From Father Steven - April 16, 2023
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
On this Second Sunday after Easter, Pope St. John Paul II declared it “Divine Mercy Sunday” in the year 2000 following the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska. She was a nun in Poland who had many revelations of Jesus and compiled all of them in her “Diaries”. In one of the revelations, our Savior asked that the second Sunday after Easter be dedicated to his Divine Mercy. But what really is Divine Mercy? What is the meaning of the picture of Jesus with the two rays coming from his side? What are the graces reserved for those who pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
The word “mercy” comes from the Latin “Misericordia” which is a combination of words “miseria” (misery) and “cor” (heart). In other words, mercy is to have a heart for those who are wretched or in misery. However, the original biblical word from “mercy” comes from the Hebrew word “Rachamin”, which stems from the word “womb”. In the Jewish tradition, God when He forgives, he regenerates us once again. If by sin we are estranged from God, by mercy/forgiveness, we become children of God once again. It is very much connected with baptism, as the birth of a new creature. The word of mercy in the OT then makes us meditate on the passage from the prophet Isaiah 49:15, “Even if a mother forgets her child, I will never forget you.” Divine Mercy is something that can never be exhausted, and God never gets tired to forgive us as long as we ask for forgiveness.
In one of Sister Faustina Kowalska’s visions of Christ, He commands her to portray the image that she saw. Jesus is dressed in white garments with blue and white rays coming from His pierced side, representing the blood and water which “gushed forth from his side as a fountain of mercy.” It took about 12 attempts until the artist got the image close to what Sister Faustina saw. Then at the bottom of the image, Jesus requested to have the words “Jesus, I trust in you.” Along with the image, Jesus also promised many graces through that specific image.
In another vision, Sister Kowalska was told the promises from Jesus to those who pray the chaplet. “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image (of Divine Mercy) will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (#48)”; “…whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.” (#300); “I desire that the Feast of Mercy…be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter…The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion (in a state of grace on this day) shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (#699); “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.” (687); “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.” (754); “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world.” (#1485); “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony…I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (#1320). It is certainly comforting that in light of all of our shortcomings, sins, and deviations of God’s path to know that God is willing to not only to forgive us, but to transform us into vessels of mercy.
A Rabbi described Mercy as “it includes showing kindness to those who don’t deserve it, and forgiving those that deserve punishment.” As much as we are in need of Mercy, so is the whole world. Indeed, when we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which is very quick, we repeat “Have Mercy on us and on the whole world.” So I would invite to you participate with us at the Divine Mercy Service this Sunday at 3pm, and to come back to adore Jesus in our 24h Adoration, so that the world may also experience the mercy of God, and to be able to “forgive one another,” as Jesus commanded us.
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Father Steven Clemence