‘Ocean of Mercy’: Jesus’s Love and Divine Mercy Sunday
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world.” —Prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Our God is a God of mercy and compassion. Because of that, we too are called to be merciful; as Jesus Christ said (Matt. 5:7), “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” That is the message of today’s feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. Following on Good Friday, when Jesus died to save mankind from sin, and the Resurrection last Sunday, when Jesus triumphed once and for all over sin and death, it is especially appropriate that we thank God for the mercy that caused Him to redeem us, little though we deserved it.
There are two important points about mercy. Firstly, the overwhelming majority of people nowadays misunderstand it. Many moderns (including clergy) would not recognize the theology of mercy propounded by St. Faustina, to whom Jesus appeared so she could tell the world of His great mercy. Mercy is, simply speaking, God’s willingness to forgive us as soon as we are sincerely sorry for our sins. No matter how often we fall, or how great our sin, God will always forgive us! But the key there is that we have to be sincerely sorry. Most people (especially in America) believe mercy means they can do whatever the heck they want, including mortal sin, and no one should critique them, and God will force them into Heaven no matter what (since Heaven consists in the presence of God, sinners wouldn’t be happy in Heaven anyway). God’s mercy is always available, but we have to ask for it and accept it; we don’t earn mercy, but we must request it.
Secondly, as noted above, we must have mercy on others. That most definitely does not mean we ever affirm lies or sins, but it does mean we have to be charitable even to those who are vicious to us and that we have to forgive people when they ask. That can be terribly hard, but Jesus clearly told us to show mercy in order to obtain mercy. With God’s help and grace, we can do what sometimes seems impossible.
The most popular devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Jesus Christ Himself emphasized the importance and efficacy of the Divine Mercy Chaplet when speaking to St. Faustina:
“Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will You recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy. (Diary of Sister Faustina, Note number 687)…
Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.”
You can learn to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet here. Jesus and St. Faustina specifically recommended us to pray it for the dying, for sinners (including ourselves), and for the souls in Purgatory.
I would like to end with this beautiful prayer of St. Faustina for Divine Mercy:
“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, O unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water, which gushed from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain for us, I trust in You.”
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