Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

6/28/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Far more than an organ of the body, then, the heart suggests the source of compassion, tenderness, kindness - in short, what we call -mercy.

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.

Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

Highlights

By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/28/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., heart, sacred heart, immacualte heart, mercy, compassion, spirituality


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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Who Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus? We Are Watch

Image of The Father of Jesus becomes our Father also, as we enter, through Him, into the inner life of the Trinity. He underscores this truth right before He ascended when He instructed Mary of Magdala to tell the disciples

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In this exchange, Jesus opens up for those with eyes to see and ears to hear the deeper interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary  and the interior meaning of all family relationships renewed by the Holy Spirit. He gives to those with ears to ... continue reading


Pope Francis names Bishop Blasť Cupich to replace ailing Chicago Archbishop Watch

Image of Ill from liver cancer, Cardinal George said at a news conference in Chicago that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has chosen Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich as Chicago's new archbishop. The ailing Cardinal Francis George welcomed his pending retirement after his 17 years of service, with only the highest praise for his successor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


World population could hit 11 billion by 2100 new study reveals Watch

Image of Africa will see the largest population boom, going from 1 billion to 4 billion by the century's end. Asia will also likely rise a bit, but will peak at 5 billion by 2050 and decline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations-led analysis published on September 18 has revealed that the world's population may reach 11 billion by 2100, which would mean two billion more people than previously expected, largely due to high birth rates in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter