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Faith: Divine Mercy celebration to take place in Rose Creek

Published 11:31am Friday, April 5, 2013
Column by Rosemary Price


There will be a Divine Mercy Celebration at St. Peter’s in Rose Creek starting with the Sunday Liturgy at 2 p.m.

The dictionary’s meaning of Divine Mercy is “given or inspired by God…the power to forgive or be kind, kindness in excess.” This graciously explains the apparitions and messages on Divine Mercy Sister Faustina Kowalska received from our lord, and that provide the basis for the Devotion to the Divine Mercy.

There is an especially new and renewed interest in this devotion as this good news continues to spread around the world. Sister Faustina was beatified April 18, 1993 (Divine Mercy Sunday) and was canonized on April 11, 2000 (again, Divine Mercy Sunday).

Who among us cannot use a dose of spiritual energy to out into the world and share revealed to us through the Divine mercy devotion? The image, the chaplet, the novena and Divine Mercy Sunday are all rich in his mercy, just as Pope John Paul II revealed in his encyclicals.

Helen Kowalska was born to a very poor farm family in the Archdiocese of Krakow, Poland (the home diocese of John Paul II). She eventually entered the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Faustina. Having had only three years of simple schooling, she was given only the humblest tasks to perform, usually in the kitchen or the vegetable garden.

Beginning in 1931, Sister Faustina reported the first of what would become a number of apparitions, in which Jesus gave her his messages of his limitless mercy and its availability to all who embrace it.

She was only 33 when she died in 1938. By then, she had, according to the Lord’s instructions as well of those of her superiors, written a diary of more than 600 printed pages in which she recorded all of the revelations received, as well as her own thoughts, insights and prayers.

And what is Jesus’ message? It is that God is merciful. He is love itself, poured out for us, and he wants all to share in it, to turn to him with trust and repentance before he comes as the just judge. Turning to and asking God’s mercy is the answer to a troubled world (everyone would agree about the need for Divine Mercy in our present day sinful world).

God sees the world’s condition and desires the salvation of every soul, which is why he gave his message of incredible graces to Sister Faustina.

There are four main points, or devotions, connected with that message. The first is the sacred image, a painting of Jesus with the inscription “Jesus, I trust in Thee.” The promise connected to this painting is that the souls who venerates it will not perish.

The second is the Feast of Mercy, to be celebrated the first Sunday after Easter. “Whoever will go to confession (need not be that day if in a state of grace) and receive Holy Communion on Mercy Sunday, will receive complete forgiveness of sin and punishment,” Sister Faustina was told.

The third is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is said on ordinary rosary beads. Our Lord promises that souls who pray this chaplet will be embrace by his mercy during their lifetime and especially at their last hour.

And last is the Novena of Divine Mercy which begins on Good Friday and ends on Mercy Sunday, in which a different group of souls is brought to Jesus’ heart each day to immerse them in the ocean of his mercy. As an example, the first day is for all mankind, especially sinners; the second day is for the souls of priests and religious, and so on.

We need not feat this message of Divine Mercy through Sister Faustina. It was once banned for nearly 20 years (as Our Lord told her it would be). But Pope John Paul II was instrumental in lifting that ban and labored to help proclaim this mercy in one of his encyclicals, Rich in Mercy. While still an archbishop at the time, Pope John Paul II also initiated the cause for Sister Faustina’s beatification.

Listen carefully to the lord’s words to her as she reported them: “Before the Day of Justice, I am sending you the Day of Mercy … I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of the sinner. But woe to them who do not recognize this time of my visitation … While there is yet time, let them have recourse to the fount of mercy … He who refuses to pass through the door of my mercy must pass through the door of my justice.”

A rather stern warning, but our lord does not intend it to cause us to despair, but rather to hope in his Divine Mercy.

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