Last week I proposed that we embark on a journey…a springtime renewal. To begin this journey, I can’t think of a better way than to turn towards the liturgical calendar and look forward to this coming Sunday. We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday in the Year of Mercy. So let’s take a look at the devotion and use it as the foundation for our faith journey ahead.
What is Divine Mercy?
Divine Mercy is two-fold. First, we can receive Divine Mercy from our merciful Father. No matter what we do he is always waiting for our return. No sin is too great for God’s forgiveness. The key is we simply need to ask. That’s an interesting scenario is it not? Mercy is there for the taking but we must step aside, put our pride in check and ask for it. The Catechism in paragraph 1847 tells us:
“God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The second half of the Divine Mercy equation is that we must be merciful ourselves. If the Father is willing to impart mercy to us, we must be willing to give mercy to others. In my own life I find this the more difficult of the two to achieve. When we are hurt, physically or emotionally, it is in our nature to want to retaliate. To get even is to not be merciful. God wants us to receive his mercy but he wants us to take that mercy and allow it to flow through us and outwards to others.
Origins of Divine Mercy
The message of Divine Mercy was delivered from Jesus Christ to an uneducated Polish nun, who in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a nearly 600-page diary recording the revelations revealed to her. Saint Faustina Kowalska was canonized a saint in the year 2000 by Saint Pope John Paul II.
Throughout his pontificate Saint John Paul II spoke often about Divine Mercy. He considered his mission to spread this devotion.
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I consider this message [of Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God.
On the same day he canonized Saint Faustina, John Paul II established Divine Mercy Sunday as a feast day of the church. About that day Pope John Paul II stated, “This is the happiest day of my life.”
Playing an active role
How can we play an active role in this devotion? First pray, pray, pray. Pray for God’s mercy to pour forth upon you. It is there for the asking. Second actively practice mercy with those who have harmed you. Be a conduit of God’s mercy to the world around you.
Begin praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This prayer was given to St. Faustina and Christ himself made it clear to her that this was a devotional prayer for the entire world.
Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541). Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687). When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541). Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (687). I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731)
A step-by-step guide to praying the chaplet can be found here. You can also find the Divine Mercy app in the Biblezon app store for use on your Biblezon Catholic Tablet.
Another fantastic devotional to Divine Mercy is the recently released book 33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy by Father Michael Gaitley. I propose we as a community here at Biblezon join together in making this consecration together. The next starting date for the consecration is April 10 with the consecration date being May 13 the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. You can get your own copy of 33 Days to Merciful Love here.