Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Feast of Divine Mercy

The Feast of 
Divine Mercy

Today is the Feast of Divine Mercy.  This feast was requested by Jesus in visions that St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, had in the 1930s.  As with all private revelations, there was nothing new added to the Deposit of Faith given to the Church through the Apostles.  So why a Feast dedicated to the Mercy of God, which the Church has celebrated at every Mass for 2,000 years?
The 1930s were a time of great societal upheavals and evils.  The Bolsheviks had brought the evils of communism to Russia, evils which would spread throughout much of Eastern Europe and beyond; a civil war was raging in Spain; and a man by the name of Adolph Hitler was coming to power in Germany.  The sins of the world had grown great indeed, and the message Jesus sent through His servant Faustina was one of Mercy.
Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.  Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust!  Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness, He said to her, as recorded in St. Faustina’s diary Divine Mercy in My Soul.
People can tend to believe their sins are too great for God’s Mercy.  But His Mercy is an ocean in which our sins are dissolved:
My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners.  If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy.
Jesus spoke often to Faustina of his longing for souls: I want to give Myself to souls; I yearn for souls, My daughter.  And He spoke of His sorrow that sinners do not trust in His Mercy: The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don’t want to believe in My goodness, and My Heart is sorrowful because even chosen souls do not understand the greatness of My mercy.
In many ways we live in similar times today.  I do not only speak of the great national and international evils that are prevalent in our times.  Most sharply the sting of sin is felt in abortion.  (Even in St. Faustina’s time this was a great problem.  On one occasion she felt a horrible pain in her abdomen, which she recognized as a suffering for those who had had abortions.)
When we hear statistics about the number of women who have had abortions (and the number of men who have been accessories), it can be overwhelming.  What is overwhelming is the knowledge of how much pain and brokenness there is because of this great evil.  Many people know women who regret their abortion but refuse to forgive themselves, or to believe that God can forgive them.
And even if the sins of souls were as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of My Passion.  When a soul extols My goodness, satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.
And there are so many women who have found healing in God, and in Him, the strength to become heroic in virtue, and sometimes even great defenders of life.  Many of the heroes of our time are women who have undergone abortions, found forgiveness, and now dedicate themselves to the defense of life.
Of course, pro-life activism may not be God’s call to all women who have suffered through abortion.  But healing is.  Holiness is.  Wholeness and happiness is.  Heroism is.
Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it.
These are the words of Jesus.  They are a comfort to us, but also a battle cry.  We who love God and our neighbor must spread the message of Mercy.  And those of us in the pro-life movement must reach out to those who are suffering from abortion.  The devil wishes to destroy lives through this evil and steal from souls the hope of God’s Mercy. 
But Jesus never stops loving any of us, and He never withholds His Mercy from a soul that seeks it.  How much consolation He must receive from a woman or man who has been suffering from the grief of abortion, finally turning to Him with trust.  How desperately He must want to heal him or her.
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.
This feast day is for all of us, and especially for the greatest sinners.  They often have the destiny of becoming the greatest Saints.  We pray to God that every soul that suffers the pain and shame of sin, would bring those sins to Calvary in the Sacrament of Confession, would trust in the Mercy of God, and would believe that He wants to take their shame away, and that healing is possible.  And may we be messengers of Mercy, and stewards of the Love of God.
For help in finding healing from abortion, one place to start is Project Rachel.