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Divine Mercy mosaic

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.[1]

We are living in unprecedented times. We are faced with a global pandemic the likes of which the world has not experienced in a century. Stay-in-place orders are common in most areas of the United States. Schools and businesses are closed. Parents are struggling with schooling children while working from home themselves. Tensions are rising and patience is wearing thin. Despair and hopelessness are at all-time highs. And with churches unable to celebrate Mass, the domestic church has become the norm for families.

In the midst of all this, today the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. St. Maria Faustina Kowalska was a Polish nun who experienced apparitions of Jesus. She recorded these apparitions and messages from Jesus in a detailed diary. Her diary records 14 occasions when Jesus requested that a Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday) be observed. Here is one of those messages…

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. 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… Let no soul fear to draw near to Me… It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.[2]

On May 5, 2000, five days after the canonization of St. Faustina, the Vatican decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

According to the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The family, is so to speak, the domestic church.”[3] It is in the family where we first learn that God is “Love and Mercy itself.”[4]

In his homily on the occasion of the canonization of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, St. John Paul II had this to say about the love and mercy of God:

Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy” (Diary of St. Faustina, p. 132)…It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.[5] (emphasis added)

These words were spoken at the beginning of the Third Millennium and they ring even more true today. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we need the peace that comes from entrusting our families and difficulties to the divine mercy of Jesus. We need a ray of hope in these dark times. We need Jesus.

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.[6]

[1] St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul (Stockbridge: Marians of the Immaculate Conception, 3rd ed. 2003), §1319.

[2] Ibid., §699.

[3] Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, §11, internet: https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html (accessed April 17, 2020).

[4] St. Faustina, §1074.

[5] Homily of John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of St. Mary Faustina Kowalska, §2, St. Peter’s Square, Rome; April 30, 2000; internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000430_faustina.html (accessed April 17, 2020).

[6] St. Faustina, §950.