Divine Mercy Minutes with Jesus is a pocket-sized devotional featuring key passages of Jesus' own words to St. Faustina, following themes such as trust, deeds of mercy, and ... Read more
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Jan 1, 2009)
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Lk 2:19
You may be considering a New Year's resolution today. Perhaps you plan to tackle a home improvement project that you never got around to last year. Or maybe your resolution is more personal, and you're thinking of losing weight or quitting smoking.
There's one resolution, though, that all of us should take up in the New Year — growing in awareness of God's love for us. We can take our cue from Mary, the Mother of God, whose solemnity we celebrate today, and we can also take our cue from St. Faustina, the apostle of Divine Mercy.
In the Gospel of Luke, we read of the shepherds' visit to the manger in Bethlehem after the angels had revealed to them the long-awaited birth of the Messiah. Then, Luke adds this curious and insightful detail on how Mary responds to the visit and the marvelous news that the shepherds share, "And Mary kept all these things reflecting on them in her heart" (2:19).
Similarly, Luke records how Mary "kept all these things in her heart" after finding the Child Jesus in the Temple (2:51).
Pope John Paul II commented on these two passages, "Mary lived with her eyes fixed on Christ, treasuring His every word. ... The memories of Jesus, impressed upon her heart, were always with her, leading her to reflect on the various moments of her life at her Son's side."
Saint Faustina, too, took her cue from Mary, the Mother of God, and kept her eyes fixed on the Lord. On New Year's Day 1938 St. Faustina wrote out a list of resolutions, all of which seek to unite herself with the Merciful Christ. Indeed, she writes that in every situation she confronts, she will ask "what would Christ do in such and such a case?" (see Diary, 861). Her resolutions include:
I. Strict observance of silence — interior silence.
II. To see the image of God in every sister; all love of neighbor must flow from this motive.
III. To do the will of God faithfully at every moment of my life and to live by this.
IV. To give a faithful account of everything to the spiritual director and not to undertake anything of importance without a clear understanding with him. I shall try to clearly lay bare to him the most secret depths of my soul, bearing in mind that I am dealing with God himself, and that His representative is just a human being, and so I must pray daily that he be given light.
V. During the evening examination of conscience, I am to ask myself the question: What if He were to call me today?
VI. Not to look for God far away, but within my own being to abide with Him alone.
VII. In sufferings and torments, to take refuge in the tabernacle and to be silent.
VIII. To join all sufferings, prayers, works and mortifications to the merits of Jesus in order to obtain mercy for the world.
IX. To use free moments, however short, for prayers for the dying.
X. There must not be a day in my life when I do not recommend to the Lord the works of our Congregation. Never have regard for what others think of you [for human respect].
XI. Have no familiar relationships with anyone. Gentle firmness toward the girls, boundless patience; punish them severely but with such punishments as these: prayer and self-sacrifice. The strength that is in the emptying of myself for their sake is for them a [source of] constant remorse and the softening of their obdurate hearts.
XII. The presence of God is the basis of all my thoughts, words and deeds.
XIII. To take advantage of all spiritual help. To always put self-love in its proper place; namely, the last. To perform my spiritual exercises as though I were doing them for the last time in my life, and in like manner to carry out all my duties.
Take time this New Year to reflect on how God acted in your life during 2008. Like Mary, the Mother of God, and like St. Faustina, resolve to keep your eyes fixed on Christ, treasuring His every word.
O Mary, Mother of God, help me to grow in love and gratitude for Your Son's saving action in my life. Teach me to treasure His Word and to follow Him. Amen.