by Tara K. E. Brelinsky
I had the privilege of witnessing the Sacrament of Baptism of a little girl. Unlike my own children who were baptized as babies, she looked to be about 8 years old. While reading the preparatory questions to her, the priest said something which had a profound impact on me. Just before asking the girl if she rejected Satan, he pointed out this child has chosen Baptism for herself.
While I would never advocate delaying the Sacrament, her deliberate choice was a beautiful testimony to faith. This child had recognized her need for Baptism and she’d done the work involved in seeking to enter the Church.
As her father lifted her up to the Baptismal font, I thought about the tremendous grace being poured out upon her in that moment. With eyes of faith, I imagined her soul washed clean by the waters of Baptism. What minutes before had been soiled by sin was now spotless.
And then I considered how easily we forget the gift of our Baptism. How infrequently we recall that we were meant for God and that He gave us the means to be freed from the stains of sin.
Perhaps, it was His intention to remind us of just this gift. Maybe, Jesus knew we needed to hear again how much He loves us. Therefore, He called us to accept His Divine Mercy.
Our Last Hope
“Divine Mercy is mankind’s last hope of salvation.” Those were the words spoken by Jesus to a humble nun in a Polish convent in the 1930’s. We now know her as St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. And that message resounds today, perhaps, even more clearly than it did nearly a century ago.
Fr. George Kosicki, CSB describes mercy as “having the pains in your heart for the pains of another and taking pains to do something about their pain.” Indeed, having just journeyed through Good Friday into the Resurrection of Easter, we know Jesus embodied the meaning of mercy.
Is This a New Message?
Of course, Jesus carried His Cross up the road to Calvary almost 2000 years ago. His Merciful Love was manifest in our earthly sphere at that time when He paid the price for our sins. So, why would we need a new channel by which to reach Him?
Well, Divine Mercy isn’t new. Just as a love letter written from a husband to his wife doesn’t represent a new kind of love, Divine Mercy isn’t a different message. It’s simply another reminder that God loves us (every single one of us) and His mercy is greater than our sins (all of our sins).
Jesus spoke this Truth with words and through actions during His earthly life. Time and time again since then, He has reiterated it. In 1675, speaking to another nun, now St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus said, “Behold this Heart (His Sacred Heart) which has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself, to prove to them Its love.”
Our Trust Problem
The problem is that mankind has a hard time trusting. According to Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, an upcoming speaker at the 2020 Ignited By Truth Conference, “to one degree or another, as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we all have a trust problem. We tend to distrust God. Just as Adam and Eve hid from God… so we, too, tend to hide from God, especially when our sins weigh heavily upon us.”
Witnessing that Baptism reminded me of God’s desire to take us back, to wash away the stain of original sin. But how easy it is to forget. How readily we adopt the lie that this or that sin is simply unforgivable.
So, though He’d already instituted the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession, though He’d already paid the price on Calvary, though He’d already reminded us of the all-consuming Love of His Sacred Heart, still He pursued us. Knowing our trust problem, Jesus extended His hand in Divine Mercy.
Satiating His Thirst
In 1993, Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of Jesus’s thirst for mankind. She said, “’I thirst’ is something much deeper than Jesus just saying ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.”
The promises of Divine Mercy express that thirst. They tell us, as Fr. Seraphim, MIC, said, that Jesus is capable of “loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable.” In fact, the promises not only tell us He is capable of such an extravagant Love, but that He ardently desires to lavish It upon us.
The Promises of Divine Mercy
- “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image (of Divine Mercy) will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. “
- “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.”
- “When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one.”
- “When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as a just Judge but as a merciful Savior.”
- “Whoever will 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 to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy.”
- ” To priests who proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak.”
- “The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion for sinners. Know, my daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.”
- “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony…I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.”
- “Souls who spread the honor of My mercy…at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior.”
- “The two rays denote Blood and Water…These two rays issued from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father…I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy…whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.”
- “I desire that the Feast of Mercy…be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter…The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion (in a state of grace on this day) shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”
- “Through this chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.”
- “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world.”
Means of Divine Mercy
Jesus gave St. Faustina five means for this Divine Mercy: The Divine Mercy Image, The Divine Mercy Chaplet, The Divine Mercy Novena, The Feast of Divine Mercy and the Hour of Great Mercy.
Like the little girl who chose Baptism, we also have a choice to make. Jesus said we either choose to pass through the doors of Divine Mercy or we must pass through the doors of Divine Justice.
Let’s choose Mercy! Let’s ask God for His Mercy. Be merciful to one another. And trust completely in His Merciful Love.
The Feast of Divine Mercy
This coming Sunday, April 19th is the Feast of Divine Mercy. According to St. Faustina’s Diary, “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of Divine Mercy shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”
The Sacrament of Confession wipes away the first stain of sin, but it does not remove the punishment due to that sin. A plenary indulgence can remove that punishment; however, it requires that the partaker have no attachment to sin. Most, if not all of us, fail to meet that requirement.
And this is precisely why the promise that Jesus attached to the Feast of Divine Mercy is radical. It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore!
2020 IBT Conference, Saturday 4/18
The faithful now confined to quarantine can still receive this extraordinary grace. To learn how, watch the 2020 Ignited By Truth Catholic Conference this coming Saturday, April 18, 2020 on streaming through You Tube.
Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, will present the details in his talk “The Promise of Divine Mercy.” He’ll also celebrate a Live Divine Mercy Vigil Mass to close the Ignited By Truth conference at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.