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VATICAN - AVE MARIA : Mgr Luciano Alimandi -
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) -
"The Risen Jesus gives his followers new unity, even stronger than before, invincible, since it is founded not on human resources but on his divine mercy, which enables them to experience his love and his forgiveness. It is therefore God's loving mercy which firmly unites the Church, today as yesterday, and makes one family of the whole of humanity; Divine Love which, through the crucified and risen Jesus, forgives our sins and renews us from within. Fired by this conviction, my beloved predecessor, John Paul II, decided to make this second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, pointing to the risen Christ as the source of trust and hope, receiving a spiritual message which the Lord gave to Saint Faustina Kowalska, and summarized in the invocation: 'Jesus, I trust in You!' " (Benedict XVI, Regina Caeli, 19 April 2009).
As the Holy Father said on the fourth anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, Divine Mercy enables us to experience the Lord's love and forgiveness. The greatest gift which flows from Christ's salvific Sacrifice is the manifestation of His loving and forgiving mercy. This love, the essence of the Most Holy Trinity, is poured into the hearts of those who open to faith in the Lord Jesus who died and is Risen from the dead for us. The invocation "Jesus I trust in you", expresses the fundamental prayer of every Christian, unconditioned trust in the Redeemer.
The mystery of Divine Mercy is the heart of the Christian message and therefore should permeate all preaching by priests to whom the Lord, through a humble Polish nun, Saint Faustina Kowalska, made a wonderful promise: " To priests who proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they speak" (Diary, 1521).
In every human heart there lies a longing for freedom placed there by God, who created man in his image and likeness. Without such freedom there can be no love or happiness. When we were children our hearts were filled with joy because we were free: free from self, free from the voluntary and personal experience of sin. We knew the taste of the true freedom of the children of God.
We all need Divine Mercy to be once again free in order to love God and our neighbor. Only God's mercy has the power to free us from our sins which close the way to happiness. Jesus, precisely on the day of his Resurrection, appeared to the Apostles in the Upper Room and gave them and through them, their successors, that is priests, the immense power to absolve sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (cfr. Jn 20, 19-23).
Not by chance, especially in the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, Catholics feel the need to go to confession, mysteriously drawn by Divine Mercy. Jesus told Faustina Kowalska, about a most consoling truth: " "Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one's misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God's mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late." (Diary, 1448).
What a great joy it is to find again the freedom lost through sin. To go from slavery to freedom, from death to life … Those who experience conversion, through the Father's unconditioned forgiveness are "reborn" to new life. How many times a convert is heard to say - and we are all called to convert our hearts more and more - "I am a different person!" Yes, when freedom for goodness, beauty, truth becomes once again our traveling companion for life, when we are freed from vice and sin - which push us to commit the evil we try to avoid and not to do the good we desire to do -, then joy is once again the companion of freedom and the heart knows the happiness of being once again free for God, the Supreme Good.
Divine Mercy is the path to freedom. The life of grace through forgiveness requested and given, reopens for the sinner the door of truth: truth about God, about man, about the world. With His resurrection the Lord gave us through Divine mercy the possibility of having all our sins forgiven, all we have to do is to turn humbly to Him. Every time we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation we come into living contact with the mystery of Divine mercy and through the priest who gives absolution, we meet Love which forgives, the same Love experienced by the Apostles in the Upper Room on Easter Day: "whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven " (Jn 20, 23). These words of Jesus contain God's loving mercy for us!
(Agenzia Fides 22/4/2009; righe 66, parole 952)