Reflections for the Week
From His Wounded Heart
In the encounter between the risen Jesus and the doubting disciple in today’s Gospel, heart speaks to heart. Jesus invites Thomas to touch the marks of the nails in his body and of the soldier’s lance in his side (heart). Jesus, as it were, speaks from his wounded heart, a heart full of love, a heart from which life-giving graces now flow. Jesus invites Thomas to heal his heart by believing, and in the process, heal Jesus’ own heart, too. Both hearts have been wounded during Jesus’ Passion. Both can now become ‘wounded healers.’ In the case of Doubting Thomas, his story is healing with its assurance that if we believe that Jesus is alive among us - even without seeing him - then we are living a life that is nourished by the spring of salvation: “Rivers of living water will flow from within him (from his heart).” (Jn 8:38)
365 Days with the Lord Fr Cielo Almazan OFM
Conversion Prayer & Prayer for the Dying
I desire that you know more profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls. You will understand this when you meditate upon my Passion. Call upon my Mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give that soul the grace of conversion.’ This is the prayer: O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You. To bring Jesus into the life of another person (name the person) and recite this in front of a picture of the Divine Image.
St Faustina said: ‘I often attend upon the dying and through entreaties obtain for them trust in God’s mercy. God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illumined by a ray of God’s powerful grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment, while outwardly it shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition, because souls [at that stage] no longer react to external things.’
Our Lord said: ‘Encourage souls to say the Chaplet of Mercy which I have given you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between my Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Saviour. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in my mercy. Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with my will. The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to my mercy.’
The Diary of St Faustina
Today’s Gospel is a powerful telling of the appearing of the risen Jesus after the cruelty of his death on the cross. The absence of one apostle, Thomas, works happily for all generations to come. His doubt about a risen Lord is sensible and sane. He wants some proof. Thomas, as it were, stands for all of us, represents all of us, in our absence from that scene. In appearing again, to Thomas, Jesus is appearing to us. And Jesus calls down a blessing upon us, the blessing of faith, the gift of believing. The Holy Spirit will work in us, bestowing on us the grace and power of faith. As Thomas falls to his knees, he prays the prayer of all who believe: “My Lord and my God!”
The Living Word Redemptorist Publications
The Measure of Mercy
Perhaps Thomas’ problem with Christ rising from the dead is precisely because he believes that Jesus is God, and being God why would he return to them? Why would Jesus come back to people who have let him down? Why would he return to a world that not only rejected him but put him to death? To believe that Jesus is risen is to believe that he has forgiven us. Thomas doubts the resurrection, because he doubts God’s mercy. To accept mercy requires trust, which is why it is so hard to forgive by human powers. Strengthened by his encounter with Jesus, Thomas finally understands that God is too great to be merciless, and that God is the measure of his own mercy.
Such love and such mercy is always more than can be generated by human power. Mercy is a divine presence, a divine power that can be found in prayer. So to truly forgive and to truly accept forgiveness requires prayer. Praying for our enemies is not an aspect of forgiveness; it is the fundamental way to forgive.
The Living Word Redemptorist Publications
Fr Bill's Thoughts