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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday…A Refuge for Sinners…

The spirituality of Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by the devotion to the Divine Mercy.  Even as the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, he promoted the beatification of Sister Faustina Kowalska and on the occasion of her canonization in April 2000, he announced that the Second Sunday of Easter would be the Feast of Divine Mercy.

Fourteen times in the Diary of St. Faustina (Divine Mercy in My Soul), Our Lord was quoted as requesting a “Feast of Mercy”.  This was why Pope John Paul II proclaimed, “I give thanks to divine Providence that I have been enabled to contribute personally to the fulfillment of Christ's will, through the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy”.  Our dear Lord insisted that it be celebrated on a specific day - the Sunday after Easter!

This same Second Sunday of Easter, we will also have great joy in celebrating the solemn beatification of Pope John Paul II - on the very day in which he himself wanted the whole Church to fix her gaze and prayers on this Divine Mercy; this same Mercy also available to us through all the Holy Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jesus Christ left all the details for the whole world, in a diary that He commanded Saint Faustina to write, back in the 1930’s.  She was chosen to document everything that Jesus wanted mankind to know about His mercy before He returns to judge the world.

In order to receive this great promise of complete forgiveness of all sins, one has to go to Confession and then receive Holy Communion on this Feast of Divine Mercy, which is now known as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the whole Church.

Jesus said, “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (Diary, 300)

The promise for a complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment on Divine Mercy Sunday was made by Jesus, extended even to the most terrible of sinner imaginable.  God in His great mercy is giving mankind a last chance for salvation.

This Easter season, we remember that on the evening of His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His Apostles and the first thing that He did was to give them the power to forgive sins (John 20:19-31).  This same power has been transmitted and handed down through the various generations of the Church in the form of the Sacrament of Confession.

Most of us probably have not spent much time thinking about the future.  Why worry?  In all our worldly pride, some might even be complacent enough to think that they are so brilliant and successful in this life; everything is under their control.

But then, what is all these ‘worldly’ successes, compared to eternity?  Very often, the father of lies, Satan, has everyone focused on this life so much so that people are not thinking about what happens in the eternal life.

How often have you reflected on where you are going to spend eternity?  One thing is certain, we will all be there for quite a long, long time.  Today, many are proud and do not believe in the fires of Hell.  Unfortunately, those are the ones that usually will end up there for eternity.

Be wise today, be humble; think about it and believe, as we reflect on the words of Sr. Faustina…

“I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence...the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw.  But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.” (Diary 741)

“Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin.  I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is terribly souls suffer there!  Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners.  I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them.  O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin.” (Diary 741)

Therefore, wake up...pilgrims of the world…turn back and repent of your sins, this might just be the last hope of salvation!  Learn from the beloved disciple named Thomas, who put his finger in the wounds of Jesus, doubted no more and instead confessed out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

From the death bed of Pope John Paul II, we also remember these last written words that he had prepared to be read on Divine Mercy Sunday; the day after his passing.  They were read, as follows, directly on Divine Mercy Sunday:

“As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness, and fear, the Risen Lord offers His love that pardons, reconciles, and reopens hearts to love. It is love that converts hearts and gives peace.

How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy! Lord, who reveal the Father’s love by Your Death and Resurrection, we believe in You and confidently repeat to You… Jesus, I trust in You, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. Amen.”
 As the Chaplet of Divine Mercy goes…

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Have Mercy on us and on the whole world.”

The doubting Thomases is each of us must be touched by Jesus, through His Holy Sacraments, on this special Sunday of Divine Mercy.  Let us make it a point to be present for Jesus, to reach out and touch Him today and everyday...

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