Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

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

6/28/2014 (10 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 (10 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Baltimore bloodshed continues with unbelievable violence over the holiday weekend Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

May has proved to be the most dangerous and deadliest month Baltimore has witnessed in more than 50 years. There were more than two dozen shootings over the Memorial Day weekend alone; city police have never been busier. Community leaders hope the members will come ... continue reading


BACKWASH: California water officials consider repurposing sewage into drinking water Watch

Image of Unlike non-potable reuse, where treated sewage is used to irrigate crops, parks or golf courses - direct potable reuse takes treated sewage effluent and purifies it so it can be used as drinking water.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's "doable," few people in California are actually voicing any enthusiasm. Stricken by a crippling drought, water officials are going through some highly popular alternatives - and repurposing sewage water into drinking water is one of them. LOS ... continue reading


Gallup poll shows that one in four Americans not gay Watch

Image of Only 3.8 percent of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian or transsexual.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Gay rights movements continue to disrupt society and political life, poll reveals that gay and lesbians are not as common in the United States as previously perceived. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new Gallup poll conducted in early May has revealed that ... continue reading


World's oldest woman reaches 116-years-old! Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

World's oldest woman, Jeralean Talley has added another year to her life - the world declared she turned 116 last weekend. Talley and her family, friends, the Inkster mayor and Congressman Conyers, delivered a message from President Barack Obama, celebrating her ... continue reading


The mystery behind brains discovered in the streets of St. Lawrence County Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How would you react if you unexpectedly and inexplicably found nine brains on the side of the road while on your early morning run? Like most people, you may find yourself shocked and completely clueless on the origins of the brains. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Died in Service. Thank Those who Serve. Pray For the Nation Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I am always drawn to these words of Jesus on Memorial Day weekend, - No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13) Military service which leads to laying one's life down is certainly an expression of this kind of heroic ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Chaplains - A Reminder that We Are One Nation Under God Watch

Image of

By Fr. Randy Sly

The work of our chaplains extends much farther than the post chapel. They labor on land, at sea and in the air. There are 1.4 million Catholics in the military; wherever they are stationed, the chaplain is there. These chaplains can be found bringing Jesus Christ to ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Honor Our Nation with Heroic Sacrifice Watch

Image of Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families.  Godspeed, and come home soon.

By Jennifer Hartline

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you ... continue reading


MASSIVE OIL SPILL: Santa Barbara declares state of emergency over massive oil spill in Pacific Ocean Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

About 9 miles of the Pacific ocean, across a popular spot on the California coast, was damaged after a pipeline leaked massive amounts of oil in the water earlier this week.     MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to officials, up to ... continue reading


UC Santa Barbara massacre survivor speaks on the day's events and his journey to recovery Watch

Image of www.thisischriswhite.com

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fateful night of May 23, 2014, Antoine Cherchian managed to survive being shot by the virgin killer, Elliot Rodger, during his killing spree at UC Santa Barbara. While Cherchian sustained fatal injuries, along with six other students murdered, he is thankful for ... 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, Sirach 36:5-6, 10-17
5 Send new portents, do fresh wonders, win glory for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:32-45
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 27th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Canterbury
May 27: At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that ... 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