Divine Mercy Chaplet

Say Unceasingly the Chaplet
Once, as I was going down the hall to the kitchen, I heard these words in my soul: Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (Diary, 687).
My Prayer Response:
Lord Jesus, make me more aware of the power of the mercy chaplet as a prayer for Your infinite mercy for sinners, for the dying, and for the whole world. May You inspire me to pray it unceasingly.

A Good Leader Does Penance

I do not know if the title of this writing is born out in everyday life but it should be. A good leader – someone who expects others to follow him or her – needs to lead by more than words and Power Point Presentations. A good leader needs to lead by example. An obvious example of this when it comes to the business world is that if a CEO expects his or her managers to be good leaders then he or she must be a good leader. For an organization to work well managers need to lay out expectations, terms of reference to their teams. An indicator that this will happen is if the CEO is doing this with his or her managers. The managers will lead others by the example that is given to them. 

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and nights in order to prepare for his public ministry. While in the deserts he fasted and prayed. He did works of penance. Did he need to do these? No! Why did he do them then? 

Jesus did works of penance for a number of reasons. Jesus is not just a good leader but a perfect one. Jesus will teach his apostles in the near future that they must do penance or perish. 

Jesus did works of penance in order to show everyone in his time, and you and me, how to over come the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. 

Jesus did works of penance that we need to – united to Him – repair the damage cause by sin. Just as we work off a debt we incur by labor so we “work off” or repair the damage we cause by our sins by works of penance. The caveat is that these acts of penance are united to Jesus Christ. 

Jesus did not need to do penance. Do you and I need to do penance? We sure do! We need to do penance for the reasons I’ve just laid out. While all of us need to be doing works of penance it is the leaders who need to, well – lead! Who are these “leaders?” 

Priests (which includes Bishops and the Pope). We are spiritual fathers and leaders that Christ has chosen to be in positions to lead people to God. We need to do penance. 

Husbands and wives who may be fathers and mothers. Children need to see the example of their parents doing penance and that works of penance are not things that make them miserable but actually more cheerful. 

Teachers and anyone else in a position of leadership and responsibility needs to be doing penance. They don’t need to make a show of it (they shouldn’t) but it might come out and then they should not hide it. 

So – as Lent begins let us take up the call of Jesus to live the three types of penance: 1) Prayer, 2) Fasting and 3) Almsgiving. 

Lead by example! 

Fr Hamilton 

Prayer in Motion in the House or on the Road

Consider how much time we spend “in motion.” This being “in motion” takes into account all the times we move around the house, going upstairs and downstairs. It involves going outside and back inside the house. 

Then consider the time you are in motion on the road – travelling to and form work. While this would be very different in smaller areas (towns and villages) it is for the average city person a great deal of time spent on the road. 

In Canada (2019) drivers spent an average of 24 minutes commuting to work (and then there is driving back home). In Vancouver the average commuting time is 67 minutes IF they leave for work between 5:00am and 7:00am. 

Do a quick mental calculation of all the times you spend at traffic lights and stop signs. 

From the time we get up till the time we go to bed we human beings spend a fair bit of time in motion. If we want to make of our day a pleasing sacrifice to God or a more pleasing sacrifice to God, then it is important we take advantage of at least some of the moments in motion. 

When you drive leave the radio off and pray your rosary. Use a finger rosary – one that fits like a ring. Do not use the longer one that could get tangled and cause you to be distracted. 

So today resolve to use your vocal prayers (like the Hail Mary or Memorare, the Rosary while driving) and spontaneous prayers while going through the house or at work (quietly of course). Simple examples are – Jesus, I love you; Mary, I love you; Guardian Angel help me now and the list goes on. 

Nothing complicated about this – you only need determination and love. 

Use all of that motion to help make of your day a more pleasing offering to God. 

Fr Hamilton 

The Oasis’s Throughout the Day

With the heroic minute, morning offering and making one’s bed the day has begun well. What is so important is that we are resolved to do this every day. If you fail start again the next day. I cannot overstate how critical this is. If you fail today – something doesn’t happen – then start again tomorrow. If you do this things will improve 

Then you engage in your 15 minutes of meditation. Again – I’m a repeater of basic things – if you fail today renew your resolve to start again tomorrow. Do not allow any discouragement to wear you down. Leave it behind and ask Jesus to help you begin again and again.

Now the oasis’s throughout the day will involve a number of things at different points. Think of these points as taking a moment to raise your mind and heart to God in order to renew your morning offering – to continue the trajectory that you started your day with. 

I will mention some of these “oasis’s” in this writing and others in later writings. 

Spontaneous prayers

The spiritual life is not about checking off boxes – “I did that” “I did this.” The spiritual life is about love – true love and the willingness to sacrifice itself for another. Normally I would say “for the good of another” but when it comes to God it is not for God’s good but rather for our good. 

The spiritual life is more akin to a response to what God has done for us. God – in Christ – has not only created us (he did not need to) but he has died for us (he did not need to) and offered to rescue us (he did not need to – are you getting the point yet!) and then bring us into a relationship with himself beginning now and then being consummated for all eternity (he did not need to!). 

Knowing this will help a person go through the day and want to “stop at a spiritual oasis” and either offer a prayer, pray the rosary, make an offering, rectify your intention about the work you are doing and you will no longer see it as a burden but rather a manifestation of love for the one who has loved you more than you can know. 

So – spontaneous prayers are like darts that we throw to heaven. As we go through the day we experience everything from the normalcy of life to being tired, being tempted … all sorts of things. As St Josemaria teaches: 

A good Christian acquires his mettle, with the help of grace, in the training-ground of prayer. But prayer, our life-giving nourishment, is not limited to one form alone. Our heart will find an habitual expression in words, in the vocal prayers taught us by God himself — the Our Father — or by his angels — the Hail Mary. On other occasions, we will use the time-proven words that have expressed the piety of millions of our brothers in the faith: prayers from the liturgy — lex orandi; or others whose source is the love of an ardent heart, like the antiphons to our Lady: Sub tuum praesidium, Memorare, Salve, Regina…

There will be other occasions on which all we’ll need will be two or three words, said with the quickness of a dart, iaculata — ejaculatory prayers, aspirations that we learn from a careful reading of Christ’s life: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.” “Lord, I do believe, but help my unbelief,” strengthen my faith. “Lord, I am not worthy.” “My Lord and my God!”… or other short phrases, full of affection, that spring from the soul’s intimate fervour and correspond to the different circumstances of each day. (cf. Christ is Passing by, The Ascension of Our Lord # 119).

So you see – it is not that difficult. We only need to get into the practice (habit) of doing this — and asking God (which is itself a prayer) for help to get this started is a big step forward. 

Take advantage of the “oasis” that is present throughout your day.

Fr Hamilton 

How To Keep Going: The Day Progresses


Morning Prayer in the next thing that is so important. 

First really try not to turn on the radio or worse the TV. It is so unnecessary and will only contribute to noise in your head and probably disturbing noise, chaotic noise – a cacophony of noise. And you really do not need it. 

Studies (I do not have a specific reference here) state the average North America spends anywhere from three to four hours a day on news. From morning till bed time we are being inundated via TV, radio, podcasts, newspaper, internet, cell phones, tablets with news, news and more news. 

At the same time many people say that they do not have time to pray! Really! Three to four hours sunk or hooked into news (much of which is negative) and no time to pray! We need to do a reality check.

I fully realize that many people who might read this have children who are perhaps getting ready for school or perhaps even going off to work. 

The quiet that I am encouraging – that is in fact really important to get oneself ready for morning prayer (mediation) – is something that should or can precede people getting up. In other words, if you can, get up early – in the real quiet of the morning – at a scheduled time (use an alarm clock if you need) and have a cup of coffee or tea ready to help wake yourself up. Even Venerable Fulton J Sheen spoke often about the cup of coffee before his Holy Hour in the morning. 

The main thing before any prayer begins is the intention – desire – to do it. NOTHING can substitute for this. The greatest informational and inspirational talk or book can deliver to you all the whys you should do this and even teach you how to do it but unless you want to and are determined to do this – come heck or highwater as the old saying goes – you either won’t do it or you’ll start with a defective intention or attitude and set yourself up to fail and retreat. Be aware of this or you are just fooling yourself. 

What follows are simple but important steps to pray 

  • Have your place – your area – to pray 
  • Bring a timer. Start with 15 minutes. Aim 30 minutes and see what happens
  • Start simply: Lord I am here; I know you are here. Teach me what you want me to learn and to know for the day ahead. Help me to pray
  • Read the daily Readings from Mass or even just the daily Gospel. 
  • Read it again – slowly
  • Keep the missalette or the bible in your lap or near you 
  • You can also have a crucifix near you – this helps to focus our attention on Jesus.
  • Close your eyes and speak to the Lord as a disciple to his/her Teacher
  • Say to him: Lord I want to be right there when you did this or taught this in the Gospel. I want to learn from you to be amazed, to adore, to give thanks, to petition you for the things I really need. 
  • Lord what do you want me to learn from this encounter I have with you? How can it make me a better disciple, a better child of God a better instrument of the Holy Spirit
  • When the 15 or 30 minutes is coming to a close – say …
  • Lord my time is coming to an end – help me to see one thing that I can put into practice today … one thing that I take from this encounter with you in today’s Gospel 
  • Thank you, Lord, for the good resolutions, affections and inspirations that you have communicated to me.
  • Help me put them into effect as I prepare to leave the house or meet the various people that I will meet throughout the day.

On you go with the day 

Fr Hamilton