Over the years I have posted a lot about Divine Mercy. The main reason for this is that I became well-acquainted with St Faustina, not then a saint and barely a "Blessed," and the Divine Mercy devotion in my early years of being a Roman Catholic. Given the key role Pope St John Paul II played in my conversion, my interest in the Divine Mercy devotion is rather predictable. Back in February 2013, while leading a retreat at National Shrine of Divine Mercy, I was privileged to meet Maureen Digan, who was miraculously healed of lymphedema while praying at St Faustina tomb. I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy often (I try every day to recite at least a few of these prayers during the afternoon 3 o' clock hour- the hour of mercy- and say the Chaplet on Friday during that same hour, as well as keeping the Divine Mercy Novena, which begins each year on Good Friday). Many times throughout the course of almost every day I utter the words, "Jesus, I trust in You."
Because the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance are so closely linked (Penance being an extension of Baptism) celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday on the Second Sunday of Easter always strikes me as pitch perfect. The first gift the Risen Lord gave to His Church after His glorious resurrection was the sacrament of Penance, which is the sacrament of Divine Mercy. Of course, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that all of the sacraments are outpourings of Divine Mercy. Why was this gift His first gift to His Bride after His rising from the dead? Just think about how virtually all of the Twelve beat feet as soon as Jesus' sorrowful Passion began. Consider especially Peter's three-fold betrayal, which is depicted so dramatically by the Evangelists.
Rather than obsessing over the betrayal of the Twelve, consider your life since your own Baptism. I can only comment about myself: I was baptized twenty-five years ago at the age of 24. My post-baptismal life has been far from perfect! I am grateful for the Father's mercy given us through the Son by the power of the Spirit in the Sacrament of Mercy.
Our reading from the fifth chapter of 1 John summarizes what I am trying to communicate beautifully:
In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the worldbut the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (verses 2-5)In both teaching and counseling I often tell people that I don't go to confession to admit my failure. Confession is where I go to claim the victory Christ won for me over sin and death!
Mercy is necessary to live the abundant life that Christ's Easter victory, which is our victory, bestows on us by the Holy Spirit's power. What does life in the Spirit look like. For this we need to look back to the primitive Church in the immediate aftermath of the first Christian Pentecost. So, our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a fairly detailed idea of this life. These three verses are worth considering here in their entirety:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need (Acts 4:32-35Let me be clear, while we may believe without seeing, we do not need to believe without experiencing firsthand for ourselves the effects of Christ's resurrection, which is nothing other than Divine Mercy. The sacraments remain the chief effects of that cosmos-shattering event. So, never hesitate to avail yourself of Divine Mercy.
Jesus, I trust in You.