Alleluia! Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, the Eighth Day in the Octave of Easter, and (since 2000) Divine Mercy Sunday.
Divine Mercy Sunday is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy Devotion promoted by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (died 1938) She was a Polish nun who reported a number of apparitions, visions and conversations with Jesus which she wrote in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. The three main themes of the devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ’s abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God’s mercy towards them. Her diary further stated that anyone who participates in the Divine Mercy Mass and receives the sacraments of confession and Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of sins. The devotion was actively promoted by Saint Pope John Paul II, who was Polish, and who had a great devotion to Sister Kowalska. On April 30, 2000, the canonization of Faustina Kowalska took place and the Sunday after Easter was officially designated as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar. The Divine Mercy image (also commissioned by Jesus through Saint Faustina Kowalska’s diary) is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass. Saint John Paul II, Pope, decreed in 2002 a plenary indulgence associated with this devotion; to gain a plenary indulgence, a person must exclude all attachment to sin of any kind, even venial sin, must perform the work or say the prayer for which the indulgence is granted, and must also fulfill the three conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and praying for the intentions of the Pope.
Last night our #3 ranked LSU Baseball team lost the second game of the three-game home series with Auburn by the score of 1 to 6.
When I woke up today I had an earache, with my left ear canal swollen (no lectures, please, Liz Ellen). I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at the casino, Richard was on Mini Baccarat all day, and I was dealing on Three-Card Blackjack. According to the Internet, the best thing for me to do with my ear is to follow a policy of benign neglect, since messing with my ear is what gave me my earache in the first place; so I have been taking Extra Strength Tylenol© for it.
When we got home from work I read the Sunday papers; our Acadiana Advocate consisted of two sections of the front part of the paper, and no sections of the back part of the paper (the part with the fliers and the comic pages). I then took a nap until about 4:00 pm; Richard came to bed at some point. Our #3 LSU Baseball team beat Auburn in the last game of the three-game home series by the score of 6 to 2; our Tigers will next play a home game with Lamar on Wednesday, April 15th. At 5:00 pm I decided to eat my lunch salad that I did not eat at lunchtime, and to not go to the 6:00 pm Mass. (Mea culpa; while missing Mass is a sin, I do not regard it as a mortal sin, and I will take it to confession the next time I go.) Our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the Houston Rockets, and it would be nice for our Pelicans to win this game to improve their chances of going to the playoffs. And before I go to sleep tonight I will finish reading Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches by George Weigel, with Elizabeth Lev and Stephen Weigel (more anon), which has been my daily reading through Lent and through the Octave of Easter.
Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr, and the six-year anniversary of this weblog. Richard and I will head to work at the casino, and I will read magazines on my breaks. In the afternoon I will do my Book Review for this Weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches by George Weigel, with Elizabeth Lev and Stephen Weigel. Tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Minnesota Timberwolves. (They will have one more regular season game after that, on Wednesday April 15th with the San Antonio Spurs, and that game might decide if the Pelicans make the playoffs.)
Our Parting Quote on this Second Sunday of Easter (Alleluia!) and Divine Mercy Sunday comes to us from Brennan Manning, American priest and author. Born as Richard Francis Xavier Manning in 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, after attending St. John’s University for two years he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving overseas as a sports writer for the U.S. Marine Corps newspaper. Upon his return Brennan began a program in journalism at the University of Missouri. He departed after a semester, restlessly searching for something “more” in life. “Maybe the something ‘more’ is God,” an adviser suggested, triggering Brennan’s enrollment at Saint Francis Catholic seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania. In February 1956, while Brennan was meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a powerful experience of the personal love of Jesus Christ sealed the call of God on his life. While in the seminary, he was sent to Columbia University as a graduate student in creative writing. Four years later, he graduated from Saint Francis College with a major in philosophy and minor in Latin. He went on to complete four years of advanced studies in theology, meanwhile being ordained to the Franciscan priesthood in May of 1963. Brennan’s ministry responsibilities varied greatly. He served as a theology instructor and campus minister at the University of Steubenville. He worked as the liturgy instructor and spiritual director at Saint Francis Seminary. He lived and worked among the poor in Europe and the United States. During a two-year leave of absence from the Franciscans in the late sixties, Brennan journeyed to Spain and joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld, an order committed to an uncloistered, meditative life among the poor. Among his many and varied assignments, he became a solitary reflective, secluded in a remote cave for six months in the Zaragoza desert. The early seventies found Brennan back in the United States as he and four other priests established an experimental community in the bustling seaport city of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Seeking to model the primitive life of the Franciscans, the fathers settled in a house on Mississippi Bay and quietly went to work on shrimp boats, ministering to the shrimpers and their families who had drifted out of reach from the church. The fathers restored a chapel that had been destroyed by Hurricane Camille and offered a Friday night liturgy and social event there, which soon became a popular gathering and precipitated many families’ return to engagement in the local church. Brennan then moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and resumed campus ministry at Broward Community College. This was harshly interrupted, however, when he suffered a precipitate collapse into alcoholism. Six months of treatment restored his health and placed him on the road to recovery. It was at this point in his life that Brennan began writing in earnest. His first book was Gentle Revolutionaries (1970). One book soon followed another as invitations for him to speak and to lead spiritual retreats multiplied exponentially. His most famous book was The Ragamuffin Gospel (published in 1990, and re-issued in 2000 and 2005), a book about the essence of Christianity. Manning argued that Jesus’ gospel was one of grace, and that efforts to earn salvation are impossibly misguided. In his book he stated that the true meaning of God’s grace has been lost in society amidst a constant search to merely please God, as though the Almighty is only a “small minded book keeper,” who tallies sins and uses them against humanity. Citing numerous biblical references and utilizing colleagues’ stories, Manning illustrated the simple need for humanity to accept the freedom of God’s grace, and its power to change lives. He spent the remainder of his life traveling widely as he continued to write and preach, encouraging men and women everywhere to accept and embrace the good news of God’s unconditional love in Jesus Christ. His last two books were Patched Together: A Story of My Story (2010) and All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir (2011) (died 2013): “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.”