According to both Blessed John Paul II and Saint Faustina Maria Kowlasksa, the virtue of mercy is the greatest attribute in the Heart of Jesus. This being the case we should strive to understand this virtue and even more important try to live it out to the full.
Mercy could be defined as God loving and forgiving the sinner. Most clearly can this be seen in the Parable of the Prodigal Son or if you like the merciful Father—found in Luke 15. The son sinned seriously but the loving Father forgave him fully by hugging him, kissing him, placing a ring on his finger, giving him new sandals and a new cloak; and if that were not enough the father threw a huge banquet for the wayward son by killing the fatted calf amidst song and dance.
Every time we renounce and repudiate our sin and our attachment to that sin and make a good confession, God the Father showers us with many of the same graces. God becomes our loving Father, Jesus our best of brothers, the Holy Spirit our best friend and sweet guest of our soul and many more choice blessings! Praise God for His mercy.
St Faustina and the Diary of Mercy
The past few years there has been a growing knowledge, devotion and love for Divine mercy as communicated to us through the inspired writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska. Actually Jesus gave her as title, “The Secretary of Divine Mercy”.
To give even greater weight to this modern saint and her writings, Blessed Pope John Paul II’s first canonization in the new millennium—on Divine Mercy Sunday—was St. Faustina Kowlasksa. Nothing happens by chance.
We would like to encourage all to embrace the beautiful and inspiring doctrine of mercy by striving to become familiar with Saint Faustina and the Diary of Mercy.
Following will be a brief summary of the major tenets of this doctrine.
1. God is Rich in Mercy. God’s greatest attribute/virtue is His mercy. No matter how grave and numerous our sins, God is always ready and willing to forgive us if we simply say: “Jesus I am sorry and forgive me!” In a heartbeat Jesus is ready to forgive even the worst of sinners. St. Paul reminds us with these words: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.” Pope Francis teaches us on mercy the following: “God never tires in forgiving us, but we become tired of asking for forgiveness!” The first canonized saint was the Good thief who pleaded for the mercy of Jesus and the merciful Savior responded: “Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in heaven.” Fulton Sheen wryly rejoins: “And the thief died a thief because he stole heaven!”
2. We Must Be Merciful. If we want to receive the mercy of God, then this is a two-way street, we in turn must be willing to forgive those who have hurt us and be merciful. Jesus once again teaches us: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.” The most renowned prayer in the world also reminds us (The Our Father). “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” To receive God’s mercy, we must be merciful! Not just seven times, but seventy times seven times. Meaning: always!
3. Confession. God’s mercy is manifested most abundantly upon our soul when we have recourse to the Sacrament of Confession which can also be called the Sacrament of God’s mercy. Jesus expresses mercy in the person of the priest. If you have not been to confession in years, return. Jesus the merciful Savior is gently and patiently waiting for you.
4. Hour of Mercy. The Hour of Mercy is 3:00 p.m. The reason is crystal clear: Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. If possible try to remember this moment every day and offer the dying Savior in His last agony to the Father for the salvation of the whole world, but especially those who in that hour or that day are in their last agony. God the Father will never deny His dying Son and His agony nothing, or those who unite themselves to His agony.
5. Chaplet of Divine Mercy. A beautiful prayer! It is short- can be prayed in a few minutes! In this we offer to the Father His beloved Son—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Also we beg for the salvation of all the souls spread throughout the entire world! We should love what God loves; God has a burning thirst and hunger for the salvation of souls. Remember the motto of the great Saint John Bosco: “Give me souls and take all the rest away.”
6. Novena of Divine Mercy. This nine day prayer starts on Good Friday and terminates on Divine Mercy Sunday. The prayer intentions are a model for anybody who sincerely desires to learn the prayer of intercession. Even though this novena properly speaking is done in this span of nine days, it can be done at any time and any place. With respect to prayer—communicating with God—we can do it any time, any place and in any condition of soul that we find ourselves.
7. Daily Act of Mercy. In the Diary Jesus encourages all of us to understand mercy, but also to put it into practice every day, even if it were in a very small way. Jesus told Saint Faustina that there are three specific ways that mercy can be practiced.
- a) Prayer. By simply praying for the well-being of another person, you are already practicing mercy!
- b) Words of Kindness. We should all get into the habit of speaking to others using kind words, using a kind tone of voice, and with kind gestures. What we do to others we are really doing to Jesus. He Himself said:“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me…” A kind word can lift a soul in deep desolation into peace and consolation! Why not start today!
- c) Deeds. Words of kindness are key. However, our words should be supported by deeds of loving kindness. An easy way to make a check-list would be to study the Corporal works of mercy that can be found in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25…. “I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, a stranger, and sick…. When? Whenever we did it to the least of our brothers, we did it to Jesus Himself!
8. Image of Divine Mercy. Jesus commanded Saint Faustina to have an image or painting of Him done. After being approved by her Superior and Spiritual Director, the painting was accomplished. At first, the nun was displeased because she complained that Jesus Himself was much more beautiful. But Jesus returned and told her that His grace would still flow through the image. Why not purchase an image of Divine Mercy and enthrone it in your home as an exterior sign that you desire that Jesus the King of mercy reign completely in your home.
9. Divine Mercy Sunday. This Sunday falls the Sunday after Easter and Jesus ardently desired that this Feast be celebrated with special solemnity and that on that day the image should be exposed publically, honored and venerated! Pope John Paul II was instrumental in instituting this Solemnity. It is not accidental nor by chance that Pope John Paul II will be canonized on Mercy Sunday, 2014 along with Blessed Pope John XXIII! Pope John Paul II taught Divine Mercy especially in his encyclical “Dives Misericordia”—(God is rich in mercy). Equally important this great modern saint lived mercy by forgiving the man “Agca” who tried to kill him on May 13, 1981.
10. Promise. One of the most exalted promises of Divine Mercy is the following! A good and heartfelt and contrite confession is made and then on mercy Sunday upon receiving the Holy Eucharist all of one’s sins are forgiven as well as the temporal punishment due to those sins! In other words, one’s soul returns to the state of baptismal innocence. And if he were to die in that moment, his soul would fly directly to heaven! How sublime is the mercy of God!
11. Apostle of Divine Mercy. Become an apostle of Divine Mercy. How? Read the Diary to become familiar with the message. Live out mercy in your life by forgiving immediately and from your heart. Buy a box of Divine Mercy cards of 1000 and give them out as many and as often as you can. Especially try to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet at the deathbed of somebody who is in his/her last agony. In some mysterious way, Jesus promises to have mercy on that soul, despite how evil a life he lived! God’s mercy goes way beyond our understanding.
12. Mary and Mercy. Love Mary! Saint Alphonsus Liguori states that in God there is both mercy and justice. However in Mary, she is the essence and the embodiment of mercy. That is why we pray as such, “Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life our sweetness and our hope…
If we understand mercy, strive to live out mercy, promote mercy in all times and circumstances, and die trusting in God’s mercy, then the merciful Savior Jesus the Lord, when we die will say: “Well done faithful servant enter into the home of your heavenly Father!”