your soul” is a gift from God protecting your inner virtues as the dew of His Mercy gently seeps in so as to nourish the budding virtues within.  And when fully matured, the radiance of these virtues shines forth so that the fragrance of grace becomes visible to all who gaze upon this work of God (See Diary #1064).

Look into your own soul this day.  What do you see?  Do you see sin and corruption?  If so, repent of this and allow the Mercy of God to heal it through your confession.  From there, allow Mercy to also nourish your inner soul so as to create a hidden inner sanctuary of His splendor.  God desires to make your soul beautiful and as He forms you from within, He will allow those virtues to shine forth at the proper time.  Wait on Him, let the dew of His gentle care sink in, creating His masterpiece.  Reflect upon this sanctuary within you, this day.  Rejoice in the protective covering of your soul as God does His miraculous work and be comforted by what you see forming.  Surrender all to grace and allow the Creator of all to transform you into His radiant and fragrant gift to the world.

Lord, I thank You for the safety of this inner sanctuary in my soul.  I thank You for gently entering in so as to nourish me as You form Your new creation within.  May the dew of Your Mercy bring healing and forgiveness to the corruption of my sin, and may it strengthen me so that You can form the virtues that You desire to create.  I thank You for Your perfect wisdom and power and give myself to Your gentle care.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 205: The Fortress of Peace

The peace of the Lord is like a fortress in which we must take refuge from all the outer attacks from the evil one.  Outside of this fortress we are exposed to all of these malicious attacks.  The darts of anger, oppression, deceit and envy can do us great damage without the sacred protection of the Peace of God.  But within the walls of this fortress, the Lord protects us from all that seeks to do us harm.  Seek refuge in the Lord’s Mercy and allow it to form a barrier of peace, protecting you from the evils of the world.  Do not allow these attacks to penetrate this barrier; rather, remain content with the Lord and allow Him to work on you within the safety of His place of refuge (See Diary #1067).

What is it that seeks to destroy your peace?  What shakes you and disturbs you from within?  Know that the Lord wants to protect you and to give you refuge.  Seek His peace.  Seek Him and He will give you His peace.  Peace is a gift that is beyond description and human comprehension.  It’s a place of safety that will shield your soul from the daily vices and attacks of the evil one.  Do you know the Lord’s peace?  Are your eyes firmly fixed on this gift of His Mercy?  Seek Jesus with all your heart and you will, indeed, know His peace.  And in the shelter of that peace, the Lord will do great things to you, if you let Him.

Lord, I entrust to You the protection of my soul.  I give to You all of my inner longings, hopes, desires and weaknesses.  Please come and form a barrier of protection around me so that I may meet You in this sanctuary within.  I thank You for the love of Your Mercy that envelops me and produces sweetness and strength.  I love You, my Lord, and entrust myself to Your perfect care.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 206: Spiritual Hoarding

A real danger to the spiritual life could be termed “spiritual hoarding.”  This would be the person who attempts to make themselves the end of God’s Mercy rather than become an instrument of God’s Mercy.  By attempting to be an end of God’s Mercy, a person becomes spiritually greedy, seeking spiritual things for their own purpose.  This is a form of pride.  Praying becomes an act by which one seeks to “look” holy.  Good works are performed so as to be seen.  And one may seek to accumulate many spiritual books so as to give the appearance of being wise and learned.  But an essential focus of the Mercy of God is not “spiritual hoarding;” rather, it’s “spiritual generosity.”  If we want true Mercy to pour forth into our lives, we must give it away.  We must see everything that God gives us as a gift given for the purpose of distribution to others.  Therefore, when God gives you a certain grace, the first thing that should come to mind is how you can use this gift for the upbuilding of another.  By giving the Mercy of God away, we become increasingly rich and find that this act of spiritual generosity continually increases God’s Mercy in our own lives (See Diary #1069).

Do you seek holiness?  If so, why?  What is your motivation?  Is it so that you look good?  Or is it so that you become good, distributing the goodness of God to those in need?  Reflect upon the end result of the Mercy of God in your life.  Seek ways to make sure that the end of all God gives to you is the generous distribution of His Mercy to others.  In this, you too will be richly blessed.

Lord of endless Mercy, help me to see that Your grace increases the more that grace is given away.  Help me to always be a holy instrument of Your Mercy and, in this act of generosity, receive the abundance of Your generous Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 207: Taking Comfort in the Heart of Christ

Children often find great comfort in snuggling close to a loving and tender parent.  There is great satisfaction in being held tight in these arms of love.  Fear and worry are dispelled in these moments and peace and solace are restored when distress has been present.  So it must be with our Lord.  We must seek the spiritual comfort that comes from bringing our weary selves to the source of all comfort.  Drawing close to the Heart of our Lord brings peace in the midst of any turmoil.  Stress, frustration, hurt and confusion are dismissed and replaced with a sense of confidence and safety.  The Heart of the Lord reverberates in such a way that it invites us to take refuge in its rhythm.  His compassion and Mercy are distributed with every beat as His Precious Blood covers us as a blanket of grace.  Run to this source of comfort and allow the merciful Heart of your God to be your place of rest (See Diary #1074).

In your prayer, are you able to take comfort and solace in the Merciful Heart of our Lord?  Reflect upon the intimacy that you are invited to share.  It is an intimacy beyond any human comfort and distributes a grace that floods your soul with Mercy and peace.  Ponder the image of a small child taking comfort in the arms of a loving parent.  This is but a glimpse of the care that our Lord desires to show to you.

Heavenly Father, draw me close to You and to the Heart of Your Son.  May I turn to You in all things and in every moment of distress in my life.  I entrust myself to You and cling to Your Heart which is filled with compassion and love.   May Your Heart be a resting place for my weary soul.  I love You my God and I take refuge in You and You alone.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 208: A Spiritual Arrow of Mercy

Normally, an arrow wounds and kills.  Arrows have been used throughout history for war and for hunting.  But a spiritual arrow of Mercy is much different.  Recall the words of Simeon the Prophet spoken to our Blessed Mother, “And you yourself a sword will pierce” (Luke 2:35).  And at the Crucifixion, recall that, “One soldier thrust his lance into [Jesus’] side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:34).  A sword and a lance pierced the Hearts of our Blessed Mother and Jesus.  So also must our hearts be pierced.  But the sword, lance or arrow that we must receive will not wound in a negative way if accepted in love.  Rather, it will call forth mercy and compassion from our hearts.  Sorrow and pain are transformed within this “wound of love” and that wound pours forth God’s Mercy from our lives (See Diary #1082).

Reflect, today, upon two things.  First ponder the spiritual wounds in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  Enter into the mystery of their pierced Hearts.  Try to understand that grace comes forth as a result of these piercings in that they produce compassion and Mercy for those in need.  Second, ponder your own heart.  Reflect upon any wound you carry and allow yourself to understand that this wound can be transformed.  It has potential to share in the Mercy flowing from the Hearts of Jesus and our Blessed Mother.  Allow yourself to share in their holy sorrow over sin and foster compassion for the sinner.  In this act, you will become wounded by a spiritual arrow of love.

Lord, help me to comprehend the great mystery of the suffering endured by Your most Sacred Heart.  Allow me to see that You freely accepted that wound so as to pour forth Mercy.  And help me to also accept the arrows of others so that Your Mercy can pour forth in return.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 209: Overcoming the Habit of Sin

Overcoming sin requires the Mercy of God.  Too often we attempt to overcome sin through our own effort.  This is a futile exercise in that you will never overcome your own sin through your own effort.  There is one way and one way only to rid yourself of the sin you struggle with, and that is done by turning to the transforming power of God poured out through the Mercy of the Cross of Christ.  It’s entirely possible that you have identified some habitual sin in your life, have confessed it, and then, within the next day, fell into that sin again, over and over.  This is because you have attempted to rely upon your own strength and not the power of God.  Jesus is the only means by which you can overcome your sin.  Turning to Him for the Mercy to eliminate sin from your life requires commitment and focus.  It requires total trust in Him and a complete surrender to Him.  You cannot do this on your own (See Diary #1087).

What is it that you struggle with each and every day?  Whatever your sin may be, you can overcome it, but only by relying on Mercy and the purifying power of the Cross.  This is done by fixing your eyes on Jesus and relying on Him alone.  Your responsibility is to turn to Christ.  His action is one of purification.  Do not doubt the power of our Lord and His ability to purge sin from your life.  It may “hurt” to be purified, but it is obtainable.  It requires sacrifice on your part and Mercy on His part.  Reflect upon this internal struggle you encounter and resolve, deeply, to abandon yourself to Him.  He will begin to lift this burden in your life when you do so.

Lord, I give You my sin and beg for the grace to overcome it.  I know that I am weak, but that You are strong.  Lift this heavy burden and bring purity and sanctity to my soul.  I love You my Lord and I surrender my sin to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 210: Good Works in the Light of Divine Love

Do you work hard?  Do you strive to be good?  Do you want to make a positive difference?  It is certainly good to try to be good.  But in so doing, we must never think that our “goodness” is truly good in the eyes of God, unless it is Divine Love that has become the source of all activity in our lives.  Humility enables us to turn our eyes to the One and Only source of goodness in our lives.  And that source is the abundant Mercy of God.  We cannot decide, on our own, to do even one single act that is good or beneficial to others.  We cannot please God by our own effort, and most certainly, cannot attain Heaven or any eternal reward by our works.  All is a gift and all is grace.  Only the humble soul sees this and believes it.  But when it sees it and believes it, great things will happen for the Kingdom of God (See Diary #1092).

Reflect upon the good works you do.  As you do, see them for what they are, nothing less and nothing more.  If there is goodness in your life, humble honesty will enable you to understand that this goodness is 100% dependent upon the Goodness of God.  Without Mercy, you cannot do any good work.  With Mercy, you can do every good work.  God, at work in your soul, produces abundant blessings in this world.  Reflect upon your desire to be an instrument of the abundant blessings of God in this world and rejoice, humbly, that God has chosen to use you.  Say “Yes” to Him and you will see beautiful fruits for all.

Lord, please give me a humble heart.  Help me to see that all good things begin with You and are only accomplished by You and Your Mercy.  I give myself to You so that You may use me for Your glory.  And I thank You for the privilege of being used as an instrument of Your unfailing Love.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 211: Close to the Mother of God

A mother’s love could be described as “fierce” in the sense that she would willingly give her life for the protection of her children.  A motherly instinct kicks in when her child is in danger, hurting, or in need, and she loses all sense of her own well-being in favor of the protection of her child.  So it is with the Mother of God.  You are her child by grace and by the Will of Jesus her Son.  As a result, she holds you close to her heart in times of need and shelters you in her mantle of protection.  This motherly love is offered even when you are not in harm’s way as a result of her unwavering motherly care.  She is an advocate for you like none other.  And she is not only your mother; she is also the Mother of God.  And as the Mother of God, she obtains special graces for all her children from her Divine Son.  He answers every request she makes on your behalf and will never abandon you.  Stay close to her, nestled in her arms of Mercy (See Diary #1097).

Have you consecrated yourself to the love, care and protection of the Mother of God?  If not, why not?  What are you waiting for?  Does it confuse you why you should trust in her maternal care?  God deigned to create a spiritual family of love and He entrusted His mother with your care.  Motherly care is central to the natural order of God’s design for humanity.  Therefore, it is only logical to conclude that it is also part of His supernatural plan for humanity.  Turn to her as your spiritual mother and trust that the Lord wills to pour an abundance of Mercy upon you through her mediation.

Dearest Mother, I love you and entrust myself to your motherly care and intercession.  I believe that you are my mother in the order of grace and that you are “full of grace.”  Pour down upon me the motherly Mercy in your heart as I put my trust in you.  Dearest Mother, I consecrate myself to you.  Please pray for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 212: Overcoming Doubt

What is “doubt?”  To doubt is to lack faith, and to lack faith is to lack trust in the perfect revelation and plan of God’s Will.  First and foremost, a doubt, resulting from a lack of faith, means you are not listening.  When we doubt God, His plan and all that He reveals to us, we are left on our own.  But when we listen, hear, understand and believe, we are covered in the protection of His Mercy on account of the faith that we manifest.  Faith means that we know with certainty all that God says and wills.  Faith is not just believing in something we hope is true, it’s knowing and believing all that is true (See Diary #1101).

Do you doubt at times?  Or do you have faith?  This is an exceptionally important question to ponder.  Begin by asking yourself these questions:  Do I listen to the Voice of God?  Do I hear God speak to me and do I comprehend all that He says?  Without these first steps, faith is impossible.  Hearing Him speak can only come through prayer.  And the form of prayer we need could be called “soaking prayer.”  Soaking prayer is a form of prayer by which we allow ourselves to daily become immersed in the Voice of God revealing His holy Will.  He speaks to us all day, every day.  Little by little we listen, comprehend and respond.  This produces the gift of faith and that faith will lead your life.  Reflect upon this process in your life and renew your commitment to start at the beginning so that the Lord will lead you one step at a time.

Dear Lord, I desire to hear You speak to me.  Help me to open my ears to hear so that I may know You and discern Your perfect Will for my life.  I desire to be led each day only by You and to trust in the gentle guidance of Your holy Will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 213: The Spiritual Gift of Understanding

Do you understand the mysteries of God?  Imagine that you were a theologian who studied the faith of our Church for many years.  Would knowledge of all the theological disciplines of our Church necessarily produce in you an authentic understanding of these mysteries that were studied?  No, it wouldn’t necessarily produce understanding.  In fact, it is entirely possible that while knowing all about God and all that has been revealed through the ages, you still might lack an authentic understanding of God and the profound mysteries of our faith.  Understanding ultimately comes as a gift from God.  It’s an infused gift which illumines and enlightens and is obtainable only by a direct and personal revelation from God.  Yes, study of the faith and attentiveness to clear articulation of this same faith disposes one to understand, but the inspired gift of Understanding is still required to penetrate and grasp all mysteries of our faith.  Understanding is a true gift of God’s Mercy (See Diary #1107).

Reflect upon your own understanding of the infinite Mercy of God.  How fully do you comprehend this Mercy?  Reflect upon all that God has revealed to us throughout history.  He has spoken definitively through Scripture and has also spoken definitively through His Church in numerous ways.  Reflect upon how fully you grasp all the articles of our faith that have been revealed through the ages.  God has spoken in a clear and public way.  Now He desires to speak those same truths to you in the depths of your soul.  If you are willing to listen, your understanding will open the floodgates of the Mercy of God.

Lord, there are so many truths that I do not fully grasp.  Your life and Your workings are glorious and mysterious all at once.  Give me the grace of Understanding so that I may penetrate the depths of Your Truth and Your Mercy.  I open myself to You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 214: A Complete Pardon

Imagine that you were guilty of a serious crime and faced life in prison.  You were sorry for what you had done and fully confessed to it.  On the day of your sentencing you came in handcuffed from where you were being held knowing that you would soon return.  Instead, the judge ordered that your shackles be removed, that you were to receive a full pardon and that you were being granted a complete restoration to your former life.  Certainly you would be filled with gratitude.  But we must realize that God has not only done this, He has done even more. He also elevates us the status as His sons and daughters, a new status that we do not deserve in the order of grace.  The Mercy of God is amazing and beyond what we can comprehend.  All we have to do is repent and entrust ourselves to the benevolence of this good Judge.  This is especially done through Confession and trusting in the abundance of Mercy offered to those who specifically go to Confession in honor of Divine Mercy Sunday (See Diary #1109).

Can you admit to your sin?  Are you aware of your sin?  If so, then you are one step away from receiving a full pardon from the Most Merciful Judge.  God longs to not only wipe away your sins, He also longs to elevate you to the glorious heights of Mercy.  Do you want this?  If so, do not hesitate in believing in the glorious Sacrament of Confession, and do not hesitate to trust in His Mercy poured out on Divine Mercy Sunday each year.  Seek His pardon, especially on that glorious day.

Lord, give me the grace of knowing my sins and confessing them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  May I have great courage to face Your Mercy in that Sacrament so as to be elevated to the glorious status of Your sons and daughters.  And may I especially trust in the Mercy You bestow on Divine Mercy Sunday.  Thank You for the graces bestowed on this most holy day.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 215: The Freedom to Choose

In one sense we can say that God imposes upon us an obligation to turn to Him with our whole being and receive His Mercy.  He also imposes upon us the obligation to spread His Mercy to others.  But we must understand that this is no ordinary “obligation.”  It’s an obligation of love.  This means that the “imposition” of this obligation is no imposition at all.  It is something that God gives us complete freedom to choose or reject.  There are no strings attached, no forms of force; rather, we are left in complete freedom to choose or not to choose to accept and bestow the Mercy of God.  This freedom is essential to our lives and is essential to the gift of God’s Mercy.  Only by giving us this freedom can we fully cooperate with this gift because Mercy must be freely given and freely received.  If it is not, then it is not Mercy.  Be grateful for the freedom the Lord has given you and use it to make a glorious choice (See Diary #1115).

Reflect, today, upon these two gifts God has given you.  First, reflect upon the gift of freedom.  In having free will, you are able to make your own choices in life.  As a result, you also either reap the blessings of the choices you make, or suffer the consequences.  Reflect, also, upon the fact that you are invited by God to accept and distribute His abundant gift of Mercy.  By freely choosing this gift, you invite the God of the Universe to descend from His Throne of Grace and embrace you with an embrace of pure love, enabling you to offer that embrace to others.

Lord, I give You my life and freely choose to receive all the Mercy of Your most Sacred Heart.  Help me to be open to all that You wish to bestow, and help me to be open to bestow all that You wish to offer others.  I thank You, Lord, for these glorious gifts of freedom and Mercy and I choose Your Mercy with all my heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 216: Clarity of Mind through Authentic Love

Our Church sets before us many teachings that can only be understood by grace.  Some teachings are about morality, calling us to a life of great virtue.  Some teachings are about God, His very being and essence.  Some teachings are about humanity and bring clarity to who we are.  What’s important to understand is that nothing that the Church teaches can be fully understood without love.  Love is like a window inserted into a brick wall surrounding the many truths revealed to us by God.  Unless we find that window and peer through, we are left unaware of all that God wishes to teach us each day.  Love of God and love of others enables us to quickly make sense of the greatest mysteries of life.  Through love, our minds perceive and clarify life itself and all that God wishes to reveal to us in faith.  Choose to love God and others with a spiritual, selfless and sacrificial love, and allow that love to become the source of your understanding in life (See Diary #1123).

What is it that causes you the greatest confusion?  Is there some article of faith taught by the Church that you do not understand?  Or perhaps there is confusion over a relationship you have, not knowing how to approach it or to resolve some underlying problem.  Whatever it is that you find difficult to “solve,” know that your answer will come only when you choose to love God and others with a pure love, the love of Mercy.  This is not a selfish love based on your feelings, but is a sacrificial and selfless love that imitates Jesus and His Cross.  Commit to this love and you will quickly and easily comprehend the mysteries of life.

Lord, please enlighten me.  Help me to realize that pure and holy love opens the door to the mysteries of life.  May I open that door through my love of You, and discover all that You wish to teach me.  This is a Mercy for which I am eternally grateful.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 217: The Lazy and Idle Soul

We please the evil one when we allow our souls to become lazy and idle in the things of God.  An idle soul is one that does not seek to engage the life of God.  An idle soul is one who is passive in spiritual things rather than active.  Being “passive,” means that the person is somewhat indifferent to matters of faith and morality.  There is little interest in these areas and, as a result, very little effort is given to them.  Do not delight the evil one by being idle in your spiritual life.  Become zealous, passionate, hard working, diligent and committed to the path of holiness.  Seek to meet our Lord, personally, through a life of generous self-surrender to Him.  And never tire of doing so with all the powers of your soul (See Diary #1127).

What are you passionate about?  For example, do you have some hobby or pastime?  Do you have some activity that you love doing and spend much time with? Though a hobby can be healthy, your greatest “pastime” should be that of seeking God and serving His holy Will.  Nothing in life should take up more time and focus than your love of God.  Reflect upon how determined you are in your life of faith.  How committed are you to building a relationship with your merciful Lord?  Are you idle or lazy in this area?  Renew your zeal for God and allow that zeal to guide you into an ever deepening relationship with your Lord.  Give Him more than an hour a week and you will reap the blessings of your commitment.

Lord, I want to be holy.  However, I realize that I do not desire holiness enough, preferring instead to be idle and lazy at times.  Please increase my zeal and my desire to come to know You more.  And as I grow in a deeper love for You, magnify that love and help it to continue growing in an exponential way.  May I never tire of seeking You and loving You, dear Lord.  I give you my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 218: A Single Perception of God

It is important to understand God and His ways, but understanding is not the same as knowing.  Knowing God means we encounter a Person.  We do not only understand what this person says; rather, we engage, meet, experience and enter into a relationship with this Person.  In fact, one of the greatest blessings we can ever receive in this life is to obtain even a single perception of God.  Even one single perception of Him, one single encounter with Him, one single act of knowing Him is enough to change our lives forever.  An act of authentic knowing of God is more important than any other act we can do in life (See Diary #1133).

If you were offered all the wealth and fame of the world, great success and prestige, would you take it?  Most likely you would.  Being successful or wealthy or well known or greatly honored is often desirable.  In and of themselves, none of these qualities are bad.  But there is a grave danger in these desires the moment that they become more important to us than our desire to know God, distracting us from that ultimate goal.  The moment we find ourselves desiring worldly things more than a desire for the very Person of God is the moment that we have mixed up our priorities in life.  Seek even one single act of encountering our merciful God and you will find that this knowledge of Him is worth more than anything this world can offer.

My Lord, I desire to know You.  Please increase that desire in my soul so that it is more powerful than every other desire in my life.  I pray that You give me even a single perception of You, a single knowledge of You, dear Lord, and in that knowledge please change my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 219: Difficulties in Proclaiming Mercy

If you commit yourself to a full embrace of the Mercy of God in your life, you will be transformed beyond your wildest dreams.  But you will also have another experience.  You will encounter great difficulties in your attempts to live and proclaim Mercy to a fallen world.  The world does not understand the Mercy of God.  The world only knows harshness and judgment.  It seeks revenge and honors pride and self-assertion.  Mercy, however, it does not understand.  And when you embrace Mercy and allow it to be made manifest through your life, it will not always be accepted.  You may be misunderstood, labeled as weak and even ignored by many.  Do not get discouraged at the rejection you will encounter as you seek to be an apostle of the Mercy of God.  This is inevitable, but in that rejection and in every difficulty you encounter, you will discover a new level of holiness as you rest close to the Heart of Christ (See Diary #1142).

As you attempt to embrace Mercy in your life, what difficulties do you encounter?  Do others fail to understand the path you are on?  Do you feel misunderstood and even judged?  Reflect upon your experience and try to surrender every difficulty you experience over to the Heart of Christ.  His act of perfect Mercy, manifested through His death on the Cross, was seen by many as a pitiful and unfortunate consequence of His weakness.  However, Jesus’ love was not hampered by these false perceptions.  He pressed on, offering His life for the salvation of the world.  You must do the same.

Lord, Your Mercy is so profound and so mysterious that, at times, I question its wisdom.  I question whether I am walking the road to sanctity or foolishness.  Give me courage, clarity and strength to persevere down the road You have called me and help me to continually trust in Your abundance of Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 220: The Tormented Soul

Some people feel deeply tormented in the depths of their souls.  Sometimes this is caused by sin, sometimes it is caused by a special Mercy of God which enables the soul to experience the sufferings Jesus went through.  Whatever the case may be, if you encounter any torment, whatsoever, in the depths of your soul, know that you have a special right to the Mercy of God.  Why do you have this “right” to Mercy?  Not because you deserve it; rather, because God wishes to bestow it.  The greater your suffering the greater your right to the Mercy of God.  For that reason, do not be afraid to run to God in your misery and pain.  Do not be afraid of any form of rejection from God.  The soul that suffers is dearer to Him than any other (See Diary #1146).

The term “tormented soul” is powerful language.  But it’s also very honest language, describing the experience of many people.  So many people feel this deep interior torment, especially on account of their sins.  They feel dry, alone and trapped in this cycle of pain.  If this is you in any way, reflect upon the truth that God offers you a right to His Mercy more than any other.  He chooses you as His special object of compassion and lavishes upon you more than you could ever ask for.  Let yourself grow in confidence as you seek the Mercy of God and allow it to penetrate every torment you feel, no matter the cause, even if it comes from your sin.

Lord of utmost compassion, please help me to know, with certainty, that You love me and will never reject me.  I believe in Your Mercy and I trust that You desire to dispense it in abundance.  When I feel lost, confused and even tormented by my sin, help me to turn to You all the more, calling upon You to fulfill Your promise of love.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Reflection 221: Glorying in Yourself

Sometimes, those who are quite “religious” speak of many “religious” things.  They speak pious language and talk about holy things.  But in the end, it may be that all they say and do is actually said and done as a way of glorifying themselves in the sight of others.  This is the struggle of the Pharisees.  Sadly, those who struggle with this, just like the Pharisees, may even be fooling themselves into thinking they are exceptionally close to God.  But their pride has blinded them.  The goal of our lives must be to humbly point to God and offer all glory to Him, not to ourselves.  This can be very hard, but when done well, as an act of the utmost humility and truth, we realize that God actually does draw us into His glory and allows us to share in the honor that we owe to Him.  Only in this way do we come to realize our true dignity as His sons and daughters.  And in humbly pointing to God in all things, we are also lifted on high by God Himself (See Diary #1149).

Are you able to give all glory to God rather than trying to lift yourself up for others to see?  Reflect upon this in all honesty and humility.  The problem is that if you lift yourself on high, you will not be able to lift yourself very high and will actually find yourself in a more humiliated state than you could have imagined.  Lift the Lord on high and point to Him as the source of all goodness and leave the elevation of your own life up to Him.  He will raise you higher than you could ever do yourself.

Lord, I pray for the gift of humility.  I pray that in my humility I will see the truth and proclaim only that truth.  I especially pray that I will be able to see the truth that all good things come from You and are accomplished by You.  All glory be to You my Lord!  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 222: Feeling Overwhelmed

There are days when you most likely feel overwhelmed on account of one thing or another.  It may be that you find yourself with much responsibility and are anxious about being able to properly fulfill your duties well.  Or you may feel overwhelmed for the opposite reason, finding that life seems to be at a standstill and you are not sure what to do next.  In these moments, of feeling overwhelmed, we must make an act of trust in God.  The truth is that God could enter any situation in an instant and transform it, enabling us to face what is before us with the ease of a child.  But He doesn’t always do that.  Sometimes He allows us to wait on Him so that the situation we face will help to purify us and urge us toward greater surrender and love.  Know that God loves you and could do anything to immediately lighten your struggle.  Knowing that will help you also realize that, at times, He remains at an apparent distance as an act of hidden Mercy.  It’s a Mercy because His wisdom is perfect and He will always act in a way that is most fruitful for your soul (See Diary #1153).

Look at your life this day and identify that which has the appearance of being your greatest struggle.  How does that make you feel?  If you do feel overwhelmed then pause and try to see the wisdom of God.  He will never abandon you and may actually be offering you a hidden gift of Mercy through which He is calling you to greater holiness than if He immediately made your burdens light and easy.

Lord, help me to trust in You especially when I feel overwhelmed by the hardships of life.  May I never doubt Your perfect love and perfect wisdom in all things.  Give me the grace to see beyond that which burdens me so as to discover the hidden Mercy You offer me to purify and strengthen my soul.  I thank You for all things, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 223: A Dreadful Day

Nothing in life has to be dreadful.  Even the greatest struggle and suffering we endure can easily be transformed by God to become a source of His Mercy and our sanctification.  But there is one thing that would be truly dreadful if it were to come upon us.  And that one thing is the Day of Judgment if we were to remain closed to the Mercy of God through our obstinance and refusal to humbly repent and change our lives.  This is a frightening reality to behold.  When we stand before the Judgment Seat of God we will never be able to justify our stubborn adherence to sin.  No amount of rationalization or self-justification will appease the Justice of God.  Do not allow yourself to come to this point.  Repent now.  Honestly repent and confess your sin.  Do not hold onto your self-righteousness.  This will be easy to accomplish if you clearly understand the infinite Mercy of God offered you now and until the day of your judgment.  After that, it will be too late.  Do not wait (See Diary #1160).

What do you need to repent of?  Seriously, what is it?  Do not cling to your own self-righteousness acting as if you have no sin.  You may fool others, you may even fool yourself, but you will never fool God.  His love for you is greater than you’ll ever fathom and knowing this should ease your worries about admitting your sin.  Do it and watch the floodgates of Mercy open before you.

Lord, I am sorry and I do repent of my sin.  I am so sorry, especially for the ways that I have failed to honestly admit my wrongs.  Give me the grace, this day, to see my soul as You see it and to admit to the ways that I have turned from You, clinging to my own sin and especially my pride.  Have Mercy on me, dear Lord.  I give myself and all my sin to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 224: To Speak or Not to Speak

One common human tendency is to talk excessively and to explain ourselves to others, especially to justify our actions in their minds.  This is especially the case when we sense that others misunderstand us.  But Jesus experienced this to the greatest degree as He stood before Herod and Pilate.  In these cases, He remained silent. This is a lesson for us in that there are many times when our Lord calls us to remain silent in the face of misunderstanding.  Sure, there are other times when He calls us to speak freely and openly to another about our soul and our inner thoughts, but we must strive to discern His Will in each situation and know that silence, in certain situations, is what He calls us to.  Remaining silent, at times, will produce more good fruit than an excess of words.  Seek to imitate the silence of our Lord in those moments, trusting that He sees your soul and is pleased with you as you endure false perceptions and misunderstandings (See Diary #1164).

Are there times when you sense that others do not understand you?  This can be difficult and even painful.  Notice that in these moments you may tend to look for ways to explain yourself to others and defend your honor.  But silence in those moments may actually be what our Lord is calling you to embrace.  Reflect upon Jesus, standing before Herod and Pilate, and ponder His silence in the face of judgment.  Know that you will also be called to endure moments like this and, in accord with God’s mysterious Will, this act of silence will win more grace for the salvation of souls than all the words you could speak.

Lord, give me wisdom so that I know when to speak and when to remain silent.  I desire to imitate Your perfect silence and to endure the misunderstandings that You endured.  In these moments, give me grace to imitate Your humility as I imitate You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 225: Spiritual Friendship Through Prayer

One powerful channel of the Mercy of God is friendship with another.  But friendship can be lived on various levels.  Sometimes this bond is based on superficial and unimportant things, and at other times it’s deeply grounded in our Lord.  A sign of a deep spiritual friendship is mutual prayer.  If you have been blessed with a faith-filled friend, seal and deepen that friendship through a commitment to mutual prayer.  Share your life and your needs with each other and commit to praying for those needs.  Through the act of mutual prayer you will discover that the Mercy of God is poured forth in each of your lives, and that your mutual bond will be deepened in the Lord.   This is a blessing of the Mercy of God as well as a source of its continued outpouring (See Diary #1171).

Reflect upon the friendships you have.  What is the basis of each friendship?  Perhaps each one will be varied.  Some will be casual acquaintances, based on a shared interest.  Others will be based on some deeper unifying bond.  Spend time today especially reflecting upon those friendships that are based on your shared love of God.  If you are blessed with one of these friendships, seek to deepen it through shared prayer.  Reflect upon that which your friend is in need of the most and commit yourself to praying for this intention.  And share your need with your friend.  This mutual exchange of prayer will be a powerful source of the Mercy of God.

Lord, I especially thank You this day for the friendship of (mention a specific friend).  I offer this friendship to You and ask for an abundance of grace to be poured out upon him/her.  Lord, I especially offer this particular need in my friend’s life (identify a need).  I thank You for Your unwavering love for each of us, dear Lord, and for Your own perfect gift of friendship in our lives.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 226: The Good Fruit of Mercy

Our Lord had a Heart of perfect Mercy for others.  It’s important to note that His Mercy is not only a general concept; rather, it is lived out in concrete action.  Specifically, there are many good fruits born of this Mercy such as concrete acts of compassion, kindness, understanding and consolation.  This is important to understand.  Mercy is not simply some general concept.  It’s concrete and practical.  It is seen, lived and experienced in daily life.  Those who were near Jesus while He lived on Earth would have experienced, first hand, His compassion, kindness, understanding and consolation.  Jesus wants to continue offering these to others through you.  Commit yourself to these concrete acts so that the Mercy of God will continue to take on flesh in our world (See Diary #1175).

When you look at your own life, and examine all your actions, what do you see?  Do you see concrete acts of the Mercy of God shining through?  Reflect, today, upon the particulars and specific acts you see or do not see.  Know that God’s Mercy shines through you in the smallest of ways.  Look for those ways and seek their increase in your life.  Do not wait.

Lord, please make me an instrument of Your Mercy in daily acts of kindness, compassion, consolation and understanding.  May these good fruits of Your Mercy be alive in my life in small and great ways.  I give myself to You for Your Mercy, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 227: Human Plans are Thwarted

It’s easy for us to come up with what we deem to be a great plan for our lives and for the glory of God.  We can think, and plan, and develop and organize things in a certain way only to find out that what we have come up with is not what is in the Mind of God.  The error some people find themselves in is that they have failed to sincerely listen to God speak and, therefore, have failed to allow Him to lay out His perfect plan for their lives and for their good work of giving Him glory.  The fact remains that if something is not the Will of God, it will not happen.  Our plans become thwarted by the Will of God.  And this is good.  The same is true if others attempt to inflict some idea upon us that is contrary to God’s Will.  The Lord always protects us from this when we trust in Him.  It’s true that, at times, He allows evils to befall us as part of His permissive Will, but this must be seen as a part of His plan for our holiness, permitting us to trust more deeply in His providential care (See Diary #1180).

Reflect upon whether you sincerely seek God’s Will before you develop your own plan or idea.  This takes patience and surrender.  It requires that we deny our own impulses and preferences and allow the Lord to speak and act.  Reflect, also, upon any plans you have had for your own life that have not come to fruition.  Know that this is either the result of a lack of trust on your part, or because your plan did not align with the Will of God.  Surrender any past “failure” you have experienced and renew your commitment to seek only the Will of God.

Lord, I trust that in Your perfect wisdom, You will direct my life and lead me to give You perfect glory.  Help me to deny my own untamed impulses and preferences so that You and You alone will enter into my life and take charge.  I give all to You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 228: The Unfailing Presence of God

Is God alive in your life?  Does He live within you?  Is He present to you in the inner depths of your heart day and night?  There is only one thing that would ever cause God to leave you and that is mortal sin.  Mortal sin is deadly sin.  It’s a freely chosen act that is in grave violation of the Will of God and a grave violation of your human dignity.  When you obstinately persist in such a sin, God cannot be present.  He waits for repentance and looks for an opportunity to return, but remains absent as long as the mortal sin remains.  But with that said, this should give you hope because it reveals that as long as you avoid mortal sin, or repent of one you have committed, you can be certain of the presence of God in your life.  You may not always sense His closeness, but He is there, living within you.  Do not doubt this truth and have full confidence of this absolute and irrevocable pledge of our Lord (See Diary #1181).

Reflect, today, upon the presence of God alive in your life.  And if you do not sense His presence, you only need to examine your conscience and discern whether you are in mortal sin.  Most likely you are not.  If you are, repent immediately and seek out the Sacrament of Confession.  But if you are not, then make an act of faith in the presence of God in your soul.  Thank Him for being there even if you do not sense Him.  And if you do not sense Him, be certain that He is there, hidden and silent for good reason.  God’s closeness to you is greater than you will ever know.

Lord, I thank You for being alive in my life and for living within the depths of my soul.  I thank You for being with me through all things and for never abandoning me.  In those moments when I do not sense Your presence, give me faith to know You are there.  And fill me with a confident trust in Your guiding Hand.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 229: Day-to-Day Martyrdom

One early Church Father (Tertullian) said that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.”  This means that the shedding of one’s blood for the faith is not ultimately a tragedy; rather, it’s something that is transformed by Christ so as to nourish the faith of others.  And although you are most likely not to become a martyr in fact (shedding your blood), you are called to be a martyr in spirit by the day-to-day willing sacrifice of your life for the good of the Church.  Being a “day-to-day martyr” means that you offer each and every act of your day to our Lord as a sacrifice for His glory and for the salvation of souls.  It means that even the small acts of your day, the monotonous and seemingly unimportant ones, have the potential of being used by God as an instrument of grace.  Offer everything you do each day, all day, as a sacrifice for the Church and the Lord will use you as an instrument in ways you could never fathom so as to dispense His Divine Mercy (See Diary #1184).

Reflect upon both the great and small sacrifices you can offer to our Lord, this day.  If there is some heavy burden you carry, then focus on that.  But if your day seems filled with many small acts that all appear to be somewhat insignificant in the grand picture of life, know that you have a wonderful opportunity to offer these small acts to our Lord.  The power in this daily offering is beyond what you could comprehend and may be the greatest gift you can offer, and the source of much grace in our world.

Lord, I place before You all my work this day.  I give you every small act and every heavy burden.  I surrender all to You, dear Lord, and make them my holy sacrifice to You.  Use me as Your martyr of love this day and every day so as to become a greater instrument of Your glory and the upbuilding of Your Church.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 230: The Contradiction of the Cross

We should never tire of pondering the wounds of Christ.  Each and every wound He received was unjustified and caused by the sins of others.  His perfect hands and feet, His brow and back and His Sacred Heart should have been treated with the utmost respect, adoration and care.  But they weren’t.  Instead, they were treated with great malice and abuse.  From a worldly point of view, this is tragic.  But from the Divine perspective, each and every wound, be it from the scourging, thorns, nails or spear, opened up springs of grace flowing in abundance.  This effect is only possible as a result of the Mercy of God.  Think of each and every wound our Lord endured as an underground spring or the freshest water, gushing forth from the earth to provide nourishment for all.  From the streams that flow on account of these springs of Mercy, we are invited to drink our fill so as to be refreshed and satiated by grace (See Diary #1190).

Ponder, this day, the very wounds of Jesus.  Try to see them and to understand the pain that He endured.  As you do this, see also beyond the fleshly scourge and trauma caused by the brutality of His persecutors.  Ponder the spring of Mercy that is opened with each wound.  Become aware of the streams of grace running forth from these wounds and allow yourself to taste of the refreshment that they provide.  Mercy has come forth from the sufferings of Christ.  Now He desires to flood you with Mercy and to pour forth Mercy from the wounds that you also endure.

Lord, I thank You for Your infinite power and for doing the unthinkable.  You allowed Yourself to be beaten and scourged and produced from this malice the springs of new life.  May I bathe in these waters, dear Lord, and may I also allow my wounds to become a source of Your grace for a world in such need.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 231: Binding the Hands of Punishment

If you were a criminal, incarcerated for some crime, you would most likely see life from a perspective that is very different from others.  You would daily long to have your punishment removed and your status of freedom restored.  However, an act of mercy of this sort is rarely offered by secular society.  Instead, harshness and judgment is the norm.  But God is much different.  God is perfectly aware of everything you have ever done in violation of His law.  He sees even the minutest sin.  And in the end, He will administer His strict justice upon all those who have not been bathed in the justice of His Mercy.  So bathe in Mercy now and help others to do the same.  God offers this Mercy in varied ways.  One specific way God offers the Mercy which appeases His judgment is through your heart.  By daily offering your heart to our Lord and by daily offering it for others, God’s judgment is transformed. He sees your holy heart, enters it, and then allows you to offer it for the sanctification of others.  In this way you are able to win many souls for God on account of His perfect justice of Mercy (See Diary #1193).

When you look at others, what do you see?  Do you see a sinner who deserves punishment for their sins?  If so, be careful because this is how God will in turn see you.  Strive to see the sins of others as opportunities to pray for them and as opportunities to become an instrument of the Mercy of God.  God invites your participation in this act of atonement and withholds nothing when you commit yourself to this act of love.

Lord, please transform the way I see others, especially the sinner.  Help me to withhold my own judgment and, in turn, to offer my heart filled with love as an act of Your Divine Mercy.  Cleanse every soul, dear Lord, and forgive every sin on account of my love for You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 232: Calming the Storm

Recall the story of Jesus calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27).  This miraculous act was done as a prophetic sign of Him bringing you peace during the particular challenges you face in life.  Jesus did this on a practical level for the safety and well-being of His Apostles.  However, by showing that He had absolute and immediate authority over the storm at sea, Jesus also made it clear that He has absolute and immediate authority over any storm within your life, pledging His closeness in your midst.  It should be consoling to you to know that there is nothing too much for God’s omnipotence.  He can do all things and can bring peace to any and every situation.  Knowing this should give you confidence as you surrender your “storms” to Him.  And when the storm remains fierce, despite your prayers, you should be assured that it is for your good or the good of others.  It’s an opportunity to deepen your trust in Him and to know of His particular closeness in those moments (See Diary #1197).

Identify the storm in your life right now.  And if things are relatively calm, be grateful but also call to mind that this will not always be the case.  Life can “change on a dime” as has been said.  We must be ready for anything and everything that befalls us.  As you ponder a storm of life, ask yourself whether you believe Jesus is there, in the midst, by your side, keeping you safe.  Do you know that He could solve any problem instantaneously?  Reassure yourself of this fact and allow this faith to add confidence to your troubled heart.  The Lord’s love for you is perfect; He will never let you drown.

Lord, I trust in Your almighty power and unconditional love.  I trust that You care about me and are present in every storm I face in life.  Give me hope in the midst of every trial and enable me to turn to You as the source of my peace.  I love You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 233: The Response of Silence

At times it can be helpful to speak openly and thoroughly to God about what we experience in life.  You may feel compelled to talk and talk and talk.  And God will listen.  But there are other times when words seem quite insufficient.  In fact, there are times when words appear to be counterproductive.  In those moments the greatest blessings come through silence.  We must realize that silence is a language.  In fact, communication with God, in moments of silence, has potential to be far deeper than words can bring us.  Do not be afraid of silent communication with God.  Do not feel as though you must speak or even hear what He has to say.  Simply being silent, in His presence, knowing that He is there may be exactly what your soul is in need of in those moments (See Diary #1200).

When you pray, do you feel as though you must speak continuously to our Lord?  Do you feel as though you must talk continuously, saying this prayer or that one?  Or are you content simply being in His presence in the silence?  Ponder today your experience of being silent in the presence of God.  Try to discern the unique and profound language God speaks this way.  Try to commit yourself to these prolonged moments of silent communication with God and then look at the fruit they bear in your soul.  If you discover that you are more at peace, gain a new level of clarity in life, or have grown in a certain confidence, then you can be assured that these good fruits in your life have come to you from God through the Mercy of His Heart, communicated to you in silence.

Lord, I desire to seek You and know You.  Help me to hear You speak through the silence.  Help me to understand this deep language of love and to allow You to transform me through this form of prayer.  I love You, dear Lord, and I desire to rest in Your Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 234: The Obscurity of Deep Faith

Normally, when one begins a journey of faith, there are countless insights and revelations that are enjoyed.  Various aspects of the life of faith come alive and understanding of the many mysteries in life is received.  This gift of spiritual insight and understanding is a great gift and guide as one begins to walk down the path God has chosen.  But as time goes on and a soul enters deeply into the mysteries of faith, a certain obscurity can begin to set in.  If this is caused by sin or by a spiritual sloth, it should be remedied through Confession and a new resolve to seek the Lord.  But this experience can also be the result of a deepening of one’s faith.  There comes a time when God’s communication is one of darkness and obscurity.  The soul begins to understand that it cannot understand.  This is a gift in that the deeper mysteries of faith cannot be communicated through a concept or insight.  The deepest communications from our Lord must be communicated through a darkening of the mind.  Knowledge becomes dark, yet the certainty of God’s voice remains (See Diary #1205).

Reflect upon your interior life of prayer.  If you do not clearly have an “interior life,” then it’s time to start.  Seek our Lord through meditation and conversation and allow Him to speak to you.  If you do have an interior life of prayer and God is regularly present to you, seek to go deeper.  And as you seek more, do not be afraid if you begin to sense that meditation and conversation give way to greater silence and obscurity in your soul.  This may be a sign that God is speaking to you on a new level.  Speak to a priest about this experience and remain faithful to our Lord in every way as He draws you more deeply into a new level of prayer.

Lord, I desire to be drawn in deeply to the silence and obscurity of a life of faith.  Help me to commune with You on this deepest level and to be transformed in the depths of my soul.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 235: The Simple Call to Mercy

As we grow deeper in our faith, it’s easy to presume that life will become more complex.  For example, when one begins to study mathematics, each course that is taken builds upon the previous, and the lessons become more challenging and difficult as time goes on.  But in a certain sense the opposite is true with our life of faith.  The deeper we plunge into the Ocean of Mercy, the more we realize the simplicity of our God.  Though God is infinite and fully beyond our comprehension, He is also profoundly simple.  In fact, the deeper we enter into His Mercy, the more we realize that the mysteries of life are not as complex as we once thought.  We begin to realize that the mysteries of God bring us continually back to the simple truth that we are called to rest in the humble Heart of our Divine Lord (See Diary #1211).

Reflect upon the call you have been given to enter into the Mercy of God.  Do you find life difficult, confusing or overwhelming?  If so, it may be time to step back and reexamine your thinking.  The call of God is exceptionally simple.  To answer that call you may need to set aside the apparent complexity of life and plunge into the simplicity of His Will.  It does not require a doctorate degree to comprehend this profound simplicity.  But when you do embrace its simplicity, you will also discover its depth and beauty in a new way.  Reflect, today, upon this simple call and dive in with the innocence and trust of a child and you will discover the deep wisdom of God.

Lord, I love You and desire to know You and Your holy Will.  Give me the grace to plunge into the Ocean of Your Mercy and, in the simplicity of this act, to be fully committed to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Reflection 236: Praying for Mercy for Everyone

Every person is unique and God wishes to lavish His Mercy upon each and every one of us according to our particular needs.  When we pray for people, it’s good to offer them individually as well as by groupings.  Here are some groupings of people we ought to pray for: all sinners, priests, religious, the faithful, pagans, atheists, heretics, schismatics, children, those devoted to Mercy, those in Purgatory and the lukewarm.  This list is not exhaustive but each grouping needs prayer for a deepening of God’s Mercy in a particular way in their lives.  Do not be overwhelmed by the myriad of needs, but know that it is good to pray and offer sacrifice for a different group of people each day so as to slowly offer each and every person to the Mercy of God according to their particular needs (See Diary #1210-1230, Novena given by our Lord).

How attentive are you to the needs of those all around you?  Some are strong in their faith and need continual encouragement as they seek to offer their lives fully to the service of God.  Others are caught in sin and need to be freed from the burdens and attachments they struggle with.  Others are lukewarm, going astray, or lost.  Everyone is different and carries particular needs in their lives.  You must remember that the Mercy of God is for everyone and will meet the needs of each person in the specific way they need it.  The more clearly you see this fact the more you will love each individual as God loves.  Your prayers will be one way that you are able to share in the distribution of God’s grace to each person according to their needs.

Lord, give me the grace to be attentive to the needs of all people.  Help me to be aware of the ways that Your Mercy is distributed and to share in that distribution through my prayers.  May all people come to know and serve You with their whole heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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