Friday, April 21, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

 “My daughter, tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all of the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every souls in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy.” Diary 699

These words spoken by Our Lord to St. Faustina, are recorded in her dairy Divine Mercy in my Soul. St. Faustina's private revelations have helped inspire faithful souls to come to God for mercy and to bring others to him through their prayers. By reading St. Faustina's dairy we learn of her powerful intercession, as she pleaded for Jesus' mercy. “Today I was awakened by a great storm. The wind was raging, and it was raining in torrents, thunderbolts striking again and again. I began to pray that the storm would do no harm, when I heard the words:Say the Chaplet I have taught you, and the storm will cease. I began immediately to say the chaplet and hadn't even finished it when the storm suddenly ceased, and I heard the words:Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with my will.” Dairy 1731. There are several other instances recorded in her dairy in which St. Faustina's plea for mercy helped appease the divine anger of God.

The church was at first skeptical of St. Faustina's revelation on Divine Mercy and when it first revealed and nearly condemned her diary. It wasn't until 1965 when the Archbishop of Krakow Karol Wojtyla (now St. John Paul II) asked for a fresh investigation into Faustina's revelations: and found some faulty translations from the original Polish text to French. In 2000 St. John Paul II established the Solemn Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, and while approving the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the image and the Dairy, he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000, the first saint to be canonized of the Jubilee year of 2000.

Why is Divine Mercy the Sunday after Easter? Reflect back on the weeks prior to Divine Mercy Sunday. The church celebrates Holy Week, in which the faithful are to relive the last days of Christ leading up to his passion. On Good Friday divine justice and mercy met. Divine justice so longed outraged by the sins of man was atoned for by the Blood of Christ and the gift of mercy was opened up for all sinners who believed and will come to believe in Christ. Christ himself even showed mercy to those who crucified him saying, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

In celebrating Divine Mercy, we recall the immense love God has for all people and how he is always calling us to himself to dispense his mercy on us. We in turn share in his heavenly life now on earth with others who are in need of mercy. Of course, the best and most complete way we can receive mercy is the Sacrament of Penance where we admit our sins and are washed clean in the mercy of Christ. Once that mercy is received, we are asked to sin no more and to share that mercy with our brothers and sisters by doing either the Spiritual or Corporal Works of Mercy.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
Counseling the Doubtful
Instructing the Ignorant
Praying for the Living and the Dead
Forgiving Injuries
Admonishing the Sinner
Comforting the Sorrowful
Bearing Wrongs Patiently
Corporal Works of Mercy
Feeding the Hungry
Giving drink to the Thirsty
Clothing the Naked
Sheltering the Homeless
Visiting the Sick or Imprisoned
Burying the Dead

During this Divine Mercy Sunday, reflect on God's mercy in your life. How does God manifest his mercy and how can we as followers of Christ help to manifest that same mercy we have received from God. For mercy is a sign of holiness and we are all called to be holy.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)