“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.”
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.
Ask—Is life a series of “gifts” from God or tragedies?
Seek—Encounter the empty tombs of life with the expectation that they are signs of the Risen Christ.
Knock—Meditate on 1 John 4:18–19.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us.
How do you view the events of your life, as God punishing you or as God showering you with gifts? Is your image of what God is like from the way Jesus reveals God to us or from some other source?
Transform Your Life—Accept the cross whenever it presents itself to you in daily life. Do not flee from it. Do not shrink from it, but embrace it in the name of Jesus. Learn from it, be enlightened by it, find in it the key to living a fruitful life. Think of this every time that you sign yourself with the cross.
Ask—Do I feel “lucky” to carry the cross that God has given me?
Seek—Keep the cross of Christ before you at all times. Let it be a reminder of Christ’s forgiveness for you when you feel sorrowful for your sins. Let it be a sign of God’s love for others when you are tempted to judge. Let it be a light that you can share with those whose lives you touch.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Corinthians 12:26–27.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Do you think of yourself as a part of Christ’s body? What changes are necessary for you to make in order to act as a member of the body of Christ rather than as an individual follower of Jesus?
Transform Your Life—Realize the difference that embracing the cross of Christ makes in your life. Learn to see the world in a new way and to see what Jesus meant when he said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
Seek—Volunteer to do a task that no one wants to do, a menial or unpleasant one, all the while uniting yourself with the Passion and death of Jesus.
Knock—Meditate on Philippians 2:5–8.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Paul says that we should have the mind of Christ, and Jesus told Peter that he was thinking like men and not God. How is having the mind of Christ different than the thoughts that we are apt to naturally have about life issues? Do your thoughts clash with the gospel message? Are you trying to be like the god you imagine, or the God Jesus revealed by his cross?
Transform Your Life——Seek to follow the example of Christ in all that you do. Be solicitous for the care of others. Learn the truth that in dying to self you are born into eternal life.
Ask—How well do I prepare for the Eucharist I receive at Mass?
Seek——Try to participate fully in the Eucharist each time you are present; if possible, attend daily. Be mindful of what you do at Mass, what you hear and how you respond. Learn more about the Mass.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Corinthians 11:27–30.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
What does St. Paul mean when he says that those who do not discern bring judgment upon themselves? What can you do to examine yourself before participating in Mass to avoid doing it absent-mindedly?
Transform Your Life——Know what you celebrate when you are at Mass; mean what you do with every gesture and prayer, and especially when you receive Holy Communion.
Ask—How often do I trust my own instincts, and how often do I entrust myself to Jesus?
Seek—Try to live each day with a resignation to God’s will, accepting each moment with the expectation that God might be breaking through to you.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Peter 5:6–9.
Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries onto him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things.
Think about the experiences of Peter in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and the words that he writes here. What lesson do they convey? How might the devil be seeking to devour you in your attempts to follow Christ?
Transform Your Life—Make an amendment to live humbly. Cast all of your hopes and anxieties on the Lord. Realize that following Jesus means living a life of trust not in your way but in God’s way, the way of the cross.
Seek—Find a way to adore God today, be it in the Eucharist or in the secrecy of your room, or anywhere. When you see the shape of the cross, say the prayer that St. Francis instructed his brothers and sisters to say, “We adore you Christ and we praise you present here and in all the Churches throughout the world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
Knock—Meditate on Hebrews 12:28–29.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
What does it mean to offer acceptable worship to God? How is the kingdom we are offered by Christ unshakeable?
Transform Your Life—Make your life one of reverence toward God at all times. Let your focus be on remaining in God’s presence, rather than judging and criticizing those around you.
Seek—Cry out to God to save you. Realize what it means to say that God is your Savior. Frequently call to mind all that you need to be saved from and have recourse to God who alone can save you.
Knock—Meditate on Romans 13:12–14.
Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Paul uses the image of armor that we wear, either of darkness or light. Much of what he terms the deeds of darkness are acts that typically happen at nightfall or in the secret of one’s heart—they are acts that take place when we hide them from God and others. Reflect on how putting on armor of light and bringing all of your cares before God will change the way you see them.
Transform Your Life—Believe and trust in Jesus at all times. Do not allow the enemy to have a foothold into your life. Make “Hosanna, save us, Lord” the prayer that is constantly on your lips.
Seek——Focus on the crucified Christ as you meet him throughout the day. Stand up for your brother or sister, always appealing to the brother or sister who might seek to harm him or her.
Knock—Meditate on Micah 2:12–13.
I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob, I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. He who opens the breach will go up before them; they will break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king will pass on before them, the LORD at their head.
Micah prophesies that the Lord will lead his sheep out of their captivity. In the violent journey of Christ out of the walled city of Jerusalem, we see a literal fulfillment of this prophecy. Are you one of the followers of Jesus on his way of the cross?
Transform Your Life—Realize that you are a child of God, reborn in Baptism when you shared in the death and resurrection
of Jesus. Live out your Baptism, dying to yourself whenever you find yourself tempted to be a child of something other than
the one true God.
The Cross of Christ Restores. . .The Dignity of Work
Steps to Take as You Follow Christ
Ask—Am I doing what God wants me to do?
Seek—To pray, to put God first in all things, in every aspect of your life. Ask God to bless your home and your work, making all that you do fruitful.
Knock—Meditate on Genesis 2:2–3.
And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done. (. . . )So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
How do you rest from your work? How do you sanctify the Sabbath in your life? Do you trust enough in God’s providence to take a day off? Spend some time reflecting on Jesus’ Sabbath rest on Holy Saturday and what it could mean for you.
Transform Your Life—Allow the cross of Christ to restore the dignity of your work. This may not involve leaving behind your job, even if you took that job for the wrong reasons. God can transform anything into good. So what matters is what your motivation is in your work: are you building up the kingdom of God or are you trying to build your own kingdom?