Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday

"And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!" Blessed Pope John Paul II in his homily for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska- 30 April 2000.

In this same homily, Bl. John Paul II also proclaimed, "It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday".

Cultural bias is a funny thing: All gringos (myself included) love Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, even though her feast is in Advent and falls near the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and often, even usually, overshadows our celebration of this major Marian dogma, revealed so powerfully to the French peasant girl, St. Bernadette Soubrious. Yet people gripe incessantly about the Polish-derived Divine Mercy devotion, which was given to a Polish peasant girl, St. Faustina Kowalska, with its straightforward "Jesus, I trust in You."

I even saw one Catholic argue yesterday that Divine Mercy should be limited to Good Friday. Writing only for myself, I would be hard-pressed to think of the last time an entire day passed that I was not in need of God's mercy. The fact that we need and receive Divine Mercy is not a lamentable, sad reality, but a joyful one, unless we are content to persist in the all-too pervasive post-modern Pelagianism in which we are so steeped. Acknowledging my need to receive and give mercy interferes with my idea that following Jesus is nothing but a self-help program to make me healthier and wealthier by bringing proven time management principles to bear on my daily routine. Sadly, for many Christians today, this is the Gospel.

In no way was Divine Mercy made more manifest than in Jesus' Resurrection. Receiving God's mercy is the way we experience for ourselves what we hear about Thomas experiencing in today's Gospel, lest we remain content to only hear, or read, about what happened to him and say, "Wow, having an experience like that would be cool."

C'est la vie dans l'église, n'est ce pas?

"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

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