Dear Members and Supporters:
2018 was a momentous year for our Society. Over 17,000 people learned about our mission through the internet and social media. We also grew to 6 members through the ordinations of Fr. George and Fr. Hyacinth. Also, our first honorary member of the College of Consultors was appointed.
We had 3 candidates request entry by submission of application with a further 3 awaiting review. We also added 3 priest companions who are members of other religious groups.
Hopefully, 2019 will bring even greater success and more opportunities to preach the message of the Mercy of God. May Our Lady of Mercy bless our Society and its members and supporters, as well as intercede for us to Her Holy Son.
On this sacred day we celebrate Our Lord’s birth. For on this day “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). We are profoundly grateful that over 2,000 years ago God came to us to dwell with us and to show us the way. Like the star followed by the shepherds the message of Our Lord must guide us. It must guide our thoughts, inspire our hearts, and inform our actions so that we can live in Him.
This is the true meaning of this feast. St. Paul of the Cross gave us a superb admonition about this day when he said: “Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.”
May you be renewed by this holy day and may we all celebrate Our Lord’s birth in our thoughts, hearts, and actions. And may God bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Today we echo the words of the hymn that “the strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won.” We ended our Lenten observance and enter into the joys of the Pascal season. We often think of Lent as the time when we do our most difficult spiritual work. However, we know that because of the resurrection our work has just begun. Like the women in the tomb and the holy apostles we are now compelled to share the good news of salvation with others, “lest even the stones cry out” (Luke 19:40). We are all responsible now of proclaiming the message of hope, of mercy, of love, and forgiveness. We are also compelled to invite others to a full life in Christ through the reception of the Holy Sacraments, which strengthen us on the journey. This message cannot come from the clergy alone. At our baptisms we entered the faith with the expectation we would live it ourselves as well as share it with others. May God give us the strength to live out this call and the wisdom to do it well.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
“There in a manger lowly lies He who reigns above the skies. The ox and ass in neighboring stall see that Child the Lord of All.” These beautiful words from the hymn “Puer Natus in Bethlehem” remind us of the perplexing nature of our faith. We worship Our Lord who has come to us as a baby born in a manger. He who came as the most vulnerable chose His birthplace in the humblest of places. For this we rejoice, as God is willing to come to us wherever we are found. In the lowliest of places, in the lowest points of our lives, at our most desperate we are supported by Emmanuel, whose very name means that God is with us (Matt. 1:23).
This year has not been without difficulty. Our nation and our world continue to experience strife, divisions, and calamities. In spite of this, we remember the words of C.S. Lewis that “the Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." And so we rejoice that even in strife we have been claimed by a God who profoundly loves us. And who left us Himself in the most excellent way: thorough His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist. How truly unworthy are we to receive him body, soul, and divinity into ourselves, yet how fortunate we are that he came to dwell within us.
May the Christ Child dwell within you always and may you be blessed by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Merry Christmas!
Sincerely in Christ,
CHRISTMAS PASTORAL: 2016
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST:
As we progress in this new Church year and this new calendar year we acknowledge that 2016 was a challenging year for Americans. A divisive election, violence throughout the world, and uncertainty made us reflect on our core values. Sometimes the problems of the world seem insurmountable. But we then remember that we are not of this world. In all things we must aspire towards sainthood and an eternity with God. This is not an easy path—it is a marathon and not a sprint. But we are comforted by the words of Saint Augustine “You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”
Let us then reflect on the littleness of an infant. Our Lord became “incarnate by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary: and was made man” first in the form of an infant. How easy it is to love a God who came to us as something so fragile, sensitive, and most in need of care. Infants, like God, give us hope and deserve our love and devotion. Through our understanding of Our Lord’s infancy we can grow to understand His progression to manhood and eventual suffering on the Cross. As Our Lord grew, so does our faith and understanding of the complexities of our faith.
It is understandable, then, why so many pious devotions like the Infant of Prague, the Holy Infant of Atocha, Santo Niño de Cebu, etc. have grown among the faithful with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Christ Child helps us to see God, as Christ Jesus, as vulnerable like us and helps us understand His mission as man. I commend you to the Christ Child and hope He will bless you and your family abundantly now and always.
To the Most Reverend Bishops, Reverend Clergy, and Faithful in Christ:
We are still grieving from the horrific news reported early Sunday morning from Orlando. This tragedy shakes us to our very core as a nation and makes us ask “how long, O Lord?” (Ps. 13) How long will we receive weekly reports on the news about mass shootings? O God, how we long for your peace which “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) to give us comfort!
The news is all the more heinous because it was perpetuated out of hatred towards a group of people. Gay and lesbian individuals continue to be the focus of much violence, often times with hatred wrapped in religious language. Yet we know these actions are not of God, for “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). As Christians a core tenant of our faith is to love for “we love because He first loved us” (1. John 4:19).
As we reflect on the terrible events of Sunday, let us pray for the victims. May God have mercy on them and may they rest in peace. Let us pray as well for their families and friends, that God may comfort them during this difficult time. We also pray for the injured, that they might receive healing. Finally, let us ask God to soften our hearts that we may love more and promote peace in our communities and in the world.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Christ is Risen!
With joy we cry out and shout Alleluia. Our Lord has truly risen and has re-ascended to his throne in glory. The Gospel writers were clear that the resurrection of the Lord was a momentous event. “He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid” (Matt. 28:6).
Our duty, as Christians, is to proclaim the resurrection of the Lord. It is not only our duty but our solemn expectation. “And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord; and great grace was in them all” (Acts 4:33). Let this Easter season be a time of faith sharing for you. Every day we encounter people who need to receive grace from the sacraments and hear the Good News. Sometimes this can be conveyed by our simplicity of life, holiness, or kind acts. In this way we can “preach the Gospel always and, if necessary, use words.” The comfort we offer in the Risen Lord is not a comfort of this world, from which we will receive scorn, but is focused on eternal bliss.
God bless you now and always in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” And it was so—that the God of power and might was born on this day in a manger. As you are aware mangers are not particularly clean places. They are full of animals (and their byproducts), dirty hay, insects, etc. In the lowliest of places our God came into the world to save us. Yet we beautify His presence with clean, porcelain nativity scenes that are more bucolic than accurate. In our human condition we do not like to be reminded of messy places.
The beauty of the Incarnation of Christ is that He still comes to us in messy places. When we are brokenhearted, scared and afraid, or anxious He is with us. And He encourages us further still to cast our cares on Him for we are told “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We give thanks for this as well as His presence in the good times, when we are filled with joy and laughter.
May this Christmas feast be reflective for you and may you be reminded of His presence in your life. “May the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” And may Almighty God Bless you the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Sincerely in Christ,
The News Portal of the Society of Mercy.