Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today in the Church is the Second Sunday of Easter of Divine Mercy. The latter description stems from privately revealed messages given by Jesus Christ to Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun canonized in 2000. One can read more about the messages in her diary, which is available from Amazon. Use Father Z's Amazon box to purchase it, since he gets a commission from this. Here is the collect for today's Mass:
God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed.

I'll admit, I don't really get this devotion, but I like it as a meditation on the Passion. Part of this has to do with the co-opting of mercy by heterodox-bent Catholics who see mercy and compassion as a guise for covering up dissidents. But, here goes nothing!

Basically Our Lord gives us an opportunity to take refuge in Him through the Divine Mercy devotion in participation in His Passion and Resurrection, and to share the love of Christ with the whole world. Bl John Paul put it this way when he said, "Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind." From the Diary: 
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy 
There are three main focuses of the devotion:

  1. To ask for and receive the mercy of God
  2. To trust in His ever-abundant mercy
  3. To be merciful to others and serve as a channel of God's mercy.
The first is done simply through prayer, and all who ask shall obtain His mercy. This can take on many forms, especially the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Novena, said each day from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday, given to us by Christ in the Diary. The second is best expressed through the phrase on the bottom of the Divine Mercy Image: Jesus, I trust in You! 

From the Diary:
"I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.
Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul.
If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy"
The corporal works of mercy are:

  •  Feed the hungry
  •  Give drink to the thirsty
  •  Clothe the naked
  •  Shelter the homeless
  •  Comfort the prisoners
  •  Visit the sick
  •  Bury the dead

The spiritual works of mercy are:

  •  Teach the ignorant
  •  Pray for the living & dead
  •  Correct sinners
  •  Counsel those in doubt
  •  Console the sorrowful
  •  Bear wrongs patiently
  •  Forgive wrongs willingly

Here is how you pray the Chaplet. Pull out your Rosary beads. Begin with the Sign of the Cross. These are optional, but really awesome, opening prayers on the Our Father bead:
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. 
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! (Repeat this one thrice.)
Then say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the  Apostles' Creed on the Hail Mary beads.

On the Our Father bead, say this prayer:
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
On the Hail Mary beads, say this prayer:
 For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Repeat this for the four remaining decades, and close with this prayer:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Optional) Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
Inexhaustible graces can be received for saying the Chaplet at 3:00 PM, the Hour of Mercy coinciding with the time of the Passion of Our Lord, and for saying the Novena of Divine Mercy.  All time in purgatory is wiped away through a good confession and reception of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday or the Saturday vigil.

I will read the diary, and then post about this next year, methinks. Mercy is a focus of Pope Francis's pontificate, and I want to examine it closely so I can more concretely understand it. And oh by the way, one cannot believe in mercy if one does not believe in eternal damnation...Also, mercy is asked for in this life, and granted in the next. Now, don't think you are too imperfect for mercy. Christ even says that the spiritual works of mercy are more efficacious in some mysterious way, and reminds us that prayer can be done by all.

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