Skip to comments.Divine Mercy: Yours for the Asking
Posted on 04/14/2007 11:44:20 PM PDT by Salvation
Other Articles by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
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|Divine Mercy: Yours for the Asking|
Several years ago, the Catholic Church declared the Sunday after Easter "Divine Mercy Sunday." So what exactly is "mercy" anyway, and what does it have to do with the Easter season?
Mercy is not just pity. Neither is it simply sparing someone the punishment that they deserve. No, mercy is love's response to suffering. When mercy encounters suffering, it ultimately seeks to alleviate it. God the Father is so "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4) that Paul calls him "the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort" (2 Cor 1:3).
Jesus is the perfect human image of the Father's mercy. When He meets those suffering from hunger, He feeds them. When He encounters someone suffering from physical sickness, He heals them. True mercy is not superficial, but radical. And Jesus sees that the deepest suffering in human life, the root cause of all other suffering, is sin. Sin debases us, robbing us of our dignity, weakening and even rupturing our connection with God, our loving Father and the source of our life. Sin is not just a transgression of some arbitrary law; it creates a wound in us that can fester and, if not attended to, corrupt us entirely. It gives the Prince of Darkness a hold in our lives that he tries to turn into complete control of our lives. True mercy seeks to alleviate this deeper suffering that can lead to eternal suffering.
Jesus died to do precisely this. And the risen Christ instituted the sacrament of penance to apply the medicine of mercy, won on Calvary, to each individual sinner at the moment of his or her deepest need.
Wait a minute. So Jesus, not the Church, established this sacrament? Where does the Bible say He did that? Right there, in John's gospel, on Easter Sunday afternoon. Despite the locked doors, He stands amidst the apostles and says "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Jesus is the original "apostle" of the Father the word means "one who is sent." As he was sent on a mission of mercy, so he sends out his "apostles" on the same mission. He breathes on them and says "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound." (Jn 20:19-22).
If you have a problem with the Church intruding on what you think ought to be just between just you and God, you'll have to take that one up with Jesus. It was His idea. From the looks of this text, He gave the apostles and their successors, whom we call bishops, a great deal of authority in this matter. But He also gave them a great deal of power. The same Holy Spirit responsible for bringing of order out of chaos (Gen 1) and causing a virgin to conceive and bear a son, is breathed upon the apostles. He is the Spirit of Mercy, the Spirit of healing, the Spirit of liberation and resurrection.
Going to confession is not just meeting an official of the institutional church. It is meeting a man who has been anointed with the Spirit of Mercy to stand in the place of Christ (in persona Christi) and serve as an instrument of the divine physician. True, this instrument is a sinner in need of mercy himself. Peter and doubting Thomas make that abundantly clear right from the start. But they are instruments of God's healing, merciful love, nonetheless. That is the case whether or not they are wise counselors and whether or not they are exceptionally holy.
The Spirit Christ breathed on the apostles on the first Easter afternoon has been passed on to these men through the sacrament of Holy Orders. That means that Christ is the one you meet in confession. And He comes not just to forgive, but to heal, to liberate, strengthen and transform.
His merciful love means that He died not just to "cover our sins," to wipe them off God's record book, leaving us the same miserable creatures we'd always been. No, His mercy kills the infection, heals the wound, and breaks the bonds.
In the sacrament of reconciliation, Jesus invites us penitents, as He did Lazarus, to come out of the place of darkness and decay. And He says to his priestly confessors the same thing He said to the people standing around Lazarus's tomb: "Unbind him, and let him go free!"
That's divine mercy. I don't know about you, but I want as much of it as I can get.
Have mercy on us and on the whole world.
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I just watched a really good program on EWTN called “Ocean of Mercy.” It described the lives of St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and John Paul II, and how their lives intersected and how it was part of Providence in order to establish the Feast of Divine Mercy. I highly recommend this program if it is repeated later today.
Thanks for that suggestion! Sounds fabulous!
I attended a Divine Mercy ceremony/service today. It was too beautiful for words. Our parochial vicar is amazing. He’s going to be a saint someday, I swear...
Our Hispanic community has said the Novena for many years, but this was the first year for the English speaking community to do it. It was so rewarding!
I am afraid of injuries and trouble with this event.
Any reports of problems?
It was supposed to be 20,000 people and it is an outdoors event (I have been there, and the roads in Stockbridge are not very good for cold rain/freezing rain/strong winds/ice.
This morning temperatures were around 32 degrees with 20 to 30 mile an winds. The US Weather Service had a number of Advisories posted.
I pray that it went okay.
We had good weather here in Louisiana for the one I attended. I believe we had 12 priests for confession and Mass.
They also had a relic of Saint Faustina to venerate after Mass as well as Benediction/Confession/Divine Mercy Chaplet before Mass (as well as the display of the Divine Mercy image).
We had beautiful weather here. I've never heard our priest mention so much today about Divine Mercy Sunday. It was wonderful to see.
One of our other parishes had Services this afternoon.
Art of Divine Mercy - Sacred Art for Our Times
This is a very important day for me -- this is my favorite day!
I hope that many, many people did/will receive all blessings possible, more important, don't forget to say
That sounds absolutely wonderful!
Our priest’s homily incorporated today’s Gospel with the picture of Divine Mercy.
I can post the link when it gets put on our church website.
Thanks for the ping, Jay.
there is a nice animation of Divine Mercy on this page (#10)
With all the umbrellas in the crowd, strong and gusty winds would have caused problems.
Some of the groups were protected -- there was a tent for the choir.
Cardinal Maida of Detroit was the Celebrant of the Mass.
My concern about the weather was older people attending the service and with 20,000 expected, it might be difficult to get help if there were a number of people having trouble with the weather.
One could see snow on the roofs as it was raining, so it was cold enough to make it very miserable for some.
The mural contains Jesus on the cross with the sun behind Him. Jesus is above Mary and the children of Fatima being illuminated by the sun. So this church allows for some interesting meditation -- just on this mural.
The Homily was wonderful. The priest EMPHASIZED the need to go to confession, and how if you don't, it is like giving food to a dead person. He promised the congregation that he would be a LION in the pulpit but a LAMB in the confessional.
This parish lost their pastor this week, as he is the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Lake Charles. So this was this priest's first weekend at this parish.
The priest (Father Michael Russo) had lost his father two weeks ago. Though this had broken his heart, it was clear that it made him a very holy person by the personal loss for this DIVINE MERCY Mass.
There was one thing that marred the event. After the Mass, there was a line for the veneration of the relic of Saint Faustina. The woman ahead of me was not very pious about waiting in line -- she was talking to someone who was in line as though talking in a line to venerate a saint was okay.
Because she was facing the wrong direction in the line, I was unsure if she was in line, so I cut ahead of her. She then said she was in line, and I rebuked for talking in line with someone else.
I felt there should be reverence in the line to venerate the relic, and reverence in church in general, so I did not appreciate what she was doing.
My confrontation and rebuke stopped the talking, and she seemed properly prepared for venerating the relic when the time came.
But as she approached the front of the line -- she noticed that there were 4 or 5 people just a few feet away from where the relic was being venerated. This people were socializing and ignoring that people were trying to venerate the saint and give glory to God.
The expression on her face seemed to be one of surprise that people would act that way so close to the relic and it may have made her reflect on her own talking/disruption in line. (It seemed to be an expression of surprise/horror).
Too many people think it is okay to talk in church, but there are people who have trouble praying because of that.
In my confrontation with this woman, when she tried to justify talking in church, I finally said God is the important thing in church.
I was later having trouble with myself for the confrontation and I had stopped at Wendy's to get something to eat.
As I was praying about what I had done, a man who attended the service came up to me and started talking. It seemed to be God's way of letting me know not to worry about the rebuke.
But that is one of our duties -- to let our brothers and sisters know that if they are in sin that it is sin.
Saint Padre Pio was extremely good at this -- rebuking sinners -- especially people who were not contrite in the confessional.
He admitted to others that he enjoyed harsh rebukes of people.
Sorry for the long response.
It was Divine Mercy Sunday where God was showering us with graces. But maybe we should show God thanks by working as hard as possible to stop sin in our parish and in our lives... Sin hurts God the Father and Jesus as well as heaven. That is why Pope John Paul II cross was one with the limbs of the cross starting to buckle -- from the heavy weight of our sins.
Be merciful, yes, and accept God's mercy, and maybe we should also be as merciful to God by being as holy and saintly as possible...
I think back to the Fatima, when Mary appeared to the multitude in October 13, 1917. Amidst a cold soaking rain, Mary dried all those in attendance almost immediately.
The fortitude of those in attendance is heartening, and speaks well of their faith.
Did it mention that John Paul II, who canonized St. Faustina, died after Mass on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday?
Jesus, I Trust in You!
copied image from:
Wow, I really like that, gave me shivers. But isn’t the one light suppose to be pale in reference to the water that came from Jesus side? Not trying to be picky, forgive me
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