By: Laura Worhacz
“All this is for the salvation of souls.”
(Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul, #1184)
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
Easter Blessings! Tomorrow our Catholic Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. This is a glorious day that has been inserted into our church calendar ever since Saint Pope John Paul II blessed us with his own dedication to Jesus in His Divine Mercy. Jesus blessed us in His visits to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. He appeared to this humble servant and she experienced “the journey of her soul” (Diary Preface).
We hear little in our everyday lives about our souls; we are concerned with the heart, mind and body. They are all good and deserving, yet the reality of our eternal salvation is united to the soul of God. In the depths of Jesus’ Divine Mercy is the message to us to lessen the misery of others. The very reason Jesus was born and lived for us, the very reason He suffered and passionately died for us, the very reason He has risen from the dead for us is “all for the salvation of souls.”
We see through the eyes of our souls when we offer mercy, true humility. This humility is found in placing others before ourselves. There is an interior Eucharistic enthusiasm when we live in the grace of the moment of mercy. The unseen God is seen in His creative powers through an awakening of our souls.
To become children of Divine Mercy we must be attentive guards of our souls. The Eucharistic mission entrusted to God’s baptized lives in the message of mercy. If we take a high dive into the deep waters, there is an immersion in AWE that awakens our senses. It is the same with our soul's immersion into mercy. God lives there; our soul rises. St. Paul teaches us that “if Christ has not been raised then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith” (Cor. 15:14). The resurrection must be carried with us for us to be Easter people, otherwise we will be overwhelmed with grief.
We receive Divine Mercy in the Blessed Sacrament, where Jesus lessens our misery. We are then strengthened to lessen the misery of others. Jesus promises that at the time of death, He will hand over to the Heavenly Father the soul dedicated to His Divine Mercy, not as a judge, but as the Merciful Savior. For this reason, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy has become a great prayer for the sick and dying, sick souls, dying souls. Jesus promises to be with those who call upon Him in His Divine Mercy.
I would like to share a story of Divine Mercy. Although we do not need signs and wonders, the reality is they are right before us at every moment. In 2006 my grandmother, Catherine, was in hospice care. I was already dedicated to praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily for those who would pass that day. I was praying the rosary and chaplet of Divine Mercy by my grandmother’s side in her last hours. It was well after midnight when I went home to attend to my household responsibilities. My husband encouraged me to stay home and get a little sleep since the nurse thought Catherine had a few days of life left. At 1:23 a.m. I quickly rose out of bed, knelt and began praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. My husband asked, “What are you doing? You prayed all day, get some rest.” Compelled to finish my prayers, I followed the inspiration. A half hour later my father called to tell me that my grandmother passed from this life. Through my tears I asked him at what time. It was 1:23 a.m.! I recalled the Divine Mercy image I had placed next to my grandmothers’ bed and was reassured that Jesus was with her. I knew she would be resting in His Eternal Promise!
“Eternal God in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, increase Your mercy in us that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is love and mercy itself. Amen”
-Divine Mercy Chaplet Closing Prayer
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin.The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.
I think that Holy Saturday is the hardest day to “keep” of the Holy Triduum. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist and then we sit at the feet of Our Lord as He suffers in the Garden and try to keep Him company. We watch and pray. On Good Friday we venerate the Cross, we fast, and we pray. We walk the Stations of the Cross with Our Lord and we “return home beating our breasts” (Lk 23:48). And on Holy Saturday we take the kids to Easter egg hunts, stop by the store to pick up a ham and clean the house and cook for the company coming over on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong; these things we do on Saturday are all good things. We are usually very good at finding good things to do. What we are not so good at is at what Holy Saturday invites us to do: to wait, to rest.
This rest that Holy Saturday invites us to is not a comfortable one, sitting on a hammock by a beautiful beach. It is rather resting on a hard chair outside the ICU, on a cold bench at the police station, or sunken on the deep low couch at the funeral home. Holy Saturday’s rest is one of surrender. It is the place where our need and our sorrow meet the end of the road, and there is nothing left for us to do but wait. This is a very uncomfortable place to be at, and we will be tempted to leave. We will be tempted to fill the void with diversions and with all sorts of good things. Holy Saturday invites us to join Mary in her time of solitude, to sit with her in her pain, and to learn from her hope and trust.
In Spanish, Holy Saturday is called “Sabado de Gloria”, which translates to “Saturday of Glory”. It is a reminder that God’s glory does not necessarily look like we might expect. On this day, while His body laid in the tomb, His soul was at work. Jesus went to the “belly of the earth” to set the captives free. What looks like a dark and somber day on the surface, looked very different deep within. Imagine Adam’s face when he saw Jesus and heard Him call his name! This is our hope too, that we will one day each be called by name to enter into our eternal rest.
So, on this Holy Saturday I invite you to sit with Mary and to remember. Remember each time you were in a dark cold place and see you were not alone. See how Jesus made all things new and trust He will do it again. We just need to wait.
By Laura Worhacz
“With what modesty and reverence will the perfect adorer conduct himself before the Blessed Sacrament! He will conduct himself as do the Angels before the Throne of God. Entirely penetrated by faith and absorbed in the Divine Presence, he pays no attention to anyone or to anything around him”.
St. Peter Julian Eymard
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
“For our struggle is not flesh and blood but with principalities and powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). The battle of good and evil sadly remains, even after the death of Jesus. Evil never sleeps but tries to twist, turn, and manipulate the purity of God. Evil has intelligence and can have a voice through our choices. The darkness lives in fear, guilt, and the possession of hidden lies. However, God’s love is triumphant. It lives in the heart of the believer, it hopes, it dreams, and becomes a reality in the freedom to do good. Although the devil is constantly trying to possess us, we have no doubt that we are safe in the heart of God Our Father.
We are coming to the close of our Lenten journey and tomorrow we experience another Palm Sunday. Perhaps this year we can go with Jesus into His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. In preparation for the holiest days of the year, the Triduum, we can offer our own lives with the gift of ourselves. We take up our Cross with the One who first carried the Cross of evil to His crucifixion. Jesus passionately suffered and died. He absorbed the devil's wiles in the humility of His crown of thorns, horrifying scourging, the weight of the Cross, and final last breath. Yes, Jesus enters His passion! Jesus “pays no attention to anyone around him”, he only stops to console others. Jesus fulfills the will of God by taking away the sins of the world. The above excerpt from Saint Peter Julian Eymard is asking us to be totally penetrated by faith and absorbed in the Divine Presence. In this teaching, the depths of our souls should cry out in praise to our God who is absorbed in His love for us. Jesus died for each of us, individually and personally. In response to this gift of life we are called to a mission to keep the body of Christ active, busy and healthy, in God’s Love.
Nourished by the Eucharist, there is no cunning stratagem of the devil that will not be revealed. All fear will be consoled in the beating heart of Christ.
Many of us are preparing for our consecration to Jesus through Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. God has blessed us in Jesus and Mary. The wind whirls around us, yet we stand firm at the foot of the Cross. Easter Sunday is coming and remains with us in Jesus Eucharistic!
By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
As I am getting ready to begin my consecration renewal preparation on April 9th (to recite the promise on May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament), I’ve been reading the Preparatory Meditations in Laura Worhacz’ book, Consecration to Jesus through Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament:
As children of Mary, we enter into the consecration days. Let us remember that just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed our Blessed Mother, we must empty ourselves to let the Holy Spirit overshadow us. In this relationship with the Holy Spirit of God's Love, we prepare for prayer. The consecration is a prayer, given by our Father, to be born of our Mother, to grab hold of her hand and walk through our lives. (Worhacz, p.14)
This morning, we were running late for an appointment and my son grabbed a piece of leftover pizza from the refrigerator (Remember that, for college students, pizza is a perfectly appropriate choice for breakfast!). His sleepiness quickly turned to annoyance when he heard my now predictable question on Fridays, “Does that have pepperoni?”, and proceeded to return the slice back to the refrigerator. I could almost hear him thinking, “Is it STILL Lent?”
I think that beginning this period of preparation for consecration right in the middle of Lent is a gift of Divine Providence. At this point, many of us are probably feeling a little worn out by our Lenten journey. We might be feeling disappointed when we compare what we hoped to do this Lent to grow closer to Christ and what we have been able to accomplish. The idea of beginning a 33-day consecration preparation now may feel overwhelming. We might be feeling like we can’t add one more thing to our plate, but I think it is precisely the opposite. It is time to call on MOM! …” As children of Mary, we enter into the consecration days.”
The theme Laura presents to us during these preparatory meditations is one of emptying ourselves, of making room for the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. This idea of making room for something new is one that became very real in our household these past couple of months, as we welcomed a new member to our home. No, we did not have a new baby; my mother moved in with us. She has been here about a month now, and I have to tell you, the transition has been much smoother than I had anticipated, at least for me. When I ponder on why that is, I realize that there was a lot of preparation that took place before the movers’ truck pulled in the driveway. There were six weeks of planning, of cleaning and reorganizing, of getting rid of a lot of unused stuff to make room for her. The blessing my mother brings by her presence would not have been possible if we held on to all the junk that was filling up our guest room closet and our garage. It is time to make room for God, to examine our hearts and see what else we need to get rid of. It is time, like Laura says, “to be born of our Mother, to grab hold of her hand and walk through our lives.”
I am excited about starting this period of preparation with Mary, my Heavenly mother. I know she will help me get rid of the junk filling up the room in my heart and will say with me, Come Holy Spirit! We hope you join us in this journey of faith. If you haven’t ordered your book, there is still time. You can even download a digital version from our website today. Buen camino!
FOLLOW ELISHEBA HOUSE:
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.