Editor's Note: This editorial was originally posted April 2, 2016.
The call to turn to Divine Mercy is timeless. Beginning with St. John Paul, the last three popes made mercy a central message during their pontificates — and Pope Francis emphasizes the urgency in declaring the Jubilee Year of Mercy. With the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Second Sunday after Easter, April 3 this year, what better opportunity to take to heart the words of Jesus to St. Faustina about the need to turn with trust to his mercy, heed what the shepherds of the Church have said about it, and celebrate this great, merciful feast. “I desire trust from my creatures,” Jesus told St. Faustina, according to her diary (1059). “Encourage souls to place great trust in my fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of my mercy.” What follows is a collection of papal pronouncements from John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis on the subject of mercy.
“[A]t no time and in no historical period — especially at a moment as critical as our own — can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it.” — Misericordia Vultus, Pope Francis’ papal bull on Jubilee of Mercy
“Mercy is in reality the core of the Gospel message; it is the name of God himself, the face with which he reveals himself in the Old Testament and fully in Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of creative and redemptive love.” — Pope Benedict XVI, Divine Mercy Sunday 2008
“Where, if not in the Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope?” — Pope John Paul II, beatification of St. Faustina, April 18, 1993
“It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must! ... ‘Oh, I am a great sinner!’ ‘All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!’ … He forgets, he kisses you, he embraces you, and he simply says to you: ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more’ (John 8:11).” — Pope Francis, March 17, 2013
“Those who sincerely say, ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ will find comfort in all their anxieties and fears.”
“There is nothing more man needs than Divine Mercy — that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights to the holiness of God.” — Pope John Paul II, Shrine of Divine Mercy, Krakow, Poland, June 7, 1997
“Dear brothers and sisters, we must personally experience this mercy if, in turn, we want to be capable of mercy. Let us learn to forgive! The spiral of hatred and violence which stains with blood the path of so many individuals and nations can only be broken by the miracle of forgiveness.” — Pope John Paul II, Regina Caeli, Divine Mercy Sunday 1995
“And is not mercy love’s ‘second name’ (Dives in Misericordia, 7), understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its immense capacity for forgiveness?” — Pope John Paul II, Divine Mercy Sunday 2000
“God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. … This is important: The courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love.” — Pope Francis, Divine Mercy Sunday 2013
“May this merciful love also shine on the face of the Church and show itself through the sacraments, in particular that of reconciliation, and in works of charity, both communitarian and individual.” — Pope Benedict XVI, Regina Caeli, Divine Mercy Sunday 2008
“God’s face is the face of a merciful Father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience he has with each one of us? That is his mercy. … He waits for us; he does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to him with a contrite heart. ‘Great is God’s mercy,’ says the Psalm.” — Pope Francis, Angelus, March 17, 2013
“Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, his heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: ‘Fear nothing; I am with you always.’” — Pope John Paul II, Lagiewniki, Poland, June 7, 1997
“The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of Divine Mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of his love. … She treasured Divine Mercy in her heart in perfect harmony with her Son Jesus. Her hymn of praise, sung at the threshold of the home of Elizabeth, was dedicated to the mercy of God, which extends from ‘generation to generation’ (Luke 1:50). … This will be a source of comfort and strength to us as we cross the threshold of the holy year to experience the fruits of Divine Mercy.” — Pope Francis, Misericordia Vultus
“I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. ... The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. ... God is always waiting for us — he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!” — Pope Francis, Divine Mercy Sunday 2013