Pray Persistently for Peace

By Chris Sparks

One of the hardest parts of the Christian life is simple persistence.

After all, we’re human, living in a fallen world. We exist in time, which at times can seem nearly unbearable.

Sick in bed without entertainment, pleasure, or visitors? Each second lasts a miserable eternity.

Harried by too much to do in far too little time? Each hour passes like a second.

Rebuking Satan

Sunday, March 1, 2020, First Sunday of Lent
 •Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7
•Ps 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
•Rom5:12-19 OR 5:12, 17-19
•Mt 4:1-11

In the Gospel reading this Sunday, Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days to pray where He’s tempted by Satan three times. 

The First Temptation

First, Satan tempts Him to turn stones into bread. After all, Jesus had been fasting for 40 days. Christ famously replies: “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4). 

'You Are Dust'

Lent, which begins today - Ash Wednesday - is not supposed to be easy.

Right away, we confront an uncomfortable truth: "Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return."

That's what the priest tells us as he smears the burned residue of palm fronds upon our foreheads. Not exactly the feel-good sentiments that inspire merriment. (Hallmark doesn't make Ash Wednesday greeting cards.)

But, of course, Lent's arduous, 40-day journey leads to the greatest of all possible rewards: our salvation.

‘The Pinnacle of All Other Freedoms’

Catholic social teaching is one of the great treasures of the Church, and yet all too often, it’s neglected or overlooked entirely. In this issue of Marian Helper, we continue our exploration of the Church’s social teaching, this time focusing on religious liberty.

By Chris Sparks
Christians are the target of roughly 80 percent of all religious persecution around the world.

Patience and Perseverance

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“At this very moment the superiors are deciding which sisters are going to take perpetual vows.” — Jesus to Sr. Faustina (Diary, 165)

The ‘Noble’ and ‘Precious’ Work

As the Marian Fathers’ healthcare apostolate prepares for its 16th Annual Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics & Spirituality Conference this spring, they are doing so during a year of special significance. 

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”

What Are Your 'Twigs'?

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of St. Faustina’s Diary, and you’ll find spiritual gems, like this one:

My daughter, all your miseries have been consumed in the flame of My love, like a little twig thrown into a roaring fire. By humbling yourself in this way, you draw upon yourself and upon other souls an entire sea of My mercy (Diary, 178).

This Lent, Retreat from the Ordinary

Different for Lent

By Chris Sparks

Did you forget to make your Lenten resolution in time for Ash Wednesday?

If you didn't, you're not alone. Almost every year, I hit Ash Wednesday, realize I need to think through what I want to do for Lent this year, and miss the first few days of doing it.

But why give anything up for Lent? Why do anything different?

Well, the heart of the answer to that question is love. Lent is a time of fasting and abstinence, not so that we suffer, but fundamentally so that we spend time with the One who loves us, and to Whom we owe everything.

Obedience: What is It?

Turn to any page of St. Faustina’s Diary, and you’ll find spiritual gems, like this one:

I became absorbed in prayer and said my penance. Then I suddenly saw the Lord, who said to me, My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications. Oh, how good it is to live under obedience, to live conscious of the fact that everything I do is pleasing to God! (Diary, 894).

By Marc Massery