"Inspectio Cordis": Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7

Saint Stanislaus' point is, to experience the joy of Easter, we need to die to the false joys of sin. We need not return to Lenten practices, but Easter calls us forth to live in the joy of the risen Lord, a joy that flows from living in His love.

By Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC

A gaze of the heart. Examining the depth of one’s heart.

There is no one way to translate the Latin title Inspectio Cordis, given to the collection of meditations for Sundays by the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński (1631-1701).

These meditations, published weekly on Fridays in preparation for the Sunday Mass, follow the style and purpose of our holy Father Founder. While his original text is worth reading, his examples and style can feel outdated to the modern reader. As his spiritual son, I will attempt my best to imitate his style and imitate his ministry of preaching to hearts.

The goal is to allow Jesus to gaze into your heart and teach you self-examination, leading you to a more fruitful reception of Holy Communion, where there is a true encounter of our hearts with His Sacred Heart – especially fitting during this period of National Eucharistic Revival.


Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle B
April 7, 2024

This Sunday’s Inspectio Cordis meditation uses the original meditations – in the quotation marks – from St. Stanislaus Papczyński. 

Before Holy Communion

1. “Where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…”    
“They were hiding, fleeing, and gathering together, because the Jews were persecuting them day and night. But their good and gracious Master never abandoned them. In all things He was near to them, whom He wanted to test in all things. 

“As for you, in imitation of your Savior and of that afflicted group of apostles, desire to carry the cross with a joyful spirit and to suffer torments, whenever it would please the highest Good, the Eternal Wisdom, to impose them upon you. No matter how long He would want you to be harassed by them, trust that you will never lack the help or the counsel of His Majesty.”

The Apostles yet had to experience of the power of the resurrection in their hearts, which were not fully illuminated by trusting faith in the risen Lord. They remained dominated by fear of suffering, as if the Cross had the “last word.” But Jesus entered their hiding place, assuring them He would help them by His presence.

Where is your heart yet dominated by fear? How do you need Jesus to sustain you amid your difficulties and crosses to walk toward the resurrection?

2. “Jesus came…” 
“Consider how much the Lord values unity and concord, since He appeared in the middle of His disciples soon after He saw them gathered together and united; for unity thrives among those who live in harmony; and where there is unity, there is love. Where there is true love there is Jesus, who Himself is Love. Therefore, whenever you break the bond of charity or disturb this unity, you exclude Christ and keep Him away from the midst of His disciples, your own brethren. 

“Thus, remember how… St. Francis, did not let a certain brother, whose soul was tormented by resentment of another brother, go to bed before he would purge from his heart this virus of negative fervor, if not hatred. It is much more appropriate and necessary that you approach the sacred table of Jesus without similar gall. Therefore, be promptly reconciled with your brother (cf. Mt 5:24).”

Experiencing the presence of the risen Jesus is possible when we foster concord and unity. This begins at the gathering of the Eucharist and extends to daily life. Living “in the state of sanctifying grace” means a way of life open to this presence of the risen Jesus, who comes when we live in harmony with our neighbor. By mutual love, we prepare a space for Jesus to come in our midst.

With whom do you need to be reconciled this Easter season? How can you foster such harmony in your home and relationships?

3. “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
“Your Savior demonstrated that peace is a great good, for each time He visited His disciples after the Resurrection He bestowed upon them this greeting: ‘Peace be with you.’ For this reason, you shall desire, nay, you shall beseech Jesus, that upon His entering into the disturbed dwelling of your soul, He would bring His peace with Him.

"Not the kind of peace that would make you free of adversities and every kind of cross, because it is better to be tried than to live undisturbed, since even the waters, unless they are stirred, begin to fester. But rather His is the kind of peace that lets you endure magnanimously all adversities with peace of mind, so that you may receive from Him personally the olive crown of peace in the city of the heavenly Jerusalem, and you may enjoy forever the peace you have gained through steadfast battles against the devil, the world, and the flesh.”

Jesus assures us that when we turn with trust to His mercy, our hearts will find peace. This trust does not free us from the cross but enables us to carry it with the power of the risen Jesus and know the peace that flows from His presence and His love. He comes to you in Holy Communion to grant you this peace stronger than all adversity.

What disturbs your soul? Where do you need His peace amid adversity?

After Holy Communion

1. “The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
“But you are wondering why, since you received the same Son of God risen from the dead, you were not filled with any joy, with any increased delight. Instead, you are overwhelmed perhaps by sadness, and are filled with sorrow. 

“Ah, miserable one! It is sin, imperfections, and uncorrected faults that brought this evil on you! Perhaps the reason is also that inconsiderate joy in which you exulted on those days dedicated to pious sadness, while the Most Holy Mother was bewailing the cruelest death of her dearest Son; the holy sinner was weeping over the death of her Lord; the pious disciples were mourning the cruel sufferings of their Master; and even the stars, the rocks, the earth, and other creatures were bearing witness to the great sorrow caused by the horrible death of their Creator.”

These words of St. Stanislaus may seem harsh. However, his point remains that, to experience the joy of Easter, we need to die to the false joys of sin. We need not return to Lenten practices, but Easter calls us forth to live in the joy of the risen Lord, a joy that flows from living in His love. If that joy wanes, or we find our Holy Communion to be tepid or lukewarm, we may fruitfully examine if we yet cling to sins.

How is your experience of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion? What imperfections or sins do you need Him to forgive, to enable you to rejoice in Him?

2. “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
“O highest grace! O gift than which nothing greater can be attained! What more wonderful benefits, favors, and charisms besides the Holy Spirit could the Lord impart to His disciples? He who possesses Him seems to have everything! He who is directed by Him cannot err, and a safe and straight road leads Him toward the heavenly Fatherland! 

“As for you, consider whether you have received the Holy Spirit today in the Most Holy Sacrament, whether you possess Him, whether you could say with the Apostle: ‘And I think that I have the Spirit of God’ (1 Cor 7:40). Know that these are the traits of the Holy Spirit: joy, peace, wisdom, gentleness, patience, humility, counsel, longanimity, and others like them (cf. Gal 5:22).”

Celebrating Easter means entails being filled with the same Spirit of the risen Lord. This Spirit is the gift of all gifts of the risen Lord, and in each Eucharist, we have the opportunity not only to receive Jesus, but also His Spirit. We may lack many other things in life, but if we possess Him and His fruits, we possess everything we need.

How aware are you of receiving the Holy Spirit in Communion? What fruits do you need to grow in your daily life?

3. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them…”
“Behold the apostolic power! The power of the successors of Christ! The greatest power! To forgive sins is something divine… You should consider here the mercy of your gracious Savior, poured out both on the entire human race in general and on you in particular; because, having foreseen such frequent wounds to your soul, He provided the most excellent physicians for you, His Vicars, and a very efficacious medicine in the Most Sacred Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Since you have received this Sacrament also today, give most humble thanks to your Lord.”

We experience the miracles of Divine Mercy in the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. By receiving absolution, our hearts are opened to receive the torrents of grace He desires to pour into us by the Holy Spirit. But the key that unlocks our hearts is the humility of confessing our sins to a priest.

How frequently do you go to confession? How can you humbly confess all your sins, so that you can receive more abundantly of His mercy?

Next week: Third Sunday of Easter
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BELH

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