Tag Archive for: Divine Mercy

Joy Doesn’t Sell

Legendary Hollywood director, writer, and producer George Lucas, speaking to an audience of aspiring young people in 1989, passed on a life lesson he’d learned; the difference between two kinds of happiness.

Pleasure, he advised, is short-lived, with varying peaks and valleys. Although we might chase after it, we can never re-live a pleasurable experience again quite the same. “If you’re trying to sustain that peak level of pleasure,” he said, “you’re doomed.”

“On the other hand is joy, and joy doesn’t go as high as pleasure in terms of your emotional reaction, but,” Lucas reflected, “it stays with you.”

“Pleasure is purely self-centered. It’s all about your pleasure,” he posited, acknowledging that it can be positive, as well.

In contrast, he said,

“Joy is compassion. Joy is giving of yourself to somebody else, something else.” Lucas assured his listeners, “If you pursue joy, you will find everlasting happiness.”

Happiness From Sorrow?

When the grocery store aisles are void of colorful Easter decorations, and the candy dishes are bare, the world may move on to the next potential source of pleasurable experiences, but our Catholic Church continues to celebrate Easter.

On April 24 of this year, the Sunday of Divine Mercy, we celebrated God’s mercy. “Mercy” in Latin is misericordia; to have sorrow from the heart. Mercy is God’s heartfelt, compassionate response and gift to us.

But… how could sorrow ever result in happiness?

This strange reality was made visible by Jesus’ appearance to his followers after his resurrection; alive and greeting them with peace, yet still bearing the wounds of his painful crucifixion.

Jesus is the ultimate paradox, who baffles our limited minds and invites us to accept what we cannot fully comprehend: He is God become man. He is the master who invites us to be his friend. He is the crucified man who lives. Jesus’ sorrowful heart rejoices.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” (John 15:11-12)

Will You Choose Joy?

What if we each chose to follow him…

  • To love our enemies?
  • To pray for those who persecute us?
  • To find strength when we are weak?
  • To discover joy, being generous with others from our hearts?

This Easter season, let’s finally allow our Lenten practices to distance our minds from the relentless pursuit of pleasure. When pleasures come and go, let’s give thanks, and continue our journey toward joy.

Joy doesn’t sell, but it does last forever. As Christians, may we choose to pursue joy.


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

How to Avoid the Trap of Unforgiveness

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he said this he showed them his hands and his side.” (John 20:19-20)

Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood in their midst because his resurrected, glorified body does not have the same limitations as our physical body. For this reason, he shows them his wounds, and in another Gospel (Luke) asks for something to eat to prove he is not a ghost.

He then breaths on them and says,

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:22-23)

He gives the Apostles and their successors the authority to forgive sins. This is the basis for the sacrament of reconciliation in which Jesus himself forgives the sins of those who confess to Catholic priests who are successors to those who were in the upper room. It is fitting that we hear this Gospel on Divine Mercy Sunday because the Sacrament of Reconciliation is especially a sacrament of our Lord’s mercy. When we confess our sins to a priest, Jesus not only forgives our sins and relieves us of the burden we carry, He also gives us the grace we need to help us overcome temptation and grow in virtue. It is, for this reason, we should try to go to Confession at least once a month. If we only go to Confession a couple of times a year so many of the things, we do that offend God and others begin to pass unnoticed and become part of our life routine, and small sins that are habitual lead to more serious sins.

Forgiveness Through Jesus

Because of our fallen nature, it is so easy for us to fall into the trap of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and stubbornness that cause us to be negative people, and this negatively affects all of our relationships. If you have not been able to forgive someone, ask Jesus to help you forgive because you know he wants you to forgive, actually he commands you to forgive so he can, and relieve you of that burden of sin.

In 1934 Jesus revealed to St. Faustina that he wanted the second Sunday of Easter to be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. These are his words to her:

“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.”

Even if we are not aware of having committed a serious sin, we still need this merciful encounter with Jesus in Confession so that we can remain close to him and grow spiritually.

In the Gospel of John (20:19-31), the Apostle Thomas was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them on Easter evening and he said he would not believe that Jesus was alive unless he would put his fingers in the nail marks and his hand in his side.

Our human logic is very powerful. Even though the disciples he trusted told him they had seen Jesus, he would not believe them without proof. For him, it wasn’t logical that someone would rise from the dead, even though Jesus said he would.

Walk Daily with Jesus

That’s the world we live in. We are at the point where just as many people do not believe in God as those who do believe, and that number continues to grow. Of course, that is the reason for so much hate, violence, and confusion in society. The only thing that can reverse this present trend is God’s love and mercy, which he freely offers, but does not impose upon us. In His Church, He has given us everything we need to live in peace and happiness, but we must approach Him in faith and humility. Jesus says,

“Come to me… and I will give you rest.”

The rest he offers us is the peace he promises to those who put their trust in Him, especially when experiencing trials.  Even the most hardened sinner can experience this peace if he would turn to Jesus in humility and ask for the grace to turn away from sin.

I am reminded of a woman I visited many years ago who was dying of cancer. She was in much pain and death was not far away, and yet she said she thanked God for cancer because it gave her a chance to turn back to God. She said if she would have died suddenly her soul may have been lost.

Salvation is not a casual thing, but God’s love and mercy are not only about saving our souls. It is first of all about a daily relationship with God that fills our lives with joy, hope, and guidance. He has shown us how this is possible in the Scriptures and in the Church. The solution has been revealed to us, but do we believe?

What we all believe right now is a consequence of the choices we have made up until this moment. Does our faith influence the most important decisions we make? Have we asked Jesus to be the Lord of our life and then pray for the grace we need to trust Him in every situation? If every day, throughout the day we pray from our hearts, “Jesus I trust in you,” it will become a reality. He will gently guide us if we are sincere, and our lives will be filled with hope and peace even as we undergo trials.

Jesus, I trust in you!


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

National Shrine of Divine Mercy – Stockbridge, MA

Come on a journey with Angela Sealana to The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA! To help guide us on our spiritual pilgrimage is the rector of the shrine, Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC.

During this spiritual pilgrimage, we will:

  • Address the question of God’s mercy; Does God really forgive me? Why do we often struggle with forgiveness and our relationship with God, and how can we embrace God’s mercy for us and for others?
  • Hear the amazing story of how the message of God’s mercy was given to us in modern times through a very special diary, and the miraculous journey of how it made its way from Poland during World War II all the way to Massachusetts!
  • Learn how the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy came to be established, what it’s like, and what pilgrims can experience there.

For more information on The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, click here to visit their website.

Featured Images captured from the Official Facebook Page for The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.


Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

ABCs of Divine Mercy: Ask for Mercy, Be Merciful, and Completely trust in Jesus.


A Closer Look at The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy:

Image courtesy of The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. All rights reserved.


Where is The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy?

Divine Mercy: Where Hope And Healing Are Found

On June 7, 1997, on a visit to the Shrine of Divine Mercy, in Krakow, Poland, St. John Paul II shared these thoughts on the Divine Mercy: 

Those who sincerely say ‘Jesus, I trust in You’ will find comfort in all their anxieties and fears. 

There is nothing more man needs than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights to the holiness of God.” 

To him, these were not just words or a nice sentiment to share with those in attendance. He is the epitome of living a life filled with Divine Mercy. Before the age the 21, he had experienced the loss of his siblings and both parents. His brother passed away after treating a patient with scarlet fever, which was at an epidemic level at the time. On May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. Praise God, he survived the attempt. In 1983, he visited Agca and conveyed his forgiveness to him. It was an earthly display of the merciful heart of Jesus. Pope John Paull II lived a life soaked in Divine Mercy. It was no coincidence that he passed away on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, 2005. 

We often go through life, defining ourselves by our worst sin. This can continually keep us down. God loves us with his divine mercy. Every part of us that feels condemned, our Heavenly Father wants to turn into a fountain of life.  

Hope and Healing

In times where I feel fearful or uncertain, the simple prayer of Jesus, I trust in you brings me peace. This is a peace that can only be provided by invoking the holy name of Jesus and placing my complete trust in him. In my 40 years of life, I have experienced a sudden loss of a loved one, a foot amputation, endured End Stage Renal Failure, dialysis, and blessed with a Kidney Transplant from a Living DonorThrough these moments, I felt pain, sadness, anxiety, fear of my own death, as well as a feeling of blessed beyond my worthiness. In each of these moments, Jesus, I trust in you helped me rise above and proceed without fear. It has never failed me.  

I will share one of these moments with you. The morning of my Kidney Transplant, I was asked to check-in at the hospital at 9:00am. It was midday when they called me to the back area to be prepped for surgery. For one reason or another, I was in the Pre-Op area for a longer period of time than expectedI was there long enough for several family members and friends to visit and pray with me. Then the moment arrived, the nurse informed my wife and I, it was time. As I said goodbye to my wife, I glanced at the clock as the nurse wheeled me towards the operating room, it was 3:00pm. I thought to myself, Jesus, I trust in you. As the anesthesiologist began to administer the cocktail of medication into my veins, I thought to myself, Jesus, I trust in you. Thanks be to God; the transplant was a success! I learned later, that when my wife walked back to the waiting area, my parents and friends were already praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy for my intention.    

It has now been 15 months since my transplant. Looking back through the physical suffering and uncertainty, I am thanking for it. These experiences have brought me closer to God and to love him with all that I have. I recall the words St. Faustina wrote in her Diary (entry 57)

Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering the purer the love.

Call To Action

God is calling you to be an ambassador of mercy. I invite you to open your heart to the person you resist the most with open hands of faith and mercy.

Why you may ask?

God wants more for you.

How could I do this, you may ask? Try this simple pray before you do so:

Lord, help me receive your mercy, so I can bring it to the world. Amen


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Jason Nunez is the Media Production Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since November of 2020.

Krakow, Poland – Divine Mercy Sanctuary

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox for a virtual pilgrimage to the holy site of the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Krakow, Poland. This is the site where our Lord Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina and gave her his message of Divine Mercy to spread throughout the world. This chapel has since witnessed the prayer of the Apostle of The Divine Mercy (St. Faustina) and the extraordinary graces (including the revelations of Jesus and the Blessed Mother) received by her in this place.

During this program you will learn about:

  • St. Faustina Kowalksa’s life.
  • How Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina.
  • Why the Divine Mercy is so important.
  • Much much more!

Divine Mercy Image used with permission of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.


Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

Those who sincerely say ‘Jesus, I trust in You’ will find comfort in all their anxieties and fears. – Saint PopeJohn Paul II


A Closer Look at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary:


Where is the Church of the Divine Mercy Sanctuary?

Death & Divine Mercy

What happens when I die?

It’s a common question, often frightening or mysterious to think about.

Angela Santana hosted Fr. Moses of Jesus Pillari, formerly of the Mission of Divine Mercy religious community based in New Braunfels, for a candid discussion on ‘the last things,’ God’s mercy, and the visions a certain saint received of heaven, hell, and purgatory.

We pray it will give you faith, courage, and renewed hope.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

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Divine Mercy image

Confession and God’s Mercy

Fr. Martin Leopold answered your questions on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), penance, forgiveness and God’s mercy in this episode of Catholicism Live!

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

 

Remember You Are Loved: Seeing Jesus’ Face

A heart that loves God and neighbor (cf. Mt 22: 36-40), genuinely and not merely in words, is a pure heart; it can see God […] Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness (no. 87).

Those are the words of Pope Francis, taken from his recent Apostolic Exhortation Guadete et Exsultate – On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.

At a taping of our radio program Journeys of Hope, our Co-Founder and Co-Director, Deacon Tom Fox, spoke eloquently and passionately about trying to imagine what it must have been like when Jesus Christ looked into the eyes of Matthew and said, Come, follow me (cf. Matthew 9: 9-13).

Matthew was a tax collector; individuals who were looked down upon and treated like prostitutes and the worst of sinners. So, we can imagine Matthew’s surprise when Jesus singled him out.

In this instant, Matthew realized, “Christ is calling me! …He knows me! … He loves me!” The words and the look of Jesus must have washed over Matthew with such warmth that he was overcome by the love, peace, and mercy of Christ.

It is this type of transformative grace that Jesus wants all of us to experience! But in order for the Look of Christ …the Gaze of God… to bear fruit, we must respond with conviction and say, Lord Jesus, be the Lord of my life.

One of my favorite passages from The Imitation of Christ is from the section, “On Loving Jesus Above All Else,” which reads in part:

The love of Jesus is faithful and enduring […] He who embraces Jesus shall stand firm forever. Love Him then, and keep Him as your friend, and when all others forsake you, He will never leave you or allow you to perish. […] Your Beloved is of such a nature that He will tolerate no rival; He will have your heart for Himself alone and reign there as King on His rightful throne. (Book Two, Chapter 7)

And then there is the Greatest Commandment handed down by Jesus:
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10: 27). As Christians, our priorities should be as follows: God, Family, Church, Country, and then Work.

Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire. How will you then be able to set the hearts of others on fire by your words and witness? If, gazing on the face of Christ, you feel unable to let yourself be healed and transformed, then enter into the Lord’s heart, into his wounds, for that is the abode of divine mercy (Gaudete Et Exsultate, no. 151).

I wish everyone reading this the peace and love of Christ. May you see and experience the Gaze of God.

Lord, give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me. – St. Ignatius of Loyola

Every month, Pilgrim Center of Hope offers opportunities to experience God’s love and grace. We invite you to look at our Calendar of Events & Port of Hope to see some of those ways that lay in store for you.


Robert V. Rodriguez  is Public Relations & Outreach Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope. He combines a passion for the Catholic faith together with years of professional experience as a TV news journalist, video producer, and PR/marketing specialist. Robert also serves as Chairman for our annual “Master, I Want to See” Catholic Men’s Conference.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Divine Mercy: Unfathomable Gift

Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, talks with Jordan and Blerina Psota about how devotion to the Divine Mercy transformed their lives!

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Redeemed from Destruction

Has your desire for productivity seeped into your faith or prayer life?

What have I done for God today? is a common question in religious circles – whether in personal reflection or otherwise. For years, I focused on what I was doing… or not doing …for God. My good intentions steadily morphed into unhealthy scruples. Even as I spoke of his mercy, my heart actually regarded God as a strict judge who needed appeasing. Then I saw my various trials as punishments from God, and I figured that I deserved them all.

But no; I had it all wrong. Instead of punishing me, God had placed two people in my path who helped me see clearly.

A Familiar Connection

When I pray Morning Prayer with my coworkers at Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH), I think of my deceased great-uncle. Holding open his Christian Prayer book, I see where he had moistened his finger to turn the now-yellowed page corners.

For forty-six years, he was a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), and he was widely-beloved. Twenty years of his life as a religious priest, however, he spent on a leave of absence.

Were it not for the personal struggles that brought him home to San Antonio, I may never have known him. But because I remembered the musky smell of his chair in my great-grandmother’s living room, and because I had been entrusted with some of his most treasured possessions, I gained an interest in the founder of his Congregation: St. Alphonsus Liguori. 

An Unexpected Advisor

Alphonsus is often depicted as an elderly man, bent over a desk, writing away with a wry smile on his face. His arthritis kept his neck bent over so much so that his chin bruised his chest. Alphonsus was a brilliant man; someone we’d call today a prodigy. His life story is inspiring; look him up!

The most ironic thing about him is that he was so brilliant, knew Church law and moral theology backwards and forwards, was a merciful confessor, yet he himself battled scrupulosity. What kind of God allows a scrupulous man to become a Doctor of the Church who is known for his teaching on morality? Only our God – who redeems everything in our life for good. As St. Paul wrote, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:11)

In his famous work, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Alphonsus quoted St. Teresa of Avila: “God never sends a trial, but he forthwith rewards it with some favor.” In other words, while our trials and struggles don’t come from God, God’s love can turn what is bitter into something better.

Letting God love us is the key. As our PCH chaplain Father Pat Martin reminded us during Mass last week, what is essential is what God does for us! Why were the Pharisees threatened by Jesus’ teachings and actions? Perhaps it was because their relationship with God had been based upon what they did for God; checking off boxes and maintaining control. Jesus invited them to consider a God who loved everyone, who dined with even the people who did not check the boxes!

Allowing someone to love us requires vulnerability and loss of total control. Are you ready to let God love you?

God loves us so tenderly, that he not only desires, but is solicitous about our welfare… Let us, then always throw ourselves into the hands of God, who so ardently desires and so anxiously watches of our eternal salvation. Casting all our care upon him; for he hath care of you (1 Peter 5:7). – St. Alphonsus de Liguori


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.