Thank God for Divine Mercy

Every so often, it hits home to me how far I am from what I ought to be. I remember embarrassing moments, times where I misunderstood, didn't say the right thing at the right time, didn't do the thing that needed to be done. I remember graces missed, promptings from the Spirit ignored or rejected, times where I saw the consequences of my sin or the coldness of my love.

I remember when I was less than I should have been - often far, far less than I should have been, where past failings had immediate consequences. With the Catholic faith, the gifts of the Sacraments and the graces given through the devotions of the Church, and all the blessings of being an American at this time and place, along with the gifts and blessings that have come through my family - well, I'm less than I should be.

And then I remember that our particular judgment before the throne of God doesn't really depend on whether or not we were perfect, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our actions will have consequences, but they are not the deciding factor at our judgment, either. Our weaknesses and flaws will impact the judgment, but they aren't necessarily determinative, either.

No - the deciding factor at our judgment will be the Divine Mercy, if only we are open to it. "I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners," said Jesus (Lk 5:32). And the Body of Christ, the Household of God, the Church, is dedicated to that mission. The Church reconciles sinners to God through Baptism and Confession. She nourishes us in eternal life and love through the Eucharist, sealing us with the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, and strengthening us for our vocations in Marriage and Holy Orders. She washes us clean and fortifies us when we are seriously ill or dying through the Anointing of the Sick. She restores us to the family of God, taking prodigals and welcoming us back into the fold. Endlessly she preaches the mercy of God, awakening hearts and minds to the reality that this world is not the way it was intended to be, that things have gone wrong and there's a way to make things right. She proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, and God. And she welcomes us into relationship with those who have gone before us, the angels and saints, those in communion with the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity for ever and ever, amen.

The greatest of these is Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy, who has a track record of being an Advocate, the Spouse of the Spirit, who is called Paraclete ("Advocate" or "Defense Attorney") during the particular judgment of souls at the end of their lives. Look at the stories told by St. Alphonsus Liguori in The Glories of Mary, or the miracles recounted by St. Louis de Montfort in The Secret of the Rosary. Look at the miracles and wonders shared by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, in 10 Wonders of the Rosary.

Again and again, Our Lady has shown herself to be a powerful intercessor and advocate, obtaining the Divine Mercy for souls in exchange for the merest shadow of devotion, the faintest, coldest sort of love.

"Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth" (Ps 124:8), not our self-righteousness or even our real righteousness. In order to share in eternal life, we need help beyond our own nature. We need the grace of God. So Heaven is closed to us without the help of God, but with God, all things are possible (see Mt 19:26).

All of this was powerfully summed up by St. Faustina at the very beginning of her Diary:

O Eternal Love, You command Your Sacred Image to be painted
And reveal to us the inconceivable fount of mercy,
You bless whoever approaches Your rays,
And a soul all black will turn into snow.

O sweet Jesus, it is here You established the throne of Your mercy
To bring joy and hope to sinful man.
From Your open Heart, as from a pure fount,
Flows comfort to a repentant heart and soul.

May praise and glory for this Image
Never cease to stream from man's soul.
May praise of God's mercy pour from every heart,
Now, and at every hour, and forever and ever.

O My God
When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.

And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1-2).

So let us turn with trust to the Divine Mercy, studying and sharing the message, and practicing the devotion. Let us ask Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, for her prayers and assistance, and let us turn over the past to the Divine Mercy, ask for grace in the present, and live the spirituality of trust as we travel into the future.

Pray for me, that I might practice what I preach. I'll pray for you.


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