Tag Archives: Mercy

It’s only Week 2! There’s still time!

For anyone who, like me, feels like they’ve totally failed (so far) to make a holy Lent:

“When you fail to measure up to your Christian privilege, be not discouraged, for discouragement is a form of pride. The reason you are sad is because you looked to yourself and not to God; to your failings, not to His love. You will shake off your faults more readily when you love God than when you criticize yourself. God is more lenient than you because He is perfectly good and therefore loves you more. Be bold enough, then, to believe that God is on your side, even when you forget to be on His.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

We’ve still got five weeks left of Lent – let’s make them count! And when we’re tempted to focus on our failings, let’s turn our gaze to our loving Father instead, remembering His tenderness and mercy.

(HT to Maggie at Ten Thousand Places)


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New film “There Be Dragons” moves viewers to forgive

I have been waiting for months to see the new film There Be Dragons, which tells the story of an estranged father and son whose lives are forever changed by their encounter with St. Josemaría Escrivá. If you haven’t yet seen the trailer, take a look:

Sadly, the film won’t be playing where I live for at least another week, possibly longer. The good news is, a film about a Catholic saint, with a well-known director and actors you might actually recognize, will be released tomorrow in theaters across the United States.

The reviews so far haven’t exactly been stellar. I’ve seen glimpses of positive press, mostly Religion features and opinion columns (Exhibit AExhibit B), Exhibit C) – but on the whole, the critics have been pretty… well, critical. That doesn’t discourage me from going to see the film, and it shouldn’t discourage you, either. Whatever the critics say, the film can’t be called a total flop, and here’s why.

In a recent interview with Zenit, former Vatican press secretary Joaquín Navarro-Valls indicated that the good work of the filmmakers is already bearing fruit:

“Without planning to do so, [director and writer] Roland Joffé has started a movement of many people who feel moved to forgive. The producers are daily receiving messages of thanks (some are on the Internet) from people who see the movie and decide to return home after years of separation, from spouses who are reconciled, from parents and children who have come to accept one another again, from others who return to God after a long time of being distanced from Him.”

(You can read the entire interview with Dr. Navarro-Valls on Zenit.org.)

Amazing, right? Though it shouldn’t surprise us, really. Holiness begets holiness. Mercy begets mercy. It’s like I was saying on Sunday: we let God’s mercy into our hearts, it grows within us, and then we share it with others by showing them mercy. Then it grows within them, then they share it with others… and soon there is quite a bit more goodness and mercy in the world than there was before. That’s what the life of a saint does – it transforms the world.

As for those critics, people will see what they want to see. Those whose hearts are closed, who believe they’ve found all the answers they need, will inevitably dismiss a film like this as yet another mediocre wartime drama. On the other hand, those people who are still seeking, who maybe want to change, to be a better person, to learn how to forgive, but perhaps don’t believe it’s possible – they are the ones who can be changed forever by the story of a saint.

St. Josemaría Escrivá, pray for us!

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“For Your love to me has been great…”

JPII election photo

Pope John Paul II greets the faithful after he is elected pope in 1978.

What a glorious day! What a JOY and a grace to celebrate both the Feast of God’s Mercy – my second-favorite day of the year (after Easter Sunday) – and the beatification of Pope John Paul II, one of my dearest friends in Heaven. My first thought this morning was of these words that we pray so often at Compline:

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify Your name forever;
for Your love to me has been great:
You have saved me from the depths of the grave.

(Psalm 86:12-13)

Last year, I started reading St. Faustina’s Diary on Divine Mercy Sunday. That book is so spiritually rich and so profound that it took me an entire year to finish it – and what a journey it’s been. I don’t think any other book (except maybe Story of a Soul) has done so much to deepen my faith and to transform the way I pray.

Perhaps the most important and most beautiful thing I’ve learned from the Diary is this: devotion to the Divine Mercy isn’t just about the mercy and forgiveness we receive from God – it’s about His mercy remaining in us and flowing through us. When we truly accept God’s mercy, it grows in us, transforms us from within and teaches us to believe, to hope, to love. We see this in the optional prayer (taken from the Diary) that can be said at the end of the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us

Pope John Paul II echoed this sentiment in the homily he gave at St. Faustina’s canonization:

It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God’s love. Looking at him, being one with His fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!

All this is mercy! (So much like Thérèse’s “All is grace!”) Sometimes, I am just astounded by God’s goodness, particularly by the gift of His saints and the light they are to the Church. JPII did a great deal during his papacy to spread the message of the Divine Mercy – he wrote his second encyclical letter, Dives in misericordia, about God’s Mercy, canonized St. Faustina, and instituted the Feast that we celebrate today – but more importantly, he lived this message of mercy and unshakeable faith in God’s goodness.

Immediately following his death, Pope John Paul II became, together with St. Thérèse and Mother Teresa, one of my “big 3” intercessors in Heaven. I can’t really explain it, but I just know that I owe those three an incredible debt of gratitude for the graces I’ve experienced in my discernment. I have no doubt that they’ve been with me, praying for me every step of the way. Their friendship has been a truly precious gift, straight from the merciful Heart of the Father!

What a glorious day! What a joy and a grace to have so much to celebrate!

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us! St. Faustina, pray for us!

Recommended Reading:

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