One of the fastest-growing devotions today is the devotion to the Divine Mercy, which was given by the Lord Jesus to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. For a better understanding of this important devotion, below are excerpts from the book, ''Why Mercy Sunday?" by Rev. George w. Kosicki, C.S.B.
Mercy is God's love poured out in creating us, in redeeming us, and in sanctifying us...God'smercy is most fully realized in the pierced Heart of His Son, Mercy Incarnate, who died on the cross for our sins.
This Divine Mercy is depicted in the Image of the Merciful Savior as He appeared to St. Faustina in His risen glory. In the Image, Jesus points with His left hand to His heart, from which the Blood and Water now gush forth as glorious rays of healing and mercy for us. . .Meanwhile, He raises His right hand in priestly blessing, bestowing peace, the Holy Spirit, and forgiveness upon us. In a word, He blesses us with MERCY.
In addition to the Holy Eucharist as the presence of Mercy Incarnate and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the tribunal of mercy, we can point out special features of the devotions to the Divine Mercy.
The Image of Jesus the Divine Mercy reminds us to be merciful and to trust in Jesus. We should venerate the Image by giving it a prominent place in our parish churches and in our homes. We can also carry the Image with us in the form of a prayer card. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a prayer of special Eucharist as the presence In addition power because it invokes the Passion of Jesus and extends the reality of the Mass for us... Our Lord recommends that we pray the Chaplet especially for the dying.
The Novena to the Divine Mercy focuses on the needs of the whole world and not just on our own personal needs, as we pray for a different group of souls on each of the nine days. . .We can pray the Novena at any time, but it is especially appropriate on the nine days before Mercy Sunday . During the Three O'clock Hour are asked to commemorate the Hour of Great Mercy at three in the afternoon when Jesus died for our sins. This is a particularly appropriate time for praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Three O'clock Prayer and the Novena. The Feast of Mercy or Mercy Sunday is the summation of all the devotions.
Divine Mercy Sunday is now the title of the Second Sunday of the Easter Season. It was named by Pope John Paul II at the canonization of St. Maria Faustina on April 30, 2000, and then officially decreed by the Vatican. In fact, Our Lord revealed various revelations about His mercy to St. Faustina including the flood of mercy which available on this day (Divine Mercy Sunday)
or all souls, especially forgoer sinners"... On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I will 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, even though its sins be as scarlet...It is my desire that it (the Feast of Mercy) be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.
How can Divine Mercy Sunday interfere when it is the Octave Day of thanksgiving for Easter? Instead of interfering with Easter, it actually brings to a focal point all of the graces and mysteries of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen!
No! The Sunday remains the Second Sunday of Easter with the same readings, which have always focused on Divine Mercy. It's just that the Second Sunday of Easter has now been named Divine Mercy Sunday. According to the Vatican Decree about the matter, the full title is now "the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday".
The priest or deacon is called to give his homily on the Scripture readings of the day, and all the readings of the three cycles fortran Sunday (A, B, and C) are on mercy. The Holy Father emphasized this very point in his homily at St. Faustina's canonization when he established Mercy Sunday for the whole church. The Responsorial Psalm 118 is a hymn to God's mercy. ..in the Gospel of the day, John 20:19-31, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, one of the great Sacraments of Mercy. Also, in the same Gospel reading, St. Thomas professes "My Lord and My God!" This is Thomas's great act of trust in Divine Mercy Incarnate after the Merciful Savior shows him the wounds of mercy in His hands and in His side.
When speaking to her about Mercy Sunday, Jesus also told St. Faustina about His desire that the priests preach on Divine Mercy on that day:
No soul will be justified until it turns with confidence to My mercy, and this is why the first Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy. On that day priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy.
...I have seen, from pastoral experience, that resistance to authentic devotions is typically a clerical problem and not one of the lay faithful. It’s the lay faithful who, by and large, have been the leaders in the renewal of spiritual life, including the Divine Mercy movement. Now, they need the informed pastoral guidance and encouragement of the clergy, particularly that their own bishop and pastor.
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