Monday, April 5, 2010

For The Divine Mercy: A Novena (Day 4, Easter Monday)

It's Monday morning and many of us head back to work or school following the Feast Day of Easter.  This past weekend, many catechumens and candidates were brought into union with the Church. Joyful news! Now Our Lord requests that in our prayers we remember the many who do not yet know him,

Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

As we think of our neighbors, those we know and those who are strangers to us the world over, remember their "future zeal" as we pray:

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages.

Before praying the chaplet, have a look at the thoughts of Abbé Constant Fouard on the parables of Divine Mercy from the Gospel of Luke.  We pick up from where we left off yesterday,

Evidently these first gracious similitudes scarcely touched the Pharisees, for Jesus proceeded to exalt further the divine Loving-kindness. This He did in one of His most beautiful Parables, — reciting the sad misconduct of a spendthrift younger son, who had extorted from his father his own share of the inheritance. 

Never did the Lord picture the sinner's wanderings with vivider colors; every touch in the likeness stirs the soul, and brings back the features of our own life-story before our eyes. For what man of us is there who has lived in this world without knowing, without seeing all round him, those very illusions which befooled this prodigal boy, — that thirst for an unbridled and unhampered liberty which devoured him ? 'Who has not felt himself to be within a vain, strange land, where he is living an existence altogether without God?

First comes that passing intoxication of freedom, and then the awful anguish which clutches his awakening soul, as he lies, sick at heart, with an infinite yearning void within him which his passions are powerless to satisfy, and with the bitter sense of his enthralment in the companionship of a filthy herd. Happy is the man who amid this heart-heaviness lifts his eyes Heavenward, rises up, and returns unto his God! Thrice happy is that soul, which, when overwhelmed with the realization of its sins, remembers the forgiveness whereof Jesus held forth such marvellous tokens!

"While the ruined spendthrift is still afar off, his father sees him; he is filled with pitifulness for his boy, makes haste toward him, falls upon his neck, and kisses him. And the son says to him: —"' Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you. I am not worthy to be called your son !'

"But the father says to his servants: 'Bring forth'quickly the richest robe and put it on him, and place a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf and kill it: let us eat and make good cheer! For this son of mine was dead and is brought to life again; he was lost and is found.'"

The listening throngs were stirred and thrilled by this narrative, even as, since that day, so many repentant souls have recognized its comfortable power. For a short space the Master left them to revolve His words silently in their hearts, but at length, looking upon the surly group of His enemies, still standing along with the people, He added a word or two for them:

"The elder son of the family was on his way home from the fields just as the merry-making began; his ears caught the loud quiring of musicians, the dancers' light laughter.'What might all this mean ?' he asked himself; and learning that his brother had returned he grew indignant and refused to enter the house. Then the father came out to him, and began to entreat him. 

"But he, making answer, said: —'See how many years I have served you and never neglected one of your commandments, yet never have you given me a kid to make merry with my friends. Yet so soon as this other son returns, who has squandered his portion with harlots, you kill the fatted calf for him.'And the father said : ' My son, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is yours. But it was fitting that we should make high festival and rejoice, because your brother was dead and is come to life once more; he was lost and is found again.'" 

So the thin veil which enveloped the Parable had become quite transparent. This discontented son was the Jewish people, her Doctors especially, so boastful of the fact that they were the first-born of Jehovah, and destined to inherit everything which is His on earth, — the Temple, the Law, His Holy Word. Did these sectarians, eaten up with their own self-importance, recognize the likeness in this portrait? Did they at all comprehend that Jesus valued tears of penitence far above any hypocritical righteousness? That he was bidding all sinful men repent, and thereby opened wide to them the celestial banquet and the Kingdom of God? 

The Pharisees' sullen and obstinate blindness hardly admits of our hazarding any such conjecture; but though the Parable of the prodigal lad seemed only another stumbling-block to them, it has since saved numberless sinners from despair, for it assures them that the loving-kindness of their heavenly Father is unbounded, free, and knows no end.

The Divine Mercy chaplet is here.