"We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us." -Pope Francis

Category: Divine Mercy

grateful for guilt

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I have struggled immensely with guilt in my life.  Anyone can tell you that.  But I have decided to rejoice in this gift!  Guilt keeps me going to Confession!  It keeps me striving to be perfect as our Father is perfect in Heaven.

We must take care not to dismiss or disregard the guilt of others as insignificant.  There is so much of that in our world today – so much justification of little sins. 

There are so many excuses made for our errors, faults, and imperfections.  One may say, “But God knows this is just how I am!  So it’s okay!” 

Yes, but He overcame the world to give you strength to overcome yourself.

Our guilt is there for a reason.  Namely, that we confess it to God, and move on with a little more knowledge, a little more life experience about how to do better next time. 

Sure, some guilt is unfounded and is the result of sins of scrupulosity.  But that guilt we must give to God, too.  Scrupulous thinking is the work of the devil, no doubt.  It keeps us in a negative spiral so that we think we are not good enough to go to Christ.  I know this all too well.  I know how satan tempts me all too well.  And this is excellent and as it should be. 

satan loses his power over us when we can see ahead of time all the cards in his hand – when we know exactly which card he is going to play next. 

Yes, I am grateful for my guilt.  I am even more grateful for the One who takes it all away. 

 

P.S. God is Merciful & He loves you… pass it on…

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3 Steps to Mercy for You

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*This article originally appeared on VirginiaLieto.com here.

 

There’s a lot of mercy talk these days in the Church. Why?  Because it’s the time of mercy!

The Church recently celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. If you’re not familiar with this message and devotion, take a moment to learn a little more here.

We should strive to show mercy to everyone we meet. Mercy is a great virtue, no doubt.  But today I want to ask you, how often do you show mercy to yourself?

Are you your own worst critic? Are you hyperaware of your faults and not sure how to actually improve?  Do you ever beat yourself up at the end of the day for not doing a better job at keeping it all together?

I’ve been working on kicking these bad attitudes for a while now, with great success. How?  Divine Mercy!

 

3 Steps to Mercy for You

Here are 3 steps you can take today to help you start showing mercy to you:

 

1. Participate in the Sacraments Frequently

I’m not saying you should get married frequently, nor do you want to take a “collect ‘em all” mentality and start preparing for your last rites, but frequent Confession and receipt of Holy Communion are beautiful ways to stay close to Christ. Mercy is waiting for you in the confessional!  Mercy is waiting for you on the altar at Mass daily!  Show up.  You deserve mercy!

 

2. Educate Yourself

Pick up a copy of the Catechism. Bring questions to a priest.  Read the Bible.  Study up on Divine Mercy.  Learn the works of mercy.  It’s actually an act of mercy to instruct the ignorant, and we’re all ignorant of many things.  Learn all you can to strengthen your relationship with Christ!

 

3. Forgive Yourself

You’re going to fall short. Every day you’re going to fall short of the person you want to be, and the person God is calling you to be.  Pick yourself up.  Forgive yourself.  We talk a lot about forgiving others, but it’s so important to forgive ourselves.  Would you forgive a friend if she apologized to you?  Well you can be that friend who just apologized to you.  Having a healthy relationship with yourself is vital to having a healthy relationship with others, Christ included!

 

So, take some time today to show mercy to you, because you’re worth it. Jesus died for you!

P.S. God is Merciful & He loves you… Pass it on!

Our Lady of Fatima: 100 years of stories, prayers, and devotions

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Have you heard the message of Fatima?  Even if you are familiar with Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, I guarantee you haven’t heard the story told quite like this before.  And if you’re skeptical about the whole thing, all the more reason to pick up this book.

Mary wants to lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ.  She wants peace for the world, and she wants us to repent of our sins so we can all make it to Heaven!

There’s no better time to pick up this book than right now, as we are about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of these apparitions.  In fact, the Church will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, which is right around the corner.  On this day, Pope Francis will also canonize Jacinta and Francisco, two of the Fatima visionaries, as Saints for the whole world to celebrate!

In this book, author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle takes readers through a century of fascinating stories related to Fatima.  She recounts what occurred in this city back in 1916 and 1917, and the fulfillment of the Fatima prophecies that have taken place since that time.  She also shares things that Sr. Lucia experienced later in her life as she worked to ensure that Mary’s message spread throughout the Church, and that things were completed as Mary and Jesus requested.

In these pages, you will hear remarkable stories you’ve never heard before, and details that you won’t find in other places.  Did you know that Saint Mother Teresa planned a top secret mission in Russia specifically to occur just as Saint John Paul II consecrated Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart?  Did you know she pulled it off?  Do you know about the devotion of the Five First Saturdays?  Do you know why Mary specifically requested five and not six or seven?  Have you heard the Fatima prayers?  Do you know how you can incorporate these prayers into your daily life to make atonement for the sins of the world?  All of this and more is shared in this fascinating book.

Perhaps as astounding as the Fatima miracles themselves, are the personal experiences of the author that she shares at the end of the book.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it’s unbelievable what this woman endured for the sake of this writing, and the timing of her injuries is absolutely astounding.

In short, I had a hard time putting this book down!  You won’t want to miss this exciting read, especially as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima apparitions this year.

We all must now do our part to make reparation for the sins of this world.  Find out what you can do to live the Fatima message today!

And a note to any skeptics:  With Mary, you have nothing to fear except fear itself.  Fear of Mary will only keep you from Mary, which will only keep you from a deeper intimacy with Christ.  Our Mother Mary who is Our Lady of Fatima, is the Mother of Jesus Christ who is our brother.  Hence, she is our Mother, too, and Jesus also gave her to us on the Cross.  Mary is truly amazing.  She also only wants to do the will of her Son.  She wants to support Jesus as much as possible in the work of bringing all souls to Heaven.  Perhaps you will be able to get to know her just a little better through the words in this book.

This book is available on Amazon and from Franciscan Media.

Mother Mary, pray for us!  God bless you!

Don’t Miss Divine Mercy Sunday!

Dont-Miss-Divine-Mercy-Sunday.pngImage from Divinemercyformoms.com. 

Mary Garden Showers is committed to spreading a message of love and mercy, with help from the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy & the beautiful Divine Mercy message.

Today we’d like to direct you over to our friends at Divine Mercy for Moms, who have shared a beautiful article full of ideas and resources to help you make the most of this awesome, special feast day – that’s right around the corner!

Click here to be redirected to this article!  Peace & blessings to your family!  We hope you have a very special Divine Mercy Sunday.

– Serena & Kaitlyn, Co-Directors of Mary Garden Showers, Charlotte, NC

P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you!  Pass it on…

in every age…

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In every age, songs of beauty and praise rise to the Heavens. 

Lyrics speak of God’s power and might and unfathomable Divine Mercy.    

Melodies weave through time lifting our thoughts to His amazing grace.

And in every age, voices join the feeble instruments we have here on this earth, to give praise and glory to God.

Now imagine that at the end of our days on this earth, we all come together as one people, one Israel, one nation truly of God.

Can you imagine the songs we will be singing as we journey to Heaven all together?

Can you imagine what it will sound like when voices of people throughout history, throughout time, all join together to give God his due glory?

In every age, songs of beauty and praise rise to the Heavens.

And oh, that glorious day, when we will be able to hear these songs sung all together in harmony!  When from the east and the west, and the south and the north, God’s people sing as one,

walking Heavenward, homeward, together.

 

P.S. God loves you & He is merciful!  Pass it on…

roasting marshmallows and sanctity…

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My husband is awesome because he loves making campfires.  He’s awesome for a lot of reasons, but every once in awhile, my daughter will ask in her not so sneaky way, “Hey Daddy, how about… we have a little campfire tonight?”

And if it’s a weekend, and my husband doesn’t have to work the next day, and if the girls have been listening well to Daddy and Mommy, and if it’s not raining, and if it’s not too late, we will have a little campfire, and we have a blast.

Last night after we put the girls to bed, the fire was still dying down, and my husband and I sat outside talking.

As I was roasting a marshmallow slowly to perfection, I thought about how it can really take awhile to get the marshmallow just right.

You can’t rush this process of roasting a marshmallow. You have to wait and it takes patience and endurance.

I thought about how you have to keep the marshmallow close to the flame, but not so close that it burns it to a crisp – unless you’re one of those people who loves burnt-to-a-crisp marshmallows.

And it occurred to me that this process of roasting a marshmallow bore a striking resemblance to the process of becoming holy.

In order for us to reach a higher level of sanctity, we must slowly work at being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.  It can take awhile for us to come out just right.

You can’t rush this process of achieving sanctity.  You have to wait and it takes patience and endurance.

You have to stay close to the flames of Divine Mercy.  You have to stay close to God.  But at the same time, we are not ready to see God in His full glory yet.  God is not ready to fully reveal Himself to us just yet.

Eventually my marshmallow was just about perfect.  I’ll admit I didn’t wait until it was golden brown, and my husband questioned whether I had waited long enough.  But my s’more was wonderful, nonetheless.

I hope I can be a little more patient with myself as I work to become more like Christ.  While I know I won’t be able to really be perfect in this life, I will keep striving for it so that I can continue to be the best I can be.

Jesus doesn’t want us to settle.

I hope that I won’t settle for anything less than what Jesus has asked of each of us: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Let’s just remember: perfectly roasted marshmallows must stay close to the flame.

 

P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you!  Pass it on…

dear cecile richards

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Dear Cecile Richards,

I realize that I’m a complete stranger to you.  But I’ve seen you in magazines and on TV, and when I see you, I think to myself, “Wow, she has beautiful eyes.”  When I see you, I think, “You know, she and I actually have a lot in common.”

We are both women.  We are both married.  We both have three children.  We both have expressed that our children are the center of our lives.  We are both driven.  We are both hard working.  We are both stubborn.  We both speak from our hearts.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, I believe that we share common passions.  We both love our families and seek to change the world, particularly for all women and families.  I’ve heard people villainize your efforts, but I’m a Catholic, so I can relate.  I truly believe that we share a common passion of wanting what’s best for women and families. Read the rest of this entry »

Redeeming Joy – help mercy run to the lowest point

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A few days ago, I had the privilege of attending a beautiful jewelry party to benefit Redeeming Joy.  All of the pieces were made by hand by the women being healed through this ministry.  It is a part of their therapy.  The jewelry is just beautiful.

And this ministry is beautiful!

Redeeming Joy helps women find healing, hope, and restoration following human trafficking.

“We loan our hope until each lady has a hope of her own,” says Lanie George, founder of Redeeming Grace.

Currently, Redeeming Joy is raising funds to open up a beautiful new safe home for women.  They have raised $20,000 of their $50,000 year end goal.

Will you help spread the word about this organization and cause?  Hope is desperately needed in our world today especially for these women who are in despair.

Please visit their website at http://www.redeemingjoy.org/ to learn more about this organization and how you can get involved!

Mercy always runs to the lowest point.  The women served at Redeeming Joy are thirsting for mercy.  Let’s help create a pathway for that mercy and give together today!

Peace & Blessings to you!

P.S. God is merciful and He loves you so much, so much, so much!  Pass it on…

 

A Look Back at Our Year of Mercy!

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14 Mothers, 16 Babies, 4 Chapters, and 1 Merciful Savior…

This evening, there are 14 mothers out there who have been touched by your kindness this year.  There are 15 babies warm and cozy tonight in the beautiful gifts you sent for them.  One baby is back in the arms of God.  There are 4 chapters of Mary Garden Showers pulling showers together in 3 states.

And all of this is possible because of the Merciful Love of Jesus Christ, that has come through all of you this year in your love and support.

A huge thank you to our awesome Chapter Leaders who work diligently to make sure each mother and child in their care is loved and cherished in their great time of need.  And a huge thank you to a couple other awesome supporters as well…

  • Debbie – Chapter Leader at Holy Spirit in Indianapolis, IN
  • Michele & Angie – Chapter Leaders at St. Patrick in Columbus, OH
  • Ann & Andrea – Chapter Leaders at Nativity in Indianapolis, IN
  • Kari – Chapter Leader at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte, NC
  • Bernadette Carstensen – artist who created our new Mary & Jesus image in Columbus, OH (we’ll share it soon!)
  • Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy – providing Divine Mercy canvases from Stockbridge, MA

If you feel a little tug on your heart to get involved a little more next year in 2017 with Mary Garden Showers, don’t be surprised.  It just means that God is answering our prayers.  We feel growth coming, and we want to invite you to prayerfully discern what role you may want to play in this ministry next year.  Let us know how you feel called to help!

May God bless you & keep your family close to Him in this season of Advent!

Serena Boykin & Kaitlyn Mason
Co-Directors of Mary Garden Showers
Charlotte, NC

marygardenshowers.org

true love isn’t silent

True love cannot be silent in the face of social confusion. Too much is at stake.

Acceptance and tolerance are major buzz words in our culture today.  People are crying out for others to accept them and for others to be tolerant of their behavior. 

While acceptance and tolerance are paramount to a healthy society, we must be vigilant and prudent about what actions and concepts we accept and tolerate.

How do we do this?  Certainly the Bible provides us with some good framework for what actions and concepts should be accepted and tolerated.  The Catechism does a beautiful job of laying out specifics on some complex issues that require further clarification. 

Yet many do not place themselves under the authority of the Bible or the teachings of the Church.  Even within the Church, confusion, ignorance, and misunderstanding can complicate things.  So naturally we’ll all come to the table with different ideas about what should be accepted and tolerated… if we come to the table at all. 

Let’s be clear, shall we?  As Christians, we are called first to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and second to love others. 

For a beautiful description of the importance of loving God first and others second, please see Fr. Winslow’s article, “The Greatest Lie.”

Loving others doesn’t mean we need to be silent all the time when things are controversial.  Rather, when much is at stake, true love compels us to speak up.

Love does not mean we should just tell people everything they’re doing is okay.  Sometimes what people do is really not okay.  Loving someone then means speaking up, even and especially when it is difficult.  True love will shine a flashlight ahead to show someone they are on a wrong path. 

Love does not mean that we always will agree with others.  Sometimes we will disagree, and if we do this respectfully, seeking to understand one another’s viewpoints, we can grow stronger together.  True love will take the time to listen and will have the courage to attempt to explain. 

Love does not mean that we allow others to expose our families and children to coercion or social grooming that will contradict the morals and values we hold at the center of our lives.  True love will be on guard, standing firm in the faith.

Love doesn’t mean we stand idly by and watch as people walk into abortion clinics and discard lives (or whatever other euphemism people may insert) because they believe it’s their choice.  Love doesn’t mean we stand idly by and watch as people melt away from addiction, anorexia, depression, or pornography.  True love will try to hold someone back who is staggering to slaughter. 

True love cannot be silent in the face of social confusion.  Too much is at stake.   And the most beautiful Divine Mercy is waiting for everyone. 

P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you… no matter what.