Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for being here – not only for the presentation but especially for the recitation of the Chaplet. It is such a special thing. It is wonderful to see such a great turnout for that as well as all of you who are in line for Confession. What a wonderful experience we are all going to have of Divine Mercy.
What I would like to do to begin is to help all of you that do not know that much about Divine Mercy, and explain why we are here together this Sunday. Then, the focus of my talk is going to be Divine Mercy during the year of St. Joseph. I love Divine Mercy and was blessed to talk virtually last year so, if you are interested, it is on my website: theprodigalfather.org. Then the year before, a year before I even came here, I happened to be here to give the talk on Divine Mercy and knowing God the Father’s love through Divine Mercy. I would really encourage you to watch those video presentations because they really encapsulate my thesis of Divine Mercy, especially through God the Father’s love. Today, however, I am going to focus specifically on St. Joseph.
Why are we here today on this Divine Mercy Sunday? Jesus says to St. Faustina, “The graces of my mercy are drawn by the means of one vessel only and that vessel is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” You have shown great trust by being here today. You are trusting in this message that Jesus has given to us by Faustina. You are trusting in the priest who you are going to the sacrament of Reconciliation with, and you are trusting that I will be able to deliver to you this message of mercy.
I thank you, first of all, for being here. I thank you for trusting me during this time. I also trust in the promises that Jesus gives to the priests that whenever priests proclaim the message of Divine Mercy that the Holy Spirit will be with them and work through them.
During this last Lent many of you have gotten to experience prayer through the program that I have: Pray40Days – 40 days of guided meditation and contemplation. I am so happy to have led you through that because it was through this prayer of meditation and contemplation, through this mental prayer, that Faustina came to know and experience and to have these mystical revelations of Christ.
Saint Faustina is an extraordinary saint. She is a wonderful saint. The reality is, too, that all of us are called to be mystics. A mystic is somebody who encounters Christ for real. So, as Saint Faustina encountered Christ in these ways, I want you to know that you are also called and gifted to experience Christ in the mystical life in this journey. All of the prayer that I have been teaching to you (this meditative and contemplative prayer) opens us up to this great mystical life.
Saint Faustina was a mystic because she had these experiences of God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. She had it in such a way that He became so real to her that she could see Him, and she could hear Him. It was during times of prayer that this would happen. It was during times of mass that it would happen. Christ would then reveal Himself to her during ordinary times. As I taught many of you, the important thing for your prayer life is to spend daily time in meditative and contemplative prayer. This would be our holy hour. It would be a time that would primarily be sacred. God would speak to you, but the more we spend that time in the holy hour, the more that God is going to reveal Himself to us throughout the day. Saint Faustina would experience Jesus in different visions, locutions, apparitions, infused contemplation, and mental prayer. These are all different ways that she experienced Him.
What brings us here today is this revelation that Jesus gave to her back in the 1930’s. The Lord called her to set aside this special feast day called Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is to be the first Sunday after Easter. That is why we are here today. This is the first Sunday after Easter. Now, for quite some time the Lord asked Faustina to declare this Divine Mercy Sunday, and nobody was listening to her. The Lord asked her to go to the Holy Father and declare this Divine Mercy Sunday. The Pope said, “We already have it.” She went back to Jesus and said, “The Pope said we already have it.” Jesus said to her, “Well, who knows about it? Who knows what this Divine Mercy Sunday is?” That was back in 1930. We are almost 100 years later and still we can say about Divine Mercy Sunday, “Who knows about it?” Thankfully, all of you do. This is wonderful that you are here today, but if everybody truly knew the message of Divine Mercy Sunday, every church would be packed. Every sanctuary would be packed. When Pope John Paul II canonized her on April 30, 2000, he declared officially that the first Sunday after Easter would from now on be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. So, hopefully everybody knows this by now.
The Lord expressed His will with regard to this feast in His very first revelation to Saint Faustina. The most comprehensive revelation can be found in her diary. It is all by paragraph number.
Paragraph 699: He says “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge for sinners and shelter for all souls, especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day, there opens all the divine floodgates through which all of my graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me.”
Have no fears – especially if you have a sin in your life that you may be afraid of confessing. If there is anything you are not sure you should bring forward or if there is anything you are ashamed of, bring that forward to the Lord. “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sin be scarlet.” So, He is saying no matter how scarlet red your sins are, no matter how bad they are, do not fear to come near to Me. “My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of an angel, will be able to fathom it, it through eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of my tender mercy.” God is revealing that the primary identity of God is mercy. That is who God is. “Every soul in relation to me will contemplate my love and mercy through all eternity. The feast of my mercy emerged from the very depths of my tenderness, and it is my desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.” Here we are, the first Sunday after Easter. Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus concludes, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of my mercy.” Think of all the times of unrest that we have experienced (especially this last year). Man will not have peace until we turn to His mercy.
I want to introduce the concept of Saint Joseph in terms of Divine Mercy. Many of us parishioners are doing the consecration to Saint Joseph. We are doing a 33-day consecration to Saint Joseph. We have our statue here that we are venerating during this time. Over these 33 days, we are coming to know of these qualities of Saint Joseph who is such a wonderful patron. He is actually the patron of the universal church. Here is the apostolic letter that Pope Francis wrote called “Patris Corde,” which means “parts of the Father.” It is written on the 150th Anniversary of St. Joseph being named the Universal Patron of the Church. We have this 150th Anniversary that we are celebrating on this Divine Mercy Sunday. He says, “With the Father’s heart. That is how Saint Joseph loved Jesus who all four gospels refer to as the Son of Joseph.”
So, Jesus was known as the Son of Joseph in all four gospels. Saint Joseph played a very special role in the raising of Jesus and helping Jesus to know what the true qualities of a good and loving father are. So, throughout this I am going to weave together some of the qualities of Saint Joseph with some of the qualities that Jesus reveals to us in Divine Mercy.
He says, “Each of us can discover in Saint Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.” We can turn to Saint Joseph to guide us during any times of trouble in our lives. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God. I want you to think about that for a second. Jesus was born and raised, held by His father, and learned to walk. He would experience the tender love of God through His father. We hear in Psalm 103, “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.”
We hear all too often that God works only through our better part, yet most of His plans are realized despite this and in our frailty. Thus, Saint Paul can say, “To keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but He said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Cor 12:7-9). I want you to think about your own weakness. I want you to think about that thorn that may be in your life and that desire that you have to be rid of this. We must look at even our weaknesses with tender mercy. Pope Francis says that about Saint Joseph and about us. We must even look at our weaknesses with tender mercy.
Saint Joseph was known as being a father in the shadows. The Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father, tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. He uses an image of a shadow to define Saint Joseph and his relationship with Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father. He watched over him, he protected him, he prayed for him, and he never left him going his own way – just as a shadow is always present with each and every one of us. “In the wilderness, you saw how the Lord, your God, carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled.” (Deuteronomy 1:31)
The Holy Father said this then, “Every priest or bishop should be able to add, with the Apostle: ‘I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.’” (ibid.). Paul likewise calls the Galatians: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” (4:19).
I want you to think about the father figures you have had in your life. Think about the ones that especially showed you tenderness. That may be your own father. That may be a grandfather, maybe a father figure, maybe a priest or confessor. Think about someone who has showed you unconditional love and tenderness.
Then we hear Jesus say, “I trust that in talking about Divine Mercy on this great feast, I as your priest can say, ‘I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.’” Hopefully, right now as I talk, I can be your father revealing to you this message of Divine Mercy.
Let’s get back to Divine Mercy. These are some of the basic things. There are five points that I just want to briefly go through for those of you that may not know about Divine Mercy Sunday.
- Saint Faustina had to tell the priests to talk about Divine Mercy Sunday. Notice that Jesus reveals Himself to Saint Faustina and says, “Tell my priests about Divine Mercy Sunday.” Is that not interesting? He does not go to the priest; He goes to Saint Faustina. What is very interesting for me too is that I did not come to learn about Divine Mercy at the seminary. It was not in any of our classes. It was nothing I ever learned about. You want to know how I got to learn about Divine Mercy? Through laywomen. I have five copies of Divine Mercy that women have given to me over the years and said, “You must read this book. You must read this book. You must read this book. You must read this book.” Do any of you have a copy of Divine Mercy with you? Can you hold that up so people can see? It is a thick book. It is not a little book to get through. It is like 750 pages. Every time I would get that, and I would be at the seminary, I would think, “I do not have time to read that.” You would think if five different ladies gave me five books, I might read it. Right? Well, we are a little bit slow sometimes. Finally it was during the Year of Mercy that I read Saint Faustina’s work, her diary. I absolutely fell in love with it. I feel so blessed to write these talks every year because I get to go back into it and immerse myself in her writings. Over and over and over again, “Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you.” No matter what happens in my life, “Jesus, I trust in you.” No matter what sin clings to me, “Jesus, I trust in you.” It is such a beautiful message. If you do not get it by reading the first 10 pages, you have 750 pages more of “Jesus, I trust in you.” We have to trust and, when we trust, we will experience His mercy.
So, the first is to speak to my priest about mercy. You got me, OK? You got me, but you do not have every priest. A lot of priests do not know the message of Divine Mercy. I just kind of challenge you with taking the message of Divine Mercy to your priest. Give him seven copies of it. Do whatever it takes until they realize they have to read it. That’s the first thing she says, “Tell my priests.”
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (pp. 103-104). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
- “Jesus declared that the Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of my Mercy and priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy.
I am making you (me) an administrator of My mercy. (Father points at people in the congregation to signify that we are all administrators of His mercy.) The priests that are hearing Confession right now. How awesome. They are showering you with God’s mercy.
Then he says, “The image is to be on view in the church and by means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it. We have the Divine Mercy image on display as well. That is good.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 218-219). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
- 50 I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite My inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me.
That is my offering for you. Can you and will you trust Him again if that trust has been broken or trust has fallen away. Can you trust Him once more?
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 46). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
- 1521 “Tell My priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in my heart. To priests who proclaim and extoll my mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak.”I believe this. I believe right now that He is touching my words, and He is anointing your ears to hear the word that He wants to speak to you. All of this I say is not from me. All of it is from the promises that come with Divine Mercy.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 462). Marian Press. Kindle Edition
- For the fifth and final one (this is happening while she is walking in the kitchen by the way), Jesus speaks these words in her soul. 687 “Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.” We will be talking about that with Saint Joseph in a few moments. He is the patron of a happy death.
“Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation.” So, when you are dying, recite this prayer. If you cannot recite it, you better tell everybody that you know that when you are dying you want them at your bedside reciting this prayer for you.
“Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened.” You can think of the most hardened sinner that there ever was. The worst person there ever was. “On their death bed, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy.”
I want to read that again. It talks about the deathbed, but you do not have to wait until you are dying to recite the Chaplet. But, if we are going to recite the Chaplet at three o’clock only one time in your whole life, you would receive the grace of His infinite mercy. Wow, what is going to happen here at three o’clock when we recite the Chaplet together? We will receive His infinite mercy.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 250). Marian Press. Kindle Edition
We are still going to talk about Saint Faustina, but I want to particularly reflect on Saint Joseph and His appearances to her. I do not know if you realize this or remember it from reading the chapter, but there were a couple of times that Saint Joseph appeared to Saint Faustina. As I was coming up with the idea of this talk, in the back of my mind, I remembered something about that. I remembered that there were a couple of times Saint Joseph appeared because we usually do not hear about that in apparitions. A lot of times we hear only about Mary appearing, but Saint Faustina had a few times where Saint Joseph appeared with her. That was what was in the back of my mind writing this talk and then I spent a couple of weeks kind of delving through it and finding where Saint Joseph was.
I want to start off by saying that when she began writing her diary, she started it with three letters. You know what those three letters were? JMJ. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Some of the older-schooled people probably know that. She began as most often a lot of people did back in that time . . . Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Notice how all three are present there from the very beginning, as she wrote her diary.
608 February 2, . “In the morning when the bell awoke me.” Think about it, you wake up by your alarm clock in the morning. “I was so overcome by drowsiness, which I could not shake off, that I jumped into cold water.” All you 90s guys can relate to this, right? The cold shower in the morning? She is tired. She is foggy, and she jumps into the cold shower. “And after two minutes, the sleepiness left me. When I came to meditation.” So, she went to meditation. She spent her time in prayer. (70) “…a host of absurd thoughts swarmed into my head.” That never happens to you, right? She is trying to pray. She is tired. She takes a shower. There are all these absurd thoughts. We do not get graphics of what they were, but they were absurd. “So much so that I had to struggle throughout the whole meditation.” She prayed, and during the entire meditation, she struggled with these obscure thoughts. Remember what I told you? If you pray, and you spend your time at holy hour and are tempted 1,000 times, but a 1,001 times you return your attention – the grace is there. You might have your whole holy hour disrupted and not gain what you are looking for, but it is fruitful. So, for her, she struggles the entire meditation, and nothing happens. Jesus does not speak to her in the meditation. She still spent the whole time there. “It was the same during another prayer time, but when Mass began, a strange silence and joy filled my heart. Just then, I saw Our Lady with the Infant Jesus, and the Holy Old Man [St. Joseph] standing behind them. The most holy Mother said to me, Take My Dearest Treasure, and She handed me the Infant Jesus. When I took the Infant Jesus in my arms, the Mother of God and Saint Joseph disappeared. I was left alone with the Infant Jesus.”
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 229). Marian Press. Kindle Edition
Mary and Joseph always want to give us Jesus. Mary and Joseph will be there to give us Jesus. Some people worry about too much devotion to Mary or Saint Joseph. We never have to worry about that because they are always going to give us their Son.
795 “I have accepted the favor of this treatment, but I am fully resigned to the will of God. Let God do with me as He pleases.” So, she is still having more struggles, and she finally accepts that this is just going to be her journey. “I desire nothing but the fulfillment of His holy will. I am uniting myself with the Mother of God, and I am leaving Nazareth and going to Bethlehem. I will spend Christmas there among strangers, yet with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, because such is the will of God. I am striving to do the will of God in all things. I do not desire a return to health more than death. I entrust myself completely to His infinite mercy and, as a little child, I am living in the greatest peace. I am trying only to make my love for Him deeper and purer, to be a delight to His divine glance… 796 (197) The Lord told me to say this chaplet for nine days before the Feast of Mercy. It is to begin on Good Friday. By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.”
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 277). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
Some of you may not have known this, but the last nine days a lot of you have probably been doing the Novena to Divine Mercy, and this was something that was proclaimed by Our Lord to Faustina after her experience with Mary and Joseph. So, we have that nine-day novena.
I want to talk about Saint Joseph and bring a little more light onto him. One of the titles of Saint Joseph is Spouse of the Mother of God. Saint Joseph is the spouse of the Mother of God. We hear in the Eucharistic Prayer, there are a number of them, but Eucharist Prayer II – “Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse and with all the saints and angels. Glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Virgin Mary, we beseech you through the heart of Jesus Christ, grant to us your fatherly protection.”
Saint Bernardine of Siena mentions this — “O Joseph, virgin father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray for us daily to the Son of God, that, armed with the weapons of his grace, we may fight as we ought in life, and be crowned by him in death.”
The next vision that she has: 1203 “Saint Joseph urged me to have a constant devotion to him.” Is that not interesting? This Consecration to Saint Joseph is nothing new. Saint Joseph is urging her to have a devotion to him. A constant devotion. “He himself told me to recite three prayers [the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be] and the Memorare.” 204. Each day those three prayers and the Memorare. “He looked at me with great kindness and gave me to know how much he is supporting this work [of mercy]. He has promised me this special help and protection.” Notice, Saint Joseph is promising her protection. I will talk about that in a little bit. “I recite the requested prayers every day and feel his special protection.” So the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be every day and then the Memorare.
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (pp. 373-374). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
So, Joseph says, “I want you to have this special devotion to me.” As he is asking her for the special devotion, he says, “Oh, by the way. I want you to pray the Memorare every day. Whom is the Memorare devotion to? Mary. Joseph is saying be devoted to me, and I am going to point you back at my spouse, Mary. Mary and I will point you back toward Jesus and give you Our Lord, Jesus.
The next quality of Saint Joseph I want to talk to you about is Saint Joseph the Dreamer. Here is a vision that she has. It is awesome to see how it ties in with this year. 1442 “When I arrived at Midnight Mass,” so this is Christmas, “from the very beginning I steeped myself in deep recollection,” (I want you to notice she goes to midnight mass, and before mass, there is something not all of us probably do. She steeps herself into reflection. It is so important when we come to mass that we prepare ourselves and steep ourselves into this recollection and time of reflection. As she is doing this, she has a vision.) “…during which time I saw the stable of Bethlehem filled with great radiance. The Blessed Virgin, all lost in the deepest of love, was wrapping Jesus in swaddling clothes, but Saint Joseph was still asleep.” Is that not interesting? Saint Joseph was still asleep. “Only after the Mother of God put Jesus in the manger, did the light of God awaken Joseph, who was also praying. But after a while, I was left alone with the Infant Jesus who stretched out His little hands to me, and I understood that I was to take Him in my arms.” Can you imagine this happening? Jesus reaching his arm out to you to take Him into your arms. “Jesus pressed His head against my heart and gave me to know, by His profound gaze, how good He found it to be next to my heart.” She has Jesus against her heart just simply gazing into her eyes. If you have ever held a child in your arms, you know what that is like, especially when they look back at you. “How good He found it to be next to my heart. At that moment Jesus disappeared and the bell was ringing for Holy Communion.” So, the whole time that she came to prepare for mass she entered into this beautiful and extraordinary prayer that she experienced.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 435). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
I want to talk about Joseph sleeping. You noticed that we heard that part in the vision that when she first saw the vision, Mary was awake and tending to Jesus and Joseph was asleep.
On January 16, 2015, Pope Francis, in his discourse to families in Manilla said, “I have great love for Saint Joseph because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table, I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. I have told some of you about the statue that I have of Saint Joseph sleeping. It is such a beautiful image. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So, when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him, ‘Pray for this problem!’”
“Next, rising with Jesus and Mary. Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong. But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act (cf. Rom 13:11). In our families, we have to get up and act! Faith does not remove us from the world but draws us more deeply into it.” Pope Francis continues, and he says, “Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God’s plan is entrusted to us. Like Saint Joseph. The gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph so that he could care for it. Each of you, each of us – for I too am part of a family – is charged with caring for God’s plan. The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers, which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth. So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm.”
There is a beautiful thing about Saint Joseph that any time God asked him to do something, He came to him in a dream. He came to him while he was sleeping. When He told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary into his place, it was in a dream. When He told Joseph to take the child to Bethlehem, they went to Bethlehem. To Egypt. All the children are being murdered – flee to Egypt. He went to Egypt. Now come back to Nazareth, and he comes back to Nazareth. All of these things happened in a dream while sleeping. That is the image too that Faustina would have of Joseph. There is something to being able to rest that is so much a gift, I think. Anyone that struggles with anxiety, or with unrest, or with the inability to relax to just sleep knows how difficult this can be.
This takes me into the next quality of Saint Joseph, which is probably one of my favorite ones that I have learned – terror of demons. The demons are terrified of him. I am going to be talking about this not to scare you, but to help us to see that we have so much power over the demons in Divine Mercy and through the intercession of St. Joseph. So, it is not meant to scare you. There are going to be some things in here that are scary from her experiences. The closer she got to experiencing Divine Mercy and the more that she proclaimed Divine Mercy, guess what happened? The demon begins to attack her.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Venerable Mary of Ágreda said this about Saint Joseph. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pursued their way through many towns of Egypt. Imagine them flying from Bethlehem to Egypt. They are passing through many towns. This is before Jesus would work His miracles and before he would lead His visible life so to say. This was before He did His exorcisms. The Son of God is traveling with Mary and Joseph. They are going through Egypt and driving out demons, not only from the idols, but from bodies possessed by them, curing many that were grievously and dangerously ill.
Calloway, Donald H. Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (p. 80). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
Can you imagine Satan in this moment? All of a sudden, this tender Baby Jesus is traveling through Egypt? Imagine the fear that Satan must have had. Here comes Christ in the flesh traveling through the cities that he has been controlling.
Every night we pray the prayers of the Divine Office. On Tuesdays, during night prayer, it says, “Stay sober and alert.” Before you go to bed, it is saying, “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour you. Resist him, solid in your faith.” On Sundays we hear, “You will not fear the terrors of the night.” So, I want to go back to being able to sleep and to rest and not have night terrors or nightmares. The Antiphon that is said is, “Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.” These are some of the prayers we say at night. The last prayers we pray before we go to sleep at night.
Here are some examples of the demonic with Saint Faustina. There are numerous ways that he came to her – cats, dogs, spirits.
320 “Jesus made known to me how very pleasing to Him were my prayers of atonement. He said to me, ‘The prayers of a humble and loving soul disarm the anger of My Father and draws an ocean of blessings.” After the adoration, halfway to my cell…”
So again she just finished her holy hour. She is leaving adoration and is on her way to her cell. Sometimes the graces and difficulties do not happen in our prayer.
“I was surrounded by a pack of huge dogs who were jumping and howling
and trying to tear me to pieces. I realized that they were not dogs, but demons. One of them spoke up in a rage, ‘Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.’ In answer I said, ‘If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, and God is ever holy, just, and infinitely merciful.’ As she said these words, the demons answered as one, ‘Let us flee, for she is not alone; the Almighty God is with her!’”
Even the demons would fly from her. Saint Joseph, Terror of the Demons.
“I fell asleep as soon as I lay down, but at about eleven o’clock Satan shook my bed. I awoke instantly, and I started to pray peacefully to my Guardian Angel. Then I saw the souls who were doing penance in purgatory.” This is a very important part to show us how we can pray for the souls in purgatory.
“They appeared like shadows, and among them I saw many demons. One of these tried to vex me; taking the form of a cat, he kept throwing himself onto my bed and on my feet, and he was quite heavy, as if [weighing] a ton. I kept praying the rosary all the while, and toward dawn the beings vanished, and I was able to get some sleep. When I entered the chapel in the morning, I heard a voice in my soul, you are united to Me; fear nothing. But know, my child, that Satan hates you; he hates every soul, but he burns with a particular hatred for you, because you have snatched so many souls from his dominion.”
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 172). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
You and I have this power in the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Next, she says, 1797 “Today, the Lord came to me and said, ‘My daughter, help Me to save souls.’” God is saying I want you to help me save my souls. “You will go to a dying sinner, and you will continue to recite the chaplet.” Think about this. A dying sinner. Somebody is on their bed. They could be a hardened sinner. You go to them and recite the chaplet. “…and in this way, you will obtain for him trust in My mercy…”
You will attain for him the trust in My mercy. Did you hear that? You will attain for him the trust of My mercy. Reminds me of the paralyzed man that was taken by the four people that took him on the mat and lowered him down, and Jesus says to the man, “Their faith has saved you.” Your faith can save other people even if their faith is hardened. He says, “You will go to a dying sinner and you will continue to recite my chaplet.”This is a very practical thing you can do. Go to anyone you know that is dying, especially sinners, recite the chaplet. If you cannot be there, do it from wherever you are.“…and in this way, you will obtain for him trust in My mercy for he is already in despair.”
1798 “Suddenly, I found myself in a strange cottage where an elderly man was crying and dying amidst great torments. All about the bed was a multitude of demons and the family, who were crying. When I began to pray, the spirits of darkness fled, with hissing and threats directed at me. The soul became calm and, filled with trust, rested in the Lord.”
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 538). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
You have a wonderful power not only to help people to get out of purgatory but to help people as they are dying. This brings me to the final point that I have. Saint Joseph, patron of the dying. He is known as the patron saint of a happy death. I need you to think about this in combination with Divine Mercy. If we get to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet upon our death (or pray with somebody else as they are dying or someone prays it with us as we are dying), we will experience a happy death. We will experience this great infusion and layering of God’s mercy upon us.
St Francis De Sales wrote about him in “A Treatise on Love.” He said, “For years I have thought of writing on holy love and have done my best. If this book falls short, may God still bless your reading.” He dedicates this entire treatise on love to Mary (the Mother of delightful love) and to Joseph (the Father of cordial love). This love of the heart that Saint Joseph has for us.
This is on the death of Joseph. Jesus certainly assisted at Joseph’s death. We do not know when Joseph died. It is presumed by a lot of church scholars, saints, and early church fathers that he probably died sometime between when Jesus was born and the silent years before Jesus began to work His miracles. Did not Joseph offer gentle kindness at birth? Think about everything that Joseph did for Jesus. All the difficult things that he got Him through. Going with Mary to Bethlehem, to being there, to finding a stable. Pope Francis wrote a letter about Saint Joseph. He talked about qualities of Saint Joseph and one of my favorite qualities he mentioned is that Joseph has a creative courage. That applies to any situation that Joseph went into. The angel told him to go to Bethlehem. He went to Bethlehem, but he was given no other guidance. He had to courageously and creatively find a place for Jesus to be born. All the inns are full. What do I do? Be courageous and find a place. Be creative. Next thing you know, He is born in a stable. Same thing when we go to Egypt. Does not know much more than that – go to Egypt. He has to creatively and courageously find a place.
We hear that Jesus would have returned this a hundredfold to Joseph. Joseph would have carried Jesus going to Egypt and on the return to Nazareth. Would not Jesus also carry Joseph into glory at the Ascension? Having already performed his duties toward Jesus, Joseph could only say “I have finished the good work you gave me to do”. (Jn 12:4) Such was the death of Joseph, who performed the most loving duties to the Son of God.
This is the last part of the prayer Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote.
By that assistance which Jesus and Mary gave you at death, I beg you to protect me in a special time at the hour of my death, so that dying assisted by you, in the company of Jesus and Mary, I may go to thank you in paradise and in your company.
Calloway, Donald H. Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (pp. 238-239). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.
Finally, Jesus’ words to Faustina for souls who are dying:
The Promises of Grace and Mercy for the Dying
“It pleases Me to grant everything to the souls who ask of my mercy by saying the chaplet.” So, He will give you everything that you ask when you say the chaplet. “When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace.” If you get someone that is a hardened sinner, pray this chaplet. Their soul will be filled with peace.
And “the hour of their death will be a happy one.” If they pray this, or you pray this, or we pray this at the hour of our death, it will be a happy one.
Let us not despair if we experience miseries in life, “let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, for no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. Write that 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 Savior” (Diary, 1541). When you pray this chaplet with someone who is dying, you are granting them a happy death. When I began to say the chaplet, I saw the man dying in the midst. “I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the image. The rays that issued from Jesus’ Heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled. (Diary, 1565). God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way.”(Diary, 1698) So, do not give up on that person you know that has a hardened heart. Do not give up on that person that has been away from the church. Do not give up on anyone.
“To have mercy on the world and especially on poor sinners who were dying at that last moment. I often accompany a person who is dying far away.” So, she says too if she cannot be there, she accompanies that person who is dying far away. “…but my greatest joy is when I see the promise of mercy fulfilled in these souls. The Lord is faithful; what He once ordains – He truly fulfills.” (Diary, 935).
I thank you for spending this time on Divine Mercy. Just going to remind you briefly on the seven points.
- Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter (or its Vigil).
- Sincerely repent of all our sins.
- Place our complete trust in Jesus.
- Go to Confession, preferably before the Feast.
- Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast (or its Vigil).
- Venerate the Image of the Divine Mercy.
- Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.
May we all enjoy this wonderful Feast of Divine Mercy.
Finally, as she says, “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (Diary, 1320)