NOTE: Today’s reflection comes from my good friend Jerome, someone whom I’ve known since I was a youth leader and he was just 12 years old. I’ve watched him grow into a someone who knows God’s love for him intimately, and whose faithfulness has helped bring so many others to Christ.
DAY 7 FOCUS:
For the seventh day of our prayer challenge, let us ask the Spirit to help us know true mercy:
- Spirit, give us eyes to recognize our utter dependence on God.
- Spirit, give us ears to hear Your voice, the words that give us life and the joy of salvation.
- Spirit, give us hearts to love, that in receiving your mercy, we may be instruments of your mercy to the people and the world around us.
REFLECTION: Merciful Love
Written by Jerome Baybayan
When I see that the burden is beyond my strength, I do not consider or analyze it or probe into it, but I run like a child to the Heart of Jesus and say only one word to Him: “You can do all things.” And then I keep silent, because I know that Jesus Himself will intervene in the matter, and as for me, instead of tormenting myself, I use that time to love Him. –St. Faustina Kowalska (Diary 1033)
On Monday, I sat in the chapel to begin praying this novena with you all. As soon as I begin with the sign of the cross, my body and soul are overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. I clench the beads of my rosary in my hands as tears are flowing down my face and I pray, “You expired Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and an ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.” Praying this at the hour of mercy, the same time Jesus died on the cross.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a powerful novena instituted to the Catholic Church by St. Faustina, a saint of mercy, when Jesus came to her, telling her to pray for mercy for the world. It is also my go-to daily prayer to help spread the power of this message of merciful love.
Inspired by a message Jesus gave me, of the image of Divine Mercy walking towards me, I continue to dedicate my life to lay ministry in the Church and to pray for a world that is so desperately in need of God’s grace and mercy.
This type of prayer moves my heart in many different ways. And in a world that can be merciless is where we, as Christians, need to unite and be merciful.
I can account for many occasions of suffering in life from painful words, and hurtful actions, and how those things made me question my own personal value and self-worth. I didn’t think I’d ever make it.
So I ran to the cross of Christ where I asked Him to be my strength.
You see, I kept trying to put the pieces of my heart, a heart so broken by the world, and quickly came to learn that this healing was something I was not meant to do on my own.
But Christ had the resources to heal what I could not do in my own strength. Because I experienced his merciful love, I found the strength to love again, a world that I felt always hated me.
Now I know I can’t do things alone, and it is only through the power of God that I was able to persevere. By that grace, I am able to pray that His mercy continue to flow out upon all of us as a sign of the blood and water which gushed forth from His merciful heart.
So mercy should become our response. In a world of gun violence and senseless death, our compassion should be what conquers all the evil things that dwell in this world.
We have an opportunity to make the future better for the people that we minister to and the children that we raise. Let us remember this message of mercy through Christ’s response to His death on the cross in the gospel of Luke “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 24 NABRE). He responded not by countering evil with evil, but forgiveness and mercy.
NOTE FROM JESSICA: You’ve probably noticed by now that I use the terms 9-Day Challenge and novena interchangeably (in my mind, they are the same). If you’re curious about the meaning behind novenas, this article does a great job of explaining what a novena is and isn’t (SPOILER ALERT: it’s not about granting a special wish). Here’s another good one from Our Sunday Visitor.