There are three things uppermost in my mind as I write to you and all of these are precious gifts, not to be taken for granted: God’s mercy, the sun, and books. You might think that a strange combination, but they are all very much worth celebrating and all quite connected.
Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. That naturally has me thinking of the reality of God’s mercy, especially since the liturgy from Holy Thursday through Divine Mercy Sunday has us contemplating the great love and mercy of Jesus Christ for each of us: the institution of the Eucharist (His own body and blood!) to nourish us, the sacrifice of His life to redeem us, the promise of His Spirit to empower us, the forgiveness of our sins to cleanse us.
As I savor these tremendous mysteries I am particularly aware of the patience with which Jesus teaches us! He approaches us with so much empathy. He is Mercy personified. He left us the sacraments so that we could always experience this mercy. Imagine! Every time we receive the sacrament of reconciliation we are washed clean in the blood of Christ! When He absolves I am acquitted, set free, loosened from the bonds of sin. It’s like receiving Baptism all over again. Is there anything science or psychology can offer us more liberating than that?! Nothing at all.
Small wonder that the sun is one of many symbols of Christ! The sun gives life. The sun produces light, warmth and energy, lifts depression, melts what is frozen. I equate the sun with Easter joy. It’s a gift I especially thank God for after this long New England winter. I often remind the Lord that I’m a daughter of light (Leonora means “God is [my] light”), and that sun is much more conducive to spiritual growth than darkness. I sometimes think He’s very much amused because there were times this winter when He wasn’t taking me very seriously. Now, however, I am able to enjoy the full impact of the sun and feel the power of the resurrection as creation awakens to new life. I am excited with the sheer anticipation!
So where do books enter the picture? Granted, there’s no logical connection, but you are reading this during National Library Week and Sunday, April 12th, is National D.E.A.R.(Drop Everything and Read) Day. Now everyone knows that most Daughters of St. Paul are avid readers and I am certainly no exception to that rule! Books are just one of the many ways God reveals His love and goodness to me, fills my mind with poetry and beauty, and opens my spirit to discoveries I would otherwise be unable to make. His own Word is my dearest and favorite book. Through the years it has become so vital to me that I can’t even begin to imagine life without it. So there is a connection after all, because the Word of God is light!
My wish for you then in this second week of April is that you take the time to sit down with the Word of God and let the light of His Word warm you and His mercy wash over you. If you’re Catholic and haven’t received the sacrament of reconciliation for a while, give yourself this gift; it’s the full experience of Divine Mercy!
May you continue to receive the blessings of this Easter season and may your days be filled with sunshine.
Sr. M. Leonora Wilson, fsp