“When pain overwhelms my soul, and the horizon darkens like night, and the heart is torn with the torment of suffering, Jesus Crucified, You are my strength.” ~ Saint Faustina
Before launching into today’s Reflection, I’d like to pose a question, a riddle if you will. The question is: What is the only thing in the Kingdom of Heaven that is man-made?
So while you mull that one over, let’s move on to reflect upon one of the most cherished and powerful days on the liturgical calendar, a new one I might add, as today’s marks only its 22nd celebration.
The Octave of Easter is the eight-day period in Eastertide that started on Easter Sunday and concludes today, on what some may refer to as the Octave Day of Easter. Over the years, other names have been assigned to this celebration, such as White Sunday, or in the Anglican Community Low Sunday. Eastern Christians have been known to refer to this day as Thomas Sunday, a nod no “doubt,” ~ pardon the pun ~ to the Gospel Passage that will be proclaimed at the celebration of the Holy Mass today (John 20:19-31) wherein Thomas the Apostle questions the reemergence of the Resurrected Jesus, prompting the Son of God to invite Thomas to run his hands over the Crucifixion wounds after suddenly reemerging and appearing to the Apostles.
But on April 30th of the year 2000, the Sunday after Easter was given another sacred title courtesy of the Pope who would become Saint John Paul II, designating this day as Divine Mercy Sunday, or the Feast of Mercy. In doing so, he fulfilled the wish which Jesus revealed to Faustina Kowalska, proclaiming that any Catholic who goes to Confession ~ the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation ~ while also receiving the Holy Eucharist on this day will be liberated from any punishment after death.
The promises that Jesus makes to those who honor this devotion are astounding. Here are but a few, as conveyed to now-Saint Faustina from Jesus, who by way of a private revelation urged her to capture these promises in her now famous Diary:
“My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy; [urge] all souls to trust in the unfathomable abyss of My mercy, because I want to save them all.”
“I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy.
“. . . . at that last hour, a soul has nothing with which to defend itself except My mercy. Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.”
Many more of Jesus’ promises, made in conjunction with this raging river-like outpouring of unfathomable mercy, are included in the link at the bottom of this Essay. If you read anything today, please make it that blog post. As a matter of fact, if pressed for time, skip the remainder of this reflection and go directly to that link instead.
On page 1184 of her Diary, Saint Faustina spoke of one particularly epic vision, wherein she saw the Lord Jesus upon the cross, his instrument of execution. She said that from his hands, his feet and his side, the most sacred blood of Jesus was flowing. Jesus in that vision said to Faustina “All this is for the salvation of souls.” It was at this point that Faustina came to a very painful realization. “I see now,” she said, “that I am doing next to nothing for the salvation of souls."
Jesus replied, “Know, My daughter, that your silent day-to-day martyrdom in complete submission to My will ushers many souls into Heaven. And when it seems to you that your suffering exceeds your strength, contemplate My wounds and you will rise above human scorn and judgment.”
By now I’m sure that you have solved the riddle that kicked off today’s reflection, realizing that the wounds of Jesus from the cross are the only thing in Heaven that is man-made. Divine Mercy Sunday is the perfect day to start listening to what Jesus himself tells us. No longer are we relegated to rationalizing away our sins or wallowing in the dirty puddle of denial when the pristine ocean of Jesus’ unrelenting mercy seeks to wash over us, to joyfully drown us, freeing us from sin, as did the waters of our Baptism. Much like the waters of the Red Sea that drowned the soldiers of Pharaoh’s Army in Exodus 14, those who enslaved the Israelites for hundreds of years, thus freeing the Israelites of their oppression. https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Easter-Sunday-Reflections.
Csn you imagine what must have been going through the minds of the Israelites at that moment? As the bodies of Pharaoh’s soldiers began to wash limp and lifeless to the shore and the Israelites new reality began to sink in:
They would be slaves no more.
We know that the ocean of mercy poured forth on this Divine Mercy Sunday frees us too from the shackles and enslavement of sin.
But the time to act is now, as is evident by the quote from Sister Faustina’s Diary (1146) that I will leave you with today:
“He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.”
“Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.”
For more on Divine Mercy Sunday, please visit my previous Reflections:
Patrick44 (author) on April 21, 2020:
Smart move Eric... every home should have the Divine Mercy image displayed prominently. It’s not only a constant visual reminder of Jesus’ mercy for us, but a reminder that we too are called to be merciful to others in our lives.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 19, 2020:
Cool. That picture hangs in my living room entry way. A touching devotion here today, thank you.