First published April 11th, 2007.
THE FEAST OF WHAT?
THIS coming Sunday, the eighth day in the Octave of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Many Catholics still have no idea what this is… which as you'll see, is a tragedy.
According to Saint Faustina's diary, Jesus said of this Feast day:
I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. —Diary of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, n. 965
The "last hope of salvation"? One might be tempted to dismiss this along with other dramatic private revelation—except for the fact it was Pope John Paul II who inaugurated the Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday according to this private revelation! (See Part IIdoes not restrict salvation to Divine Mercy Sunday.) for a complete understanding of Diary entry 965 which
Consider these other facts:
- After he was shot in 1981, Pope John Paul asked that the diary of St. Faustina be entirely re-read to him.
- JPII instituted the Divine Mercy Feast in the year 2000… at the beginning of the millennium which he considered the "threshold of hope."
- St. Faustina wrote: "From [Poland] will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming."
- In 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love, John Paul II said,
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter's See in Rome, I consider this message [of Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God. —JPII, November 22, 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy
- During a 1997 pilgrimage to St. Faustina's tomb, JPII testified:
The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… [it] forms the image of this pontificate.
Forms the image of his pontificate! And it was spoken at the tomb of St. Faustina, whom Jesus called His "Secretary of Divine Mercy."
- And as a rather dramatic exclamation point from Heaven, the Pope died in the beginning hours of the Feast of Divine Mercy.
The other title I considered for this article was "When God hits us on the head with a hammer." How can the significance of this Feast escape us when we consider these facts? How can bishops and priests fail to preach, then, the message of Divine Mercy which the Pope considered his "task before God", and therefore, the task of all those in communion with him?
AN OCEAN OF PROMISES
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. —Ibid. n. 699
Some pastors ignore this Feast because "there are other days, such as Good Friday, when God remits sins and punishment under similar conditions." That's true. But that's not all Christ said of Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus is promising to "pour out a whole ocean of graces."
On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. —Ibid.
What Jesus is offering is not just forgiveness, but incomprehensible graces to heal, deliver, and strengthen the soul. I say incomprehensible, because this devotion has a special purpose. Jesus said to St. Faustina:
You will prepare the world for My final coming. —Ibid. n. 429
If that is so, then this opportunity for grace has paramount significance for the Church and for the world. This is indicated with a certain urgency when Jesus says to Faustina:
Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of my justice, is near. —Ibid. n. 965
TIME OF MERCY
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. In one of her apparitions, the children witnessed an angel hovering above the world about to strike the earth with a flaming sword. But a light emanating from Mary stopped the angel, and justice was delayed. The Mother of Mercy was able to implore God to grant the world a "time of grace."
We know this because Jesus appeared a short time later to a Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska to "officially" announce this time of grace:
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation… Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy… —Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1160, 1588.
Christ's words further indicate the proximate times we are living in, as foretold in Scripture:
Before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day […] it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:20-21)
As I wrote in Prophetic Perspective, God is patient, allowing His plan to come to fruition, even over the course of generations. However, this does not mean His plan cannot enter its next phase at any moment.
The signs of the times tell us that it could be "soon."
TODAY IS THE DAY
"Today is the day of salvation," says Scripture. And this Sunday is the Day of Mercy. It was asked for by Jesus, and made so by John Paul the Great. We should be shouting to the world at this point—for an ocean of graces is to be poured out, and it is only hours away.
This is what Christ promised on Divine Mercy Sunday:
I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. —n. 1109
And so, the Holy Father has granted a plenary indulgence ("complete pardon") under the following conditions:
…a plenary indulgence [will be] granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!") —Apostolic Penitentiary Decree, Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy; Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Tit. Archbishop of Nova Major Pro-Penitentiary;
How many more Divine Mercy Sundays remain?