During this glorious Easter Octave, we celebrate the sacrifice and the glory of the Risen Christ. Through His sacrifice, Jesus showed us the most perfect love and extended an ocean of mercy upon each of us. This undeserved gift should change us and prepare us to follow Jesus more perfectly. The beauty of our faith is that God provides us numerous ways to obtain graces and to receive small glimpses into His immeasurable love. There are so many available devotions that beckon us to receive Him and to approach Him in humility.
One such devotion that Jesus showed us through the faithful servant St. Faustina is the Divine Mercy devotion. Jesus expresses in such details and with such clarity how deep His mercy is for us. Jesus shared with her countless ways to approach His Mercy, with the two most well-known being the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy image. Jesus longs for the world to know of and to be enveloped in His Merciful Heart.
Repeatedly Jesus asked that a feast be set up to be to honor His Divine Mercy and to allow poor sinners to have a place to approach His Mercy. In her Diary 699, Jesus shared that “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.” (Divine Mercy Sunday)
This coming Sunday, being the Second Sunday of Easter, has been named Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope St. John Paull II on April 30, 2000, at the canonization of St. Faustina. Pope St. John Paul II believed deeply in the need for the message of Divine Mercy to be shared with the world.
Those who sincerely say ‘Jesus, I trust in You’ will find comfort in all their anxieties and fears. There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God. – Pope St. John Paul II
Saying yes to trusting in Jesus is a daily call to duty as a follower of Christ. Trusting Him requires that we trust in His plan for our lives. Trusting also strengthens us in obedience to live our life for Him. Trust that He always has and always will know what is best for our souls. Trust that our obedience to Him will lead us to paths of holiness and away from paths of sinful destruction. Trusting in Jesus changes how we comprehend what His love calls us to be and how we are to act in the world.
“My daughter – He taught her in a conference on mercy – know that My Heart is mercy itself. (…) I want your heart to be the abode of My mercy. I want that mercy to be poured out on the whole world through your heart. Whoever should come to you, let them not leave without that trustfulness in My mercy which I dearly want souls to have” (Diary 1777).
Our expression of merciful love and action towards others is never meant to be a place to seek recognition, but rather it is a condition of our Baptism to fulfill the Great Commandment of loving God with all our being and loving others as we love ourselves. To St. Faustina, Jesus demands that our love becomes a way of life and is reflected in the mercy we show to others.
Jesus said to St. Faustina, “I require you to make acts of mercy, which are to come from your love for Me. You are always and everywhere to show mercy unto your neighbors; you may not withdraw, excuse or absolve yourself from this. I am giving you three ways of performing mercy to your neighbors: first, by deed; second, by word; and third, by prayer; these three levels cover the full scope of mercy, and it is unshakeable evidence that a soul loves Me. This is how the soul praises and honors My mercy” (Diary 742).
Love’s truest expression is found in action, word, prayer, and commitment. We know this in our human relationships. Jesus invites us to take this call to love deeper and to connect our trust of God with our love for others. Seeing these two interconnected allows our souls to see God working in and through us more clearly. The fulfillment of the Great Commandment can only be done effectively with trust in God. For the more we trust Him, the more we can love and obey Him while treating others as beloved sons and daughters of God.
Furthermore, Sister Faustina perceived the interdependence of the attitude of trust toward God and the attitude of mercy toward neighbor. She ascertained that the more complete the trust in God is, the more sacrificial and effective is the help given to neighbor. “One word from a soul that is united with God – she wrote in the Diary – does more good in other souls than an imperfect soul’s eloquent discourses and sermons” (Diary 1595).
A person can trust God who they know. A person can trust God who continually shows He is worthy of trust. After all, we are nothing without God; and without God, we would have nothing. So let us use this Easter season to stir up deeper trust in Jesus, which leads us naturally to be a vessel of God’s mercy to others.
Sister Faustina described mercy very simply, saying that love is the flower, mercy the fruit (Diary 949)
I pray that we can have a very fruitful Easter season as we faithfully and boldly profess
Jesus, I trust in You!
Photo HistoryIsResearch, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Diary of St. Faustina quotes retrieved from https://www.saint-faustina.org/the-attitude-of-mercy/?wide=true#more-64
Divine Mercy Sunday quote retrieved from https://www.thedivinemercy.org/celebrate/greatgrace/dms
Pope St. John Paull II quote retrieved from https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/john-paul-ii/quotes
Author: Laura Stephens