Today marks one of my favorite feasts of the year, Divine Mercy Sunday. This feast day was created to commemorate Jesus' message of absolute mercy. It is believed that Jesus appeared numerous times to a Polish nun, Sr. Faustina Kowalska. In these encounters Jesus commanded her to write down his message of mercy. Sr. Faustina obeyed and these writings were compiled and published under the title, Divine Mercy in My Soul. So great were the impact of these writings that in 1968 Sr. Faustina was beatified. Pope John Paul II instituted the Second Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. To read more about this devotion click here.
On a personal note this devotion has had a great impact on my life. I often times struggle with hope. I am a perfectionist by nature and I want to be the best Catholic that I can be. I want to be a saint, go to heaven and to bring there as many people as possible. But whenever I fall short of this aim I become discouraged. I am especially discouraged by the fact that I seem to be committing the same sins over and over again despite confessing them over and over again. This devotion has helped to ingrain in my heart the understanding that Jesus' mercy is boundless and that there is no sin that I can commit that is greater then his mercy. Most importantly it has also taught me that I can't achieve perfection on my own, but only through Jesus' grace and divine mercy. Here is one of my favorite passages from St. Faustina's diary:
|This is the image of the Divine Mercy that Jesus wanted painted.|
Conversation of the Merciful God with a Soul Striving after Perfection
Jesus: "I am pleased with your efforts, O soul aspiring for perfection, but why do I see you so often sad and depressed? Tell me, my child, what is the meaning of this sadness, and what is its cause?
Soul: Lord the reason for my sadness is that, in spite of my sincere resolutions, I fall again into the same faults. I make resolutions in the morning, but in the evening I see how much I have departed from them.
Jesus: You see, my child what you are of yourself. The cause of your falls is that you rely too much on yourself and too little on me. But let this not sadden you so much. You are dealing with the God of mercy, which your misery cannot exhaust. Remember, I did not allot only a certain number of pardons.
Soul: Yes I know all that, but great temptations assail me, and various doubts awaken within me and moreover, everything irritates and discourages me.
Jesus: My child know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make my love reign in place of your self love. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it you glorify my mercy." (1488, Notebook 5)
It is my prayer that the Lord blesses you all with his divine mercy today and always.