Twenty years ago, the late pontiff established the Feast of the Divine Mercy. Here are 4 ways to open yourself to the graces of the day.
On the day of his passage to Heaven, April 2, 2005, St. John Paul II wrote these words for the Feast of the Divine Mercy: “As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and grants peace. The world needs so much to understand and accept Divine Mercy!” Receive the mercy of God … but how?
1Recognize your weakness
St. Philip Neri would pray every day: “O Lord, watch over me today because I will betray you and do all the evil in the world if You do not help me.” And St. Francis of Sales would say: “It is not humility to acknowledge ourselves to be weak, it only means we are not entirely stupid!”
Mercy is not a question of seeing evil as banal, or relativizing sin. On the contrary! Only by being keenly aware of the seriousness of sin makes us capable of comprehending the absolute necessity of mercy, and at the same time understanding its infinite price: the blood that Christ shed for us. We can then understand what Jesus said to St. Faustina: “The greater the sinner, greater the right he has to My mercy.”
2Believe in the infinite abyss of Divine Mercy
Our weaknesses can crush us or push us to desperation. Only faith in the promise of salvation can revive in us an invincible hope. St. Therese of the Child Jesus wrote: “Holiness is a disposition of the heart that makes us small and humble within the arms of God, aware of our own weaknesses, but almost rashly confident in His Fatherly benevolence.”
And Jesus said to St. Faustina: “My daughter, proclaim to the whole world My unfathomable mercy … 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 is enclosed in the depths of My mercy.”
3Drink from the fountain of mercy
Jesus also told Faustina: “Mankind will not find peace until it turns to the wellspring of My mercy.” And he added, “Behold, soul, for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth, and this throne is the tabernacle.” Thus, the main vehicles for mercy are the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, the endless fountain of mercy in the Holy Church of Christ.
4Be merciful with those around you
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7). Let us be merciful so that others will be merciful with us. Let us open our hearts to the suffering of others, forgive those who hurt us. This is the way to live the blessedness of the merciful.
Father Nicolas Buttet
A visual guide to praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet
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