Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23, 2017
What a grace-filled day this is! It is the eighth and final day of the Octave of Easter. On this eighth day of Easter we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a day when the flood-gates of mercy are opened wide and God lavishes us with more than we could ever hope for.
Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated for years as a private devotion. But in the year 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II, who himself was an extraordinary instrument of God’s mercy, put this feast on the Church’s official calendar as he raised Sister Faustina to sainthood.
Saint Faustina was a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. She died in 1938. She came from a simple and poor family of farmers, had only three years of simple education and performed the humblest of tasks in her convent. But she also was a mystic who was privileged to have many private revelations from our Lord which she recorded in her diary of Divine Mercy.
She writes of her experience on February 22, 1931:
In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’
Later, Jesus explained to her in another vision:
“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross….Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
Jesus spoke again to her of His desire that the Solemnity of Divine Mercy be established:
“On that day (the 8th day of Easter each year) the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”
As we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, intensely reflect upon the abundance of this gift that God wishes to pour forth upon us. There is no limit to how much we are loved by our God of perfect mercy. And today, on this the eighth day of Easter, we should especially be aware of the fact that the floodgates of Heaven are opened to us to an unimaginable degree. Turn your eyes toward our merciful Lord and be open to all that He wishes to bestow.
Lord of Mercy, help me today to begin to understand what mercy is all about. Help me to first be open to the mercy You wish to bestow upon me. As I receive Your own Divine Mercy, help me also to be an instrument of that mercy for all to see. Jesus, I trust in You.