First Cenacle Manual that gives an overview of a Cenacle Formation Process.
The youth are searching for role models, and they eventually realize that television celebrities and athletic stars do not produce. The message of Divine Mercy is one of joy and hope!
Are You Full of Hope?
We live in a world of violence, corruption, gloom, and doom. Many are living without hope and surrounded by violence, poverty and despair. Yet we know that God does not make junk. We need hope, and we must have something to hope in. We must have something upon which expectations are focused. Divine Mercy is infused in our souls at Baptism and grows in our hearts. We need the Lord!
We need the grace of God as we seek purity of heart and intention. Divine Mercy helps purify our intentions. Everything is a gift from God and is ours for the taking, but we must ask!
The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity. They animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as His children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1813).
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful" (Heb 10:23).
And, "The Holy Spirit ... He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life" (CCC, 1817).
Also, we must realize that we cannot achieve heaven by ourselves. We need God, and when God is missing, we lose hope. "When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of the divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God's love and of incurring punishment" (CCC, 2090).
And we remember that, "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" (Rom 8: 24-25).
In this world of confusion, hatred and violence, we must be vessels and icons of mercy. The youth are searching for role models, and they eventually realize that television celebrities and athletic stars do not produce. The message of Divine Mercy is one of joy and hope! For those trying to spread God's love and mercy, we may be tested, but in time of adversity we must be strong and never be afraid or embarrassed to profess our faith. "But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence ..." (1Pet 15).
A friend told me recently about her prior health problems after delivery and how she was near death. She was overcome with despair and depression; she had lost hope and wanted only to die and be rid of all her trials. She could relate to a quote from the Diary of St. Faustina in which St. Faustina was overwhelmed by despair and had complete darkness in the soul. Saint Faustina wrote, '"Jesus, who in the gospel compare Yourself to a most tender mother, I trust in Your words because You are Truth and Life. In spite of every interior sentiment which sets itself against hope. Do what You want with me; I will never leave You, because You are the source of my life" (Diary, 25).
Nurse Marie Romagnano, Founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, recently shared a story about how she had given an Image of Jesus to the wife of a young man that had just died. She spoke about the words "Jesus I Trust in You" and how these times of adversity are when we need to trust the most. The Image itself will give us grace, as our Lord told St. Faustina, "I am offering people a vessel with which to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with signature: 'Jesus I trust in You'" (Diary, 327).
If you are having a bad day and need lifted up, just gaze at the Image of the Merciful Jesus. He loves you and I so much that He died for us!
Another reality is that the Consecrated Bread is our hope; we should pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and develop an intimate relationship with our Lord. As Eucharistic Apostles, we want all to know and understand the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. And the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is a Eucharistic prayer, as in it we offer to the Eternal Father the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ! Saint Faustina understood this, and added to her name, "Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament." Her hope in the Host is apparent from the following:
O My God, my only hope, I have placed all my hope in You, and I know I shall not be disappointed" (Diary, 317).
O Blessed Host, our only hope in all the sufferings and adversities of life.
O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of darkness and of storms within and without.
O Blessed Host, our only hope in life and at the hour of death.
O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of adversities and floods of despair.
O Blessed Host, our only hope in the longing and pain in which no one will understand us (Diary, 356).
Welcome, hidden Love, life of my soul! I welcome You, Jesus, under these insignificant forms of bread. ...Welcome, only Hope of sinful souls" (Diary, 1733).
Again, we must ask for Divine Mercy and be merciful to others. When we fall and sin, we must go to the Tribunal of Mercy in the Confessional. Here is where the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy. After receiving God's mercy, we must get back up and persevere on. And as we become more aware of our sins as the light from Jesus' pierced Heart illuminates our soul, we must never forget the words of Jesus to St. Faustina:
My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy" (Diary, 1182).
And on another occasion:
You are dealing with the God of mercy, which your misery cannot exhaust. Remember, I did not allot only a certain number of pardon (Diary, 1448).
It requires humility to come to the confessional, and we must always question ourselves about our purity of intention. We know all must be intertwined and done out of love of God. Our Lord told St. Faustina, "My daughter, let three virtues adorn you in a particular way: humility, purity of intention, and love" (Diary, 1779).
So, let us continue to trust in the Lord and maintain the attitude and virtue of hope, for we certainly have much to hope in!
Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Learn how to start a cenacle in your area by clicking here.