By Fr. George Welzbacher
April 8, 2012 Easter Sunday
"This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad!" (Psalm 118). These words, incorporated into the liturgy of Easter Sunday, remind us that joy ranks high among the gifts that God lavishes on those who have surrendered their lives to Him and to His Son, Christ Jesus Our Lord, crucified once and for all to atone for our sins and risen now to everlasting glory. Those who "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" and thus belong to Christ (Galatians 5:24), those who "live by the Spirit" and thus "walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25), have come to know at first hand that wonderful newness of life whose fruit in the Holy Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22). They have come to know the true "freedom with which Christ has set us free", even as they humbly pray for the grace "to stand fast .... and not again submit to a yoke of slavery," the slavery of habitual mortal sin (Galatians 5:1). So different from that dismal state is the quiet and abiding joy that comes only from surrender to Christ, whose yoke, one discovers, is easy and whose burden, to one's surprise, is light (Matthew 11: 29-30)
For sadness, not joy, is the companion of mortal sin - sadness, weariness of spirit, anger, isolation, and, at the end of the road, despair. Yet just short of despair, even the very sadness that is the INESCAPABLE consequence of rebellion against God can be used by God to drive the rebel to seek relief. The sadness and heaviness of soul that come in the wake of deadly sin can impel the sinner, wretched in his hunger and loneliness, to abandon the pigsty and, like the prodigal Son, to return to the Father. Such is the strategy, so St. Augustine assures us, by which God makes use "even of our sins" to call us back to him. St. Paul describes the process as one who knew it well, having himself "kicked against the goad" in his resistance to Christ for far too long. He writes (11 Corinthians 7:9-10): "I rejoice .... because you were grieved into repenting, for you felt a Godly grief .. for Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation ... whereas worldly grief [the grief of a sinner who stubbornly refuses to surrender to God] produces death." On this feast of Christ's victory over Satan and sin , let us pray humbly that He may confirm in us the continuing resolve to take His sweet yoke upon ourselves and thus to find joy and rest for our souls. In which resolve we have reason indeed to "rejoice and be glad". I wish all of you a blessed Easter!
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Christ's GREAT PROMISE to those who participate in the Divine Mercy service is a complete PARDON OF SIN with REMISSION OF PUNISHMENT FOR SIN on the FEAST OF DIVINE MERCY.
In preparing for this feast of Mercy we are to make a novena of Chaplets to the Divine Mercy (beginning on Good Friday), and to be PURIFIED BY THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION with genuine sorrow for ALL of our sins. Priests are to proclaim the mercy of God. And we are to RENEW, RATIFY AND SEAL THE COVENANT OF MERCY BY A DEVOUT RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION. Confessions will be heard before the morning Mass and throughout the afternoon service. Attending a Mass anywhere on the feast of Divine Mercy and receiving Holy Communion will satisfy the requirement for the indulgence. Our Lord has provided this Feast of His Mercy to bring attention to the outpouring of His abounding graces.
What a gift we have received. All are welcome to attend the DIVINE MERCY service here at the Church of St. John and thus to take advantage of this great gift. God truly does pour out His grace when it's gratefully received.
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JESUS CHRIST, KING OF MERCY,
I PLACE MY TRUST IN YOU!!
Saint Faustina, pray for us!
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