Part 1: Divine Mercy

mercy-doorAs you know, this year has been declared an extraordinary year of mercy by Pope Francis and so it is of vital importance for you and me to understand what God's mercy is and to rejoice in its implications for our salvation.

Perhaps the most astounding and marvelous truth that God has ever revealed to us sinners is the fact that he is infinite mercy itself. And this wonderful knowledge has been brought to us through the love and prayers and holiness of a humble little polish nun — Saint Faustina Kowalska. By means of her, God has opened wide the gates of his mercy to a sinful world. Jesus himself stated to her "Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of my hands are crowned with mercy." So we are all highly privileged to live in a whole new age of mercy proclaimed by Jesus himself.

FaustinaJesus showed St. Faustina an image of himself standing with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand over his heart. From his heart there emanates two streams of light, one red and one pale. Jesus says, "The two rays denote the blood and water. The pale ray stands for the water which makes souls righteous, and in the midst of our sins we desperately need righteousness if we are to enter Heaven. The red ray stands for the blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depths of my tender mercy when my agonized heart was opened by a lance on the cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of my Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."

We know that the heart of Jesus was pierced by the lance of Longinus the Roman Officer who oversaw the crucifixion of Our Lord. He himself was personally flooded with the Divine Mercy at that moment, so that he was inspired to exclaim, "Truly this was the Son of God." That Roman Officer, a pagan who knew nothing of Jesus was the second recipient of the mercy of God, the good thief being the first. He was the first of millions of gentiles who would later embrace and come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Our Savior, the only one who could call down the mercy of his Father onto the whole world. Jesus says, "My gaze from this image is like my gaze from the cross." Jesus is telling us that as he hung in agony upon the cross, his gaze upon those who were murdering him and upon the scoffers who taunted him was one of infinite mercy and when we look upon the image of Jesus which he asked St. Faustina to have painted, we too should see the merciful gaze of Jesus upon our sinfulness.

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Part 2: Trust in God's Mercy

trust-gods-mercy-pope-francisWe live in an age of lack of trust in God. People today rely only on themselves and their own feelings, allowing these feelings to control their actions and decisions. So if it feels good, it must be good. But if I feel like robbing a bank or committing adultery, is that good? Of course not. Jesus on the other hand is not interested in our feelings. Feelings change according to the mood of the moment and as such they always deceive us. He is only interested in our will and he expects our will to over-ride our feelings, and to be the very engine and the only engine which drives our actions.

Through St. Faustina, Jesus laments our lack of trust in his infinite mercy. He says, “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at my insides.....despite my inexhaustible love for them they do not trust me. Even my death is not enough for them. Woe to the soul that abuses these gifts”. He then says, “The distrust of a chosen soul causes me even greater pain.” By a chosen soul, he is referring particularly to priests, deacons and religious sisters. He expects their trust in him to be without reservations of any kind. However, all of you here are also chosen souls. You have been chosen by God to be his special children, sons and daughters and heirs to the Kingdom. So God greatly desires your trust in him, and our failure to trust in him causes him untold pain. As Jesus says, “It is tearing at my insides”.

Do I want to cause my Savior pain? If the answer is no, then I must set about trusting him in all things. Jesus says, “I desire that priests proclaim the great mercy of mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach me. The flames of mercy are burning me, clamoring to be spent. I want to pour them out upon these souls.” Oh how much Jesus must love us for him to be burning with desire to save us from ourselves. He says, “My heart overflows with great mercy for souls and especially for sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and it is for them that the blood and water flowed from my heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. I desire to bestow my graces upon souls but they do not want to accept them. Oh how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love. My heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything but they have no time to come to me for graces.” Is that true of me? That I have time for every unimportant thing in my life, but give none of my time to my Lord. Is watching sports or staring at the afternoon soaps more important to me than my rosary? Do I fill my day and my head with noise? The radio is blaring at me 24 hours a day and so my brain is filled with silly and often sinful lyrics of songs. So I spend no time at all in silence and meditation and prayer. My poor brain becomes saturated with endless noise. No time for God.

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Part 3: God's Supreme Act of Mercy - The Passion

St-Gemma-01Throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church, we have been encouraged to meditate on the passion of Jesus. In so doing, we come to realize the terrible torture which our good Jesus voluntarily accepted at the hands of his own creatures in order to save us from sin and eternal death. Such meditation is intended to stimulate a deep abiding gratitude in our poor human hearts and to encourage us to accept our own crosses with love instead of with resentment. If the Son of God had to suffer so horribly for us, why should we inferior lesser beings balk at our own pain? In fact, our pain no matter how hurtful it is to us, can never match the indescribable pain which Our Lord freely accepted at Calvary.

Saint Gemma Galgani was told this by Jesus, "Look at what Jesus has suffered for men: consider one by one these wounds: it is love that has opened them all. See how accursed sin is, since to expiate it, so much pain and so much love has been necessary".

Jesus said to Saint Faustina, “From all my wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in my heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about my mercy.”

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