“Do not pray only in emergencies. The plea of strangers is never as effective as the plea of friends.”
(Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
Praying the rosary one day, I found myself asking Mother Mary…how. If she is the mediatrix of grace for the Holy Spirit, how do we accept that grace?? Because for years I was no different than anyone else, praying and believing with a superficial faith. God gives us this as a starter kit but never intended for it to be the end and entirety of our faith, let alone designing our own ideas of what it all means. Meanwhile, by not having my heart fully open to receive those Graces, how many just bounced off my hard heart?
That led me to reflect upon a recent mass scripture where Jesus walks with disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). The line where Jesus opened their hearts and minds to the scriptures—His Word–has always struck me for some reason. I realized that we shouldn’t place expectations upon someone when God hasn’t opened their heart yet. Then turning the mirror upon myself, I thought how in the rosary I also need to pray for that, to have my heart and mind opened to His spirit, gifts and graces.
But what if I’m so sure of myself that I think all I need is the mere ritual of the prayer? Rituals are supposed to draw us into the mystery but due to human nature, how often these instead numb us to it. A potentially beautiful experience with God becomes a task of lukewarm heart. It seems more important than ever to start any type of prayer with a request: desire for HIM.
“Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”
(St. Therese of Lisieux)
With the proper focus, sincere heart, and greater intentionality, I can pray for those poor souls who come to mind that are filled with desire suffocated by their brokenness. It might be addiction, pain and anguish from life’s trauma, mental or physical illness. All things that put a person’s mind into its own type of black hole. Many people are not even capable of praying for the desire for God. We need to especially pray for them, that God grant them the desire for Him, that their hearts overcome their brokenness.
It is no coincidence in all this that the final prayer of the Divine Mercy chaplet is for the lukewarm of heart.
“Men may deprive me of property and honour; sickness may take away my strength and other means of serving You; I may even lose Your grace by sin; but never, never will I lose my hope in You. I will cherish it unto that dreadful moment when all hell will be unchained to snatch my soul away. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.” (St. Claude de la Colombiere)
Praying St. Claude’s holy words, we can feel that strength and steadfastness embedded within Hope. We need both belief in and desire for God to transform us with His Divine Mercy. He desires greatly to do this for us, His gift. We must not be afraid to ask.
A priest once said “When Jesus looks at you, He does not see your sin. He sees through your sin to the images of God still remaining.” Let us never cease to meditate on His Divine Mercy so as to lead others to it as well.
Day 9 of the Divine Mercy Novena:
Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: “Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.” For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.
Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Fire and ice cannot be joined,
Either the fire dies, or the ice melts.
But by Your mercy, O God,
You can make up for all that is lacking.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.[i]
May Jesus have you in His keeping 😊
Photo sanctuary art, St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, IL
[i] Novena prayer from The Divine Mercy Apostolate, founded by Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko, spiritual director to St. Faustina and founder of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus https://www.divinemercy.org/
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