Serving the Catholic Communities of Elizabethtown, Eldorado and Harrisburg Illinois

Today Is Divine Mercy Sunday

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we welcome our Local Ordinary, His Excellency, The Most Revd. Edward K. Braxton to our parish for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Let us join the Bishop in praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our children.

Mankind’s need for the message of Divine Mercy took on dire urgency in the 20th Century, when civilization began to experience an “eclipse of the sense of God” and, therefore to lose the understanding of the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life. In the 1930s, Jesus chose a humble Polish nun, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, to receive private revelations concerning Divine Mercy that were recorded in her Diary

Divine Mercy Sunday: St. Faustina’s Diary records 14 occasions when Jesus requested that a Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday) be observed, for example:  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. … Let no soul fear to draw near to Me. … 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. (Diary, no. 699)

On May 5, 2000, five days after the canonization of St. Faustina, the Vatican decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  In his second encyclical, Rich in Mercy, Pope Saint John Paul II offers an extended meditation on the mystery of God’s mercy, which he calls “the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God” (Dives in Misericordia, 13). He returned to this theme throughout his pontificate:

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 gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy! Lord, who reveals the Father’s love by Your death and Resurrection, we believe in You and confidently repeat to You today: Jesus, I trust in You, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.     ~Bl. Pope John Paul II, Regina Caeli message prepared for Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2005 The Chaplet was also given to St. Faustina with this promise: “Encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given you” (Diary, no. 1541). “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. … Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy” (Diary, no. 687).

Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied Jesus. Both were lost children but their individual response to their situation brought out the differences in them.  Judas, no longer able to hold to the truth that he remained God’s child no matter what, failed to seek God’s mercy and hung himself.  But Peter, in the midst of his despair, returned to the Lord with many tears. Peter chose life by seeking God’s mercy.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Jesus, I trust in you.

Fr. Abraham

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