Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jesus, Love and Mercy Personified

This coming weekend the Church celebrates “Divine Mercy Sunday.” On this special day, we will contemplate God's mysterious love in sending His only Son to die for us. We will contemplate the redemptive power of Jesus’ words and actions as He dwelt among us on Earth. And we will contemplate the message Jesus left with his faithful servant, St. Faustina Kowalska: “My daughter say that I am love and mercy personified” (Diary, p. 374).

Jesus called for the Divine Mercy devotion and feast through St. Faustina. During her canonization Mass in 2000, Blessed John Paul II announced that “Divine Mercy Sunday” will be celebrated throughout the Church each year on the Second Sunday of Easter. In its readings, “the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings,” the Holy Father said.

Blessed John Paul II had a beautifully powerful devotion to St. Faustina and to the Divine Mercy that Jesus chose to reveal through her. It may have been providential, then, that he passed away during the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter. The last gift the Holy Father left was the Regina Caeli message for Divine Mercy Sunday:

As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
Blessed John Paul II was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, only just a year ago.

Jesus told St. Faustina, “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy” (Diary, p. 132). Although God tells us to “Be Not Afraid,” many who love Him fear what is happening in the world around us. Divine Mercy Sunday and devotions like the Divine Mercy chaplet are gifts to the Church so that we may have hope in the power of God’s mercy. This mercy reminds us of the dignity of every human life, and it helps us to overcome our own temptations to despair.

Let us prepare for this Sunday by trusting in God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us prepare by begging God to have mercy on us and on the whole world. And let us prepare to receive Him on Sunday by contemplating the blood and water which gushed forth from the side of Jesus the day He died for us.

Blessed John Paul II said this prayer for the intercession of St. Faustina on the day of her canonization:
May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope:  Christ Jesus, I trust in you!

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