This past Sunday was the feast of Divine Mercy. We celebrated this feast as best we could, virtually joining with each other in prayer, but what we need to remember is that the feast is not really over: mercy needs to be practiced every day of the year. And in particular, this year, when people around us are in so much need of compassion and understanding, the message of Divine Mercy lived every day is a blessed way to live.
Jesus wants us to trust in his mercy, because he is goodness itself. We have no reason to fear him because he loves us so much that he even gave his life for us on the cross.
This feast originally emerged from revelations Jesus gave to Saint Faustina:
“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. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” (Diary, no. 699).
The most wondrous part of this message is that we can approach Jesus' Heart so full of mercy every day. Even on days when we cannot go to Communion and Confession, when we cannot be with the community of faith, we can pray the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy:
- “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony…I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (Diary, 1320; also, cf. Diary, 1572)
- “Souls who spread the honor of My mercy…at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior.” (Diary, 1075)
- “Through this chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, 1731)
- “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world.” (Diary, 1485)
Jesus also told Saint Faustina, “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy. 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” (Diary, no. 742).
Living divine mercy means that after having received mercy from God, we in turn show mercy to others. Jesus told a parable about a servant brought before a king because he hadn't paid a huge debt. The king was going to punish him, but when the servant pleaded for mercy, the king wrote off the debt and let him go. Yet when this servant came upon a fellow servant who owed him only a fraction of what he had owed, the servant throttled him and handed him over to the jail. The king was upset when he heard about this and then punished the first servant—the one who had not shown mercy (see Mt 18:21-35).
During the Holy Mass on the liturgical feast of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis said:
Dear brothers and sisters, in the time of trial that we are presently undergoing, we too, like Thomas, with our fears and our doubts, have experienced our frailty. We need the Lord, who sees beyond that frailty an irrepressible beauty. With him we rediscover how precious we are even in our vulnerability.
We discover that we are like beautiful crystals, fragile and at the same time precious. And if, like crystal, we are transparent before him, his light – the light of mercy – will shine in us and through us in the world. As the Letter of Peter said, this is a reason for being “filled with joy, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials” (1 Pt 1:6).
On this feast of Divine Mercy, the most beautiful message comes from Thomas, the disciple who arrived late; he was the only one missing. But the Lord waited for Thomas. Mercy does not abandon those who stay behind.
Now, while we are looking forward to a slow and arduous recovery from the pandemic, there is a danger that we will forget those who are left behind. The risk is that we may then be struck by an even worse virus, that of selfish indifference. A virus spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me, and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me.
When we are forgiven for our sins, God wants us to remember the mercy we received and share it with others. We cannot forget those left behind. We cannot be the ones to leave them behind.
Here are three simple ways to practice mercy:
- Praying for others. This is easy to do and can be done anytime, anywhere. Lifting up the needs of others to God is a form of intercession that can obtain great graces for them.
- Speaking kindly to people and about them. A merciful heart always speaks in the way that Jesus would speak, with kindness and compassion.
- Doing deeds of mercy. The seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy are good ways to show mercy to others. They are listed below for easy reference.
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To shelter the homeless.
- To visit the sick.
- To visit the imprisoned.
- To bury the dead.
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
- To counsel the doubtful.
- To instruct the ignorant.
- To admonish the sinner.
- To comfort the sorrowful.
- To forgive all injuries.
- To bear wrongs patiently.
- To pray for the living and the dead.
by Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP
(Excerpts taken from the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, titled Divine Mercy in My Soul, ©1987)
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The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion is the handbook that has introduced millions of souls to the life-changing message of Divine Mercy that brings hope to a hurting world. It covers every aspect of the authentic Divine Mercy message and devotion, from the Feast and Hour of Great Mercy to the Chaplet and Novena. This handbook also includes selected prayers from the Diary of St. Faustina. Discover why mercy is the mission of everyone in the Church!