Thursday, January 28, 2016

52 Weekly Ways to be Merciful

God, who is merciful, desires our mercy. Here are 52 ways to keep to mercy during the Jubilee Year. Each week, try putting these suggestions into practice! 

#52. (And final!) - If someone you know seems to lack faith, share some of yours - 
Tell him or her how Christ has changed your life!

#51.  Give the much-maligned Pope Benedict XVI a fair reading sometime.  
You'll be surprised!

#50With a few other people at your church, plan a party
and invite some people who may not usually be included. 

#49. Pay the parking fee, toll, or drive-through bill 
for the person in the car behind you.

#48.   Keep holy cards, short prayers, or blessed medals handy and give
them out to people you meet if you are inspired. 
Be a blessing to others! 

#47. Go On Retreat.  It's a way to be merciful to yourself and also
to the people around you.  If you cannot do that, at least try to make a day,
or evening, of recollection.  

#46Visit the graves of your ancestors, or visit a local cemetery 
and walk around praying the rosary for all the souls buried there.

#45Can you play the piano, or any musical instrument?  Can you 
recite poetry?  Give free "concerts' to forgotten people
in nursing homes or assisted living centers.  

#44. When conversations devolve into "the dark joy of gossip", as Pope Francis 
calls it, help to change the subject.

#43. Begin a conversation with a kind comment with friends as 
well as with strangers. 

#42. Ask the Holy Spirit to "groan for you" (Rom 8:26) when you cannot bring yourself to pray for someone who has done you an injury.

#41. Offer to read to someone who is feeling ill 
or is just feeling blue. 

#40. Dig out your best stationary and handwrite a letter to someone, 
as a means of demonstrating their importance to you.

#39.  Pray a Novena for someone you dislike.

#38. Take a few minutes during the week to stop at a church and si
before the Tabernacle, simply to be with Christ, the Merciful.
(St. Paul's is open M-F 8am - 1pm) 

#37. Learn the Jesus Prayer and repeat it throughout the day:  
'Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 

#36. Respond to provocation with the respect 
you wish a person would show you

 #35. Learn to make the Ignatian "examen" every night.  
Remembering God's mercy each night helps us to be merciful.

#34. Make a gratitude journal for your spouse and jot down little
things he or she does that you are grateful for.  Bite your tongue and 
go write in it  (or read it) the next time you want to criticize 
in a moment of frustration.

#33. When mercy for others is difficult, pray the Litany of Humility
written by Cardinal Merry delVal (It is easy to Google)

#32Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet as you are traveling to or from work.

 #31. Give away something of yours (even if you are attached to it) 
to someone you know who would enjoy it or benefit from it.

#30. Make a point to smile, greet or make conversation with someone 
who is not in your everyday circle.

#29. Make a list of your “enemies”. Then, every day, 
say a prayer for them.

#28. Create a short end -of-the-day ritual to ask for (and extend) 
forgiveness with those you live with.
 “ not let the sun set on your anger” (Eph 4:26)

#27. Take advantage of sales to buy small toothpaste, soap, shampoos, 
socks and toiletries; donate them to the parish outreach 
or make gift bags and have them ready to hand out where needed.

#26. Have alternative drinks, other than water, for times 
when those who have been struggling with alcohol come to visit.

#25 Put down the phone and really listen to someone else
,... WITH eye contact.

#24. Recall a time when you were not given the benefit of the doubt, 
and extend one to someone else.

#23. Offer to drive an elderly person to Mass.

#22. Instead of losing patience with someone online (or in person), try to hear their fear. Ask God for what Solomon asked for: “An understanding heart.”
#21 Memorize the 14 corporal and spiritual works of mercy and 
show your children what they mean. 
          Spiritual Works of Mercy           Corporal Works of Mercy                                  1. Feed the hungry                             1. Counsel the doubtful  
                  2. Give drink to the thirsty                2. Instruct the ignorant                                        3. Clothe the naked                            3. Admonish sinners 
                  4. Shelter the homeless                      4. Comfort the sorrowful                    
                  5. Visit the sick                                 5. Forgive offenses  
                  6. Visit the imprisoned                       6. Bear wrongs patiently                                     7. Bury the dead                                7. Pray for the living and dead 
#20 - If you’re sharing a treat, take the smaller portion.

#19 – If you can’t sit down beside a homeless person to talk for a while today, 
at least send a donation to a ministry that does this, 
such as Christ in the City, Emmanuel House, etc...

#18– Offer to run an errand (groceries, dry cleaning pick up, dog-walking) 
for a busy parent or a homebound person. 

 #17– Hold. Your. Tongue.

 #16 – Make a meal (or buy a gift certificate) for a mom who’s just given birth or adopted a child, or for someone who's just gone through a loss.

#15 – Offer to babysit for a busy mom or dad so they can go out 
and have a couple hours to themselves.

#14– Send a card, flowers, gift or note to someone on the sixth-month
 anniversary of his or her loved one’s death. 
By then most people have stopped recognizing their grief.  

 #13– Take time in prayer to contemplate the good qualities of someone
who is difficult for you. Do the same for each member of your family. 
#12 – Take a tip from Cardinal Dolan and carry around 
$5 Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s gift cards 
for the homeless.

#11 – If you didn’t mean to be a pain in the neck to someone,
admit that you were and ask the person to forgive you.

 #10 – Be generous enough to allow someone to help you;
people need to feel needed. 

 #9 – Have Masses said for the living: friends and family members, 
even strangers you read/hear about, who are having a hard time.  

 #8 – Be mindful of your behavior online. Is that post designed 
to improve your image...and leave others feeling bad? 
Are you hammering people in order to serve your anger?  
#7 – Do something kind and helpful for someone 
who you don’t get along with, or who has wronged you.

#6 – Plan a mini pilgrimage to a local shrine, 
a different parish, or to the Holy Door at the Cathedral. 

#5- Learn to say this prayer: “Dear Lord, bless
[annoying person’s name] and have mercy on me!”

#4- Write a letter of forgiveness to someone. If you cannot send it,
 sprinkle it with holy water, ask Jesus to have mercy on you 
both and then burn or bury it...

 #3- Pare down possessions:
Share your things with the needy.

 #2- Call someone who you know is lonely, even if you 
understand why they’re lonely. Especially if you do. 

#1- Resist sarcasm; it is the antithesis of mercy:
Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth; keep watch,
O Lord, at the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3 

Pour out upon us, O heavenly Father, your gracious and bountiful mercy. The depths of your love have been made known to us in your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Move our hearts by the gift of true repentance and restore us ever more in your grace. Create within our soul a loving concern for all our brothers and sisters, a reflection of your mercy, so that all may come to know the light of your truth and attain the heavenly reward of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Spiritual Works of Mercy                                        The Corporal Works of Mercy 
To instruct the ignorant                                             To feed the hungry            
To counsel the doubtful                                            To give drink to the thirsty
To admonish sinners                                                To clothe the naked
To bear wrongs patiently                                          To house the homeless
To forgive offenses willingly                                      To visit the sick
To comfort the afflicted                                            To ransom the captive
To pray for the living and the dead                            To bury the dead dead

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Is Lent?

Lent is the penitential season of approximately 40 days set aside by the Church in order for the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. During this holy season, inextricably connected to the Paschal (Easter) Mystery, the Catechumens (those entering the Church) prepare for Christian initiation, and current Church members prepare for Easter by a recalling of Baptism and by works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

Ash Wednesday is the clarion call to “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15). For the next forty days, the faithful willingly submit to fasting and self-denial in imitation of Our Lord’s forty-day fast in the desert. It is in these dark and still nights, these desert-times, that the soul experiences its greatest growth. There, in the inner arena, the soul battles the world, the flesh and the devil just as Our Lord battled Satan's triple temptation in the desert. His battle was external, for Jesus could not sin; our battle is interior, but with a hope sustained by the knowledge of Christ’s Easter victory over sin and death. 

His victory is our renewal, our “spring” — which is the meaning of the Anglo-Saxon word, “lengten” or Lent. In this penitential season we have the opportunity to make an annual spiritual “tune-up”, a 40-day retreat with Our Lord. Have we allowed worldly cares and the “daily drama” to obscure our call to holiness? Have self-love and materialism eroded our relationship with God? Then let us renew our efforts, and through our Lenten observance, discipline the body and master it as we “follow in the footsteps of the poor and crucified Christ” (St. Francis of Assisi).