Why Do We Doubt?

Today’s gospel was the one about Doubting Thomas. So often we wonder why he, an apostle, doubted the Resurrection. A better question is why do we doubt, why do we doubt God’s love for us as individuals. Why do we doubt His mercy? Why do we expect so little from God? Why do we believe that His graces are for everyone else?
So often we think that we’ve messed up so badly that God can’t possibly love us and want to bless us. After all we are sinners and done some terrible things. We spend our lives trying to make up for them. We expect to suffer. We believe we deserve to suffer. After all that is the way we would act.
But it isn’t about our sins or what we deserve. It is about God’s grace given out of a love so deep we can’t comprehend it, a love so deep as to endure the Passion so that we may be free of punishment for our sins. It is about a God who loves us and wants to bless us more than we can imagine. It is about an infinite love. It is about the God who cares about every aspect of our lives, who cares about our careers, illnesses and personal problems.
Too often we walk into mass and leave the same way, unchanged, because we failed to open ourselves to the blessings and love God wants to pour on us. God passionately desire to bless us to pour His grace on us. He went through the Passion because He loved us so desperately. He loves us now and waits ardently for us to let go of the doubts and Satan’s lies so that we might be open to the intense, infinite love He so fervently longs to give us. Let go of your doubts. Don’t think about what you deserve. Open your heart to His infinite love.


Why Fix Our Gaze Upon The Crucifix?

One Easter I was asked by some Methodist friends why Catholics have the Crucifix. Their pastor had emphasized that Jesus is not dead. He is risen. Why look at a crucifix? He is no longer on the Cross.

So, why do we have the Crucifix? Why do we have the Stations of the Cross? Why do we mediate on the Sorrowful Mysteries? Why did so many Catholics and Protestants go to see The Passion of The Christ? Why do all these things if, after all, Jesus is alive, He is risen? We seem to be obsessed with His death.

First it should be understood that we also mediate on the Glorious Mysteries including His Resurrection, Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Any priest will tell you that Easter is the most important feast in the Church calendar. We celebrate Easter liturgically for seven whole weeks until the Feast of Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Easter. We do know and celebrate that Christ rose from the death. Without the Resurrection our faith is meaningless.

But we also remember the Crucifixion. Our salvation came at a great cost, the Cross. The crucifix reminds us that there is a price that was paid for our salvation, that our sins have an effect. We remember that Jesus endured the Passion for us personally, that His suffering and death were caused by our sins. We remember that there is such a thing as sin and that sin causes pain. We can not forget that there is a consequence to sin.
Originally published by Catholic Lane.

On Palm Sunday we face the reality that it is our sins that cry out for Christ to be crucified; we remind ourselves that Jesus went through this each of us personally. He died for me. He loved me enough to die the most painful death known to man. What love He had for me! We need so often to be reminded that He loved us that much, that we are loved that much.

The crucifix reminds us of His love but also His pain. What terrible pain He endured because of our sins! We don’t want to forget that because we live in a world full of sin. Almost every time we turn around there is an opportunity to sin. We are not called to be like the rest of the world, pursuing pleasure and wealth. We are called instead to pursue souls for Him to tell the world about His love and mercy. We are called to imitate the sacrifice He made for us.

So often we hear the call to take up our own cross and follow Jesus. Our cross is the suffering we endure to follow Him. Part of it may be ridicule and rejection for being His follower. How many suffer because their family members reject the faith? Part of our cross may be the economic problems we encounter because we do not violate His commandments. Part of our cross may include getting up early or going to bed late in order to pray. Our cross involves many sacrifices but when we look at a crucifix we know His sacrifice was so much greater.

We want to remember His Sacrifice, how far He went for our salvation, how much He loved us, how valuable we are to Him. We live in a world that degrades us, where we are valued mostly for our money, where the bottom line is all that matters and when the money is gone so does our value to society. The crucifix tells us that we are always valuable, intrinsically worthwhile, always worth the Sacrifice He made for us.

The crucifix reminds us that we are sinners in need of His Mercy. We still sin and cause Him pain. Our sins hurt other people or ourselves and Jesus feels the pain. He told us in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do to the least of our brothers we do to Him. When our sins hurt others we hurt Him. When we look at the crucifix we remember how important it is to resist sin.

Easter will be here very soon, but this is the time for the crucifix.

A Matter of Urgency

I had a friend who first heard of the Divine Mercy Message just in time to celebrate the Feast in 2011. Within a year she was dead at the age of 55. She was blessed to learn of the Feast of Divine Mercy when she did but how many others will not.

Over and over I hear of families where the children have basically abandoned the faith. They go to church Christmas, Easter and maybe Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.

We desperately need to do something to reach to reach these souls, bring them back to the Church and the sacraments. These are people who Christ died for. These are the lost sheep of the parable, the reason for the Passion. The Heart of Jesus bleeds for them, yet many people are dying without taking advantages of the graces offered on the Feast of Divine Mercy because they never heard of it. I’ve never heard or saw an explanation of the Feast in an Easter bulletin just announcements that a service will be held at 3PM the next Sunday. This is not what Jesus intended.

This Easter is the time God has given us to reach out to the lost and wayward to them to bring them back to the Church. We can’t wait until next year. We might not be around next Easter or they might not. This Easter may be our last chance to reach some of them with the Divine Mercy Message.

The world is desperate for Jesus’ message of Divine Mercy. Why wait for Divine Mercy Sunday to talk about it or put it in our bulletins? Who will that reach but the already converted? It is the Easter people, the twice a year Catholics we need to reach.

What better message can we give them than that they can start over?

How many of them know the promises Jesus made through St. Faustina. On the Feast of Divine Mercy, the Sunday after Easter the floodgates of Heaven will open. He promised that grace upon grace will be poured upon the earth. On this feast He wants to bless us beyond our imagination. He wants to wipe out all the punishment for our sins. We can be like the newly baptized. All of our sins and their punishments can be wiped out. It doesn’t matter what great sinners we are. Jesus wants to set us free. Think about it! We can start over!! It doesn’t matter if we’ve been away from the church for thirty years. It doesn’t matter if we’ve forgotten how to go to confession. Jesus wants to drown us in His mercy, to pour His grace upon us. What better news can we give to the Christmas and Easter people?

In the 1930’s Jesus appeared to a humble Polish nun, St. Faustina, and practically begged people to come to Him and trust in His mercy. He passionately wants our salvation. He passionately wants us in heaven with Him. It was at His request that the Feast of Divine Mercy was formally established by John Paul II. He tried to make it as simple as possible for us to receive His graces.

How do we do this? What does Jesus ask of us? He calls us to true contrition for our sins? We need to make a good confession as close to the feast as possible and receive the Lord in the Eucharist that Sunday. We are called to pass on God’s Mercy to others through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Jesus desires us to celebrate and accept His Mercy. We are called to trust in Him.

Somehow we need to get this message to the Easter people. We can’t wait. Too many have already died without hearing the Divine Mercy Message. So often we look down on the Christmas/ Easter people thinking, ”It is no use. They’ll never come back to the Church.” This attitude denies the power of God’s grace. We should not underestimate the power of God’s grace and mercy. He promised the floodgates of Heaven will be opened. All we have to do is let people know. The rest is up to Him.

This was originally published on Catholic Lane.
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