Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Immersed in Divine Mercy and St Faustina-2016

Happy Easter to All! Blessed Easter Season! This week I will be immersed in the Diary of St. Faustina, the message of Divine Mercy and the reading of a book I just ordered, "7 Secrets of Divine Mercy" by Vinny Flynn. I received a call recently and asked if this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, I could give a talk on Divine Mercy. I agreed. A few days later, a woman sitting in the pew in Church, in front of me, had the book by her side, "7 Secrets....." so I just knew I had to read that book for my talk, seemed providential to me. As it turned out that woman was giving a talk on Divine Mercy a week later which I attended. People of faith always amaze me when they show the benefits of their faith and how it has positively affected their lives. It's a fact that people of faith can weather life's "storms" and trials better. During the talk that she gave on Divine Mercy, she shared that her husband of 40 years asked her for a divorce a couple of years before. He had met someone else (younger naturally). It came as a complete shock to her. He recently re-married and though she looked disturbed as she shared the story, she still had it together, she still had her deep faith, she was brave and focused on the good and positive in her life. People of faith can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on. Belief in the Resurrection, nourishment from the Eucharist and the healing power of Jesus can do that. I've seen it over and over again. I've experienced it in my own life, going through the death of loved ones.

So as I prepare for my talk on Sunday and as I spend the next few days reading about St. Faustina's message and the benefits of trusting in God (no matter what!), I look forward to study and growing in both my trust in God and my knowledge of what's really important in life.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; for God's mercy endures forever."  (Psalm 117:1

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Church Dispensing God's Mercy On The Urging of Pope Francis

I was fortunate to have spent a week visiting near a very vibrant parish in the Diocese of Venice, Florida which observed "24 Hours of Mercy," while I was there.  Bishop Frank Dewane, in consultation with his priests designated March 4th and 5th to be the time in which the people of that Diocese would observe the "24 hours of Mercy."
I attended the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and I watched as the pastor and an associate pastor stayed in Church and ministered God's mercy. Many tearful and fallen away Catholics came. Observing from a distance and sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I could not know what people were sharing, of course. Some were going to Confession, others were seeking spiritual guidance. Many needed tissues to wipe their tears. Yes, this was the "field hospital" that Pope Francis has spoken about, set up in a parish church, in Southwest Florida. And though I stayed about an hour and a half in Church, I was greatly moved by what I saw. This went on from 1:00 PM until 11:00 PM. on Friday. The next day on Saturday it continued in the morning until Mass which was at 11:30 AM after Benediction. I attended the Mass, but the Mass had to start a half hour late, because people were on line and they were given the opportunity to confess or share and then the Mass began.
At Mass last Sunday the pastor said that over 100 fallen away Catholics had come to the Church seeking Confession or spiritual guidance. Many had been encouraged by their friends to come.
The whole "24 Hours of Mercy" was not only fruitful but awe-inspiring. The best of the Catholic Church in view. God's mercy being administered by caring priests of God. It's as good as Catholicism gets and I saw it there in that Church, the healing and blessing of God's mercy being administered by good and generous priests.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Acceptance Speech Brings Awareness To a Cause Close To His Heart and That of Pope Francis

Leonardo DiCaprio recently met with Pope Francis in a private audience at the Vatican (I wrote about it in a previous blog entry). He was very grateful for the private audience with the Pope and he brought his father along. He gave Pope Francis gifts, among them a check for the Pope's favorite charities. Very generous. Though it doesn't seem like they would have anything in common, they do. They share a common interest in helping the environment and protecting the Earth. It seems Leonardo's meeting with the Pope brought him some blessings and good luck and on Sunday night he won an Oscar for acting in the role of frontiersman Hugh Glass in the movie, "The Revenant."
The Revenant has an interesting title and the word means, "A person who has returned supposedly from the dead."
The writer of the book on which the story is based has an interesting background. The writer, Michael Punke is a deputy U.S. trade representative. He wrote the historical novel in his spare time, waking up early in the morning to write. That impresses me.
But back to Leonardo. In his acceptance speech, he said, "Climate change is real and its happening now......It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. "
Leonardo also urged support for political leaders who speak for humanity. I wished he had mentioned Pope Francis but he didn't.
DiCaprio has been called out by members of the media, questioning the huge carbon footprint he contributes to as he travels  often in jets, around the world, not just for his career but for pleasure.
No one is perfect and DiCaprio may be a polluter to some degree (aren't most of us to some small degree?)but he does give to charities that support the environment and endangered animals. He is trying to bring awareness to the issue of climate change and global warming. He used the Academy Awards as a platform to try to bring awareness to an issue dear to his heart, with millions watching. Who knows the good that he did?