The merits of our Lord’s Cross and Resurrection have infinite value before the Father, and that for all time and eternity. These merits are never diminished, much as they are graciously poured out upon all souls. (See: Catechism of Catholic Church, 1476-1477)
We have access to Christ’s infinite merits through the Church, the Sacraments, and prayer.
Our Lord Jesus also chose to open the floodgates, to pour out His infinite merits, His Divine Mercy, especially at three o’clock, the holy hour of His sacred death on the Cross:
“At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (Diary of St Faustina, 1320)
There is nothing that the soul cannot obtain from our Lord Jesus when it comes to Him with confidence and trust in His infinite goodness and mercy.
Lord Jesus, in virtue of the infinite love with which you opened your arms upon the Cross and suffered death in order to give us life, in virtue of your Divine Mercy, deliver us from our miseries.
Drive away the dangers that threaten our lives and salvation, cover us in your precious Blood, do not put us to the test, lead us not into temptation, fill us with true and perfect contrition for our sins, with the spirit of reconciliation, with the spirit of prayer, with the deepest love of your Sacred Passion, restore us to your friendship, and grant us your Holy Spirit evermore.
(You can say this prayer at the start of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, if you like)
Introductory Prayers to each of the five sorrowful mysteries.
1. Prayer and Agony of our Lord Jesus in the Garden of Olives.
Lord Jesus, in your prayer and agony in the Garden, you suffered such anguish and pain that you sweated drops of blood upon the ground. In virtue of the love which moved you to suffer in this way, turn our hearts back to God, strengthen our resolve to love you, and unite us with the holy will of God.
2. The Scourging of our Lord Jesus at the Pillar.
Lord Jesus, heavenly Physician, you were wounded so that we may be healed (Isaiah 53:5). Hide us in your sacred wounds, especially the wound in your Sacred Heart, cover us in your Precious Blood, until we are healed, in body, soul, and spirit, until we blossom in every way under the light of your healing Love.
3. The Crowning with Thorns.
Lord Jesus, O King of eternal glory, you were crowned with thorns, as though no one recognised your Dignity, your selfless Love, your Royal Priesthood. But you submitted to this crown in order to set us free from pride, ignorance, and arrogance. Grant that, by your wounds, we may be healed.
4. The Way of the Cross.
Lord Jesus, as you carried your Cross to Calvary, you met with your holy Mother Mary on the way, with the gaze of Her loving eyes. In that mutual gaze, Her Immaculate Heart was completely open to you, and your Sacred Heart was completely open to Mary. Grant that all our troubles, trials, and temptations may be surrendered to the silent communion you shared with your holy Mother in that mutual gaze, and restore us to your holiness and your friendship.
5. The Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, on the Cross you suffered your agony and your Sacred Death for our salvation. Grant that, at the foot of the Cross, we may surrender all our burdens, sins, and illnesses to you with unbounded confidence in your Divine Mercy, that you may save us, sanctify us, and restore us to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
In the midst of my plight, I turn to you, O holy Mother of God, my Mother, begging you to turn the gaze of your merciful eyes upon me, surround me with your love and protection, and lead me to know and love your divine Son, Jesus Christ my Lord.
A loved one of mine was going through a difficult time in her life and, as I looked on, I sought to pray for her in the same measure as her difficulties were great.
My prayer was guided by what I had recently discovered about the intimate union of our Lady with the Sacred Heart of her divine Son, in the midst of His most difficult moments, through the revelations of Sister Maria of Agreda (a 16th century Franciscan nun in Spain).
Sister Maria writes that holy Mary, through a special grace, was given the privilege of “seeing” all that her divine Son suffered during His Sacred Passion, as well as perceiving the unceasing acts of love and prayer of His Sacred Heart.
Christ had long promised His Mother that “in return for the new human existence which she had given Him in her virginal womb [the Incarnation], He would, by His almighty power, give her a new existence of divine and eminent grace above all other creatures”, and this promise of Christ “was continually fulfilled [in the course of her earthly life].”
“To this favour was due also her deep science and enlightenment concerning all the operations of the sacred humanity of her Son, none of which ever escaped her knowledge and attention.”
But whatever Mary “perceived” in the interior of her Son’s Heart, she also ”imitated” with fidelity:
“Whatever she thus perceived she imitated; so that she was always anxious to study and penetrate [Christ’s interior acts] with deep understanding, to put them promptly into action, and to practice them courageously and zealously during all her life. In this neither sorrow could disturb her, nor anguish hinder her, nor persecution detain her, nor the bitterness of her suffering weaken her.”
As a consequence of her “deep science and enlightenment”, Mary “felt in her own virginal body all the torments of Christ our Lord, both interior and exterior.”
But within such a hidden mystery, “there was concealed therein another mystery. This was, that the desire of Christ to see His exalted love and [goodness] as exhibited in His Passion copied in all its magnitude in a mere creature, was fulfilled in her, and no one possessed a greater right to this favour than His own Mother.” (Mystical City of God, volume 3, Chapter XXII, 670)
Thus was Mary increasingly conformed to the likeness of her divine Son, both in His suffering and in His acts of mercy—even in the midst of His most difficult and painful torments.
Filled with these thoughts, I pondered, how much more can Mary’s vision penetrate the depths of our own experiences, trials, and struggles?
With each glance of her soul, Mary understood the depth of Christ’s suffering as well as the unfathomable love which moved Him to suffer. If her gaze can penetrate all the depth of the Son of God’s suffering, love, and interior movements, how much more can Mary penetrate all the depth of our own hearts?
Do we not pray in the Salve Regina, “…turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus”?
Just as Mother Mary was fully present to Christ in His suffering, she is also able to be present to me in the course of my earthly pilgrimage, and nothing is impervious to the turn of her merciful gaze.
By a special grace from God, the one who is “full of grace”, with one glance of her eyes, understands me better than I understand myself. And with that understanding, Mother Mary sees clearly all the depth of my struggles, the nature of my pain, and the desires of my heart.
I therefore resolved to make the following prayer for my loved one, and to entrust her, and all the dimensions of her quest, to the holy Mother of God:
I beseech you, holy Mother of God, my Mother Mary, to turn your loving gaze upon my loved one, surround her on every side with your unfailing protection; cover her in your holy mantle; press her to your holy bosom; and receive all the depth of her needs, struggles, and intentions in your Immaculate Heart—both those intentions that are spoken, and those that remain hidden—with the same love with which you never failed to watch over your divine Son, unto peace, joy, and eternal life.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
When my own designs in life are frustrated and I feel like a failure, I might stop and consider the will of God. When my own strategies and ideas come to naught and I feel like a fool, I might begin to seek the wisdom of God. When my own strength fails me and I feel all alone in this world, it’s time to discover the grace of God and the power of trust in Him.
Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” St John 15:4,5.
Lord Jesus, in difficult moments grant me to realise that, if You allow me to fall, it is only to draw me back into the Loving Heart of God, wherein is my true beatitude, and to place all my confidence in You. Amen.
Today 2nd April 2015 is exactly ten years since John Paul II passed away.
St John Paul II, clothed in Jesus Christ, you walked through so many dangers and troubles in this world and you rose to victory even in this life, taking countless souls with you, and inspiring the whole world to believe in God’s goodness and mercy. Pray for us that we may keep our eyes on the Truth, always be filled with hope, and learn to overcome in Christ, to the glory of God and for our eternal welfare. Amen.
O breathe in me Your spirit of Life, Lord Jesus, and grant me to breathe all my weakness in You. O breathe in me Your spirit of Wisdom, Lord Jesus, and grant me to breathe all my thoughts in You. O breathe in me Your spirit of Love, Lord Jesus, and grant me to breathe all my desires in You.
St Gertrude the Great was born on this day, 6th January, the Feast of the Epiphany.
The following prayer was made by St Gertrude when she noticed that, relying on her own strength, she was inclined to waste the graces of God, particularly the grace of God’s presence with which The Lord had favoured her:
“And that it may please You [Lord] to preserve this precious grace in me, I offer You that excellent prayer which You uttered with such amazing fervour when sweating blood in agony, and which the burning love of Your Divinity and Your pure devotion rendered so efficacious; beseeching You, by virtue of this most perfect prayer, to draw and unite me entirely to Yourself, that I may remain inseparably attached to You.”
“O My God
When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.
It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.
O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of your omnipotence.
And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.”
Prayer moves the Heart of God and opens one’s own heart to God’s presence. Prayer averts dangers, obtains blessings, and sows the seeds of sanctity. In prayer God loves and communes with the soul in secret and leads the soul to ever greater degrees of intimacy and union with God, ever greater degrees of love.
‘I do not pray for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they may all be one; just as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them; so that they may be one even as we are one; I in them, and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.’