S. Stephen, King of Hungary| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Stephen of Hungary
The Church is universal, but its expression is always affected—for good or ill—by local culture. There are no “generic” Christians; there are Mexican Christians, Polish Christians, Filipino Christians. This fact is evident in the life of Stephen, national hero and spiritual patron of Hungary.
Born a pagan, he was baptized around the age of 10, together with his father, chief of the Magyars, a group who migrated to the Danube area in the ninth century. At 20 he married Gisela, sister to the future emperor, St. Henry. When he succeeded his father, Stephen adopted a policy of Christianization of the country for both political and religious reasons. He suppressed a series of revolts by pagan nobles and welded the Magyars into a strong national group. He asked the pope to provide for the Church's organization in Hungary—and also requested that the pope confer the title of king upon him. He was crowned on Christmas day in 1001.
Stephen established a system of tithes to support churches and pastors and to relieve the poor. Out of every 10 towns one had to build a church and support a priest. He abolished pagan customs with a certain amount of violence, and commanded all to marry, except clergy and religious. He was easily accessible to all, especially the poor.
In 1031 his son Emeric died, and the rest of Stephen's days were embittered by controversy over his successor. His nephews attempted to kill him. He died in 1038 and was canonized, along with his son, in 1083.
God’s gift of holiness is a Christlike love of God and humanity. Love must sometimes bear a stern countenance for the sake of ultimate good. Christ attacked hypocrites among the Pharisees, but died forgiving them. Paul excommunicated the incestuous man at Corinth “that his spirit may be saved.” Some Christians fought the Crusades with noble zeal, in spite of the unworthy motives of others. Today, after senseless wars, and with a deeper understanding of the complex nature of human motives, we shrink from any use of violence, physical or “silent.” This wholesome development continues as people debate whether it is possible for a Christian to be an absolute pacifist or whether evil must sometimes be repelled by force.
“Although the Church has contributed much to the development of culture, experience shows that, because of circumstances, it is sometimes difficult to harmonize culture with Christian teaching.
“These difficulties do not necessarily harm the life of faith. Indeed they can stimulate the mind to a more accurate and penetrating grasp of the faith. For recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy raise new questions which influence life and demand new theological investigations” (Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 62).
The Secret of Faith:
Jesus smiles and tells us we need to believe so we can understand. Our Mother Mary, early on, figured out how to handle it all—she “treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). The Bible uses the term heart over one thousand times. It's the secret of faith.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Be strong and cheerful in spirit, for the Lord is in the depths of your heart; He will fight along with you and for you.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 245: Severity Postponed
It’s important to know that Jesus has every right to bring forth His justice here and now. He has every right to be severe with us on account of our sins and to bring eternal judgment upon us. This truth is often forgotten on account of His Mercy. But we should never forget this fact. It’s important to remember this because unless we understand the absolute right that God has to execute swift and irrevocable judgment on the world, we will never understand that His restraint is an act of immeasurable Mercy. The Mother of God is especially entrusted with the responsibility of praying for His Mercy and pleading on our behalf that her Son’s wrath be withheld. God gave to her this responsibility of intercession for us and He listens to those prayers. He also calls each one of us to pray for Mercy in the world and, though our prayers are not as powerful as the Mother of God, they can be if we place them in her Immaculate Heart. Giving our Blessed Mother our prayers magnifies their power and transforms them into an instrument of unfathomable grace, holding back the hand of the Justice of God (See Diary #1261).
Do you understand the right that God has to bring sudden and severe judgment upon you? That may not be pleasant to think about but it’s important to understand. Ponder this fact today. Believe it and know that He withholds His judgment on account of His Mercy. Seek the prayers of our Blessed Mother, this day, and offer her your own prayers. Through your prayers, offered through her intercession, God’s justice is withheld and His Mercy will be bestowed in our time.
Dearest Mother, I offer you, this day, all my prayers, works and sacrifices so that you may in turn offer them to Your Son. Please pray for me and for all your children that the justice of Your Son will be withheld as His Mercy is poured forth. Jesus, I trust in You.