FEAST OF DIVINE MERCY
First published November 24th, 2006. I have updated this writing…
WHAT would you say was Pope John Paul II’s central mission? Was it to bring down Communism? Was it to unify Catholics and Orthodox? Was it to birth a new evangelization? Or was it to bring the Church a “theology of the body”?
In the words of the late Pope himself:
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I consider this message [of Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God. —JPII, November 22, 1981 at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy
It was the nun, Faustina Kowalska, whose message of mercy compelled the Pope who, when at her tomb in 1997, said it “forms the image of this pontificate.” He not only canonized the Polish mystic, but in a rare papal move, solemnized elements of the private revelation given her for the whole world by declaring the first Sunday after Easter, “Divine Mercy Sunday.” In high heavenly drama, the Pope died in the beginning hours of that very Feast day. A seal of confirmation, as it were.
It is significant when you consider the entire context of this message of Divine Mercy as revealed to St. Faustina:
Speak to the world about My mercy… It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, 848
ALL THINGS CONVERGING
It is well documented that toward the turn of the nineteenth century (1884), Pope Leo XIII had a vision during Mass in which Satan was given one century to test the Church. The fruits of that testing are all around us. But it has now been more than a century. What does this mean? That the power God granted to the Evil One will be coming to an end, and logically given the time-frame, sooner than later. Hence, there has been a veritable explosion of strife in marriages, families, and between nations in just the past year or two. We are seeing a marked increase of incidents in America where entire families are being slain, as one or both parents take their children’s lives before killing themselves. Not to mention the continuing massacres in Africa or terrorist bombings in the Middle East. Evil is manifesting itself in death.
Jan Connell, an author and attorney, grilled the visionaries of Medjugorje to whom the Blessed Mother has allegedly been appearing (these apparitions will not receive the Church’s judgment until they are over. See Medjugorje: Just the Facts Ma’am). Following St. Paul’s advice to test all prophecy—and the Vatican’s openness to the apparitions is the greatest test—it is prudent to at least listen to what is being said.
Our Lady allegedly comes with messages to warn, convert, and prepare the world during this “time of grace.” Connell published his questions and the visionary’s answers in a book called Queen of the Cosmos (Paraclete Press, 2005, Revised Edition). Each visionary has been given “secrets,” which will be unveiled at a future time, and will serve to bring about dramatic changes on earth. In a question to visionary Mirjana, Connell asks:
Concerning this century, is it true that the Blessed Mother related a dialogue to you between God and the devil? In it… God allowed the devil one century in which to exercise extended power, and the devil chose these very times. —p.23
The visionary answered “Yes”, citing as proof the great divisions we see particularly among families today. Connell asks:
Will the fulfillment of the secrets of Medjugorje break the power of Satan?
That is part of the secrets .(See my writing: Exorcism of the Dragon)
Can you tell us anything [regarding the secrets]?
There will be events on the earth as warning to the world before the visible sign is given to humanity.
Will these happen in your lifetime?
Yes, I will be a witness to them. —p. 23, 21
TIME OF GRACE AND MERCY
These alleged apparitions began 26 years ago. If God has granted this past century of testing, then we know that same century will also be a “time of grace,” according to His Word:
Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
One extraordinary grace in this period is His mercy. God is granting us extraordinary means to His mercy in our times, as I will mention in a moment. But the ordinary means have never ceased: mainly the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist—”the source and summit” of our faith. Also, John Paul II has pointed to the Rosary and devotion to Mary as significant means of grace. And yet, she will only lead one to the Sacraments, and deeper into them, to the very center of the Heart of Jesus.
This evokes a powerful dream of St. John Bosco who saw a time when the Church would be greatly tested. He said,
There will be chaos in the Church. Tranquility will not return until the Pope succeeds in anchoring the boat of Peter between the Twin Pillars of Eucharistic devotion and devotion to Our Lady. —Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco, compiled and edited by Fr. J. Bacchiarello, S.D.B.
I believe this anchoring began with the late Pope’s declaration of the “Year of the Rosary” and “Year of the Eucharist” shortly before he died.
HOUR OF MERCY
In the prepared homily that Pope John Paul II was to give on the Divine Mercy Sunday on which he passed away, he wrote:
To humanity, which at times seems to be lost and dominated by the power of evil, egoism and fear, the risen Lord offers as a gift his love that forgives, reconciles and reopens the spirit to hope. It is love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much need the world has to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
Yes, there is always hope. St. Paul says that three things remain: faith, hope, and love. Indeed, God is going to purify the world, not destroy it. He is going to intervene because He loves us and will not permit us to annihilate ourselves. Those who are in His Mercy have nothing to fear. “Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world…”
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. (Romans 8:18)
But in order to share in that glory, we must also be willing to share in the sufferings of Christ, as I have been writing all Passion week (2009). We must be willing to repent from our love affair with sin. And this is the heart of St. Faustina’s message from her diary, that we should not be afraid to approach Jesus, no matter how dark our sins are:
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]…. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Faustina, 1160, 848, 1146
Through St. Faustina, God has given three great extra-ordinary avenues of grace to humanity in this time of mercy. These are very practical and powerful ways for you to participate in the salvation of souls, including your own:
On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flows are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. —Ibid., 699
Oh,what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet: the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet. Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the font of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.—Ibid., 229, 848
III. HOUR OF MERCY
At three o’ clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony: This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. —Ibid.
TIME IS SHORT
An image of an elastic band came to me as I was meditating on these things. The understanding that came with it was this: It represents God’s mercy, and is being stretched to the point of breaking, and when it does, great travails will begin to unfold on the earth. But each time someone prays for mercy on the world, the elastic loosens a little until the great sins of this generation begin to tighten it again.
God is in to saving souls—not in keeping calendars. It is up to us to use these days of grace wisely. And may we not miss the most important message within Divine Mercy: that we are to help, through our witness and prayers, to bring other souls into this Divine Light.
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling… that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philipians 2:12, 15)