I’d like to first give a shout out to my mother and my father, who are celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary this day. I have been so very blessed to have these two beautiful people as my parents. They have shown me how to love God through reverence and sacrifice and in their love for me and for one another. I have learned so much about patience and mercy from my mother, and I have learned so much about commitment and respect from my father; and from both of them, I have learned love and sacrifice. They have shown me, in their own way, that Sainthood is possible for ordinary folk like us, and I hope and I pray that I and they will enter gloriously into the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What is Divine Mercy?
Divine Mercy is the most beautiful thing that a human being can hear. As we know, our first parents Adam and Eve both royally messed up; and, now, because we are intimately connected to them, we also royally mess up. We lie, we cheat, we kill, we steal, we fight, we fornicate, and the list goes on and on. We do so much evil, we sin so much, that if we could see the state of our soul when we do such things, we would die of fright. And, yet, God looks at us with such pity and compassion; giving us the chance to run back to him like the prodigal son.
In 1931 our Lord appeared to Saint Faustina in visions, commanding her to bring His message of Love and Mercy to an all too sinful world. I think that, as humans, we have a tendency to view this mercy as a free pass; but that’s the exact opposite of what it is. With this message of mercy comes a warning: if we do not run to this mercy, we are lost. St. Paul says, “where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20), and so Christ bringing this message of great mercy is also Christ pointing out the fact that humanity is exceedingly sinful. In fact, there are several instances throughout the Diary of St. Faustina that God is ready to exact justice on mankind for our sin; yet, in His mercy, He does not.
“I saw an Angel, the executor of God’s wrath… about to strike the earth…. I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel’s helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment…” (Diary, 474)
Now, it is not as though God suddenly changed His mind, because we know that He does not do that. He is immutable. So, the question is, why would God show St. Faustina this vision. I think for three reasons. The first, to show the power of prayer. Scripture tells that God hears and answers our prayers, and if God does not change, neither does this promise. The second, to remind us just how reprehensible our sins actually are. Our sins cry out to God for justice and we deserve to be damned for our sins. This brings us to the third reason: His mercy. God is infinitely just, but He is also infinitely merciful, and in reality, the two cannot be separated from one another. Nothing proves this more than the Incarnation, God becoming man “for our sake and for our salvation”. We all know that Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, became man in order to redeem us. But, what we often fail to think about is that Christ also came to earth to fulfill God’s justice. It was in His justice that God punished man for his sin and, as St. Paul says, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and it would have been just to let man perish. Man does not have the power to redeem Himself and so we were completely unable to fulfill God’s justice on our own. So, in His mercy, God sent His only Begotten Son to fulfill the demands of His own justice because, as a perfectly just God, He cannot simply let man off scot-free. And, rather than simply let man perish, He redeems us Himself.
The love of the Father for the Son is absolutely astounding. And, the power and the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice is beautifully drawn out in this passage from the Diary:
“I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth, I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord’s wounds. And I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus” (Diary, 60).
It was for our sake that God became man, but it is for the sake of His most Adorable Son that He does not smite us all out immediately. We often think that a loving God would not condemn us, but we see here that, were it not for the sacrifice of His Son, that He would. We repeat this every time we recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” God loves us, yes, that’s why He literally died for us; but, we can not forget at what cost that we were redeemed.
This is the beauty of the Divine Mercy, “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). I truly believe that we all fail to recognize how great a gift this is, that God Himself would reach down into our misery and pull us up to Himself. God is the perfect gift-giver because He gives of Himself with no way of receiving anything in return. And all that He asks us to do in return is to give our entire selves to His mercy. It is up to us if we do this, and we cannot neglect this. Praise be Jesus Christ. Now and forever.
O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out: Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You, anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death’s hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your final coming – that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all of our wretchedness. For Jesus is our hope: through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven. (Diary, 1570). Amen.