CW7 St. Faustina and Divine Mercy – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza


Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the spiritual life of St. Faustina and the devotion to the Divine Mercy. He will help us to not only incorporate the Divine Mercy into our prayer, but also to every other aspect of our lives.

From The Divine Mercy website

The Humble Instrument

Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the 1930s. She came from a poor family that struggled during the years of World War I. She had only three years of simple education, so hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden. However, she received extraordinary revelations — or messages — from our Lord Jesus. Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled into notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, and the words contained within are God’s loving message of Divine Mercy.

Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr. Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement, and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ. Saint John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the “first saint of the new millennium.” Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary, the Pope call her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”

Today, we continue to rely of St. Faustina as a constant reminder of the message to trust in Jesus’ endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others. We also turn to her in prayer and request her intercession to our merciful Savior on our behalf. At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, we include the following in our 3 o’clock prayers:

Saint Faustina,
you told us that your mission would continue after your death and that you would not forget us. Our Lord also granted you a great privilege, telling you to “distribute graces as you will, to who you will, and when you will.” Relying on this, we ask your intercession for the graces we need, especially for the intentions just mentioned. Help us, above all, to trust in Jesus as you did and thus to glorify His mercy every moment of our lives.  Amen

You can find the Diary of St. Faustina here


I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope.— –Pope John Paul II, Consecration homily at the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Laqiewniki, Poland.

CW5 All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts

Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the origins of All Hallow’s Eve and it’s development into the secular celebration known as “Halloween”.  How should celebrate this time and what should our prayer reflect?

CW3 St. Francis of Assisi – Conversion, Crisis, Relationship, and Prayer – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza


Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.  He speaks of the radical intimacy of St. Francis and Jesus Christ and how it was born from the saint’s continuing conversion and how it was fueled by his relationship with Christ in prayer.  How can his prayer be a beacon for our own: the center of our spiritual life must be focused on Christ….if it gazes on anything else we fall off track.



Fr. Paschal Robinson’s circa 1906 translations of The Writings of St. Francis, in pdf from Sister’s Bookshelf

Biographies of him were written soon after his death, by people who knew him and by people who interviewed those who knew him. We have many near contemporary sources, aside from Francis’ own writings, through which we can come to know Francis.

The Little Flowers of St. Francis is the only one of these source documents commonly available on the web for reading free. There are several sources, which we give here for you to read this work, or listen to it, if you download the MP3s from CCEL.

Attributed to Br. Ugolino, The Little Flowers of St. Francis from Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Another copy of The Little Flowers, this one from EWTN


CW2 Praying with the Angels – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza


Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the Angels.  Guardian Angels and their purpose, as well as, how to pray with our Guardian Angel is part of the teaching he touches upon.  He also touches upon the difference between the Holy Angels and the Fallen Angels, what is the proper understanding we should have concerning them.

 From the Catechism of the Catholic Church


The existence of angels – a truth of faith

328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

Who are they?

329 St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.'”188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”.189

330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190

angel423_guardian_angelChrist “with all his angels”

331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . “191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.”192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”193

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195

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CW1 St. Therese, Suffering, and Prayer – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts

CW1 – St. Therese, Suffering, and Prayer  – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark CyzaCatholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the witness of St. Therese, especially in the light of the suffering she endured during the later years of her short 24 year old life.  He talks about not only her physical challenge, but also that suffering  her “dark night” and how it can actually be transformed into an experience of joy when united to the Cross of Christ with the aid of Our Lady.

From Story of a Soul (l’Histoire d’une Ame): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
St.-Therese-5 (1)

What attracts me towards our Heavenly Home is the Master’s call—the hope of loving Him at last to the fulfilling of all my desire—the thought that I shall be able to win Him the love of a multitude of souls, who will bless Him through all eternity.

I have never asked God that I might die young—that to me were a cowardly prayer; but from my childhood He has deigned to inspire me with a strong conviction that my life would be a short one.

I feel we must tread the same road to Heaven—the road of suffering and love. When I myself have reached the port, I will teach you how best to sail the world’s tempestuous sea—with the self-abandonment of a child well aware of a father’s love, and of his vigilance in the hour of danger.

I long so much to make you understand the expectant love of the Heart of Jesus. Your last letter has made my own heart thrill sweetly. I learnt how closely your soul is sister to mine, since God calls that soul to mount to Himself by the lift of love, without climbing the steep stairway of fear. I am not surprised you find it hard to be familiar with Jesus—one cannot become so in a day; but this I do know, I shall aid you much more to tread this beautiful path when I lay aside the burden of this perishable body. Ere long you will exclaim with St. Augustine: “Love is my lodestone!”

CW6 – St. Francis – The “Never-Enough” – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer w/Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts

CW6 – St. Francis –  The “Never-Enough”  – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides Fr. Mark Cyzafor Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza

Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the witness of St. Francis and how he was transformed through his encounter with Christ.

Fr. Cyza reflects on the passage from the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis,  when Brother Leo, the faithful companion of St. Francis,  heard him cry : “Love is not loved, Love is not loved”.  Leo asked: “Why are you crying, Brother Francis?” Francis did not reply, he simply continued to say, “Love is not loved, Love is not loved…”

Leo said to him: “But Francis, do you not think that you have done enough for Jesus by leaving you father and mother, your friends and a future of glory? And Francis answered: “No, it is not enough”.

“But Francis, – Leo continued to say -, does it not seem to you to be enough to have removed your clothes before everybody, to beg alms along the streets of the town, to embrace a leper… so that you are looked upon as a fool by your own?” “No, it is not enough”, responded Francis again.St.-Francis-receives-stigma

For the third time Leo insisted: “Francis, does it not seem to be enough to suffer as you are suffering because of the stigmata, the rebellion of the Ministers, the illness of your eyes?” And once again Francis, this time in a loud voice, shouted: “No, it is not enough, it is not enough, it is not enough”. And he concluded saying: “Write it and remember it in you heart, Brother Leo, God is the never-enough”.


CW4 Our Lady of the Rosary – Praying with the Blessed Virgin Mary – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts


Fr. Mark Cyza discusses praying with Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.  He speaks of the history of the devotion., as well as,  the importance of spending time in contemplation of the saving mysteries of our salvation.  Fr. Cyza explains why should welcome the opportunity to pray with Blessed Virgin Mary and how she walks with us in her great garden of prayer.

ourladyoftherosaryResources:  Visit the Discerning Hearts Holy Rosary Page here