St. John Paul II and St. Faustina Praying to the Image of Divine Mercy
Today, the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. St. John Paul II instituted this feast on April 30, 2000 when he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska. Jesus instructed St. Faustina to create the now famous image showing two rays of light radiating from His heart and illuminating the world. “The two rays,” Jesus explained to her, “represent blood and water.”
Following is the Regina Caeli written by St. John Paul II just before his death:
Feast of Divine Mercy
Second Sunday of Easter, 3 April 2005
Pope John Paul II died peacefully on the evening of 2 April, 9:37 p.m. Rome time. The last gift of the Holy Father for Divine Mercy Sunday, 3 April (also the Second Sunday of Easter), was the Regina Caeli, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, at the end of the Holy Mass celebrated that day in St Peter’s Square for the deceased Pope. “I have been charged”, Archbishop Sandri said, “to read you the text that was prepared in accordance with his explicit instructions by the Holy Father John Paul II. I am deeply honoured to do so, but also filled with nostalgia”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
- Today the glorious Alleluia of Easter resounds. Today’s Gospel from John emphasizes that on the evening of that day he appeared to the Apostles and “showed them his hands and his side” (Jn 20:20), that is, the signs of the painful passion with which his Body was indelibly stamped, even after the Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which he allowed doubting Thomas to touch eight days later, reveal the mercy of God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16).
This mystery of love is at the heart of the liturgy today, the Second Sunday of Easter, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy.
- As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
Lord, who reveal the Father’s love by your death and Resurrection, we believe in you and confidently repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.
- The liturgical solemnity of the Annunciation that we will be celebrating tomorrow urges us to contemplate with Mary’s eyes the immense mystery of this merciful love that flows from the Heart of Christ. With her help, we will be able to understand the true meaning of Easter joy that is based on this certainty: the One whom the Virgin bore in her womb, who suffered and died for us, is truly risen. Alleluia! (emphasis added)
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
According to the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The family, is so to speak, the domestic church.” It is in the family where we first learn that God is “Love and Mercy itself” (Diary of St. Faustina, 1074).
In his homily on the occasion of the canonization of St. Faustina, 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. (emphasis added)
As the domestic church, the family has the primary mission of teaching their children the love and mercy of the Father. The family is God’s witness to the world of His merciful love. By their loving and merciful example, the lost will be drawn to the Father.
Christ has taught us that “man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called ‘to practice mercy’ towards others: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7)” (Dives in misericordia, n. 14). He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs…every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual. His message of mercy continues to reach us through his hands held out to suffering man.
In closing his homily, St. John Paul II described the most overwhelming of all afflictions common to man.
This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer “Jesus, I trust in you”, which Providence intimated through Sr. Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. (emphasis added)
May the light of God’s love and mercy shine brightly in your family as you share this most blessed message with the world.
 John Paul II, Regina Cæli for the Feast of Divine Mercy, Second Sunday of Easter, 3 April 2005; internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/angelus/2005/documents/hf_jp-ii_reg_20050403_divina-misericordia.html (accessed April 10, 2021).
 Paul VI, Vatican II Council, Lumen Gentium, §39, November 21, 1964; http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html (accessed September 18, 2016).
 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 10, 2021).
 Ibid., §4.
 Ibid., §7.