GOOD MORNING WORLD
In my faith walk as a Protestant I had no real conception of the first Sunday after Easter as being Divine Mercy Sunday. It frankly did not exist in my world. It was not until the last few years that I knew of its existence as rightly so. It was a lesser feast and new to the Catholic Church as being established in 2000. It now draws thousands to Stockbridge, MA.
Divine Mercy Sunday is one of the newer feasts on the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar. Established on April 30, 2000, when Pope John Paul II canonized St. Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Octave of Easter, the Sunday after Easter Sunday.
It was really brought to my attention when my cousin was the Director of Music at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Massachusetts. Bruce is a wonderful man, husband, father of 6 now director of his local church’s music and mostly self taught in his musical endeavors. Much of his music is also written by him.
As I was thinking of writing this today I thought about what is the divine mercy that is given to us. In church this morning the priest suggested it is like a graduation. Up until this last two weeks Christ led the Apostles. Today He came back in the Upper Room and Thomas doubted and Christ sent them all off to preach the word and said, “Peace be with you.” Then for a second time He said “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” We are then told that He breathed the Holy Spirit on them. He further went on to say “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” The priest today also said that forgiveness is to the church like oil is to gears. Each needs its component – forgeivness to sin and oil to gear – to keep everything running smoothly.
One of the things I have had on my mind of late is how we treat our children. This probably came about as I saw an incident in Wal-Mart. I also have had the joy of having our grandchildren with us these past 10 or so days. This morning in church it all seemed to be the same topic. I want to logically walk though this and that may be a challenge.
Starting way way way back……….years ago a friend told me that when chaos and noise ruled a home then satan was in the corner smiling and clapping his hands. I actually tried this once when I was in an argument with our son who was in his teens. I thought of what my friend had said, told my son, we stopped and sat and talked about the issue for over an hour in calm and came to resolution thus kicking satan out of the corner and our house!
Next, when our children left home I asked each for forgiveness for anything I had done to harm them as they were growing up. I did not believe I was a bad parent and still knew I was not great. It was confirmed as late as yesterday that I was in fact on occasion (+/-) a ‘yeller’ for which I am greatly sad.
In Wal-Mart last week, shopping with the kids, I saw a young family pass me. One child I guess was acting up as I heard the father say words that if the child did not stop that he would take down his pants and smack him in the middle of the store. I said to the clerk how sad to hear that and she said the father was probably raised that way too. I gave my grandchildren lots of hugs that day I think as a way to assuage any guilt I have about not being a perfect parent to their parents.
So to tie these seemingly unconnected ideas all up to my understanding………In the beginning of the Apostles ministry they were told to spread the word with Peace and Forgiveness. If parents are screaming at children then there can be neither peace nor forgiveness in the house.
As I was thinking of this I was covered with despair. It felt cold and gray like the cold chilled steel of playground equipment in the winter. I could feel a bitter taste in my mouth like vinegar. Tears streamed from my eyes. How can we undo any damage we inflict. I like to think that asking forgiveness works totally though my humanity has me wondering sometimes. I trust it does. I wish I had stopped the Wal-Mart man and asked him to please find peace and discipline and love his children in a better way. They are with us such a short time.
I worked hard to find an uplifting thought to erase the feeling of despair that came upon me and I got a text from my Lady J. They are all so wonderful – our three grandchildren. Each of them individuals. The text brought a smile. Like erasing the chaos of satan with the Peace of Christ, indeed a divine act. Children are so loving and giving and desiring of love to please us all as they inevitably teach us.
I am nothing more than a person in this world trying to serve the Lord through my life work and ministry. When I have failed (I know I certainly have) I heard that forgiveness is mine when I ask. Sometimes the person I need forgiveness from may even be myself. Forgiving myself is the hardest! I heard that Peace must reign so that in all of our actions we must make an effort to find a way to love and foster and discipline in a way pleasing to Christ. If I am to be in relationship with my family and fellow man on this journey how can I not believe this? How can I sit in a church each Sunday and go home and scream at my husband or children. Or be in a store and speak in a vile tone to a child? Or to a clerk? Then again Wal-Mart man may not go to church. AHAH??? One more thread to the wanderings of my mind today.
Is faith, belief, church something that is missing? Have we all bought the lie that satan does not exist? Do we even bother to think of the difference? None of us is perfect and believe me God knows my many imperfections. All we can do is strive to live the best life He has chosen for us. Today my understanding is we have to have peace and forgiveness in our lives. We cannot talk one way and act another. We cannot ask for help and then not allow others to do so. We cannot face the future without a grasp of the past. We cannot berate our fellow man and expect cooperation.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday I am going to step out and challenge myself to walk the talk I am writing. In the meeting I have later today I am going to pay it forward and bring love and peace and hope. The next time I see a Wal-Mart man or woman I am going to pray for words to share so they may love those beautiful children that God has entrusted to their care. Children are with us for such a short time. When you think of it life itself is not here that long. Peace and forgiveness seem pretty good choices on a daily basis as we live the days with which we are gifted!
…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…
PS – please note I have not capitalized satan. My spell check says I must do so. I choose to give no importance to the name.