A Whole Ocean of Graces

April 16, 2023

Divine Mercy Sunday (Year A)
The Eighth Day in the Octave of Easter

Readings for Today

Video

Saint Faustina reports in her Diary what Jesus told her about Divine Mercy Sunday: 

“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day 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 are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow” (Diary #699).

That day is today! It is the Feast of Divine Mercy! Today’s feast is among the newer feasts in our Church. Though Jesus’ desire that this feast be celebrated on the eighth day of Easter was spoken to Sister Maria Faustina Kowolska back in 1931, it was not solemnly instituted until the year 2000. On April 30 of that year, Saint Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina and inaugurated the Feast of Divine Mercy as a universal feast within the Church. Because this Feast is so recent within the Church, we can be certain that we still have much to learn about the message of this Solemnity as well as the numerous messages about God’s mercy revealed in Saint Faustina’s Diary.

Among the many messages contained within her Diary, Jesus revealed to us that this Sunday, the eighth and final day of the Octave of Easter, is a day like none other. Though grace and mercy are continuously poured out from Heaven upon us, Jesus is very clear that today is unique. Today, “a whole ocean of graces” is poured forth upon souls who approach the font of His mercy. Sit with that image for a time. “A whole ocean of graces.” What does that mean?

Symbolically speaking, a whole ocean is meant to depict the infinite. Try to imagine what it would be like to have the entire ocean poured upon you—it’s beyond comprehension! Thus, God is saying that the infinity of grace is given today. The question for us all to ponder is this: How receptive am I to those infinite graces?

By analogy, imagine that your life was like a thimble, and an ocean of water was poured upon you. As a thimble, you could not contain all that was given. Therefore, we should realize that God wants to stretch our capacity to receive His mercy more abundantly by widening our capacity for mercy. What if your soul were like a large pond? Still, the waters of the ocean could not be contained within that pond. What is it that is capable of receiving an entire ocean of mercy? Only an ocean can contain an ocean. For that reason, God desires to first prepare our souls to receive an infinity of mercy by transforming us into vessels of infinite capacity. 

Saint Teresa of Ávila, in her spiritual classic, “Interior Castles,” teaches us that the soul is, indeed, capable of infinite capacity for the simple fact that God dwells within. The soul is like an interior castle with many interlinked dwelling places through which we must pass so as to arrive at the central chamber. She teaches that the goal of the spiritual life is to travel through these various dwelling places to the center of our souls where the infinite God dwells so that we can be present to Him there. Therefore, we must understand that our souls are indeed capable of receiving the infinite waters of mercy, because God created us with this ability when He chose to live within us. The key to being able to fully receive this fullness of mercy is to seek out the infinite God, dwelling within. How is this done?

The heart of the path laid out in the Diary of Saint Faustina is as follows: Go to Confession and receive Holy Communion so as to obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. However, as many of the great spiritual writers explain, such as Saint Teresa of Ávila, there are many levels we must pass on our spiritual journey so as to be able to encounter God in His fullness. This, of course, includes encountering God’s mercy given to us in Holy Communion and Confession. Those who receive these Sacraments while dwelling only in the first dwelling places, for example, will never benefit from them to the extent that those who dwell in the seventh and central mansion where the King dwells in fullness. Thus, mercy is given in its fullness but unless we make the transforming journey to God through conversion and purification of our souls, we will never be able to receive the ocean of graces God bestows.

Reflect, today, upon this ocean being poured forth upon you. How much of this mercy are you able to receive right now in your life? As you humbly admit your limited openness to God’s grace, know that God patiently waits for you, dwelling in His fullness deep within you, waiting for you to make the journey to Him. Commit yourself to this journey by prayer, fasting, penance, the reading of Scripture, the celebration of the Sacraments and spiritual reading. There is an ocean of the fullness of life waiting for you. Dive in and allow His mercy to deepen your capacity to receive Him most fully.

My Lord, You are The Divine Mercy, the source of all grace and the Bestower of this grace in superabundance. I thank You for the infinity of Your generosity and pray that my soul will be more fully disposed to receive You. Please stretch the capacity of my soul through my ongoing journey of purification and conversion so that I will receive all that You wish to bestow. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Prayer for Trust in The Divine Mercy of God

Most merciful Jesus,

I turn to You in my need.

You are worthy of my complete trust.

You are faithful in all things.

When my life is filled with confusion, give me clarity and faith.

When I am tempted to despair, fill my soul with hope.

 

Most merciful Jesus,

I trust You in all things.

I trust in Your perfect plan for my life.

I trust You when I cannot comprehend Your divine will.

I trust You when all feels lost.

Jesus, I trust You more than I trust myself.

 

Most merciful Jesus,

You are all-knowing.

Nothing is beyond Your sight.

You are all-loving.

Nothing in my life is beyond Your concern.

You are all-powerful.

Nothing is beyond Your grace.

 

Most merciful Jesus,

I trust in You,

I trust in You,

I trust in You.

May I trust You always and in all things.

May I daily surrender to Your Divine Mercy.

 

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy,

Pray for us as we turn to you in our need.

Amen.


More Divine Mercy Video Reflections

More on the Feast of Mercy from Jesus to Saint Faustina

About Divine Mercy Sunday

Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday

All Divine Mercy Prayers

Prayer of Saint Faustina

St. Faustina’s Litany of Divine Mercy

Trust in Divine Mercy

 Prayer for the Year of Mercy

Daily Reflections on Divine Mercy

Rosary – Glorious Mysteries (with Scripture)

Saints/Feasts for Today

Scripture Meditations for the Easter Season

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Featured images above: Original painting of the Divine Mercy By Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, via Wikimedia Commons


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