DIVINE MERCY THE CHURCH GIFT AT EASTER
The first Sunday after Easter since the year 2000 has been celebrated by the whole catholic church as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de Divinia Misericordia).
On this same day, Pope John Paul II Canonized Maria Faustina of the Blessed sacrament at the Mass at Saint Peter’s square in Rome.
On the Sunday of the Divine Mercy the following year, Pope John Paul re-emphasized its message in the resurrection context of Easter thus:
Jesus said to St. Maria Faustina one day; Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church received from the risen Lord and offers to Humanity.
How it all began
On March 23, 1937, St. Maria Faustina wrote in her diary (Notebook III, item 1044) that she had a vision that the feast of Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel, and would be attended by large crowds, and that the same celebration would be held in Rome attended by the Pope. Today this feast is celebrated all over the world.
She also wrote: “The crowd was so enormous that the eye could not take it all in. Everyone was participating in the celebrations.
On one occasion, St. Maria Faustina heard these words said to her by Jesus in a vision:
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. 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 graces flow 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.
Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness.
It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.
These great words of Jesus are the driving force behind the Church celebration of the feast of Divine Mercy.
Promises of Divine Mercy Sunday
In several entries of St. Maria Faustina Diary, she reported promises of grace and mercy associated to the Feast of Divine Mercy on Mercy Sunday:
Ask of my faithful servant [a priest] that, on this day, he tell the whole world of My great mercy; that whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy (Diary 300).
I want the image of the Divine Mercy solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341).
Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near (Diary 965).
This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it (Diary 420).
Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it (Diary 742).
I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy (Diary 1109).
In June 2002, Pope John Paul II granted Indulgence to Catholics who recite specific prayers on that day, and the grants were then formally decreed by the Apostolic penitentiary.
Priests are encouraged on the Sunday of Divine Mercy to lead the prayers in honor of Divine Mercy, inform the parishioners about the Divine Mercy, and hear confessions.
The plenary indulgence is obtained by observing the usual dispositions that are in place for the granting of this grace through the intercession of the Catholic Church.
1. Participation in the “prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy” in a church or chapel while “completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin”, or recitation of the Our father and the Creed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, adding the prayer “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you.”
2. Sacramental Confession
3. Reception of the Holy Eucharist on Divine mercy Sunday
4. Praying for the Pope’s intention.
5. Additionally, the faithful who, for a justified reason beyond their control, are unable to go to a church or chapel may obtain an indulgence with the recitation of the Our Father and Creed before an image of Jesus, adding the prayer “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you”, with the conditions of detachment of sin, and intention to fulfil the dispositions above as soon as possible.
6. If even this is impossible to achieve, the indulgence can be obtained by the faithful if they “united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the indulgence in the usual way”, and offer to Jesus a prayer and their sufferings, again with the resolution of fulfilling the normal conditions at the earliest opportunity
The Mercy of God indeed is limitless and unfathomable. Let us embrace it now that we can. May God bless you dearest as you Celebrate this year’s Feast of Divine Mercy.
Jesus, I trust in You.