S. Josaphat| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
In 1964, newspaper photos of Pope Paul VI embracing Athenagoras I, the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, marked a significant step toward the healing of a division in Christendom that has spanned more than nine centuries.
In 1595, when today’s saint was a boy, the Orthodox bishop of Brest-Litovsk (famous in World War I) in present-day Belarus and five other bishops representing millions of Ruthenians, sought reunion with Rome. John Kunsevich (Josaphat became his name in religious life) was to dedicate his life and die for the same cause. Born in what is now Ukraine, he went to work in Wilno and was influenced by clergy adhering to the Union of Brest (1596). He became a Basilian monk, then a priest, and soon was well known as a preacher and as an ascetic.
He became bishop of Vitebsk (now in Belarus) at a relatively young age, and faced a difficult situation. Most monks, fearing interference in liturgy and customs, did not want union with Rome. By synods, catechetical instruction, reform of the clergy and personal example, however, Josaphat was successful in winning the greater part of the Orthodox in that area to the union.
But the next year a dissident hierarchy was set up, and his opposite number spread the accusation that Josaphat had "gone Latin" and that all his people would have to do the same. He was not enthusiastically supported by the Latin bishops of Poland.
Despite warnings, he went to Vitebsk, still a hotbed of trouble. Attempts were made to foment trouble and drive him from the diocese: A priest was sent to shout insults to him from his own courtyard. When Josaphat had him removed and shut up in his house, the opposition rang the town hall bell, and a mob assembled. The priest was released, but members of the mob broke into the bishop’s home. He was struck with a halberd, then shot and his body thrown into the river. It was later recovered and is now buried in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He was the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome.
His death brought a movement toward Catholicism and unity, but the controversy continued, and the dissidents, too, had their martyr. After the partition of Poland, the Russians forced most Ruthenians to join the Russian Orthodox Church.
The seeds of separation were sown in the fourth century when the Roman Empire was divided into East and West. The actual split came over customs such as using unleavened bread, Saturday fasting and celibacy. No doubt the political involvement of religious leaders on both sides was a large factor, and doctrinal disagreement was present. But no reason was enough to justify the present tragic division in Christendom, which is 64 percent Roman Catholic, 13 percent Eastern Churches (mostly Orthodox) and 23 percent Protestant, and this when the 71 percent of the world that is not Christian should be experiencing unity and Christ-like charity from Christians!
The Word Among Us:
The Word that was announced to Mary, that took flesh in her womb, is present to us today. It is announced to us in Scripture, in prayer, in the words and actions of others.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Step by step, draw away from earthly affections.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.
It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.
As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.
Reflection 318: Indifference and Forgetfulness
If you were married and you were regularly indifferent to your spouse, this would be a problem. Indifference means there is a lack of sincere care for the good of the other. Forgetfulness is a symptom of indifference in that when one cares little, it’s easy to forget. For example, if you forgot an important anniversary in your marriage this could be a sign of either a very poor memory or an uncaring and indifferent heart. If it is the latter, this brings much hurt to that relationship. One reason this brings much hurt is that the cause of the hurt is subtle. If one were to actively do something hurtful, it’s easier to point it out. Indifference is a passive action in that something is missing. But this passive action can be just as hurtful, if not more hurtful, than a more obvious action. So it is with God. When we are passively indifferent to Him and His Mercy, and when we “forget” to turn to Him day and night, we are bringing much pain to His Sacred Heart (See Diary #1537).
Examine your conscience today and try to honestly identify any struggle you have with indifference. It may not be manifestly clear to you. You may not even realize this is a sin and the cause of much hurt to others. But this form of neglect causes deep wounds over time. Try to make an honest examen and if you realize that this is your sin, do not hesitate to do something about it. Renew your care for those whom God has put in your life, and especially renew your caring heart toward God and the Mercy He wishes to bestow. If you are indifferent to the Mercy of God, this wounds His Heart and does even more damage to you over time.
Lord, I desire to care to the greatest degree. Help me to be continually aware of others in my life and to anticipate their needs, lavishing love upon them. Help me to also be continually aware of Your Mercy and to never be indifferent to this most sacred gift. Jesus, I trust in You.