Skip to comments.Pope Benedict On Divine Mercy
Posted on 04/10/2007 1:20:18 PM PDT by NYer
"Gods passionate love for his people for humanity is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice.
This is a startling, radical, statement about divine mercy the kind of declaration that one might expect to see attributed to Pope John Paul II. But it was Pope Benedict XVI who wrote it, in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love).
Seven years after Pope John Paul II first announced the creation of Mercy Sunday, many priests are still wary of the feast. Why do they hold back? There is a certain assumption that the Divine Mercy is a private devotion that had a personal meaning to a particular Polish man who happened to also be Pope, but that it is not for everyone.
Reading Pope Benedicts words about Divine Mercy should dispel that notion. Rather than attributing the popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion to Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI seems more likely to attribute the greatness of Pope John Paul II to his devotion to Divine Mercy.
In his homily before the conclave that elected him, he summed up John Pauls pontificate by speaking about the late Popes emphasis on the Divine Mercy: Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: Encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God, said Pope Benedict. The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love.
He concluded last years Way of the Cross by saying: The Way of the Cross is the way of mercy, the way of mercy that puts a limit on evil: This is what we learned from Pope John Paul II. It is the way of mercy; hence, the way of salvation. Let us pray to the Lord to help us be infected by his mercy.
He often noted that Pope John Paul II died after Mercy Sunday Mass. And in a March 26 homily last year, Benedict said forcefully: The Pope, in this last text which is like a testament, then added: How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
In a visit with the sick on May 7, Pope Benedict embraced not just the message of Divine Mercy, but the specific devotion popularized by St. Faustina.
The image the devotion promotes is a portrait of Jesus with rays of light emanating from his heart. The words Jesus, I trust in you are inscribed below.
Pope Benedict told the sick people, You who say in silence: Jesus, I trust in you teach us that there is no faith more profound, no hope more alive and no love more ardent than the faith, hope and love of a person who in the midst of suffering places himself securely in Gods hands.
He later spoke about visiting the convent where Sister Faustina Kowalska, contemplating the shining wounds of the Risen Christ, received a message of trust for humanity which John Paul II echoed and interpreted and which really is a central message precisely for our time: mercy as Gods power, as a divine barrier against the evil of the world.
In his homilies, the Holy Father has given us some of our most eloquent and adamant enunciations of Gods mercy:
Men and women are prone to doubt Gods care for them. So Pope Benedict stressed: God loves us in a way that we might call obstinate and enfolds us in his inexhaustible tenderness.
The wrong kind of emphasis on Gods mercy can create the impression that God forgives all in an apathetic way, more like a benign uncle than a loving Father.
So the Pope stresses Gods anger, too. [T]he anger and mercy of the Lord alternate in a dramatic sequence, but love triumphs in the end, for God is love.
And always, he seeks to root trust in Gods mercy in the Gospels and the sacraments rather than in private revelation.
How many people also in our time are in search of God, in search of Jesus and of his Church, in search of divine mercy, and are waiting for a sign that will touch their minds and their hearts! he said, in one homily. Today, as then, the Evangelist reminds us that the only sign is Jesus raised on the cross: Jesus who died and rose is the absolutely sufficient sign.
The Church grants an indulgence for participation in Mercy Sunday devotions (see page B2). In his new document on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict recommends such indulgences, but emphasizes that the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist are the most important aspects of them.
Finally, Pope Benedict used Divine Mercy to sum up our Christian lives.
To understand and accept Gods merciful love: May this be your commitment, first of all in your families and then in every neighborhood milieu.
This Mercy Sunday is a good day to start.
Those on the Right hate Divine Mercy because they see it as a V2 devotion and the Left hate it because it requires personal confession for one to receive the graces of the devotion. For the Left there is no personal sin.
Nor do they believe in the existence of hell. But here is what St. Faustina witnessed.
|One day, just as I had awakened, when I was putting myself in the presence of God, I was suddenly overwhelmed by despair. Complete darkness in the soul. I fought as best I could till noon...I fell to the ground, despair flooding my whole soul. I suffered terrible tortures in no way different to the torments of hell. (24)|
|One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realising it. And at the end of the raods there was a horrible precipice; that is the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings. (153)|
|(Italics are mine)|
|Sr. Faustina is 'transported' to Hell -|
|Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of real torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one's condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it - a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, ....the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like.|
|I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the covnersion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin. (741)|
|The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is the prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered. (1397)|
|Does God condemn anyone?|
|When the sisters got up at eleven o'clock at night to keep vigil and welcome the New Year, I had been writhing in agony since nightfall, and this lasted until midnight. I united my sufferings with the prayers of the sisters who were keeping vigil in the chapel and atoning to God for the offences of sinners. (1451). When the clock struck twelve, my soul immersed itself more deeply in recollection, and I heard a voice in my soul: "Do not fear, My little child, you are not alone. Fight bravely, because My arm is supporting you; fight for the salvation of souls, exhorting them to trust in My mercy, as that is your task in this life and in the life to come." After these words, I received a deeper understanding of divine mercy. Only that soul who wants [to be damned] will be damned, for God condemns no one. (1452)|
|Oh, how beyond comprehension is God's mercy! But- horror -there are also souls who voluntarily and consciously reject and scorn this grace! Although a soul is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God. But sometimes, the obduracy in souls is so great that consciously they choose hell; they make useless all the prayers that other souls offer to God for them and even the efforts of God Himself..(1698)|
Day Six of Divine Mercy Novena.
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