Experience The Transforming Power of Divine Mercy

A Follow-Up to Divine Mercy Sunday 2024

“You are I know the most incapable person, weak and sinful, but just because you are that, I want to use you, for my glory.”

It may surprise us to know that Jesus spoke these words to St. Teresa of Calcutta before she founded her religious congregation, the Missionaries of Charity sisters. Jesus first invited her to begin her mission by accepting her need for His mercy in her life. God planned to fill her with His merciful love, strength, and compassion for all the needy souls in the world if only she would accept her weakness and sinfulness and place all her trust in His merciful love.

St. Teresa responded to this invitation by accepting herself as someone in constant need of the mercy of God. She loved and served all persons without charge because she considered all persons, especially the poorest of the poor, to be like herself in constant need of God’s merciful love. She lived her life, performing heroic works of mercy for all, even when she was experiencing excruciating darkness and abandonment by God in her prayer life. Today, her missionary sisters are in virtually all countries of the world offering the same works of mercy to the poor and needy without charge and at great personal risk.

The disciples in Jn 20:19-31 remind us all of why we must first face and accept our own need for the mercy of God if we are going to do anything great for Him. Despite all the powerful words and deeds of Jesus and His promise to rise from the dead, the disciples still have troubled hearts; they are filled with fear and regrets, and even discouraged by their failures: “The doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews.” They had come to taste their own weakness and infidelity despite their good intentions.

The mercy they needed was much more than forgiveness for their failures. We too must not limit the mercy of God to the forgiveness of our sins. The risen Christ, the mercy of God incarnate, always provides for us all the many aspects of divine mercy that we need.

Divine mercy is always present to us. Jesus made Himself present to them: “Jesus came and stood in their midst.” Jesus chooses to be present to disciples who abandoned Him at His hour of need after they had all promised to die with Him before the Passion. The faithful one chose to be in the presence of the unfaithful.

The mercy of God is also present to us in the Eucharist today. Divine mercy never abandons His beloved ones but remains with them in all their conditions and situations. Our sins and struggles cannot and should not separate us from the mercy of God.

Divine mercy offers us an undeserved peace. Jesus repeatedly said, “Peace be with you,” because He has reconciled us with God and obtained for us a peace that we have no right to on our own. We have access to this undeserved peace whenever we encounter the mercy of God in the sacrament of reconciliation. It is the peace that Jesus offers us as we are reconciled with Him and His Catholic Church.

Divine mercy offers us many proofs of His love. Jesus repeatedly showed them the wounds that He bore for them on the cross: “When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.” These wounds are not meant to elicit guilt or regret on the part of the disciples but to bring them confidence in God’s love for each one of them.

We, too, contemplating the wounds of the risen Savior, should always exclaim, “Jesus, I trust in you!” We trust in Him in all our material, spiritual, and emotional needs. His wounds are useless to us if we still doubt His love for us and hold back the complete confidence we should have in Him.

Divine mercy sends us on mission. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you…Receive the Holy Spirit.” Our past failures do not disqualify us from being on mission for Jesus. Jesus does not reject us in our failures but gives us His own Spirit so that we can do His Father’s will as He Himself did.

We can see our past sins and failures as invitations to stop pretending to be strong and flawless and accept our weakness. They can serve to remind us of our need for the mercy of God to uphold us always. Divine mercy lifts us up from our past failures and moves us to continue and renew our mission with greater trust in God alone.

Divine mercy restores our faith. St. Thomas who once offered to go and die with Jesus now struggled to believe that Jesus was alive: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” The presence of God’s mercy brought Him to a renewed and radical faith: “My Lord and my God.”

Don’t we need to have our faith renewed from time to time? Don’t we find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith in the presence and power of God in our lives? Divine mercy constantly acts to renew our faith because we are helpless in this world without it: “The victory that conquers the world is our faith” (1 Jn 5:4).

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the risen Christ wants to make us powerful witnesses of His Resurrection in our world today like the apostles in the early Church: “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” But everything begins with our attitude to His merciful love. Jesus never ceases to offer the many forms of divine mercy that we need. We only have to dispose ourselves to experience these acts of divine mercy that transform and empower us for faithful witnessing.

In addition to realizing and accepting our constant need for divine mercy, we must also be sensitive to the needs of others if we are going to be witnesses of the risen Christ today. In the early Church, “there was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:32-35). Under the direction of the apostles, all the members made sacrifices to meet the needs of others in the community. They were not indifferent or uncaring for the authentic needs of others in their community. Our indifference towards the needs of others hinders the power of divine mercy in our lives.

Lastly, we must have a healthy fear of God and not take His mercy for granted. Our Blessed Mother Mary reminds us in her Magnificat that God’s mercy cannot enter into our hearts when we have no fear for God, “His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him” (Lk 1:50). Divine mercy must move us to true conversion and holiness of life. We cannot be offending God recklessly and without remorse and hope to experience the transforming power of His merciful love.

Once we have this right attitude to divine mercy, God can and will surely transform and use us as powerful witnesses to His risen Son, Jesus Christ, no matter our weaknesses or sinfulness.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

Photo by Alex Ghizila on Unsplash

Note: This reflection references the following Scripture verses: Acts 4:32-35; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31.

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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