19 Apr Divine Mercy Sunday
What is Divine Mercy?
When did we first see it?
Our readings today give us a glimpse into that Font Of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross…purifying us and sanctifying us in our successes and our failures, in times of plenty and in times of distress, in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.
In the First Reading, Jesus’ Apostolic Church is defined as one that prays, teaches, and creates community…in the Name of Jesus Christ…WHOSE HEART IS LOVE ITSELF.
In the Second Reading, Saint Peter reminds us that God in HIS GREAT MERCY gave us a New Birth to a Living Hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…for an inheritance that will be kept in heaven for you… to be revealed in the final time.
Ironically, Saint Peter gives us some beautiful guidance about the testing of OUR FAITH during this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
He says, “…although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor…as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Saint Peter is telling you and me today, in the 2020 Pandemic, that SUFFERING THROUGH FAITH will lead to the salvation of our souls…isn’t that what Jesus taught us from the Cross?
And perhaps this Gospel is the first example of the Divine Mercy of Jesus related to HIS APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
His teaching, preaching, healing, and raising the dead during his Public Life was certainly the manifestation of God’s Divine Mercy… God working through Jesus. But today, Jesus in his Divinity as the Risen Christ has mercy on those closest to him.
Why is that important?
>They did not understand him.
>They abandoned him.
>They do not believe those who had seen the Risen Christ.
>They do not believe it is Christ Risen unless they see and touch for themselves.
And yet, what does he say? ‘Peace be with you.’
He does not scold them, he does not reject them, he does not condemn them…and ultimately, he sends them on HIS Mission!
Why? Because he knew that beneath their fear, their ignorance, and their stubbornness, are individuals dedicated to HIS Mission … to their end… to their death…
And all but one was martyred on Mission.
That Divine Mercy had a lifelong impact on each of The Eleven.
And that brings us to today…Divine Mercy Sunday…and the lifelong impact of the Divine Mercy of Jesus on Pope Saint John Paul II.
Twenty years ago, on the Sunday after the Octave of Easter, Pope John Paul II instituted Divine Mercy Sunday…and it has a profound backstory!
Val Conlon tells us the story…
Pope John Paul II spoke on the Divine Mercy of Jesus on November 22, 1981, “I considered this message my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church, and the world.”
“The knowledge of St. Faustina and the revelations bestowed on her coming from Jesus became known to Pope John Paul II early in 1940. It was at the time when he was studying for the priesthood secretly, in a seminary in Krakow.
The first he heard of these revelations was from another seminarian Andrew Deskur who later became a Cardinal also. Andrew told him about Saint Faustina Kowalska and the message of Divine Mercy she claimed she had received from the Lord.”
“It was during the time that she received the messages from Our Lord, that Karol Wojtyla was forcibly working under the Nazi occupation forces in the factory, which was in view of the convent and can still be seen today from the convent cemetery where St. Faustina was first buried.”
“Karol Wojtyla visited the convent frequently, first as a priest and then as a bishop. He went there often to pray and in later years gave retreats there as well. It was Karol Wojtyla, as Archbishop of Krakow, who after St. Faustina’s death, was the first to consider bringing St. Faustina’s name before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for consideration as a figure worthy of being put forward for beatification.”
In his mystical way, he may have foreseen the trials of the new century and millennia.
“In one of the most extraordinary homilies of his pontificate, on the Occasion of Her Canonization,” Val Conlon goes on, “Pope John Paul II repeated three times that Saint Faustina is “God’s gift to our time.” She made the message of Divine Mercy the “bridge to the third millennium.” He then said, “By this act of canonization of Saint Faustina I intend today to pass this message on to the third millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their neighbour. In fact, love of God and love of one’s neighbour are inseparable.”
For those who have been with us on our YouTube channel praying the Nine Days of the Divine Mercy Novena, what you have experienced are the individuals Jesus indicated to Saint Faustina upon whom he wanted to Shed His Mercy and open his Heart Of Compassion:
>All mankind, especially all sinners
>The souls of priests and religious
>All devout and faithful souls
>Those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know me
>The souls of those who have separated themselves from the Church
>The meek and humble souls and the souls of little children
>The souls who especially venerate and glorify my mercy
>The souls who are detained in Purgatory
>Souls who have become lukewarm
In the same way that we heard Jesus asking the Apostles to Cast their net for souls as Fishers of Men in the Gospel on Friday, in these delineations Jesus is Casting His Net For Eternity!
WOW!…he excludes no one…and REMEMBER THAT TO YOUR LAST BREATH!
Let me say a little about today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and what you can do during this time of Shelter in Place.
In June 2002, John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who recite specific prayers on Divine Mercy Sunday.
In St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus tells St. Faustina:
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 those 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 the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).
How can you receive this complete forgiveness of sins and remission of all punishment during Shelter in Place?
The National Shrine of Divine Mercy tell us to do these three things on Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from sin in your life:
- Make an Act of Contrition
Since you are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition.
- Make a Spiritual Communion
Since churches are closed and you cannot receive Holy Communion, make a Spiritual Communion instead, asking God to come into your heart as if you received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Do this act of trust with the intent to return to the sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.
An Act of Spiritual Communion is on our Social Media.
- Say a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, You promised St. Faustina that the soul that has been to Confession [I’m unable, but I made an Act of Contrition] and the soul that receives Holy Communion [I’m unable, but I made a Spiritual Communion] will receive the complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Please, Lord Jesus Christ, give me this grace.
This, too, is on our Social Media.
Everyone can ask for this grace to completely wipe their slate clean of not only all sin, but all punishment due to sin. Normally, the punishment is not remitted unless one has absolute perfect contrition.
And unlike a plenary indulgence, there is no requirement of having perfect detachment from sin. In other words, as long as we have a desire for this grace and intention to amend our lives, we can be completely cleansed with grace similar to our original Baptism. It is a way to really start over in our spiritual life!
Many of you are suffering during this Pandemic…offer it for the Divine Mercy of Jesus…for yourself or others.
We see examples of these prayers in the Intentions of the Holy Father in his Mass each day at Casa Marta. And Pope Francis, in his Plenary Indulgence related to the Coronavirus Pandemic, has also encouraged us to pray for those who have been called home by the virus, their families who may not have been with them at the time of their passing and mourn their loss, the medical technicians/doctors/nurses/emergency responders/first responders/caregivers who are ministering to those afflicted by the virus, and those who are isolated by the virus.
Today I would suggest that we also pray for those affected at this time by the following:
>Suicide, Clinical Anxiety, and Depression
Perhaps, even offer your Indulgence for them…REMEMBER…a grace given away to another returns to you a hundredfold…
It is no coincidence that Divine Mercy Sunday is occurring in the middle of the 2020 Pandemic…
GIVE your suffering — Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Physical, or Financial — to the Divine Mercy of Jesus…and HE WILL WORK MIRACLES!
“Merciful Jesus, I trust in you”
+May God Bless You and Keep You+
Very Rev. Ronald W Cattany