St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Remember Your Departed Loved Ones/Remember the Holy Souls

Throughout the month of November, the Church encourages us to help a particular group of souls who can’t help themselves: the Holy Souls in Purgatory. They are the souls of the faithful who have died and are being purified before they are able to enter into the glory of Heaven. …
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St Mary Christmas Flowers

Did you know the spiritual benefits of the flowers can go to a person of your choosing when you order your Christmas flowers? The decorations for Christmas benefit many who come here for the Christmas season. It inspires people in faith. The gratitude Jesus has for your gift can go towards the person of your choosing. What a great way to give twice. It is a great way to give to those who are no longer with us.

To order your Christmas Flowers look for the order form insert in the bulletin this week. There will also be forms left at the back of the church. Please have your orders turned in by December 12!

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Living the Moral Life 48

The Object of the act can only tell you if the act is good or bad at the foundation, but the other principles can also make the act bad. It really is simple, yet complicated when humanity gets in to mess things up.

One of the definitions of “evil” is the “lack of goodness”. Existence is a goodness itself. God told Moses His name was “I AM” (Ex 3:14). God is existence itself and we get our existence from God. So all things that exist share something in common with God. God shares His very self to all things that exist just by that thing existing. But say there is a hole punched in a piece of paper. That hole poses a lack of goodness in that piece of paper because there is a lack of paper in that hole. The being of paper does not exist in the hole. Therefore, there is a lack of goodness in that paper.

So evil is not really a thing, but an absence of a thing. Evil is not an existence, but a lack of existence. There is quite a reflection we could have with this thought. This is why evil has no real power to create. It can only destroy or hide behind partial truths. It is also why you can never be evil itself. It is a contradiction in terms. By your very existence, you are good. By the very fact that God created you, your being is good. Sin is the lack of goodness in our actions which makes a hole in our soul. A lack of goodness enters our souls. With that lack of goodness, there is emptiness and a deep suffering that only God can mend. The good news is that we get our existence from God. Through His mercy, He fills in our lack of goodness and fulfillment and peace can enter our souls once more.

So when we do an examination of conscience, it is not to see how wicked we are. It is a way to find fulfillment. Confession and Mercy bring healing to the soul. It fills in that hole made by the lack of goodness of our moral acts. It allows us to forget the past so that we no longer have to beat ourselves over the head in regret (Is 43:18&19). In Confession, Jesus “makes all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Amen!

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Divine Mercy Novena: Day 9

Ninth Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.” 

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen. 

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Divine Mercy Novena: Day 7

Seventh Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is “victim” souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes “every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,”we recommend the “active” souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Divine Mercy Novena: Day 1

First Day
Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Living the Moral Life 45

The Church teaches that if we have mortal sin on our soul, then we are not to receive Holy Communion. The Code of Canon Law (Church law) states, “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.” (CIC 916) Continue reading