Welcome to the Divine Mercy for Moms Book Club! We're reading Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of Saint Faustina, by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet.
In this chapter Michele shares about how the experience of her son Jacob's medical crisis taught her "firsthand -as nothing else could have- about the merciful heart of Christ and how Divine Mercy touches the lives of those who need it the most."
She recounts how many friends and relatives visited the hospital and brought them gifts and meals, as well as prayers during Jacob's prolonged stay. She saw and felt the compassion and divine mercy of the people of God, and quotes St. Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless his people.
We found Michele's story easy to relate to. We too, have had to take our child to a large children's hospital in a big city and have our child given a diagnosis that we were not prepared to receive. It left us feeling overwhelmed and in need of God's mercy and guidance.
When we would see so many children at the hospital with serious medical concerns we felt the need to pray for their healing and also for their families to be comforted. We ourselves were comforted by the prayers offered to our daughter and to us by others.
Michele skillfully pivots from St. Teresa of Avila to Saint Faustina, who would see the poor as visitations from Jesus and an opportunity for her to manifest the Corporal Works of Mercy. The chapter reviews the scriptural foundation for the Corporal Works of Mercy (Mt 25:34-40).
The Corporal Works of Mercy are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to a discussion of how Moms and their families can live out these works of Mercy in a practical way. Michele gives specific ideas and lists websites and organizations that can be contacted to help with this.
We loved these suggestions and can see our family trying several of them out. One of the nice things is how she presents the Corporal Works on different levels that are suitable to various age groups from children to adults. She also keeps in mind that people's temperaments and comfort level vary, but that anyone who truly wishes to implement these works can find a way to start where they are, and deepen their practice as they develop spiritually.
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One of the things we took away from reading this chapter is the importance of Divine Mercy as it is lived out in real life in our families today as we offer service to those in need, and that to do this is to offer service to Christ himself. We were struck by our responsibility as parents to teach our children these essential Gospel values and to give our children a way to put these values into action. Additionally, we enjoyed reading St. Faustina's diary entries in which she so clearly sees Christ in anyone who is in material or spiritual need. These events in St. Faustina's life show us how powerfully she was filled with the love of God and His Divine Mercy.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- Recall a time in your life when you received Divine Mercy and when you extended Divine Mercy to someone else in the form of a Corporal Work of Mercy. How did you feel when you received it? How did you feel when you extended it to another?
- Read Matthew 25:34-40. Brainstorm ways you and your family can perform a Corporal Work of Mercy. Perform this Work of Mercy together. Afterward, meet as a family to discuss how each of you felt.
- Think about a time when you received news that you were not prepared to receive. How did this lead you to turn toward God in prayer and deepen your trust in Him?
Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week's reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
Download this week's printable journal:
Next week, we'll cover Chapter 5: The Spiritual Works of Mercy. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Divine Mercy for Moms Book Club page.
Copyright 2016 David and Mercedes Rizzo
About the Author
David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit DavidAndMercedesRizzo.com to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).