Two bright white and red rays of hope that originated in Poland shine brightly.
The message of Divine Mercy, revealed to St. Faustina and promulgated by St. John Paul II, remains a pertinent one for us today.
With the celebration of the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday on April 12, we should remind ourselves of Our Lord’s message and this great day.
Divine Mercy Sunday was established by St. John Paul II on the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000. It is a much-celebrated feast throughout the Catholic world and an annual reminder of the wonderful gift Christ has graciously bestowed on us in modern times.
It is no accident that this feast was instituted at the dawn of the new millennium. We have no greater need for Divine Mercy than now, in this time of great tribulation for many Christians throughout the world.
We should remember two important messages revealed to us by Christ in St. Faustina’s diary.
This is not just about us asking for mercy, but to be merciful ourselves. In a passage reminiscent of the beatitudes, Christ told St. Faustina, “If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain my mercy in the Day of Judgment. Oh, that souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall my judgment with their mercy” (Diary, 1317). This pertains to all walks of life, in religious communities, showing kindness and empathy to our companions; in marriage, emptying of ourselves to our spouse and children; even in our various occupations and to those we encounter on a daily basis.
Christ wishes to give mercy freely on Divine Mercy Sunday.
Holy Mother Church offers a plenary indulgence to those who celebrate the feast as long as they fulfill certain provisions, but, oftentimes, this can be disheartening to those who fear they may have an attachment to sin.
In the words of Christ to Faustina, all that is required on Divine Mercy Sunday for a complete forgiveness of sins and temporal punishment is making a good confession and a devoted Communion. This grace is one that is not well known. In the words of Robert Stackpole, director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, “The most special grace promised by Our Lord for Mercy Sunday is nothing less than the equivalent of a complete renewal of baptismal grace in the soul: ‘complete forgiveness (remission) of sins and punishment.’” This is a very extraordinary grace, different than a plenary indulgence, and one which is only bestowed on Divine Mercy Sunday.
However, it is important to remember that the message of Divine Mercy is not one which should be relegated to one Sunday a year. We have a constant need for the love and grace that Christ longs to pour out upon our needy souls. We should read St. Faustina’s diary to recall the precious words of Our Lord. We should pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the hour of mercy as often as possible, as Christ promised, “This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into my mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of me in virtue of my passion” (Diary, 1320). Again Christ says, “Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death” (Diary, 687).
Divine Mercy is something easily attainable; we have only to ask. The rewards will be beyond measure if we do! We Christians have an obligation to pray for Divine Mercy for ourselves and the Church worldwide, especially in these turbulent times
As Christ told St. Faustina, “Humanity will never find peace until it turns to trust with Divine Mercy” (Diary, 300).
Liz Beller writes from Front Royal, Virginia.