Photo: Andy Leeco
Mercy and Motivation
Three speakers offered ways of "Making Time for God in Your Busy Life" at the Divine Mercy Conference on Saturday for Marian Helpers.
The annual conference held at Monument Mountain High School — just minutes away from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy — serves at the kick-off event for Divine Mercy Weekend.
The speakers offered equal parts of mercy and motivation in their talks.
Father Jim McCormack, MIC, the Marians' assistant novice master and prefect of formation, gave practical advice on how to "find God in the rhythm of your day." He said we all lead busy lives and must realize there is always time to stay connected to God. He encouraged the pilgrims to devote some time to prayer during the day, but said it could be as simple as an upward glance, pausing in the middle of the day to acknowledge the Lord, or gazing on the Image of The Divine Mercy.
"You must gain an attitude of seeing God in all things," Fr. Jim said. "You must learn to see God in the great gifts of creation, the people around us, and even when we experience trials in our lives. I call it the attitude of gratitude."
He explained that you can use the attitude of gratitude to turn every moment into a conversation with God. An example he offered was when you are performing a task, and especially when finishing a task, thank the Lord.
He reminded the pilgrims that it doesn't take long to pray.
"During chaotic days, it could be as short as two words — 'Jesus Mercy,'" Fr. Jim said. "In those two words you are professing your faith, hope, and offering charity towards others."
He suggested pilgrims look for opportunities for prayer in their day. He suggested they call to mind God's Passion while at a red light, or to pray to God while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store instead of reading about those people on the cover of the magazine, or even pray for those people on the cover of the magazines.
"You don't have to change your whole life in order to find time to pray," Fr. Jim said. "You just have to realize the moments when they are available."
Next, Rick Paolini, from the Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus, a lay apostolate from Buffalo, N.Y., spoke about "answering God's call for ministry."
Rick said that from an early age he was called by God. When he was 12, his parish priest suggested Rick consider becoming a priest. He said no, and for a number of years after that Rick continued to say no when God came calling. But he said God is persistent. When he would run away from God's calling, God was always there to say, "No, this way."
Rick said that his life changed after reading the Diary of St. Faustina.
"I went and prayed to Jesus on Good Friday. I asked Him to give me a way to spread the message of Divine Mercy," Rick said. "Three minutes after I asked Jesus, my brother came and asked me to lead the Divine Mercy Novena. I was reluctant, but I assumed that it was Jesus answering my prayer so I stopped saying no."
Rick told the audience there are both "formal" and "informal" ministries and that we need to answer the informal calls.
"How do we respond?" Rick asked. "We bring the message of Divine Mercy every day to people we are around. Pray with people, offer a smile to your coworkers, and bring the good news to everyone we encounter."
He said that his group has seen many positive results from their ministry, but the bottom line was that you can either bring people to Christ with your actions or push them away.
The message of bringing people to Christ with your actions was also a theme The Very Rev. Dan Cambra, MIC, provincial superior of the Marian Fathers, touched on concrete ways to spread Divine Mercy in parishes.
He spoke of St. Francis walking up and down every street in the village and how that was his way of preaching. The village people saw him and saw his devotion to God. He reminded the audience that people watch followers of The Divine Mercy message the same way. He encouraged everyone to "be a good message."
"One of the most important things we each can do is talk to one other person about Divine Mercy each day," Fr. Dan said.
He then gave the audience other ways to spread Divine Mercy:
• Be an involved member in your parish
• Pray, including praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.
• Visit the sick.
• Become a Eucharistic Minister.
• Be someone who is available to help in your church.
• Get a package of Divine Mercy leaflets and leave them in everything from hotel lobbies to shopping carts.
He ended by reminding the audience that it isn't difficult to spread the message.
"You don't have to preach," Fr. Dan said. "You only have to love."