Saturday, December 13, 2014

Yes Toonces, Poodles go to heaven too - but only if they're good.

The Pope didn't say that - but he could have.

He didn't say cats go to hell either.  That is so not funny.  Think of the St. Bernard Alpine Rescue Cats.  And don't forget - there are Dominicans* in heaven - some are canonized saints.

Alpine Rescue Cat.

Will there be animals in heaven?  If you want them there, of course.  Even Fr. James Martin, SJ agrees.  (Fr. Martin is kind of a poodle himself.)

That said, everything we need will be found in God - all our desires will be met.  Our Lord has promised a new heaven and new earth - all creation is renewed - nothing will be lacking in God.  Why is that so hard to get?  Why do people torment themselves with these questions?  Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.

A more pertinent question may well be:  "Do catty people go to heaven?"

What about Pitbulls?

*Dominicans - aka God's dogs.


Song for this post here.

The Feast of Saint Lucy

I never thought I would need St. Lucy.

I do.
O God, our Creator and redeemer, mercifully hear our prayers that as we venerate Thy servant, Saint Lucy, for the light of faith thou didst bestow upon her, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to increase and to preserve this same light in our souls, that we may be able to avoid evil, to do good and to abhor nothing so much as the blindness and darkness of evil and sin. 
Relying on Thy goodness, O God, we humbly ask Thee, by the intercession of Thy servant, Saint Lucy that Thou wouldst give perfect vision to our eyes, that they may serve for Thy greater honor and glory, and for the salvation of our souls in this world, that we may come to the enjoyment of the unfailing light of the Lamb of God in paradise. 
Saint Lucy, Virgin and martyr, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.  Amen.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our Lady of Guadalupe ... and discernment ... of apparitions ...

The signs.

1) Our Lady instructed St. Juan Diego to take her requests to the Bishop.

2) The Bishop didn't believe the apparition was authentic.

3) Obedient to the Bishop, the Blessed Virgin, rather than excoriating the Bishop's lack of credulity, sent him a sign ... a "Great Sign" in fact.

4) The Bishop came to believe and millions were converted to the True Faith.

5) A "permanent sign" remains to testify to the events.  The inexplicable preservation of the tilma itself is considered miraculous.

For more information on the miraculous image not made by hands, Our Lady of Guadalupe, go here.

Happy feast day to all!
  (Especially Yaya!)

Maybe we need to remind ourselves that the Catholic Church's pastoral care extends beyond the United States.

So why is Rome now 'suddenly' discussing Marriage and family?

First of all it isn't a 'sudden' turn of events and no one is wringing their hands about marriage.  The Church doesn't act like the blogosphere.  In fact the Synod was planned, it was foreseen before Francis; both John Paul II and Benedict XVI had concerns over the the issues so hotly discussed today.  Not a few Catholics in the United States are caught up in what seems to me to be the self-referential Catholicism Pope Francis speaks about from time to time.  They seem to think everything discussed in Rome is all about the Catholic Church in the United States.

Many have no idea what the situation for ordinary people is like in Latin America, Africa, India, or countries such as the Philippines.  Marriage and family life is culturally quite different.  Many of us have heard that in Latin America, Protestantism has been making inroads - often welcoming the disenfranchised.  In the Philippines and elsewhere, many cannot afford to get married, or may have a spouse who left them, found another to live with, and so on.  I'm being especially vague here simply because as Americans, we normally do not understand the cultural differences, much less be aware of individual circumstances which affect family life in other countries.

Yesterday one blogger asked, "So why the hand-wringing all of a sudden in Rome? If there's a problem in the Church, it's certainly not a lack of pastoral care for bigamists. Honestly. Matrimony is in a shambles, and "remarried" Catholics don't seem to have consciences that trouble them. Where's the pastoral crisis?"

I'm not so sure about that - why else would a divorced and remarried spouse(s) long to be reconciled to the Church?  Circumstances in the US may have a different set of problems - we can certainly argue that - but threats against the family and the crisis in marriage is a bigger problem across the globe than we in the US may be able to grasp.  The situation in the US is only part of the discussions in Rome.  We who cast aspersions upon those we imagine are obstinate sinners are acting like self-referential Catholics.  We judge others from our subjective, limited perspective.  As Pope Francis said early on in his papacy: "When the church is self-referential, inadvertently, she believes she has her own light... The self-referential church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him out," he added.  Likewise, self-referential individuals may judge people and circumstances from their subjective POV and experience.

A quite recent example of cultural differences can be found in this story from the Philippines:
DAGUPAN CITY – A total of 346 indigent couples in this city exchanged their marriage vows in a Catholic wedding ceremony sponsored by the local government last December 6 at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral. 
Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, together with Fourth District Representative Gina de Venecia, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr, and the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese sponsored the mass wedding for unwed couples, who were given the chance to legitimize their union as husbands and wives, some of whom were already living together and have children. 
The mass wedding was one of several activities lined up during the month-long city fiesta coinciding with the celebration of the 400th year of Dagupan as a parish. 
Also present during the ceremony were 2014 city fiesta hermano mayor Councilor Jeslito Seen, Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, Councilor Alfie Fernandez, and punong barangays who also served as ninongs and ninangs to the married couples. 
Rev. Fr. Ariel Aquino from the St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort parish officiated the wedding ceremony. 

Mayor Fernandez cited the importance of legalizing marital unions of live-in couples for every member of the family to avail of various benefits under the law. 
Fernandez also reminded the newly-married couples to maintain respect, understanding, and love within the family unit, which in turn will result in a stronger community.
“We are always here to guide you in attaining progress and happiness for every family in Dagupan,” Fernandez said. 
Meanwhile, de Venecia advised the hundreds of newlyweds to have a relationship built on trust and communication. 
Most of the couples who had been living together without the sanction of legal marriage for years now were elated for the opportunity given them by the city government.
“We are very much happy that we are officially married and to be part of this grand occasion. It is really a blessing for couples like us to have this kind of celebration given us,” newlyweds Leonardo and Darlina Velasco said. - Source

Very few in the United States would understand a ceremony like that.  We just don't get it.  We have big, extravagant weddings for just one couple.  It's an event - a production - an extravaganza starring two people.  We do pre-nups, we plan our families, we plan our lives.  We have no idea how other people live.  We think we do, but when we talk as if the Synod on the Family is only discussing marriage and family and liturgical/sacramental abuses in the mid-western United States we clearly demonstrate we don't know what we are talking about.



That goes for me too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous - our God is so good." - Pope Francis

I come before you
with empty hands…

Very often Pope Francis seems to echo the saints and mystics.

He speaks of the tenderness of God - the great love of God, who, as many mystics have noted, 'loves us unto folly'.  The Holy Father seems to have that sentiment at heart, as well as the spiritual childhood of Little Therese of Lisieux - who incidentally, preferred to be known as little Therese - no one great in the eyes of the world.  I think the Holy Father is very much like her.

Today's homily from Pope Francis touches upon this great love of God - especially for those who feel estranged from it:
God loves is free - the Pope continued - just as a mother’s love is for her child. And the child "allows himself to be loved": "this is the grace of God." "But many times, just to be sure, we want to control the grace". He said that "in history and also in our lives we are tempted to transform grace into a kind of a merchandise ...
"In this way this beautiful truth of God's closeness slips into a kind spiritual book-keeping: 'I will do this because it will give me 300 days of grace ... I will do that because it will give me this, and doing so I will accumulate grace'. But what is grace? A commodity? That’s what it appears. And throughout history this closeness of God to his people has been betrayed by this selfish attitude, selfish, by wanting to control grace, to turn it into merchandise".
"St. Paul reacts strongly against this spirituality of the law.’I am right, and this and this. If I do not do this I am not right'. But you are right because God has drawn close, because God caresses you, because God tells you these beautiful things with tenderness: this is our justice, this closeness of God, this tenderness, this love. At the risk of seeming ridiculous our God is so good. If we had the courage to open our hearts to this tenderness of God, how much spiritual freedom we would have! How much!  - Vatican Radio

How Thereseian.  How much like the Desert Fathers when the Holy Father speaks in his little commentaries on the daily readings.  These are heartfelt meditations which seem to echo the simplicity of the little saints.  The message today very much parallels the spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux, who desired to love God unto folly, recognizing and accepting that God loves us unto folly - the folly of the cross.

What St. Therese did encounter in her own culture was the preoccupation with perfection, merit, degrees of sanctity. The situation of the child enables her to accept weakness and limitation and to trust in God's love and mercy. God as father is a warm and inviting image for her. While perhaps not the ipsissima verba of Therese, the sense of 'spiritual childhood' is recorded in the Last Conversations:
"It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaming our living. ... To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices. ... It is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."
St. Therese is providing an alternative view of relationship to God: not a formal, stiff, perfectionist, scrupulous, fearful model, but a relaxed, loving, open and meaningful one. - St. Therese and Spiritual Childhood

Pope Francis seems to be doing the same thing. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Pope likes to use colloquialisms when he speaks.

Spinster archetype, Mary Bailey 
It's A Wonderful Life

What's a colloquialism?
nouna word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.
the use of ordinary or familiar words or phrases.
Many people use colloquialisms - it's a 'folksy' way to express a thought.  It's probable 'mature' Americans may be more accustomed to such words, or at least understand what they signify.  I'm guessing most ordinary people understand them.  Perhaps a colloquialism could be better understood as a sort of literary archetype, a word or phrase which contains a descriptive sense or meaning immediately recognized or understood by an ordinary person.

The Pope uses that sort of language in his more casual speeches and feverinos or daily homilies - sometimes he uses it in more official addresses and the Wednesday catechesis as well.

For instance, last year when the Holy Father addressed 800 superiors of women religious, he told them: The consecrated must be mothers and not ‘spinsters’!  More than one journalist found the admonition to be offensive to women, especially women who have given up marriage and family for religious life.  (Part of the problem may be the general perception that the vocation to religious life is simply another career choice.  It's not.)  Within that same speech the Holy Father counselled against 'using the vocation for personal ambition or advancement.'  A seasoned religious would understand exactly what the Holy Father meant - it echoes everything his predecessors have said about consecrated life, as well as that which more doctrinal documents have taught.

Journalists and careerists, academics and armchair theologians, may not get the use of simple colloquialism to convey a point - but I think an ordinary nun would.  Before he was made pope, the Holy Father was very close to the Discalced Carmelite nuns, whose language and way of life is very ordinary and simple, and I am told the nuns loved him much.  I'm just guessing, but I wouldn't be surprised the Holy Father speaks publicly in much the same way he spoke to enclosed religious as well as the ordinary people he joined around their kitchen tables in the slums.  Maybe that is lost on the more sophisticated, aesthete Catholics in the West as well?

Sadly, it appears the Catholic 'faithful opposition' is just as quick as secular journalists to reject such 'patriarchal' colloquialisms from a Pope they seem convinced is their theological/doctrinal inferior.

What's 'spinster'?
a woman who is not married, especially a woman who is no longer young and seems unlikely ever to marry.
Note* A woman who never enters marriage contract is so smart.
"Spinster means a woman who can stand independently and doesn't need a man for her life" - Urban

Full Definition of SPINSTER
: a woman whose occupation is to spin
a archaic : an unmarried woman of gentle family
b : an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying
: a woman who seems unlikely to marry - Merriam Webster

Very few people ever use the term any longer, but it can be used as a colloquialism, and often in a derogatory sense - to make a point. It's become a loaded word in our rad-feminist, everyone-must-have-love-affairs-sex-and-partner(s) dominated culture.  Hence my insistence it's use is colloquial.  Yet Catholics today love to mince words, especially from a Pope they do not like.

One of the more ridiculous assertions that the Pope's language is offensive and distinctly derogatory to 'single' women comes from a Catholic blogger known for some pretty outlandish criticisms of Catholic priests and bishops, and now Pope Francis.  Though the term itself is 'derogative' - the Pope was not suggesting single women are inferior - that was demonstrated in the use of the term in his address to women religious last year.

Nevertheless, the blogger took offense to the Holy Father's homily yesterday wherein he used the word 'spinster' once again:

“The joy of going out to seek the brothers and sisters who are far off: This is the joy of the Church. Here the Church becomes a mother, becomes fruitful”
However, the Pope warned that when the Church closes in on herself, it becomes stagnant and disheartened. Without joy or peace, he said, it becomes "a Church that seems more like a spinster than a mother." - Zenit

The Church has always been understood as Mother, Holy Mother Church, a fruitful vine - the term 'spinster' suggests a barren womb - it is actually a very understandable - even traditional analogy - much like saying the weather outside is colder than a witch's tit.  Forgive me, it's vulgar and derogatory, but it's descriptive.

The Catholic blogger I refer to deliberately misconstrues the Holy Father's words, deliberately reads into them something that is not there.  She says she supports sound Catholic doctrine yet takes a rad-feminist approach to 'catch' the Holy Father in an error.  She twists his words to make him look foolish and uses them to write a post which invites her followers to further scorn the Holy Father.  She interprets his words to mean single women, unmarried women, are not welcome in the Church.  While claiming to write her 'private' reactions on her blog, while insisting she supports the Catholic Church whose leader is the Vicar of Christ, she and her readers speculate upon the Pope's mental health, condescending to suggest and discuss that he may have developmental disorders:  "His inability to filter the thoughts in his brain could well be Asperger's."  

I waste my time on this, however.  How can one even respond to the following remark the same blogger made on another post maligning the Pope?

It is obvious he is imposing his hillbilly style upon 2000 years of respect and dignity of that which is holy. Deconstructing marriage and the family, the Deposit of Faith and Sacraments--the army guarding the safety of our Popes is now under deconstruction. - Catholic Blogster


No wonder so many websites, as well as her home chancery no longer tolerate her.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The guy with MS.

There is a man at church who has MS - at least I think it is that.  He uses a walker now.  He's young, somewhere in his 30's I'd guess.  He does everything on his own.  I've also seen him at the grocery store.  He always says 'hi' and gives me a big smile whenever I see him.

Last evening while leaving Mass, he did the same.  A smile so genuine and warm - as if he had seen an old friend.  He goes to Mass daily and I've seen him around for years.  I don't really know him though.  Last evening I ran to hold the door for him, but he didn't need assistance - "Ah, that's okay - I do this every day," he said.  He thanked me however, and I'm sure he knew I wasn't being patronizing.

Sure enough, he made his way out, down the stairs, and I expect, into his van, unassisted.  Obviously it is difficult for him to walk, to move and coordinate taking a step, handling the walker and doors, it's even difficult to speak clearly sometimes.  Yet he can look you in the eyes, he can smile, he can show kindness towards me, and of course, he does speak.  He's young, disabled, single, on his own - and it appears he doesn't want to bother anyone - and I doubt he complains about anything.  He volunteers at the parish, helps out with the youth, goes to daily Mass and adoration.

Like I said, he always has a smile on his face, and seems happy to see everybody.

I think he is 'full of grace' ...  I got the distinct impression that he really is holy.

He's okay ...

Correcting the Pope

Do not stay in the company of scorners.

I never fail to be amazed at how many are willing to correct - even scorn Pope Francis.  The scorn is especially offensive and not from a good spirit.

I am reminded of those Fatimists who have insisted upon resisting the Pope to his face - appropriating to themselves the expression used by St. Paul the apostle.

The other day, a reader left the following comment on my blog, which I reprint here - because I agree wholeheartedly with it:  "The idea that Abbey Roads gets right what everyone else has gotten wrong is itself quite a fantastic notion."  The writer is absolutely correct - I often tell people not to 'follow me' or take my word for this or that which I write about.  I also enjoy offering a humorous slant on current events in my 'crackpot news' posts.  I adopted the term 'crackpot bloggers' from Fr. Euteneuer - who was busy spinning his own stories online.  It seems to work - for me.

When we take ourselves too seriously online, we tend to establish ourselves as a sort of magisterium, perhaps even an extraordinary form of the Holy Office - judging and condemning - or looking down on everyone else - online or in the pews.  Some prefer to call it faithful dissent, faithful opposition, or faithful resistance.  Those terms are definitely Catholic - progressives-liberals have used them for decades.  Although, more recently, the rhetoric sounds more 'protestant'.

To help illustrate my point, here are a couple of mildly crackpot criticisms of Pope Francis, from faithful Catholics online:

Newspapers are splashing headlines about Pope Francis' admission that he is ignorant about what is going on in his Church. He is reportedly claiming his "unawareness" was "bestowed" upon him by God, and this is where he gets his license to continue on with the destruction of Catechesis in spite of the chaos of The Ferris Bueller's Day Off Papacy.

Willful ignorance may make him feel blissful but it is not a gift of God's.

From another authority:
It's time to pray for this pope's conversion to authentic Catholicism.

And another:
Pope Francis is not only publicly saying that unrepentant divorced and remarried Catholics need to be integrated into the Church, he is politicking for this big time behind the scenes.

Many Catholics online know what I'm talking about - these pundits believe themselves to be the faithful remnant who continue to keep the faith.  They have criticized, mocked, and scorned their parish priests, their bishops for years - now the pope is maligned and called a heretic. claiming he is bent on the destruction of the Holy Faith.

Neither Our Lord nor Our Lady would approve of the language used by these writers, and they would especially decry the doubt and division fomented by this sort of 'catechesis'.  I say that because at Fatima Our Lady pleaded that prayers be offered for the Holy Father, who will have much to suffer.  Long before that, the Blessed Virgin expressed deep sorrow to St. Catherine Laboure regarding the sufferings coming upon the Church and the hierarchy:
"I then asked the Blessed Virgin what was the meaning of certain things which had been shown me. She answered: 'My child, the times are evil and misfortunes are about to overwhelm France. The throne will be destroyed and the whole world convulsed by all sorts of calamities.' The Blessed Virgin looked very sad as she said this. 'But,' she added, 'come to the foot of this altar. Here graces will be poured out on all who ask for them, great or small. There will come a time when the danger will be great and it will seem that all is lost. But have confidence. You will feel that I am with you and that God and St. Vincent are protecting the communities. Have confidence, do not be discouraged, I shall be with you.' Then with tears in her eyes, Our Lady continued: 'There will be victims in other communities. There will be victims among the clergy of Paris. The Archbishop will die. My child, the cross will be despised and trodden underfoot. Our Lord's side will be pierced anew; the streets will run with blood, and the whole world will be in sorrow.'" - Source

How can we honor the Blessed Virgin one day, and the next day condemn the Holy Father?  How can so called Catholic news sites place a question mark after every headline quoting a statement attributed to Pope Francis?  These tactics are Catholic malware which infect our thinking - they embed in our memory - it's a virus.  Some people online imagine their mission in life is to spread their own message, their own version of the Gospel, failing to understand that all is subject to the authority of the Church.

I've also sinned in this, and ask God's forgiveness and the grace to repair the damage I have done. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Santa is dead.

Apparently he resisted arrest.

World Meeting of Families debuts official hymn for the visit of Pope Francis next year!!!

On Sunday, November 30, worshippers at a Mass at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul heard for the first time the hymn that will be played at Pope Francis’ Mass during next year’s World Meeting of Families. - Source
Abbey-Roads EXCLUSIVE:  Listen to it here!

(Play it real loud.)


Did you know? A widely-cited story published in the New York times just two weeks ago revealed that Guccifer obtained information that he believed indicated a nuclear bomb would be detonated in Chicago and/or Pennsylvania in 2015.


Totally off-topic - but this is an awesome track - click here JaBig and drive non-stop to Philadelphia or anyplace.

The Paradise of the Immaculate Conception

Thou art all fair O Mary...

Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain is not in thee!
O Mary!

By thy holy and Immaculate Conception

Make my Body pure and my spirit holy.

Thou art all fair O Mary!
Draw me in the odor of thy ointments.
Encompass my heart within thine.
Show thyself my mother!

But thou O Lord, have mercy on us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Vouchsafe, O sacred Virgin, to accept my praises.
Thanks be to God.

By what praises dare I extol thee?

Hail Mary!  Full of grace!

The Lord is with thee!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Cardinal Burke got his wish - Pope Francis addresses the issues head on.

Remember when Cardinal Burke said he wished the Pope would intervene, that he would speak out about what was being discussed at the synod?

He did.  He also put the rumor to rest that Cardinal Burke was demoted because of his outspokenness during the synod proceedings:
Pope Francis has denied that removing American Cardinal Raymond Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court was a “punishment” for his outspokenly conservative views at a recent summit of bishops, saying instead he wanted a “smart American” to serve as patron of the Order of Malta. 
“It is not true that I removed him because of how he had behaved in the synod,” Francis said. 
The pontiff said that the move was part of a broader restructuring of the Vatican bureaucracy that had been decided well before the October 5-19 synod of bishops on the family. The reason he waited until after the synod to make it official, he said, was so that Burke could still participate in the meeting as the head of a Vatican department. - Crux

Works for me.

The Holy Father also shed some light upon his concern for the pastoral care of gay Catholics, poignantly explaining:
“Nobody mentioned homosexual marriage at the synod, it did not cross our minds,” the pope said. Rather, “the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation.” 
He said that this “happened to me several times in Buenos Aires. We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.” - Crux
Deacon Kandra posted more clarifications here.

I'm just speculating here, but I'm willing to guess the Holy Father might not agree with Cardinal Burke that gay relatives should not be included at family Christmas gatherings.  Although the latest Argentine interview should teach us not to assume we know what the Holy Father is thinking, as well as to avoid jumping to conclusions regarding his actions.  It's clear that recent events - including the  so-called 'sacking' of the Swiss Guard commander, wasn't what the media made it out to be.
He also denied sacking the Commander of the Swiss Guards, Daniel Anrig, as the Italian and international media reported recently. He explained that Anrig’s term of office had actually ended two months after his election as pope but, not knowing the situation well, he asked him to stay on until further notice. Last July they agreed he would bow out at the end of the year, as it was time for a renewal. “He’s an excellent person, a very good Catholic, and a man who has an excellent family,” he added. - America

Looks to me as if pop-Catholic social media deserves a failing grade on accurate reporting regarding Pope Francis.

There is no saint left ...

Where have you hidden, O my Beloved?

The Ethiopians have moved.

They left the church across the street for a larger one closer to downtown - it is also a nicer one, architecturally.  It is bigger and I think parking is less of a problem.  I emailed asking for confirmation - although they are now listing the new address as their home online - so I think they are gone.

How much joy they brought to me - to know the Divine Liturgy was celebrated right across the street.  Perhaps my sentiment is similar to how the Ethiopians must have felt when the Holy Family left them to return to Nazareth.  They were chosen and blessed to have sheltered the exiled Holy Family as they traveled through their district when escaping Herod ...

Yesterday was light up night at my house - for St. Nicholas of course - I left the lights on all night for the Ethiopians, who begin to arrive for Divine Liturgy at 4:00 AM - I thought it would add to their joy.

It is a good reminder that we are but strangers and pilgrims.

"Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the insult which he bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come. Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name." - Hebrews 13: 13-15

Getting ready for Christmas - are you naughty or nice? Are you good enough?

St. Nicholas coming to the aid of children.

Think you are deserving?

I'm not.  However, I was genuinely consoled by today's Offertory Prayer:
Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings, and, since we have no merits to plead our cause, come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy.  Through Christ our Lord.
I have no merits!

I need to be rescued!

I need protection ...
... the protection of His mercy.
The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man ... Bl. John Paul II

I like this ...
Therese to Celine:
Beloved little sister, let us never seek what appears to be great in the eyes of creatures... The only thing that is not envied is the last place; it is only there in that last place where one finds no vanity or spiritual affliction.

However, 'the way of man is not for him to decide', and at times we catch ourselves desiring things that glitter. Then let us humbly rank ourselves among the imperfect and esteem ourselves little souls whom the good God sustains at each moment. As soon as he sees us convinced of our nothingness, he extends his hand to us.
- From: Celine: Sister and Witness to St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

To know that Therese ranked herself with people like me - to attract the Divine Mercy.

Don't give up.  Our misery irresistibly attracts the Divine Mercy.