Postcards from the Class of 2015

June 8, 2015

FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SORROWFUL PASSION… PART I
May 31- June 6, 2015
by Jeff Stegbauer (Archdiocese of Cincinnati)

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

This beautiful, simple, and short prayer was given to us from St. Faustina, a polish nun, in the first half of the 20th century through Christ appearing to her as the image of Divine Mercy. My devotion to Divine Mercy has been essential in the past five years of seminary formation. As I prayed this prayer during the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I always prayed it with a particular intention in mind—for a deceased soul, a struggling friend or family member, or that I abandon myself to the love and mercy of Christ. The concluding part of the prayer—have mercy on us and on the whole world—had never really sunk in during my prayer as universal.

This past week, I took advantage of our opportunity to pray before Mass celebrated at the altar above the tomb of St. John Paul the Great. This great Saint and Pope is responsible for spreading the devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus. He even established Divine Mercy Sunday as the Sunday following Easter. So, I decided to pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet asking for his intercession. While praying this prayer, I began to feel connected to something much larger than just my personal intentions—that something being the universal Church. St. John Paul the Great was the Vicar of Christ for the Catholic Church. There were pilgrims from all across the world making pilgrimages to St. Peter’s Basilica as I, an American seminarian, was praying a devotion begun by a humble Polish nun before the tomb of a Saint. My world suddenly became much larger.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

It continued to grow as I attended the Papal Corpus Christi Mass and Eucharistic Procession. We were incredibly blessed to be less than 100 feet away from Pope Francis and the altar during the Mass. Around the altar were Cardinals, Bishops, and priests from all over the world adoring Christ together with a deep love. There were thousands of pilgrims from all over the world packed in the park and lining the streets in anticipation of the procession because of their love for Christ and His Church. We came together to celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us adored Christ in a language that was not our own, yet we still offered ourselves to Christ and His Will for us. We are the Universal Church and language is not able to prevent us from following our Lord—who we followed in a very real way as we processed behind the Eucharist from St. John Lateran to Mary Major. At one point I turned around on a hill to witness thousands of pilgrims following Christ with candles glowing in the growing darkness. We all desired to never leave Christ’s side, to never abandon Him and His Cross, and that we may accept our own crosses. We all desired to love Christ more fully and personally, so that Christ may be our light in the darkness. I pray that I continue to grow in appreciation of the universal Church while I am here in Rome. So, when I pray this prayer, I may be closely united to Christ’s Passion and be begging for mercy for the entire world—the universal Church and all of the people on the world. I pray that God may draw them closer to Him always. Closer to His Love.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.