”All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us. Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person's sins were as dark as night, God's mercy is stronger than our misery.” ~ Saint Faustina.
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” These are the opening words of today’s 1st Reading (Jonah 3:1-10), words that should not be overlooked or viewed as insignificant. Our God is a God of 2nd chances, 8th chances, 888th chances, and far too many people have abandoned their faith because they do not know or do not believe this. Jonah let the Lord down as captured in yesterday’s 1st Reading (Jonah 1:1-2:1-2, 11) and as a holy man of God with a properly formed conscience, he knew it https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Going-and-Doing-Likewise.
Yet despite his moment of weakness, despite the fact that he gave up on God, God never gave up on him. And so it goes for us. We must avoid the temptation of waiting until we’re in the ideal place in our life to seek out God. This perfect moment of sublime bliss, serendipity, and sinless perfection you seek? Ain’t gonna happen. We must instead encounter Jesus in our sinfulness, right here, right now.
Perhaps I’ve never seen today’s translation of the 1st Reading, but it was the candid words of Jonah that caught my attention as he mulled his plight and the eventual fate of the Ninevites. “Who knows?” he asks rhetorically, going on to speculate that perhaps God would “relent and forgive, and withold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish.” God’s mercy is unfathomable, as vast and deep as many oceans.
But we must first repent, submitting ourselves to God with genuine remorse and complete humility. If in our pride, the deadliest of deadly sins, we rationalize away our sinfulness or do not fully acknowledge our need for God’s mercy and in turn make a sincere and contrite effort to repent and be transformed, this precious soul saving gift will be wasted on us. Now is the time to bask in Jesus’ mercy, to seek it with perseverance and total confidence. To offer others that same mercy. For as Jesus would tell Sister Faustina Kowalska as captured in her Diary, which would go on to become published in book form under the title Divine Mercy In My Soul, “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.”
Today is in fact the Memorial of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the woman whose quote kicks off today’s reflection and the beloved Patroness of Divine Mercy Sunday https://hubpages.com/hub/Divine-Mercy-Sunday-But-First-a-Riddle?hubview . Born in Poland in 1905, she was the third of ten children from a poor family. After applying to various convents in Warsaw, she was finally accepted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. For years Saint Faustina received revelations and visits from Christ. On Good Friday in the year 1937, Christ appeared to her and dictated to her the prayers that He wished her to pray in a Novena from Good Friday through the Octave of Easter, now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Saint Faustina would die soon thereafter, succumbing to tuberculosis in the city of Krakow, Poland in the year 1938.
In one particularly memorable Diary entry, Sister Faustina tells of an encounter with Jesus wherein he tells her “The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.’” (No. 1397).
With regard to Jonah’s question as posed in today’s 1st Reading relative to God’s mercy, I would submit that nobody knows. No one can completely grasp or fully comprehend God’s mercy. It is indescribable, uncontainable and unfathomable. With that in mind, I leave you with a prayer written by Saint Faustina wherein she asks Jesus for a more merciful heart towards others. She knew the importance of being merciful towards others. “Love everyone out of love for Me,” Jesus would instruct her, “even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.’” (No. 1695).
“Oh Jesus, I understand that your mercy is beyond all imagining. I ask you, therefore, to make my heart so big that there will be room in it for the needs of all the souls living on this whole earthly globe… Oh Jesus, my love reaches beyond the world to the souls suffering in Purgatory, and I want to exercise mercy toward them by means of indulgenced prayers. God‘s mercy is unfathomable and inexhaustible, just as God himself is unfathomable. Were I to use the strongest words for expressing this mercy of God, they are nothing in comparison with what it is in reality… Oh Jesus, make my heart sensitive to all the sufferings of my neighbor whether they be of body or of soul…. Oh my Jesus, I know that you act towards us as we act toward our neighbor. My Jesus, make my heart like you are merciful heart. Jesus help me to go through life doing good to everyone.” ~ Amen (Saint Faustina’s Diary, II, 132)
Saint Faustina, pray for us.