6/28/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
On Friday, the the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Saturday, the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By a happy coincidence, we are concerned to plumb the depths of the mystery of God's mercy this weekend. The two feasts, however, are not situated by coincidence but by the careful plan of the Church. The heart of Jesus began beating beneath the heart of His Blessed Mother; her heart, in turn, took form from the creative Word and Power of the Heart of God. Two hearts beating as one.
Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.
ROYERSFORD, PA. (Catholic Online) - On Friday, the the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Saturday, the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By a happy coincidence, we are concerned to plumb the depths of the mystery of God's mercy this weekend.
The two feasts, however, are not situated by coincidence but by the careful plan of the Church. The heart of Jesus began beating beneath the heart of His Blessed Mother; her heart, in turn, took form from the creative Word and Power of the Heart of God. Two hearts beating as one.
The heart is a symbol with a rich biblical lineage. In Hebrew, both the heart and the bowels represent the very depths of a person - where the cognitive and the affective meet in unity and harmony. Hence, we find passages in the Bible which speak thus:
"My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred" [Hos 11:8]. Far more than an organ of the body, then, the heart suggests the source of compassion, tenderness, kindness - in short, what we call "mercy."
An interesting piece of biblical trivia:
A quick survey of a biblical concordance reveals that the word "mercy" is used more than 200 times in the Sacred Scriptures, while the word "heart" appears over 600 times. No surprise, then, that St. Augustine, playing with the origins of the Latin word for mercy [misericordia], tells us that God's grace moves us "a miseria ad misericordiam" [from misery to mercy]. "Misericordia," you see, comes from two words which combine to mean "having a heart for the miserable."
Shakespeare rhapsodized on the beauty and glory of mercy when he had Portia exclaim:
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: It is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; It becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God Himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy."
As beautiful as that soliloquy is, as one commentator has observed, "before Shakespeare wrote it, God was it!"
Indeed, God became Mercy Incarnate within the spotless womb of the Virgin Mary. And she understood it all so well that she broke forth into her canticle of praise, the Magnificat: "Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum." [And His mercy is from age to age on those who fear Him]. Our Lady was not teaching theology from a textbook but from her own experience of life. God had touched her so profoundly by His mercy that she became what the Church's lovely night prayer to her rightly calls her - "Mater misericordiae," "Mother of Mercy."
God the Father sought the young maiden's cooperation with His eternal plan of mercy; God the Holy Spirit overshadowed her with His merciful wings; she became the very seat of Mercy, the Mother of the One Who is "dives in misericordia" [rich in mercy], as the title of Pope John Paul II's encyclical reminds us.
Our world, my dear people, needs to hear the message of mercy perhaps as no other age before. A culture of violence, death, destruction and despair can be healed only by mercy. You and I, like Blessed Faustina before us, must count ourselves among the apostles of mercy. But first we must be convinced that mercy has been granted us; otherwise, our words will ring hollow.
The result of knowing mercy [which comes from the very core or heart of the Being of God] means being grabbed at the very core or heart of our own being - and that gives birth to the emotion [both divine and human] of joy. Once more, Our Lady leads the way as she sings out: "Exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo Salvatore meo." [My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior]. Where mercy spawns joy, melancholy, fear and death are definitively banished.
May the Mother of Mercy show us the blessed fruit of her womb, Who is none other than the compassionate face of God, Mercy in the flesh.
Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation. The mission of The Catholic Education Foundation is to serve as a forum through which teachers, administrators and all others interested in Catholic education can share ideas and practices, as well as to highlight successful programs and initiatives to bring about a recovery of Catholic education in our times.The Catholic Education Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 national non-profit organization formed to ensure a brighter future for Catholic education in the United States.
By J. Kenneth Blackwell
While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention. The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading
By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Andrew Cash practiced his religious rights at Missouri State University - and was dismissed from the master's program in counseling as a result. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic News Agency, Cash was referring same-sex couples to another ... continue reading
By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Does the news seem a little too pro-American to you? Does it seem reporters pull punches and that the real issues are ignored? Perhaps that's the result of a quiet change to the law that took place in 2013. A law banning the use of government propaganda on the American ... continue reading
By Matt Hadro (CNA)
Experts from across the political spectrum are calling for criminal justice reform, as a new White House report shows the human and economic costs of the current justice system. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "This is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
An appalling portrayal of Jesus plastered to a dartboard was posted up as artwork inside the Art Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "art piece," titled "Vitruvian Man," shows Jesus nailed to the dartboard ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The American people are seemingly obsessed with public restrooms these days and precisely how people use the potty. The fear is being stoked by concerns that individuals who "self-identify" as the opposite sex, will take advantage of liberal policies and assault ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Jesus said to his disciples: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. CHESAPEAKE, VA. ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
U.S. President Barack Obama announced 250 more special operations forces are to be deployed to Syria within the next few weeks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama stated: "Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I've decided to ... continue reading