In entry 699 of St. Maria Faustina’s Diary, Jesus instructed her:
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.READ MORE
The other day, I was talking to somebody about Jesus Christ and how some people don’t truly know or believe in who He really is, the Son of God. I asked if she had ever noticed why, especially in the Gospel of Mark, that many times after Jesus healed someone and after the Transfiguration, Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone about who He is or what He did. Theologians say that Jesus knew that God the Father’s plan for what it meant to be the Messiah and Savior, was different than what the Jewish people of the time had in mind. In Mark’s Gospel especially, one cannot really know or believe in who Jesus is until after the Resurrection. God’s plan for salvation included suffering, death, and the resurrection from the dead. Therefore, what a difference the Resurrection makes, or should make in our lives.READ MORE
Now that we’re at the end of Lent and have reflected on sin, virtue, suffering, and prayer, we may ask ourselves, “What is the ultimate point of all of this?” Certainly, we are all aware that our goal is to get to Heaven. But did you know that there are different degrees of Heaven and that we can actually merit a higher degree of heaven by increasing our holiness through our virtuous nature?
Before we get into that, let’s first see how the Catholic Church actually defines the basics of Heaven.READ MORE
We spent the first few weeks of Lent looking at how we can grow in virtue in order to overtake the darkness of sin in our lives. We can consciously engage our intellect and will to actively choose virtuous behaviors and attitudes which direct us toward holiness. However, despite our human engagement, we can’t forget one very important thing: we cannot do anything good but by the grace of God. To think otherwise would be to suffer from the sin of pride, making our virtuous behavior inauthentic. In order to receive His outpouring of grace we need to be in constant and intimate relationship with Him through prayer. It is prayer that sustains our pursuit of holiness.READ MORE
Fasting is an important part of Lent, as well as a useful tool for growing in virtue in general. Before we look into how fasting helps us on our Christian journey, let’s first reflect on how the Catholic Church understands and deals with human suffering.
In Catholicism we have a concept called “redemptive suffering.” What this means is that, in actively and willfully joining our sufferings to the Cross, we cooperate with Jesus in our own (and others’) redemption, effectively making us co-redeemers. Non-Catholics tend to have a problem with this concept, citing 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human.” The argument here is that since Jesus is the “one” mediator, there can be no others and certainly not our imperfect selves. However, Catholics understand this differently and it begins with language. In Latin, the prefix “co-” means “with,” not “equal to.” Therefore, when we say we are co-redeemers and that we co-operate in our redemption, we mean that we are participating with Jesus’ saving work, but in a subordinate way. With this understanding, we clearly do not take away from Jesus’ position as the one mediator between God and man, yet still enable ourselves to actually participate in the saving work required to get us to heaven.READ MORE
Last week, in our reflection on virtue, we examined the Cardinal Virtues which primarily order our relationship with one another. This week, we will spend some time looking more closely at the Theological Virtues.
The three Theological Virtues are those that order man to God, allowing him to participate in God’s own Trinitarian, divine life. They provide the foundation for the Christian’s entire moral life because they guide, direct, and give life to all other virtues. These virtues are gifts given to us by God freely and it is up to us to decide whether or not we want to accept and use them. The three Theological Virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity.READ MORE
As we continue our Lenten journey, focusing on our personal growth in virtue, we should seek to understand what virtue is and how we can practically apply it in our lives to replace sin. There are countless virtues, as any act that allows you to turn away from sin, while turning toward the love of God and the love of your neighbor, is a virtuous act. Virtues like patience, chastity, humility, and gentleness may come to mind and they would all be correct. However, every virtue you can imagine is rooted in seven virtues — the four Human or Cardinal Virtues and the three Theological Virtues. This week, we will reflect on the four Human/Cardinal Virtues.READ MORE
Most of us are likely aware that Lent is a time for increased fasting, praying, and almsgiving as we imitate Jesus in preparation for the saving work completed through his Passion and Crucifixion. In order to prepare himself for what was to come, at the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus went out into the desert for 40 days. He fasted and endured relentless temptations by Satan who promised Him all sorts of worldly delights if He would simply give in to him (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11). In denying Himself gratification during this period of temptation, Jesus was spiritually strengthened and fortified. Recognizing these same benefits for us, the Church prescribes us an annual Lenten journey to spiritually fortify us and allow us to participate in our own redemption as we continue on this pathway towards salvation.READ MORE
Now is the time of renovations! As I hope you are aware, the plans for renovating the Parish Center are beginning and we are forming a consulting and design committee (see the back cover for more info). The actual construction will begin once we receive enough funds from the Together Let Us Go Forth diocesan campaign.READ MORE
I want to spend some time reflecting on three fundamental truths of the Catholic faith and how their interconnectedness helps us to cooperate in our own redemption and the redemption of others. God, in all of His divine genius, has created a beautiful gift for us in the Church and it’s important for us to learn how it all works so that we can utilize this gift thoroughly.READ MORE
As many of you know, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who considers himself Catholic, has gone further than any other politician (so far) in making it legal to perform abortions up to birth. Furthermore, they do not have to be performed by a licensed doctor. So, what have we learned?
1. We need to do a good job of investigating and discerning who we vote for! I wonder how many Catholics in New York voted for him just because he was a so-called Catholic, without really looking at his platform? I also wonder how many of those who voted for Cuomo, did so because of his stance on other issues, or even because of his proabortion stance, who are now sorry they have voted for a politician who would go to this extreme? I wonder if they are now second-guessing their decision to make his stance on other issues as more important than his view on life? I have no ties to New York and I do not know, but I wonder. Therefore, we need to investigate and research which candidates will work for what is closest to our beliefs as Catholics. It also shows that we must have a voice. We cannot allow the politicians to govern according to their agendas, instead of serving the people, and so we, the people, must speak up and declare abortion is murder and is not to be tolerated (and especially not celebrated!)READ MORE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our Diocese is blessed with people who are moved by the grace of God’s love and motivated to share that love with others. Loving your neighbor means acting with compassion, and I am so grateful for the love and compassion you share with those who are served by the Charity & Development Appeal (CDA).
Every gift to the CDA helps transform the lives of people who seek the loving presence of Christ. Thank you for helping 70 ministries, apostolates and organizations to serve those who seek the grace of God’s love.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
†Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix