NOVENA
TO BLESSED IVAN MERZ

 

doc.format Novena to Blessed Ivan Merz

INTRODUCTION

After the beatification of Ivan Merz in 2003 by Pope John Paul II, the veneration of the new Croatian Blessed became more and more widespread, not only in his native land of Croatia, but also in different parts of the world. Many are praying to him asking for his help and many have had their petitions granted. One can read numerous documented expressions of gratitude on his grave and on the website in the internet in his honor.

Following his Beatification, the necessary proceedings are continuing for his Canonization. It includes two conditions to be fulfilled:

1. His life and his example as Blessed have to be known and venerated amongst Christians.

2. The Church requires one miracle that should take place through his intercession after the faithful have prayed to him.

For these reasons the postulation office for the canonization of Blessed Ivan Merz prepared this prayer book-novena in order to help the faithful in their prayers to Blessed Ivan to receive graces by his intercession.

Prayers for Novena are made so that each day has its own theme that is based on those virtues, which were so characteristic and outstanding in the life of Blessed Ivan. This will also give the opportunity to those who pray to discover better the basic lines of his spirituality.

These prayers may be adapted also to devotions of three days - triduum, similar to other devotions in honor of Blessed Ivan Merz.



SUGGESTIONS HOW TO PROCEED WITH NOVENA

In addition to the prayers for the every day Novena here presented, and for the best way to proceed with this Novena, it is advised to add the following:

1. Confession and Communion. The best way to start the Novena is with Confession and Holy Communion: Confession before one starts the Novena and Holy Communion in partaking of Holy Mass, at least once during the Novena. Blessed Ivan Merz honored and adored the Eucharist. He attended Holy Mass and received Holy Communion daily, therefore his intercession may have a better effect if one includes the Eucharist to the prayers.
2. One part-mystery of the rosary. Is very much advised to pray at least the one part-mystery of the rosary (ten Ave Maria), because Blessed Ivan was a big venerator of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
3. Learn about the life of Blessed Ivan Merz. It is advisable that during the Novena, participants learn about the life of Blessed Ivan Merz. Those who have access to the internet may read the English texts about him on the site: www.ivanmerz.hr
4. To visit the tomb of Ivan Merz. This is possible for the people living or visiting Zagreb in Croatia. His tomb is in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the street Palmoticeva 31. One can visit also the place where the relics of Blessed Ivan are venerated, for example - in the Philippines.
All those people whose prayers were fulfilled by the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz should inform the:

POSTULATION OF BL. IVAN MERZ
Address: Jordanovac 110, p.p.169, HR-10000 - ZAGREB, Croatia
E-mail: postulatura@ivanmerz.hr

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OPENING PRAYER

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord God, our Heavenly Father, we are beginning this Novena to honor your faithful servant, Blessed Ivan Merz, who lived to proclaim Your glory here on earth by following the words of the Gospel. Through his life You shown Your own glory. By his holy merits and intercession give us Your grace which we need to live according to the Christian values. We pray to grant us this grace for which we pray in this novena. Help us that we too, as Blessed Ivan, strive to live a life of holiness. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen


FIRST DAY

LIFE - DEATH - PASSING - ETERNITY

Blessed Ivan, meditating about the mystery of life and death, as a young man, you realized very early the transience of all creation on this earth. Thinking about eternity was constantly preoccupying your inner life. When you were on the battle-field during the war, face to face with suffering and dying, you were enlightened by the Grace of God, so that you changed entirely your view and understanding of the world. The only true response to the fundamental question about life, you found in Christian faith. Lead by the Grace of God, you reasonably envisaged life, and you left to us inspirational thoughts about the passage from this life to eternity. We can still hear you, even today, through your thoughts:

This life is only the short preparation for eternity.

We should try to sweeten this short life with an ascetical way of life.

I feel that this life is only an ephemeral phase that leads into eternal life.

Pain, suffering, a view of thousands of deformed, dead and haggard people, washes a person of all ephemeral things, and suggests the meaning of life forcefully.

The most important question for man is the problem of death.

Life is not enjoyment but sacrifice.

Man is here only a traveler, his real habitation is not on the Earth, he's been chosen for something higher.

The philosophy of happiness lies in this: the object of all our desires should be placed into the world to come.

All the powers of this life should be aimed at the life to come after this stay on the Earth.

Let's use all of our energies to save our souls and as many souls of our neighbors as possible.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord God, you enlightened your servant, Blessed Ivan, so that he may find the meaning of life and the answers to all questions in the light of Christian faith. After a long meditation, Blessed Ivan understood that this life on earth is only a preparation for the other-eternal life-where he now resides. By his intercession, we pray that you grant us the grace of enlightened vision of the transient value of life here on earth. This life should be the best preparation for eternity. Give us the grace to resist all, which could divert us from eternal life, where your servant, Blessed Ivan has already entered. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.

 

SECOND DAY

GOD AND RELIGION

Blessed Ivan, you were raised in liberal surroundings and it was only towards the end of your high school that you started to think seriously about religious subjects.
You observed the universe and all the creations of the world around you and you came to conclusions that a Creator who directs all that exists must Himself truly exist. Your faith in God, however, was passing through crises and doubts. But, little by little, especially through the experience of suffering in the war, your faith was purged, became firm and you grew in love and longing for union with God.
By your own thoughts, by observation of nature and art, you came to understand the significance of religion in your life. The real, true religion you discovered solely to be the catholic religion, to which you devoted the rest of your life.
You left us admirable thoughts about your ascent towards God who drew you more and more to Himself, bestowing on you His graces to which you readily responded. From your thoughts we are able to recognize the Light of God's grace which was enlightening your intellect:

All the wonders of the world, the whole of nature, leads us to the conclusion that everything was created by the infinite Spirit, by the Ideal of mankind, by Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

God exists and I firmly believe, even in the strongest moments of trial and doubt that He is the only, Eternal and Great God.

I believe in the Lord God Almighty, I believe that He's the perfect Spirit in free will and greatness.

The fact is that God exists, that I feel Him around me, in myself, here, there, everywhere.

Where you are absent, God, there is no joy .

Religion without prayer is dead.

The best way to spend time is to contemplate God and the revealed truths.

Absolute contentment is in God only.

There is one God who ceaselessly influences the human souls.

God, how much I love You, how much I thank You for You are filling my soul now with a strange, abundant sweetness. How my soul rises, how it flies to You; it would like to break this chest by superhuman strength, and go up there to be united with You eternally.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)


Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

God, Our Father, your servant, Blessed Ivan, enlightened and lead by Your grace, found the way to You. You revealed Yourself to him in the beauty of your creations, in the grandeur of the universe and in the depth of the heart that is longing for a source. You were a drawing force and he readily responded to the call of Your Spirit. Give to us too, by his intercession, the grace of our willingness to accept Your call, to recognize You and discover You in your creations and that by this discovery we too become drawn to You, so that together with Blessed Ivan, we too find eternal unity with You. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.

 

THIRD DAY

JESUS CHRIST AND THE LOVE OF HIS HEART IN THE EUCHARIST

Blessed Ivan, the central force in your Christian life was our Saviour Jesus Christ. You met him at first as the cosmic ruler of the universe, then as a presence in Church Liturgy and in Church Hierarchy, and above all you were seeing Him in the Bishop of Rome - the Pope.

You recognized Christ in human beings. In a special way you recognized Christ's love under the sign of His Most Sacred Heart to which you were devoted, had confidence, and trusted in. The most important place where you met the Saviour was in the Holy Eucharist, which became the centre of your spiritual life.
Since your student days you went to daily Mass and you received daily Holy Communion. The presence of Jesus in the Eucharist gave you inspiration and strength for numerous apostolic activities. Daily you were visiting Him in Church during the Adoration of the Holy Sacrament; and you propagated your love for the Eucharistic Jesus ardently amongst the youth. Personally, you consecrated your life to the Heart of Jesus.
Everything you did, you did "for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus", as you documented in your diary. God's Providence rewarded your confidence in the Heart of Jesus in a visible way: your body is awaiting resurrection under the volts of the Basilica of The Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, which was the place of your sanctification and where your spiritual ascend toward God took place. We are listening to your inspirational thoughts about our Saviour, which you left for us in your diary and other texts:

Christ has come into the world to consecrate all of nature, every man and every nation.

Christ is the purpose and aim of our eternal desires.

I must deserve here, at least, a little bit of Christ's immeasurable love, and also, with the help of God I'll try to continue the act of consecration as strongly as possible.

Holy Communion is the source of life.

Everybody knows how the closeness of the Eucharist strengthens.

In Holy Communion, where your body and your soul unite with the very Divinity, has to be the culmination of your life.

Uniting yourself with Christ in Holy Communion, even here on earth, your last purpose is fulfilled, and you become partakers in the very Being of God.

The Holy Mass is only then complete if we unite with Jesus in the Holy Communion, by the tightest links of love, melting one being into another.

The Eucharist is the strongest means, the fire which burns the rust of sins in ourselves, and gives life to our soul.

The Eucharist is our first joy on earth; through it we are already becoming partakers of a future heavenly glory.

In Holy Communion a soul celebrates its triumphs; it becomes similar to its divine Fiancé, becomes divine, and becomes a partaker of immensity and eternity.

Heart of Jesus, I dedicate my life to You: if I should suffer and come to You in this way, if it is in honour of You, Your will be done.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the strongest factor for re-evangelization of society.
Let everything be to the glory of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

I am expecting the mercy of the Lord and undivided, complete, eternal possession of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)


Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord Jesus, you revealed Yourself to Blessed Ivan, and the abundance of Divine life in your Sacred Heart, which he revered and loved from the bottom of his own heart, so that he found in You the center of his life.
You endowed him with a special supernatural gift of understanding and a deep faith in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. With his entire being he admired this mystery of Your divine love receiving it daily and making Adoration in front of the tabernacle. By his intercession, give us understanding of the love of Your Sacred Heart, in order that we also will be able in our humility to witnesses to others of the love of your Sacred Heart, to promote Your Glory, and by this way lead our brothers to eternal salvation. Grant us, we pray, that the Eucharist becomes the centre of our spiritual life from which we will be able to draw strength for our own sanctification and the love for our neighbours. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.


FOURTH DAY

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Blessed Ivan, you were adorned by very special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a youth you had a deep devotion for Mary asking for Her help in your struggles against sin and help to keep purity of your soul. Under Her protection you took a vow of chastity and she helped you so that you faithfully observed it radiantly with the angelic light of your soul.
Your Devotion to Mary deepened in Lourdes where you discovered the rosary, and from then on you prayed it daily. The rosary became, along with Eucharist, your most faithful friend until your death. You were also a big promoter of the veneration to Our Lady of Lourdes. You consecrated to her many lectures and other literary texts. You emphasised always the role of Blessed Virgin Mary for spiritual life of every believer and so you left to us many incentive thoughts about Blessed Virgin as well your own sincere supplications for her help:

My good Mother, the Greatest One, I beg you, fill my soul with beautiful feelings and noble thoughts. Always show me the right way, even if it is difficult to follow.

My prayer goes now to the Immaculate: let Her follow me at my every step in the town of Vienna. Let my every walk and step be headed to the beautiful.

Eternal Mother, you who are the embodiment of poetry, of everything beautiful and eternal, let me be able to continue receiving the gifts of beauty.

A priest who gives us the Eucharist, substitutes in fact for the Blessed Virgin Mary who, in her endless love, gives us a fullness of her own inner life, her eternal endless life, gives us God Himself, Eucharistic Jesus Christ.

Yes, I've learned in Lourdes what the rosary is, and it is from now on my second best friend. Lourdes has added an emotional element to my rational faith.

Although the Blessed Virgin Mary has not quite healed my eyes - since I have difficulties in reading - in Lourdes I've grown fond of the rosary that will be, together with the Holy Eucharist, my most faithful friend until death.

When you are grieved and when you are in trouble, take the rosary of Our Lady and it will comfort you and give you strength to stand all calmly with trust in God's Will.

Let's pray to Mary ceaselessly so that we, full of holy joy, will die in her tender embrace and on the Heart of Jesus.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord Jesus, Blessed Ivan was devoted in a special way to Your most Holy Mother Mary. He asked for her protection in his difficulties, he prayed daily the rosary, he promoted her glory, he defended her honour by word and writing. He made many pilgrimages to her sanctuaries. Let us pray that by his intercession we too venerate your Saint Mother so that she may be protectress of the chastity of our souls, that she may lead us towards sanctity, and lead us into Blessed eternity. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.


FIFTH DAY

CHURCH - MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST

Blessed Ivan, enlightened by the grace of God you did, as did Saint Paul, understand the depth of the mystery of the Church as a mystical Body of Christ. In the Church you saw, and found the presence of Christ. On one occasion when you were asked why you love the Catholic Church and the Pope, you answered: “Because in it I see a clear picture of the beloved Savior and Christ Jesus with all His perfections, and in the Holy Father, the Pope, in his humanness’ I see my God, my Lord.” This love of yours for the Church was your most principal characteristics as you matured into a catholic intellectual, and in addition being the most trait of your personality.
This love cemented your great dedication and reverence toward the Bishop of Rome – The Holy Father, the Pope, the successor of Peter on the earth, and also towards other members of the Church’s hierarchy. His encyclicals, sermons and messages, you studied duly and propagated in a special way amongst the youth. Everything that you wrote pertaining to the Church had its source in the depth of your experience and conviction. Although you were not a priest, you were a holding "pillar of God’s Church ", as you were referred to.
Out of this enormous love for the Church, followed your unselfish apostolic activity to attract others to the communion of The Church. Your reflections about the Apostolic Catholic Church and The Holy Father, the Pope, are testimony to your deep faith and enthusiasm:

The greatest thing existing in the world is the Holy Church; the greatest thing in the Church is the Mass, and in the Mass the consecration.

The Church is the culmination and centre of culture and of the whole of mankind.

The Church is a magnificence reflection of the infinite Christ Himself.

Let the centre of all be our Lord Jesus, who in the Church, His living Body, consecrated all of nature and the actions and deeds of all humanity.

Without great principles given by the Church, social order cannot be laid on firm foundations at all, and the renewal of human society is not possible.

The Pope is a visible and living Christ on earth amongst people. He is the fiancé of the universal Church.

The Papacy is the basis and immovable rock on which the whole Church is built and it extends mystically to all the dioceses in the world.

One of the most essential features of each Roman Catholic is to love the Holy Father the Pope and to harmonize all his thoughts and deeds with the orders and wishes of the Holy Father.
A building of our spiritual life, of our religious knowledge and our activities, must be erected on a steady basis on the truths that the papacy infallibly teaches. The papacy is a haven and the basis of spiritual life for every believer.

In Rome you have an intuition, a feeling that everything is fragile and ephemeral, but that the Pope's boat swings without fear amidst the waves because its anchor is on Peter's firm rock.

All the nations hasten to the Eternal City, into their adopted country to pay homage to their King, their Father, and to confess their faith in the Catholic Church, the only universal Church, which has been founded by Christ, and which will last to the end of the world.

In Rome one can feel that all nations are simply brothers and sisters in a common family – the Holy Church, where the father, the head is the eternal Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord, in Blessed Ivan, you gave a deep cognition about the mystery of the Church, which he loved sincerely and, through which, he will be sanctified. In the Church he saw the presence of Christ the Saviour, and he endeavoured to attract as many souls as possible into its communion. He cultivated in a special way love toward the Holy Father, the Pope, and propagated reverence and veneration for him amongst the Croatian people and in a special way amongst the youth.
We pray that following his example, we also will love, defend and serve our Holy Church, and that we follow her priests and bishops as Blessed Ivan did. Grant us, that we too read and study attentively all teachings of the Popes and that we apply it in our lives, contributing in this way to expand your Kingdom on the earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.


SIXTH DAY

THE LIFE IN THE LITURGY

Blessed Ivan, cooperating with the Grace of God, you became a man of prayer immersed totally in God. So often, even four hours daily, you dedicated to prayer in different ways: Holy Mass, the Breviary, Rosary, Adoration, and The Way of Cross. But the centre of your prayer and spiritual life was the liturgy – the official prayer worship of the Catholic Church. From its very centre, the Eucharist, you drew the strength of Gods grace to ascent toward holiness and acquired inspiration for your apostolic endeavours. Because of your deep conviction of the great worth of the liturgy for true Christian life, you were a fervently promoter with words and writings to young and adults alike, and in this way you became one of the leaders of liturgical renewal.
Your wonderful reflections about liturgy reveal the sanctuary of your soul, immersed in the supernatural world, which was longing to sing constant glory, Glory to God. This Glory you are singing now in eternity with angelic choirs:

Our spirit longs for the perfect, Great Spirit. A man talks to Him in prayer and He answers him so surprisingly and delightfully that a person thinks and breathes the air of the High.

In liturgy a man, in the most perfect way, pays deserving homage to God.

Liturgy is the official prayer of the Church, the official prayer of the Bride of Christ, a conversation between the Bride and the Divine Groom.

Prayers and gestures of the liturgy, its melodies and fragrances are the projections of Heaven on earth, the images of the inner life of God.

As the Lamb is the centre of Heaven according to St. John, in the same way the holy liturgy moves around the Most Holy Host – around Jesus Christ Himself.

Through liturgical meditation each Catholic becomes great and universal and he begins to feel what the Church itself feels.

The Church year, as if in some movable mirror, reflects the life of Jesus from His participation in the Most Holy Trinity, through His earthly life until His second arrival.

In addition to a missal, the most beautiful prayer-book is a breviary. But, it isn't only a prayer-book, it is together with a missal the most beautiful literary work that mankind possesses.

I think that the culmination of created beauty is in a missal and breviary, in a Pontifical Mass and Gregorian melodies.

Gregorian, liturgical music is the music of sanctity.

Liturgy doesn't join only the members of one nation into one and unique whole, but it also establishes links among all nations and makes them brothers and children of the one Father in heaven.

On the basis of liturgy, each individual soul is being brought up.

Liturgy is pedagogy in the real sense of the word, because with the help of it a believer experiences in his soul all the phases of Christ's eternal life.

Holy liturgy is one of the most powerful means of universal peace.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)


Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord God, your servant, Blessed Ivan was deeply united with you by daily prayers. He continuously elevated his intellect and his heart toward You. You gave him the grace necessary to comprehend the value and need of Sacred Liturgy for real Christian life and personal sanctification. By his intercession give us the fidelity in performing our spiritual obligations; that we may overcome our weaknesses and spiritual stagnation by dedicating the necessary time for prayer that units us with You.
Give us the grace, by following the example of Blessed Ivan, that we too may find in the sacred liturgy our source of spiritual strength and of personal sanctification. Therefore, in this manner, here now on this earth in spiritual unity with angelic choirs, we may sing your praises. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.

 

SEVENTH DAY

THE STRUGGLE OF BODY AND SPIRIT AGAINST SIN;
EFFORTS FOR MORAL IMPROVEMENTS

Blessed Ivan, since your early years you too felt what St. Paul wrote: “The law of the spirit and the law of the flesh struggle against each other” (cf. Rom, 7, 21-23). You felt the longing to attain moral perfection and to achieve Christian holiness, but you also felt your imperfections and limitations for the realization of these ideals. Enlightened by God’s grace you became aware that Christian holiness is possible to realize only by an intensive spiritual life, which includes prayers, receiving the sacrament of confession, Holy Communion, the reading of Scripture and spiritual books, personal ascetic endeavours and overcoming the negative penchants of our nature.
So you earnestly accepted every means that the Church and the teachers of Christian spirituality gave to you to realize the goal of creating from your soul a masterpiece.
You left us beautiful thoughts about your spiritual life and you did not hesitate to document also your weaknesses, your struggles and oscillation. By doing this you encouraged us and showed that it is possible to conquer the body and its sinful inclinations, to achieve Christian virtues and follow Jesus, and in this way advance on the way of holiness. Your thoughts encourage us in our efforts to follow you:

Since sin is the greatest evil, in fact the only evil, it deprives us of the only good – God. It means that we should hate sin most and fight against it with all our might.

The one, who fights inside the Church, has only one enemy – sin; all other things are indifferent and we should use them to fight against sin and promote the salvation of souls.

Whatever we do, all our deeds must be dedicated to create in the world as little sins as possible and as much meritorious deeds.

It is not enough only to believe. Our faith must be a system, it must show us a way of life, so that we do not act against the principles of justice and eternity.

There is quite a different law in our body from the one in our soul.

A bloody fight is necessary if one doesn't want to succumb in an ordinary world.

“Aut catholicus aut nihil – a Catholic or nothing”. With regard to this I have never had the slightest doubt.
To be a practical Catholic must be my purpose.

I should read the Gospel at least half-an-hour daily, think about it, and then at noon, after The Angelus, I should think about some transcendental things and so stay in this mystical light the whole day, my whole life, creating a master-piece of my soul and seeking only the Truth.

Humility, self-denial, silence and good deeds – only they are real now and after our death.

I'll aspire after sanctity, after union with the Lord God and I'll pray to Him to give me a resisting strength in life’s struggles and energy in creativity.

We are in this world only provisionally, we are gone in a moment, and this life is worthy only if it is a preparation for another one.

Humility, prayer, spiritual reading and exercise to strengthen one's will for the good, are four suppositions without which all inner life is excluded.

There is a flame in me for the endless heights, an ardour for the untroubled embrace of the Son and the Father and the Spirit.

To have Grace on earth and Glory in Heaven is the aim of all human endeavours.

The two sacraments – Holy Communion and Holy Confession – are the sources of a permanent and successful reform of the inner life of each Catholic.

God wants to lead people by means of people. A confessor gets the special graces of God to show us the Will of God.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Heavenly Father, you inspired Blessed Ivan to lead a spiritual life. He responded readily and duly with Your inspirations. He accepted all means which the Church offered to help his spiritual growth. In his soul he reserved a dignified dwelling place for You, so that he lived a full life of grace. You gave him inner light so that he was able to recognize his weaknesses, and you also gave him the strength to overpower them, so with your grace his soul was slowly created into that of a master-piece.
We pray, that through Blessed Ivan’s intercession, we too may receive the strength to overcome all weakness of the spirit and the flesh, so that led by his example and helped by his intersession we too find the way to holiness. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.


EIGHTH DAY

WITH THE LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS,
WITH CHRISTIAN APOSTOLATE WE EXTEND GOD’S KINGDOM

Blessed Ivan, your love for God was closely linked to your love for every person, and by this it received the most significant confirmation and acknowledgement of the Church. This was most evident in your apostolic works when you proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ and Christian faith so that the people could feel the happiness of possession of this truth which leads them to his Kingdom. The truth which you achieved that God is the realization of all ours desires and longings you extended all around you and above all among the youth. There was almost not one domain of human life where you were not apostolically present by your living words, your inspiring writings, and personal intervention. The most important part of your apostolic endeavor were the young people to which you consecrated your professional work and your free time. Your first aim was to educate them all as true Christians, and then made them Christ’s apostles. We inherit wonderful reflections about your apostolic work and about the need of work for saving souls and for expansion of God’s Kingdom:

A day that one dedicates to the other person is not at all a loss but a gain. The days in which we don’t do anything for others, but only for ourselves, are the days that are lost.

To do an act of charity to the suffering person is the basis of every spiritual life.

The young generation nurtures the enthusiastic love for our Saviour who is always with them in the Holy Eucharist; here they obtain all their strength for their activities, for their apostolate.

The young have their eyes always directed toward Rome where there is the lighthouse that illuminates the whole earth with its beams.

All the human activities must be done because of love, because of apostolate; in order to spread the Kingdom of God among people.

To educate and lead people to Jesus is more important than art, and in this work, art, as well as everything created, has to help people to draw closer to Jesus.

In our work the first criterion has to be the salvation of souls, the good of the Holy Church and it should be according to the good wishes of the Pope.

Catholicism won't spread here if there are no Workers, those who pray, and Sufferers. It is the law in spreading the Kingdom of God on earth. Our movement has created so far only the first type (a worker) and we have created in our souls the ideal of a Worker for the Catholic movement. We prayed less, and we suffered only when we had to. The last type (a sufferer) is obviously the culmination – the imitation of a complete Saviour’s Sacrifice on the Cross.

The basis of our apostolic work and its success lies in ourselves, in our relationship to Jesus, who must live in us.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

Lord God, you fulfilled your servant, Blessed Ivan, with a plenitude of love for others, which he practiced unselfishly in many ways. Above all he showed this love by leading the young people to you, working for their eternal benefits, for salvation of their souls, and seeking to form them to the fully educated and conscious Christians. We pray to you that through the intercession of Blessed Ivan, we too unselfishly propagate your love, that we work to expand your Kingdom and working to attract to you more and more souls. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.


NINETH DAY

THE CROSS AND SACRIFICE TO SANCTITY

Blessed Ivan, by living duly a spiritual life, you mounted toward Christian perfection. You readily cooperated with the God’s grace and seriously took care of advancement and self education developing Christian virtues. From your young age you had to suffer: problems with your eyes, your presence in war, inner suffering because of not having understanding for your activities, final illness and the death at the age of your best young years when you could continue to serve God’s on this world. With commitment to God’s will, you accepted every suffering and offered it to God as a sacrifice. Through this pain you were able to immerse with understanding into the mystery of Christ’s Cross and the redemptional value of his sufferings. When you received from God a clear understanding that you will have to leave this world at your young age and meet Him, you accepted this decision of our Heavenly Father, and you offered your young life to God as a sacrifice for Croatian youth and the youth of the world. With your oblation, that was accepted by God, it was visible from the fact that thousands and thousands of young people followed your path to God what they expressed by the words: “Thank you Christ’s Eagle, for showing us the Way to the Sun.” In your testament, which is your last and solemn profession of your faith, you expressed a deep hope and certainty that you are going toward the union with God’s love present in Blessed Heart of Christ.

To perform my duties conscientiously and consider it as the cross of my life, as my daily crucifixion, brings blessings in the work for redeeming souls.

We have to pay attention to the improvement of ourselves and study Catholicism which we, unfortunately, know not a bit better than some elementary-school pupils.

A struggle for perfection and asceticism must be our everyday bread. It opens the inner sights for us, makes us unselfish, maintains in us a fight with the evil one and gives us strength not to give up.

Jesus, don't let me ever betray You and give me strength to become more and more similar to You in a voluntary suffering.

Never to forget God! To long all the time to be united with Him.

There is a flame in me for the endless heights, an ardour for the untroubled embrace of the Son and the Father and the Spirit.

All of Christianity is built on sacrifice. He who doesn’t know what sacrifice is, can’t understand Christianity.

If the Lord wants you to suffer and not to recover, then you should surrender yourself into His hands – for the smallest bacillus can’t move without God’s presence and activity.
By means of suffering one can do more for the spread of the Kingdom of Jesus than by great works, learned essays, magnificent speeches and articles.

If Jesus has chosen you to be an apostle in suffering, I am convinced that He will also give you strength to do this apostolate well, with the assistance of your will.

Using our earthly eyes, we might not see the fruits of this suffering, but up there, in the Heart of God, we’ll notice how many souls were saved by it, how many Catholic efforts were Blessed by it.

Suffering is the strongest means that saves and sanctifies souls.

Blessed are those souls that cheerfully receive from God’s hands all the pains, and united with Jesus, sacrifice them for the spread of Jesus’ Church in souls and in society.

God, take me and don’t let me cast my eye on the side and regret my choice. Let me accept the chalice of suffering and call upon your name on this earth, so that I can look at you face to face in the hereafter.

My life was Christ and death was my gain.

I am expecting the mercy of the Lord and undivided, complete, eternal possession of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

My soul has reached the goal for which it was created.

(In silence, let us reflect on the inspiring words of Blessed Ivan Merz.)

Let us pray. (Pause for silence)

God, you lead Blessed Ivan to holiness through suffering and pain . You gave him clear insight about the value of voluntary acceptance of Cross, which we encounter in our every days. All what you gave him he used for sanctifying not only himself but the whole world. On the end of his life when he was dying, the death he did not accept passively, but he transformed it into value by offering it to you as a sacrifice for the youth. We pray you, that through his example and intercession we too may offer ourselves, and that every day sufferings we may accept devotedly as your saints’ will. Give us the grace that we too, as Blessed Ivan, expect your mercy in faith and hope and one day become worthy to enter in eternal life to possess the love of your Sacred Heart. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father, in Blessed Ivan you gave us a wonderful example of Christian virtues. By his saintly example and with your help, he shows us how it is possible, even in lay life, to achieve sainthood. Help us, encouraged with his love for Christ and Church, we follow his apostolic engagement to expand your Kingdom. By his intercession, please grant me the special grace for which I am now praying (say your personal intention that you wish to be granted through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz) if this will for the be good of my body and soul and for Your greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father.

Add the Litany of Blessed Ivan.

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THE LITANY OF BLESSED IVAN

Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us!
God, the Father, have mercy on us!
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us!
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us!
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!
Blessed Ivan, the light from heaven, pray for us!
Prophet of God, pray for us!
Worshipper of the Heart of Jesus, pray for us!
Knight of Christ the King, pray for us!
Ardent admirer of the Eucharist, pray for us!
Pure son of the Blessed Virgin, pray for us!
Obedient and faithful son of the Catholic Church, pray for us!
Sincere lover of the Holy Father, pray for us!
Devoted respecter of the church hierarchy, pray for us!
Diligent promoter of church teaching, pray for us!
Blessed Ivan, hero of love, pray for us!
Giant of spirit, pray for us!
God's work of art, pray for us!
Master-piece of the Holy Spirit, pray for us!
Great liturgical soul, pray for us!
Apostle of the youth, pray for us!
Knight of the female honour, pray for us!
Blessed Ivan, the ideal of struggle against sin, pray for us!
Ideal of self-control and asceticism, pray for us!
Ideal of growing in sanctity, pray for us!
Patient bearer of the cross, pray for us!
Plenitude of Christian maturity, pray for us!
Signpost of contemporary generation, pray for us!
Path of our time, pray for us!
Witness, patron and our fellow-traveller, pray for us!
Brother Ivan, pray for us!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
spare us!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us!
Let us pray.
God, our Father, Blessed Ivan, faithful to his baptismal call for sanctity, worked hard in the field of bringing up youth in the faith and in Christian life. Grant us the grace that we too may be strengthened by his advocacy and inspired by his example, and faithfully and bravely continue to announce the Gospel and be witnesses of it. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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Published by:

THE POSTULATION FOR CANONIZATION OF BLESSED IVAN MERZ
Zagreb, 2008

Jordanovac 110, p.p.169
10000-Zagreb, Croatia
Tel. 00385-98-546.806

e mail:postulatura@ivanmerz.hr
www.ivanmerz.hr

Editor:
Rev. Fr. Bozidar Nagy, S.J.
Postulator