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They'll Go like Hotcakes

Tomorrow's L'Osservatore Romano reports:

During the Sunday Angelus, and on various other occasions, Pope Francis has urged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized book of the Gospels and to read it often to meditate on Jesus' words and deeds, especially those referred to in the day's liturgy, on which Pope Francis himself has commented.

To help put this suggestion into practice, and communicating a clear message, next Sunday during the Angelus in St. Peter's Square, several thousand pocket-sized copies of the Gospel will be distributed free as a gift to the faithful at the behest of the Pope.

The book, printed by the Vatican Typography (in a special edition for this occasion, which will not be available for sale), contains the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and begins with the Pope's words from the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.”

At the end of the book will be printed a prayer by Cardinal Newman that Mother Teresa asked her Sisters of Charity to pray each day:

Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance
everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us, and be so in us,
that every soul we come in contact with
may feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us
but only Jesus!
Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine
as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from you,
none of it will be ours;
it will be you, shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
by shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching, not by words
but by our example, by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love
our hearts bear to you. Amen.

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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It calls for an app.  I would think more people are likely to have iPhone and Android devices than booklets in their pockets.


Jim, Pope Francis is almost as old as I am. We think in terms of pages you can turn and dog-ear.

I think this is a wonderful idea. I'll bet counterfeit copies will be on EBay in a few months. But if people read them...

Acts, huh? Every mini volume of Gospel I've ever seen (e.g., what was distributed to soldiers in WWII) had the Gospels and Psalms. Inetersting development.

Anyhow, it's all very Mao. I like it.

Collecting? si.  Reading?  One can but hope.

I didn't think it sounded like something Newman would write, and I don't believe that the prayer if from Newman. At least it can't be found on the wonderful website Newman reader, which indexes all his works.

It seems to be an adaptation from "Meditations and Devotions:"

(3) Jesus the Light of the Soul
Mane nobiscum, Domine, quoniam advesperascit.
Stay with us, because it is towards evening

Abe: my catechism youth have a small book with the Gospels and the Acts, and that only. That book was given to them for catechism on some previous year.

Thank you, Father Komonchak. I had doubts. I did some research, and found this note, "as adapted by Mother Teresa." Liberally, it seems.

The paperback version of the Gospels and Acts, fine. But why do these initiatives, the "misericordina" and now the Scripture paperback booklet, have to be linked to the Divine Mercy devotion? Archbishop Krajewski? I don't doubt that this pious exercise is a help to some, but am I alone in finding it a bit perfervid?

That "Divine Mercy Sunday" is now the secondary title for the venerable Octave Day of Easter is, in my judgment, dismaying. And this year the great Octave Day will be further overshadowed by the extraordinary focus on the canonization of Blessed John XXIII, but, even more, on that of Blessed John Paul II.

The Opening Prayer of the Second Sunday of Easter (1998 text);


God of everlasting mercy,

each year when the feast of Easter returns

you enliven the faith of your holy people.

Increase in us the grace you have already bestowed,

that we may understand more fully

in whose font we have been washed,

in whose Spirit we have been reborn,

and in whose blood we have found redemption.


We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, ... ... ....


More than enough to celebrate, I think.

John Page,

The collect for the Second Sunday of Easter, which even the current translation does not manage to dim, is indeed wonderful -- fervent but not perfervid.

Staying with the present liturgical season, the collect for tomorrow's Fifth Sunday of Lent is both sober and substantive:

"May we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death."

Thank you, John Page. I thought I might be the only one who finds the elevation of Divine Mercy Sunday to the status of  bookend to Easter over the top. I realize that that's not by everyone everywhere, but it seems to be by a lot of people, including many in Rome. I might not call it perfervid (or, then again, I might) but its location, when the Church is still in full exaltation from the previous Sunday, seems to let  the feast jump in front of the leading actor to take its own bow during the curtain calls.

  BTW, what is there about Divine Mercy that makes it different from the Sacred Heart?

"what is there about Divine Mercy that makes it different from the Sacred Heart?"

Pope JPII.

Well, duh.

The co-worker who brought me back into the Church decades ago told me to carry with me a New Testament and to read it every day.I would see him at break time doing just that.He also told me  to stop by a church for a few minutes a day, and he told me  to pray the moment I wake up.I asked him to pray how, what? And he said "just say what's in your heart".He himself is a Franciscan lay person.

I have the Little  Black Book for Lent in my purse.   I get it off the rack in the back of the Church;  I really like it

Has Divine Mercy Sunday really taken? Its not something I think about at all.

Acts, huh? Every mini volume of Gospel I've ever seen (e.g., what was distributed to soldiers in WWII) had the Gospels and Psalms. Inetersting development.

Yeah - when I did prison ministry, what you describe is exactly what we were given to work with in our services with the residents.  Psalms, but no Acts.  It was KJV, too.  



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