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Movin' On Up

Looks like New York City is now home to at least 2 more Catholics. Surprisingly, the apartment I moved to is actually bigger than my last place. The good news with this move is that I may be able to blog more often because my 3-4 hour per day commute has pretty much disappeared. I can now roll out of bed and walk to the lab as opposed to roll out of bed, walk to car, drive car to parking lot, walk from parking lot to train station, take train to NYC, take subway uptown, and then walk to lab. Needless to say, the long lab days have gotten that much more bearable. Did I mention that there's a gym downstairs and laundry room a few doors down? One word for you: HUZZAH!

Naturally, I had a rough time trying to find a suitable and affordable place in NYC for years, meeting road
block after road block. In hindsight all of these minor misfortunes turned out for the best and as much as I questioned God's plans for me in the meantime, He ultimately  took great care of me. I'm not going to lie, sometimes it is quite hard for me to leave everything up to Him and it is especially hard for me to feel His presence during some difficult situations where it seems like there is no end of road blocks. During these times, I question and complain A LOT. Without fail, each and every time I ultimately get to see how foolish I had been to despair.
Dat Bridge
One of my aunts once told me that my grandfather used to adamantly petition God and question Him until things fell into place. I really hope that all of my questioning and petitioning means that I have inherited his kind of strong faith. Sometimes it feels like I have. Sometimes it feels like God gives me trials before great moments just so that I can better understand that all things come from Him and I should DEPEND on him for all things. Sometimes it is extremely hard for me to have that kind of faith, the kind of faith that allows me to simply depend on Him and simply trust that he will provide for me. I hope this move will help me reach that understanding.

Speaking of understanding, I finally know why I took all those years of Spanish in high school and not French. I can always learn French at leisure, but I am definitely going to need the Spanish to survive in my particular corner of NYC. I am definitely rusty, but seem to know enough to get around and to procure the things I need from the little bodegas that seem to exist on just about every corner. And then there's the churches around here. It is no secret that they cater to their predominantly Spanish-speaking populous. I love that about the Catholic Church...permanent but always in flux with regards to the changing needs of her flock. I stumbled upon a prayer service here the other night as I searched for a church to call home during my time here. It was in Spanish, there was singing, and there was a strong show of faith. Mantillas, rosaries, prayer books, and lots of families with children in tow. This tight little community of Hispanic Catholics reminded me so much of the Portuguese Catholic community I grew up in. I have no shame in admitting that the experience brought tears to my eyes, hearing the women singing their songs of praise, remembering how I used to sit up there in the front pews singing with my mom in the choir. We Portuguese are a very nostalgic people. We cannot help but cry.

Pax Vobiscum

Don't Pray Like a Parrot

A long, long time ago...back when I had bangs and wore massive sweatshirts to school, my family had a parrot we called "Birdie." We taught this parrot phrases and I even tried to teach this parrot how to pick out playing cards based on numbers and colors. This bird was a bit of a silly genius at times and other times, it could be super creepy. Every Christmas it would see the house decorations and exclaim "HAPPY EASTER BASKET!" and when Easter came, we would get a drawn out and somewhat eerie "Merry Christmas" in a scratchy, baritone voice. In spite of its inability to tell one holiday from another, it learned how to mimic quite a few phrases and sounds, the creepiest of which was the laugh of one of my parents' good friends. For whatever reason, the parrot picked up the habit of trying out this laugh when it was dark and quiet. One minute you'd hear crickets chirping outside, and the next minute you would hear a low-pitched, hollow laugh that belonged in a movie like the Shining and not your typical suburban household.

Some species of parrot, especially the African Grey, can learn to say quite a few things. According to a Benedictine padre in the monastery I frequent, there are two parrots in Sri Lanka that were once housed in a convent. These parrots learned how to recite the prayers of the rosary. This padre made a point that people can sometimes pray like these birds. They can pray mechanically, without feeling or emphasis...or even and understanding of what they are praying. It is impressive when parrots can "pray" like this, but it is not so impressive when people pray like this.

As much as we may hate to admit it, we are sometimes guilty of praying like parrots. In our everyday hectic lives, we may quickly recite a prayer out of necessity or habit without really pausing to reflect on the significance of each word of this prayer...or the significance of even being able to address God as "Father." We may simply recite the act of Contrition during mass more out of habit than piety...simply reciting the words to this prayer without considering the need for reconciliation with God after we sin. I don't know about you, but I know I have been guilty of praying the rosary in parrot mode during those hectic days when I just want to be over and done with my prayers. In these instances, I may not realize it, but I am simply reciting a series of words out of obligation to daily rhythm rather than praying from the heart. We've all been there and we will all reach points in our lives when we turn into prayer life parrots. We are only human.
Image credit:
It is rather sad, actually, when people turn prayer into a simple recitation of a series of words from memory. It is sad because this mechanical prayer business pulls us farther and farther away from God. When you pray like this, you will find it harder to feel God's presence. You will find it harder to feel the power that comes with the Holy Spirit, the power that can flow from God, through you, and to a world in desperate need of miracles and holy people. Miracles can come through devout prayer. They cannot come through rote memorization of words. You can work miracles through prayer if your prayers allow you to orient yourself towards God, if your prayers make your soul stir with an ardent faith. You cannot do any of this if you treat prayer like a mere series of words.

When you pray like a parrot, you mechanically repeat a series of words you have learned. You aren't dwelling on God's word or the purpose that God has given you. You are not really communicating with God as if He were a loving Father. You aren't really talking to Christ in a way that acknowledges his significance in your life. You are simply repeating words without any real emotion, words whose meaning is lost to you. Parrot prayers result in your distancing yourself from God. They turn God into some kind of entity that is too far to reach and too unconcerned with your life. You owe it to yourself to avoid parrot prayer at all costs. Firstly, prayer should not be treated as a magical spell or formula that must be recited daily in order for you to consider yourself in good standing with God. Prayer should allow you to not only converse with God, but to listen to Him as well.

Prayer should make you feel alive. It should lift you to heights that are normally explored by angels if it is a prayer of praise. It should be a transcendent experience that breaks the barriers that currently separate the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of God, allowing miracles to triumph medical impossibilities if it is a prayer of intercession. It should bring you to your knees, knocking the wind out of your lungs if it is a prayer of repentance. This type of prayer helps you experience God being closer to you than the air you breathe. This type of prayer helps you truly experience the company of saints and angels in your everyday life whenever you need their support.

Today, I prayed the St. Michael prayer in a truly powerful, powerful way with a priest. As I prayed, a felt a power rushing over me, a power that could easily vanquish all evil. It was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Even though I felt the tranquility of God's peace upon me, my knees were shaking and I was almost breathless as I prayed. There was an emphasis with each word and the priest helped me envision Pope Leo creating this prayer as a defense against the evils of this world. At the end of this prayer, it felt as if I had been exorcised of all the doubts, fears, and sadness that had been afflicting me off and on for the past month or so. At the conclusion of this prayer, I felt a peace that I had not felt in some time. I was strengthened, and the blessings that came with a devout recitation of this prayer were more than tangible. I even ugly-cried...though the priest assured me that even ugly crying was an incarnation of the gift of tears. After experiencing this from one St. Michael prayer, I have resolved to avoid parrot prayers at all costs.

Henceforth, I will try to do the following in order to ensure a faithful, powerful, transcendent, and even mystical prayer life:

1. Focus on the biblical history of each prayer. Put myself in the scripture passages that these prayers were based on and try to envision God's universe as explained by each prayer.

2. Meditate upon the words used in each prayer and the images they evoke. This will help me better understand how normal people like me become saints...and hopefully lead me to a more holy life.

3. Speak with God. I need to speak more extemporaneously and more often. Speaking to God as I would to my dad may help me better appreciate God as Father.

4. Listen to God. This is very important because I do feel that God often sends me warnings and advice in the most unexpected ways. I should trust in God more so that I can better hear Him when He does try to help me through this life.

5. Take my time. I need to take my time with prayer. Rushing through prayer is a one-way ticket to parrot prayer and its consequences. I probably can add hours to my prayer life if I use my time more wisely. Who needs to take pointless online quizzes anyway? We all have time that can better be why not invest it in a better prayer life.

6. Depend on God and trust Him completely. I should pray with a fire in my heart as well as an ardent trust in God. I should pray KNOWING that He will help me in the best way possible...and simply trust in Him when that way does not conform to my own way.

7. Follow the Holy Spirit. If you feel a nudge to give a homeless person $20 while you are praying or conversing with God...then DO IT. God will work great things through you if you give Him a chance.

8 Ask for help. There is an army of saints, angels, and souls in purgatory that want to help us get closer to God. What better way to attain holiness than by asking for the intercession of those who have been in our shoes before. They understand our flaws well and want to help us make it to heaven...even when we may not have heaven in mind. God will help you too...if you open your heart to Him.

9. Pray with Love. The most powerful prayers are the prayers that start with love. Love of my savior on the cross. Love of the poor old woman who sifts through trash cans at Penn Station for recyclables. Love of the weak and vulnerable. Love of family. Love of life. When you pray with love, you pray with Christ because He is love.

10. Pray with feeling. Emotional prayers can be extremely powerful experiences...and what better way to pray than to pray with joy, contrition, etc. You can even ugly cry during prayer. God doesn't mind even the snottiest ugly cry if it heals you, draws you nearer to him, or helps you turn your life around. God made us the emotional beings that we are and what better way to celebrate this than to pray with feeling.

I am sure that it will all get easier once I have more practice, but I think these are good ways to start turning my prayer life into something more meaningful and powerful than my typical subway rosary. I am very excited to move forward in my prayer life and hope that today's experience is a sign of experiences to come.

Pax Vobiscum

Setting the World on Fire

"If we become who God created us to be, we would set the world on fire."
-St. Teresa of Avila
St Teresa of Avila
I want to set the world on fire so badly. I want to ignite hearts and stir souls. I want to inspire others and do great things. I want to become that person I was meant to be. Sometimes I feel like God gave me the spirit of the warrior, the wimpy body of a scholar, and a mind that belongs to an ancient Roman politician. I want to do great things, but then I start thinking and next thing you know...I fall back into the usual routine. Back to reading scientific papers, back to running stats on data, back to slicing brains, back to everyday lab-related "blah." In spite of all of this, I cannot shake off this feeling that I am made for more. I may not yet know it, but I am constantly called for it. This restlessness must mean something. This desire for something else must mean something.

Currently, I just wrapped up year 4 of a PhD program that is most likely going to squeeze out another 1.5-2 years of work from I cannot set the world on fire for another 1.5 to 2 years. Truth be told, I am on the fence about so many things right now. I am on the fence about where I want to be in 5 years, where I should be in 5 years, and how I get there. Do I want to teach? Yes. Who will I teach? I don't I go back and forth between college students, high school students, and middle school students. Where will I teach? I don't know because I may or may not want to try teaching in a foreign country before settling down somewhere. I'm also realizing more and more that I am not the only one that is going to contribute to the decisions taking place in my life. I have a husband now and his needs need to be taken into consideration.

In the long run, I suppose the details don't really matter. The important part is that I want to teach. The important part is that I know that I will set the world on fire as soon as I start teaching.

In the realm of PhD programs, it is generally frowned upon to get a PhD and then go off to a small college or high school to become a teacher. PhD's are trained to become grant-writing machines or to simply go into industry. Surprisingly, industry is also frowned upon even though it is, as a whole,  a far more lucrative option than academia...a strange paradox. There's a bit of a stigma that is associated with careers outside of academia. The idea is that only the best get into PhD programs and only the best PhDs can score a nice job in academia. Anything else is deemed inferior. Even industry, lucrative as it may be, is deemed an inferior career path to academia...if only because the odds are so low for those setting their sights on a career in academia. This mindset is something that I have had to deal with for a few years now and I am finally coming to terms that there is nothing wrong with choosing a different career path. I'm a square peg that simply is not made for a round hole.

So now that I have some idea of how I am to be what I was born to do I satisfy my need to set the world on fire in the next 1.5 to 2 years? I cannot simply drop everything to become a missionary right now...nor can I drop everything and go on a pilgrimage. I cannot disappear from my current life of lab drudgery to teach a classroom of students. Well, on the other hand, I suppose I could do all of these things, but God put me here and kept me here this long for a reason. I know I could not have done it of my own will or even my own talent. I trust that God knows what is best for me even during the times where I feel the most restless. After all, it is in these times where I have learned to be a better, more patient, and even more faithful Catholic.

If you look back to the key moments of your life closely enough, you will begin to see patterns in decision-making, chance, luck, fate, or whatever else you call it. You will start realizing that each stone you hopped on served as an essential part of a bridge that spanned the river separating the place you come from and the place you need to go. The difficulties you experienced 10 years ago made you better able to bear whatever cross you bear now. The times you fell to the ground made you more resilient, more able to prevent yourself from falling again, more appreciative of the good moments.

I may not have set the world on fire during my time in graduate school, but I've become better able to be the person I was born to be. I don't think I have ever had it as rough as I have had it for the past 4 years. The stress, the medical issues, the failures, etc. took their toll on me and changed me. Strangely enough, I have changed for the better. I have become more resilient, more humble, and more empathetic. My faith has been strengthened in a way that I never thought possible and I have probably done more good in this time than I ever did as a complacent-bordering-on-apathetic teenager and young adult.

The restlessness is almost painful sometimes, but this is all a test to ensure that I am ready to set the world on fire when my time comes...

Pax Vobiscum

Walking with Mary: A Geeky Review

If you consider faith a journey, then I really recommend Edward Sri’s Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross. It provides you with a path that will allow you to explore the sights that many people (myself included) typically pass by without a notice. In this book, we see the path of Mary, the mother of God. The subject of Mary is one that is typically avoided by most Christian denominations. We may see her in the nativity set during Christmas, but she typically disappears for the rest of the year. She is certainly more present in Catholicism, but even Catholics tend to overlook many of the details of Mary’s life that are present in the Bible. As a result, we lose a very valuable series of lessons that we could learn if we were to walk the path that Mary walked from the annunciation to her queenship in heaven.

In this book Sri offers a richer understanding of the moments in Mary’s life that played such a central role in the history of salvation. He incorporates the writings of saints like Pope Saint John Paul II to draw us deeper into the life of Mary so that we can use her as an example of how Christians are to embrace God’s will and live our lives with humility and steadfast faith. Sri takes these writings and weaves them together with tradition and history to give us a personal introduction to Mary, an introduction that allows us to familiarize ourselves with Mary, putting us in her shoes and allowing us to view her as a role model that we can relate to. 

Sure, the world was a lot different two thousand years ago, when most of the events in the New Testament took place…but there are feelings, experiences, and lessons that transcend time and culture. In essence, you can read this book and get to know Mary and learn how you can follow her footsteps toward holiness. Each chapter introduces you to a moment in scripture in which Mary serves as an example for all Christians, it draws you deeper into life as Mary saw it, as she experienced it. You find yourself relating to moments in her life, moments of sorrow as well as moments of grace. By helping you identify with Mary in these moments, Sri makes it easier for you to look to Mary as an example of how to confront difficult trials as well as joyful things like motherhood.

All in all, this book was a very delightful and inspirational read that is sure to help you on your path to holiness. I would highly recommend this book to all women, especially those who have come across difficult, trying times and those who are at a stage in their life where they feel they are at some kind of crossroads. The structure of this book makes it a wonderful book to read prayerfully as each chapter provides excellent material for meditation on Mary’s life.

Disclaimer: I was offered a free copy of this book for review by Blogging for Books. All words and views expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Pax Vobiscum

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen Knows What's Up

I put on "Day After Tomorrow" last night because it happens to be hilariously awful. Whenever there's a storm outside, snow delays on NJ Transit, or a weather-related closing of can count on me to reference the movie or break out with a quote from the movie. I start watching it last night and it hit me...the crazy that I laughed at is all too real in the present times when too many fools have podiums and too many fools have their own TV shows. Everything from sports to weather to health to entertainment is chock-full of information that is questionable but still shoved down out throats whenever we want to do something as simple as read a newspaper or catch up on weather. I mean, we've all seen how good the media is at fanning the beginnings of mass hysteria by beating the dead horse-of-the-week with panels of experts, tell-all interviews, recreated events, details at 10, more details at 11, speculation at 12, and irrelevant factoids at 12:30. 

I don't know what it is about the world today, but people seem to have lost the ability to simply THINK for themselves before jumping to the same conclusions that are constantly transmitted to them by celebrities, politicians, and media name it.

STILL...not all hope is lost.

If you have ever gotten tired about the back and forth of "butter/gluten/soy/eggs/etc are good/bad for you" are catching on to something. If you have ever found yourself researching the study that is allegedly behind the latest "eat __________ each day to ensure long life" are catching on to something as well. If you've blocked status updates from that friend that keeps posting those "all you need is (insert unrealistic daily allotment of vegetable X here) to cure cancer," you are on to something too. We are all up to something. We are coming to the realization that the world is out of its mind and that science as well as reason have been hijacked by special interests, fools, or the dangerous combination of fools with special interests. 

What can we do to remedy this? We can THINK. We can use our power of reasoning to make the right conclusions...even if they may not match up with the flavor-of-the-week conclusions that seem to have infiltrated the brains of the masses, colleagues, friends, family, those "panels of experts," etc.

How can we start thinking for ourselves? Well, let me to introduce you to Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen....a man who is certainly worth listening to you. In the brief 23 minute clip below, he breaks down just how much we need to think about when we come across that latest statistic that either has everyone locking themselves in a fallout shelter, convincing themselves its the end of the world. He talks about the types of reasoning, the ins and outs of statistics, and different strategies for interpreting statistics in an applicable manner. 
Best of all, he brings up the questions you need to ask whenever you interpret a statistic. How many people were sampled? Who funded the study? Who conducted the study? How relevant are these findings? Let me just say from experience that the material in this video is right on target with some of the material discussed in any epidemiology or statistics course that is worth taking.
Sheen is brilliant...absolutely brilliant. With that said, check out the video

Pax Vobiscum

Spontaneously Loving One Another

I hate the subway. I hate the mob mentality at Penn Station. I hate the pushing, personal space violations, the rushing, the shoving, the obnoxious rolling bags that threaten your ankles whenever a careless tourist decides to take a mad dash to their "ALL ABOARD" train. Forget the Galapagos Island finches, I am sure Darwin came up with his theory of natural selection at the ship port while he was still waiting to board the HMS Beagle. I am sure he was able to fine tune his theory as he watched other passengers survive their sea voyage by creating hierarchies amongst themselves and picking on whoever it was that never quite fit in.

I've never been at sea for a very long time, but having worked in a lab for most of my adult life...I can assure you that seeing the same people in the same space every day can bring out the worst in some. Pecking orders arise, people are thrown under the bus, and all kinds of tensions pop up almost out of nowhere sometimes. People can be awful and, as I am a very flawed individual, I can be awful too. As such, I can understand that it doesn't take much for the worst to be brought out of someone when they are in crowded the Fool and a few of my friends and they will tell you how awful I can be at a concert when someone is trying to shove me to the side as they fight for a place in the front. I don't take kindly to people doing this after I have spent most of my day in line, hoping for a spot that a vertically-challenge hobbit like myself can see the band from.

I've been reflecting on how awful New York has made me over the years I've spent commuting. Seeing people living in poverty everyday is hard on people like me. If I had $100 in singles in my pocket, I could not even come close to helping everyone I see on a day-to-day basis. I can't bear to look at all the poor I see, especially when I know that I am not very well-off myself. I can't help everyone and this thought, strange as it sounds, is crippling. It makes me less charitable, knowing that I cannot help everyone.

But I can still love them. I can still give them a smile instead of turning my eyes down and briskly walking past them. I can still envision them as people.

I can still pray for them and hope the best for them even when I am too afraid to say anything. I can still offer them what I do have with me, even if it isn't much...instead of pretending I don't see them just because I don't have money in my wallet. As one of the monks I know continually says, it is not about the sin. God knows our sins. What He wants is for us to change so that we may prove that we are actually sorry for our sins when we go to confession. It is about the intention we hold in our hearts and what we do with this intention. If my own charity has become a victim to the every-man-for-himself mentality of the big city...this is what needs to change.

Even if I cannot help every person....and even if I do not happen to have money in my pocket....

...I can share my lunch with a woman holding a sign up that is asking for money. I may not have money, but I have my credit card-purchased lunch. I had a cup of water from the cooler in front of my doctor's I can give this woman my iced tea and just because I happen to have it, I can ask her if she likes chocolate. If she happens to like chocolate or just make a comment that she is hungry...I give her my credit card-purchased fine extra dark Ritter chocolate.

...I can still help an older couple carry their luggage down a flight of steps even if it means getting to work a bit later. Even if it means having to overcome this fear of just talking to or interacting with strangers on any given day. God knows the sacrifices introverts go through to simply wish someone a good day...

...I can still smile. Pope Francis tells us we should look people in the eye when we are charitable. As useful as money can be to people living in poverty....sometimes there is a yearning in their hearts to simply be treated as human beings. I can give someone a smile that radiates love if I have just given my last $3 to a sleeping homeless person. And I can do it again at some point in the future when I catch another homeless person on the street with nothing in hand to offer. God knows the sacrifices introverts go through to simply smile at strangers...

Spontaneously loving people gets a bit easier with practice. The more you do it, the harder it is for you to walk away from strangers in need. I know I don't do it perfectly just yet and there are still times when I look down, ignore, or simply pretend that there is nothing wrong with the world. There are times when my introverted nature gets the best of me. However, I have gotten to the point where I will at least offer a prayer up for each person-in-need that I encounter...regardless of how drunk, dirty, scary, etc. they may seem on the outside. I'm getting better at it and even if I still have my failures when it comes to spontaneously loving other people....God knows my intentions and He knows what I am up against every time I try to reach out to someone in need of a bit of charity.

Pax Vobiscum

Divine Mercy Novena Day 1: Good Friday

If you are not familiar with the Divine Mercy chaplet, please refer to this older post. Once you are familiar with the chaplet, you can prepare yourself for Divine Mercy Sunday with this beautiful novena. I call it beautiful because it allows you to bring souls to Christ with the hopes that they may experience Christ's grace and his mercy. If you take this novena seriously, you will find yourself not only benefiting your own soul through a deeper understanding of Christ's mercy...but you will benefit other souls as well. These souls may not have anyone else to pray for them. These souls may be one prayer away from that crucial metanoia that will ultimately lead them to Christ. Conversions isn't something that just is a process that may be initiated by prayers for these individuals and a bunch of prayer warriors storming heaven on behalf of souls in need of conversion.

God loves every soul out there....and it is up to us to vouch for souls who cannot vouch for themselves. With that said, please consider praying this Novena with me. You pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for nine days, starting on Good Friday and ending on Divine Mercy Sunday. You can find the details here, but essentially you fulfill a few conditions along with prayer of this Novena (confession, Eucharist on Divine Mercy Sunday, praying for the pope's intentions, etc) to attain plenary indulgence as well as many other graces. In previous years, I have kept particular souls in mind as I have met the different conditions of this Novena with the intention that any graces I could receive, are instead given to these souls. I believe that God is merciful beyond my understanding and, as such, believe that prayer and suffering on behalf of other souls is a powerful help for these souls.

The Divine Mercy Novena begins on Good  Friday and, according to the diaries of St. Faustina Kowalska, "by this Novena [Christ] will grant every possible grace for souls." I know I am one of those souls in dire need of Christ's mercy because I am nowhere near perfect and I cannot rely on myself to change this. I must rely on God and, in order to do so, I must trust in His mercy. The promise of grace through this Novena is a powerful thing. I think of it as that hand that Christ extended to St. Peter when he started to flounder in the water. He had faith and this faith is what led him to attempt to walk on water with Christ. Yet, it was his doubt and his fears that caused him to sink even in the presence of Christ. We may not think of our own faithful life as being similar to those great apostles from the New Testament...but it is very similar. We face temptations, we find strength in Christ, and we rely on his friendship (grace) St. Peter relied on Christ's friendship (grace).

The souls we are asked to pray for on the first day of the novena are the souls of all of mankind...especially sinners. Let us pray that all of these souls are brought to Christ that his mercy and compassion wash over them.

Papal Favorite: Marc Chagall’s “White Crucifixion” depicts Jesus, wearing a tallit instead of a loincloth.
Marc Chagall's  White Crucifixion (1938)
A favorite of Pope Francis

"Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me."

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

Pax Vobiscum

(For previous reflections for the first day of this Novena, click here.)