Saturday, April 14, 2012

Divine Mercy (Sunday homily)

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday.

Our late holy father, Blessed John Paul the Great
declared this Sunday to be “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Where did this come from?

Saint Faustina was a Polish nun, born in 1905;
she died in 1938 of natural causes.
She spent but 13 years as a nun.
And in those years, she received
the message of mercy from the Lord—
which she wrote about in her Diary.

Now, I should explain that when anyone
has a vision, or an encounter like this,
it is what is called a “private revelation.”

This has happened many times in our history.

We might think of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Joan of Arc,
St. Theresa of Avila, The Mystical City of God,
the Sacred Heart devotion, the messages of Fatima, and so forth.

The fact is, anyone can receive a private revelation.
It may be pretty humble, and we may never tell anyone.

But stop and think about that: no one has a special “phone line”—
not even the pope.
And many times the word came not to the exalted,
but to the humble.

When the Church gives its blessing to a private revelation,
All that means is that we are welcome to believe it,
but we don’t have to believe it.

That said, when a message spreads and brings great fruit,
that itself suggests it is from the Lord.

So what did our Lord tell Saint Faustina?

It can be summarized in three statements:

Ask for mercy;
Trust in mercy;
Show mercy.

As our Lord said to Faustina:
Mercy is the greatest attribute of God.

Now, I am struck by the time and the place of this message:
Poland: 1930s.

We all know what horrors would soon happen in Europe;
Poland, in particular, was chosen by Hitler
as the site of his abominations.
If he’d had his way,
not only would have destroyed the Jewish people,
he aimed to wipe out Poland as well.

Poor Poland, surviving that nightmare,
then faced decades of communist oppression.

Christ’s message to Faustina came before these awful events.
Just as he had to be strengthened before his Crucifixion,
So Poland needed to be prepared.

Now you might say, great—
but I’m not Polish, what does that mean to me?

Here’s what it means.

At various times in our history,
God would raise up a saint, or even a nation,
To play a key role for the benefit of all.

Because of Saint Benedict and then Saint Patrick ,
Irish monks spread through Europe in dark times—
and the Faith survived.

Because of Saint Juan Diego, Latin America was won for Christ.

What did Poland do for us?

Remember the Cold War—remember fearing nuclear Armageddon?
Remember when a pope was elected…from Poland?
A pope who almost died—a prediction from Fatima;
A pope who went back to Poland—
and helped end the Cold War without a shot being fired.

What difference does a Polish saint make?
What difference can you make?

You can change the world!

Through Saint Faustina, Jesus told us:
Ask for mercy: and he gave us the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

There’s free literature at the doors with details;
I’ll give an overview now.
You use a regular Rosary; or your fingers if necessary.

You begin with the Our Father,
then the Hail Mary, then the Apostles Creed.
In this way it’s similar to the Rosary.

But where the Rosary helps us see Jesus
through the heart of Mary,
The Divine Mercy Chaplet helps us see the world
with the heart of Christ.
To see the world from the vantage-point of the Cross.

On the larger beads of your Rosary, you pray,
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ;
in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

Then on the smaller beads, say 10 times,
“For the sake of his sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Just as a Rosary has five decades,
you pray this set of prayers five times.

Then end with this prayer three time:
“Holy God, holy mighty one, holy immortal one,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

There are other prayers but this is the heart of it.

Holy Week and Easter are the time
when God’s mercy flooded the world.
Our only hope is to rely on his mercy.
The more each of us admits this,
the more we will learn to give what we have been given.

Thank God Jesus spoke to Faustina! Thank God she listened!
Through Saint Faustina, Jesus begs us:
Ask for mercy.
Trust in his mercy.
And then what you have received—give.
Share mercy.

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