Monday, June 9, 2008

"WRITING STRAIGHT WITH CROOKED LINES"

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by Rose SS (An article I wrote)

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A few months before the infamous attacks on 9/11/2001, The Lord sent both a trial and a blessing into my life. New tenants moved into the other half of the side-by-side duplex that I have lived in for the past 15 years . . . a sad young woman, her confused boyfriend, and her beautiful little four year old daughter. Within days the battle began -- yelling, screaming, fists smashing into walls, furniture being thrown about -- and our lives were turned upside down and into a kind of "hell-on-earth."

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Domestic violence is an ugly crime, and, as things escalated between the couple - the police (and child abuse workers) were called to our house many, many times. When not only clothes and furniture - but bodies also - were alternatingly thrown against the wall, out the door, and eventually down the stairs, we grew fearful that someone was going to be killed. My sister suggested that The Divine Mercy Chaplet1 was a good prayer to do for those near death.


Although I had said the Chaplet a few times at Church events, I didn't really know much about it, or how to say it "by heart." But, during the many bouts of violence next door, I very quickly learned how to pray The Chaplet - one of the simplest, yet most powerful prayers of The Church. God using this volatile situation to teach me how to pray The Chaplet was His first gift of "writing straight with crooked lines."

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My new neighbors only lasted about two months in that apartment, but I had prayed many, many Divine Mercy Chaplets for them over the course of that time. I have since added their newborn baby and "all those in abusive situations" to my prayers. I have also come to memorize the beautiful words: "Eternal Father, I offer You The Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Your dearly beloved Son - our Lord Jesus Christ - in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world." In this prayer, we are offering up our Eucharistic Lord (who vowed to "never leave us orphans") to His (and our) Heavenly Father -- begging for His mercy on our sinfulness. And gladly, our Lord, forgives our many faults and failings each time we ask Him to - especially in The great Sacrament of Confession where He cleanses us with His Blood and Water to make us pure as snow.

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Soon after my neighbors came and went, the terrible day of 9/11/2001 was upon us. I remember turning on the TV that morning (which normally I didn't do) before heading off to Mass. I sat horrified at seeing those planes crash into the towers and watching as those towers collapsed and all those lives were lost before my eyes. I finally tore myself away from the TV, and, after calling my mother to tell her I loved her, I hurried off to Church. I then heard on the radio in the car that another plane had been hijacked and more people were most likely headed to their deaths. When I went in to St. Martin's beautiful Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, I begged the people there to pray for the souls on that plane -- fearing the worst . . . and, the worst happened, shortly after that.

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Some time during the 11am Mass, The Holy Spirit gave me the conviction and the courage to ask loudly after Mass for people to please stay and pray The Divine Mercy Chaplet for all involved in the tragedies. Almost everyone in the Church stayed and prayed that beautiful prayer - a prayer that God had helped me learn "just in time" by sending a couple and a little frightened girl into my life just a few short months before . . . God once again had "written straight with crooked lines."

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After some days of hesitation on my part (sadly ignoring our Lord's promptings because of nervous fear) God won out. With the Pastor's permission we continued to pray the Chaplet after Mass -- Monday through Saturday. But, alas! How quickly we forget! Only a handful of people stayed to pray on subsequent days. Never-the-less, our small group faithfully prayed the Chaplet day in and day out with The Lord guiding us in what to pray for. Two days before the church's parochial vicar's death, the Lord inspired us to offer the Chaplet (the great prayer for those near death) for him just in time for the Heavenly gates to open up for him.

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Soon, I had a yearning to learn more about The Divine Mercy devotion and it's origin (and about St. Faustina2). I desperately wanted to buy and read her diary. However, I was very short on money. No worry! The Lord took care of this in His wonderful Mercy. One day, our local Catholic Radio Station (WLOF 101.7) had a fund drive to which I was able to make a small donation in support of this wonderful radio ministry. I issued a pledge challenge to all my former co-workers at Our Lady of Victory Infant Home (where I was honored to teach God's most "perfect" people His special children -- for nine years). So, I listened to the station in my car on the way to work - planning on turning on the radio when I got there. But, sadly, hard as I tried, I could not get the station to come in in the house. So, I gave up and resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to hear any more of WLOF's programming that night.

However, after I put the children to bed, I had to go move my car from the road to the driveway, and I decided to turn on the radio while I did so to catch a few moments of WLOF. Remember my desire to read St. Faustina's Diary? Well, lo and behold, as I pulled the car into the driveway, I heard an announcement that "the next two people to call in with a donation of any size would receive a copy of St. Faustina's Diary!" The Lord had timed it just perfectly for me to be in my car to hear that announcement.

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You better believe that I rushed into the house and called the station - repeating their phone number over and over again so I wouldn't forget it. When I called, I asked if they still had the Diary, and after a few breathless moments while they did some checking with the people taking the phone pledges, I was thrilled to hear that they still had them! For an additional $5.00 donation (I wish I could have given more), I finally would get the chance to read the book that I had been yearning to read. Allowing me to get a copy of the Diary in this incredible way was another gift of God "writing straight with crooked lines." His ways are mysterious and marvelous! I read that wonderful Diary from front to back in "no time at all."

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....Well, months went by with our little group praying the Chaplet each day at St. Martin's in the main Church, when one of our "regulars" asked if we might pray It in the Adoration Chapel. But, because I didn't want to disturb those who had signed up for the 11am - 12noon hour (and those who wanted to pray in the Chapel after Mass), I didn't think we should. The Lord had other ideas! I soon began to realize that there was nobody coming for that hour on Thursdays, and our Lord would have been left alone then.

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So, instead of going to 11am Mass at St. Martins, I stayed with our Merciful Savior in the Chapel, and, after leading the Chaplet I went to 12:10 Mass at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. God used that opportunity (of no "assigned" person coming for that hour) for us to begin saying the Chaplet each Thursday, "face to face" with our Eucharistic Lord, in The Chapel. He had once again "written straight with crooked lines." Through some literature from "The Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy" I had also come to learn that The Holy Father has granted an Apostolic blessing to those who pray the Chaplet "for the sick and the dying" (in front of The "Exposed" Lord). God had found a way to bless us in even more ways than before.

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Thursdays became a very special time -used for praying for our loved ones - each person being free to voice their own intentions. At someone's inspired suggestion, we even started taking turns leading different decades (instead of me leading them all). To make the time more special, we also added songs and extra prayers (like "The Consecration of the human race to The Heart of Jesus" and "Prayers of Reparation"). Several of the people who came into The Chapel after Mass (to say other prayers) also began staying to pray The Chaplet with us and our little group of pray-ers soon grew until there were more of us (some days) then there were chairs in the Chapel. Some people even had to kneel on the floor, but I don't think anyone minded because it was our time spent with The King of The Universe and He freely had shared with us His many Mercies and Blessings. The LEAST we could do was to share 10 minutes with Him on our knees.

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It seemed that The Lord, though, wanted us praying in His "exposed" Presence more than just that one day each week. So, once again He used those "crooked lines" and freed up two more days per week for us to pray the Chaplet in the Chapel, where no one came for the 11am - 12noon hour. Now we say the Chaplet with Him in the Chapel each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday . . . praying in the main Church the other days. God is so great!

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In the meantime, about a year ago, God put it in my heart to ask a beautiful family (who I didn't know, but had seen at daily Mass at The Basilica) if they would help me to lead The Chaplet on Sundays after the 12 Noon Mass at OLV. With the pastor's permission we began to lead the Chaplet after Mass. Sadly, most days it was just us praying it, with only occasionally a couple of other people joining in. Despite the fact that it was a blessing to pray the Chaplet so soon after receiving our Lord during Holy Communion, things were not working out the way that The Lord wanted them to.

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Something needed to change to get more people involved in praying the Chaplet for "our Lord and our Lady and our Holy Father's intentions -- especially for PEACE!". He wants more people to pray for peace in this time of war . . . and "in reparation for the sins of (and to beg God's Mercy on) all those near death, on our country, and on the whole world." On March 19th, 2003 -- St. Joseph's Feast Day, and "D" day in so far as that was the day that the decision was made to start the war with Iraq - things were about to change . . .

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I was praying before the 12:10 Mass at The Basilica. While the Angelus was being prayed, The Lord filled me with an urgent request for me to lead the Chaplet before Mass. After hesitating for a few moments I went back to ask the Priest if we could pray the Chaplet after the Angelus was done. He was very nice and apologetic, but he was sorry "there wasn't enough time." He did say that we could lead it after Mass. However, another beautiful and powerful prayer - The Holy Rosary - is prayed each day after Mass . . . and I didn't want to interrupt that much needed prayer. Tears filled my eyes at the thought that we would not get to pray the Chaplet that day, as our Lord had wanted.

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But, three days later, in His quest for us to spread devotion to His Divine Mercy, The Lord opened up some more doors for us. The pastor celebrated Mass that day, and afterwards (while we were still filled with our Lord's Merciful Eucharistic Presence) - my Sunday Chaplet "prayer partner" and I went to talk with him. We asked him if we could lead the Chaplet before Mass EACH day (even moving our Sunday time to before Mass) and the Lord moved that wonderful man to say "Yes." He also moved me to be so bold as to ask him if we could have The Mercy Sunday Services at The Basilica this year. The Monsignor said that he would think and pray about it. Perhaps this was the year we would be able to have this special day celebrated in one of our Lord and Lady's most beautiful Churches!

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Two days later I spoke with one of the other Priests at the parish, asking if he would be willing to lead the services (if the pastor was in agreement, of course). I asked him because I knew he had a devotion to The Divine Mercy Chaplet. In one of his earliest homilies at The Basilica, he spoke of his mother's devotion to The Chaplet and he affectionately called it "the cheater's Rosary" because it was so quick and easy to say. Father said that Monsignor had already talked to him about Divine Mercy Sunday and that "sure" he would lead the services. I have no doubt that it was God's will that these services be held at The National Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of VICTORY. She and Her Divine Son, Spouse, and Father have, and will continue to bring about, Victory over war, Victory over sin, and Victory over the eternal death of hell.

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Praise God for sending us some wonderful Priests, and other wonderful people who have helped lead the Chaplet, along this somewhat long and winding road of spreading His message of Mercy! God also sent us another wonderful man (who had been promoting The Divine Mercy Devotion for years) to help lead the Chaplet some days at the Basilica. His son (a Marine) was stationed in Baghdad at the time, so, our prayers for peace took on a special meaning for all of us.

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"For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world." These words, also, have special meaning during this time of upheaval in the world. Leave it to our Merciful Lord to take what was a "hellish" situation of domestic violence, and to use that to save countless numbers of souls from hell - snatching them from the devil's greedy hands even when they are on the brink of death! He did this by paving the way for the daily recitation of The Divine Mercy Chaplet at not one, but two Churches (and I'm sure many other parishes throughout the world) - culminating in the celebration of the great Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter!

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Our Lord said to St. Faustina "Mankind will not have peace until it comes to the Fount of My Mercy" (Dairy 699). Even in the Mass we pray first for Mercy and then beg for Peace: "Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world - have Mercy on us . . . Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world - have Mercy on us . . . Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world - grant us Peace!" Please join us in begging the Lord for His Mercy and for His Peace. We cannot become complacent thinking that "The" war is almost over. People continue to die daily, in all the "wars" against life: artificial contraception, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, genocide, and the constant "war" that the devil is waging against The Church and faithful people everywhere. We must not forget to continue to pray to God to shower His Mercy on us and to thank Him for all he has already done for the world -- through His Life, Death and Resurrection.

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"Oh, Blood and Water which gushed forth from The Heart of Jesus -- as a Fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! Jesus, I trust in YOU!"


Footnotes:
1. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy consists of special prayers said on the Rosary daily for Divine Mercy.
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2. Sister Faustina had apparitions of Our Lord starting in 1931 explaining the Divine Mercy Devotion. The devotion spread from these apparitions. Sister Faustina has now been canonized a saint.
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Note: This article covers the Chaplet of Divine Mercy but another important aspect of this Devotion is a special novena of prayer to be said from Good Friday (when Jesus won our salvation) to the Sunday after Easter called, "Mercy Sunday." Booklets of these prayers can be obtained in local Catholic Stores and from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

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