For The Divine Mercy: A Novena (Day 3, Easter Sunday)

A glorious Easter morning to you! The tomb is empty! Our Lord and Savior is alive! In the midst of this joyous celebration, Our Lord has a request for us,

Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.

I fear that I am far, far away from being a devout and faithful soul.  I will keep slogging though. With much humility let us pray,

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages.—Amen.

Yesterday I was hopeful that I would find suitable complimentary material to accompany us as we pray this novena and chaplet. Our Lord said, “And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you.” I asked and yesterday St. Thomas Aquinas showed up. Today I asked anew and thoughts of the Abbé Constant Fouard found their way to me.

What, you never heard of him?  Join the club. The wellspring of Catholic Christianity is deep, and sunken treasures abound. You can read all about him over at New Advent.

For our purposes, I found these words from chapter nine of the second volume of his book entitled The Christ, The Son of God: A Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You may find it in its entirety at the YIM Catholic bookshelf.

The Parables Upon Divine Mercy. Luke xv. 1-10.

During these last days the Christ had given to the precepts of Christian abnegation a severer form, while at the same time He spoke more openly than ever before of the tender mercies of His Father. Whether it was that He felt moved to display a greater sympathy for sorrowful mortals the longer He Himself suffered our infirmities or whether, seeing His end draw on apace, He was the more eager to hurry the strayed sheep within His fold, — at this period His words did indeed breathe an ineffable tenderness, His sighs and His tears were oftener wrung from Him,(Mark vii. 34 ; viii. 12 ; Luke ix. 41 ; John xi. 33, 35.) and the words of His Parables grow always more heart-stirring. Those whereby the Master expressed the depth and breadth of Divine Love deserve to be distinguished from among all the rest.

He proffered them as an answer to fresh mutterings from the Scribes ; for these sectarians, after their humiliation at the Pharisees’ table, were become in Perea, as much as elsewhere, His implacable enemies ; and they now reproached the Christ for associating with none but the vilest sinners. “Why! in sooth, one would think all the publicans in the country were like to gather around him!” With a gesture, pointing to the attentive throngs, Jesus replied to the grumblers who were so blind as to make small account of that priceless array of souls (Luke xv:1-10):

“What man is there among you,” He said, “who, though he has a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them does not leave the ninety and nine others in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he find it? And, after he finds it, he lays it over his shoulder with gladness, and coming to his home, calls together friends and neighbors, saying: —”‘ Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.'”

The Saviour is indeed obliged to go to its aid: the sinful soul gradually loses all strength, as it wanders further away from God, and would lie in helpless abandonment, powerless to return home, were it not for the Good Shepherd Who hastens after the strayed lamb, catches it up, and bears it back upon His shoulders. Thus, in truth, the Mission of the Christ was to go in quest of sinners ; it was His glory to stoop down even unto their lowliness and abasement. In times when the persecuted Church had to conceal her faith, the Good Shepherd was the figure oftenest employed to represent Jesus. We encounter it everywhere, in the paintings of the Catacombs, on the sacred vessels, graven on gems, and set in finger-rings.

“Even so, I tell you, there shall be more of joy in Heaven over one sinner who does penance, than over ninety-nine just men who need not penance. Or again, what woman is there, who, if she has ten drachmas and she lose one of them, does not light the lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she find it ? And after she has found it she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying: —”‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’ So I tell you that there shall be joy in the sight of God’s Angels over one sinner doing penance.”

More from the Abbé Constant Fouard tomorrow. You will find the Divine Mercy chaplet here.

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