By Lourdes R. Policarpio
The third secret of Fatima, entrusted to Sr. Lucia, reveals an angel flashing a flaming sword towards mankind. The angel threatens to set the world on fire, and shouts "Penance! Penance!"
In Japan, Our Lady of Akita tells Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of the Handmaids of the Eucharist:
...if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one has never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity...
Credible as both apparitions are (both have the positive affirmation of the local bishop concerned), many followers of these messages must be wondering why no worldwide, monstrous calamity has yet occurred. Is it still to come? Is the Blessed Mother's powerful intercession effectively holding off God's wrath?
To Fr. Stefano Gobbi, founder of the Marian Movement of Priests, Our Lady has said:
...when I redact chastisements to you, remember that everything, at any moment, may be changed by the force of your prayer and your reparative penance. Do not say therefore..how much of what you predicted to us has not come true! Instead, give thanks with me to the Heavenly Father because at the response of your prayer and consecration, your suffering, and on account of the immense suffering of so many of my poor children, again He alters the period of Justice, to permit that of the great Mercy to flower.
A related revelation could be found in the diary of a young Polish nun, Sr. Faustina Kowalska (1905-38), i proclaimed a saint in the year 2000. She quotes the Lord Jesus as saying:
In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.
The Lord Jesus' words to St. Faustina "I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it...” reveal the depths of God's mercy towards our sinful generation. Like a loving Father, God does not want to general on. punish and avenge. Indeed, this could be one reason why despite the many calamities which has stricken mankind the past years, the one big phenomenon which has been predicted has not yet come. Certainly, the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, and the sacrifices and prayers of her devotees are holding back the angel's flaming sword. But more than anything else, we are made to realize that God is a loving Father who hesitates to punish. Instead He sends us His mercy that we may reform.
As the Lord Jesus told St. Faustina, "mercy is the greatest attribute of God." Consequently, in our present world where so many perversions seem impossible to weed out (abortion, sexual promiscuity, etc.), God sends man, in moments of extreme darkness, new channels for pouring out His grace.
The Bible and the liturgy of the Church have incessantly spoken of God's mercy. We especially have the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. However, God who is ever-creative and responsive to our times, has given modern man additional channels of mercy through St. Faustina. The two most widely-known are the Three O'clock Prayer and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. In the Philippines, the Three O'clock Prayer is aired on television. As the name implies, the Three O'clock Prayer is said at 3:00 p.m., the moment the Lord Jesus died, which He said is the hour of great mercy for the world. It can also be said at 3:00 am.
In addition, Divine Mercy Sunday (first Sunday after Easter) was instituted by Pope John Paul II with a nine-day novena preceding it which starts on Good Friday.
What is striking about the Three O'clock Prayer and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is the brevity of the prayers. The Three O'clock Prayer takes less than a minute to say. The Chaplet takes only about half the time needed to say the rosary. God, knowing how hectic and pressure-driven modern life has become, realizes how little time everybody has to pray and therefore, also has given short prayers to adjust to our frenetic pace! How Divine Mercy accommodates us and reduces its demands!
Adding to the church's rich treasury of prayers and indulgences, the Lord further asked St. Faustina to proclaim that on the Feast of Mercy (first Sunday after Easter), any soul who will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and remission of punishment.
Devotees of the Sacred Heart will be happy to realize that the Divine Mercy devotion seems to be a continuation of the Sacred Heart devotion. The Divine Mercy image of the Lord Jesus shows two rays coming from His Sacred Heart. As explained by the Lord to St. Faustina, the pale rays stand for the water which makes souls righteous. The red rays stand for His Blood which is the life of souls. The Lord further explained to the Polish nun:
These two rays issued forth from the very depth of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.
The invocation, "Jesus King of Mercy, we trust in You" is also similar to the Sacred Heart ejaculation, "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You."
The same promise of tender assistance at the moment of death is present. In the Sacred Heart devotion, the Lord promised that those who receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays will be assisted by Him at the moment of death. On the other hand, to St. Faustina the Lord said:
When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior.
The fountainhead of the Sacred Heart devotion is The Lord Jesus' excessive and burning love for mankind. This is the same wellspring of the Divine Mercy devotion as God gives us new channels for grace in these critical and perilous times.
Readers of the writings of the mystics and holy people are aware that the Blessed Mother frequently refers to our times as "end times." While the Church does not explicitly say that we are living the last years of the world, Our Lord told St. Faustina that there is an urgent need to proclaim His message of mercy because the world needs it as a preparation for His second coming. Here are some of His messages:
Speak to the world about My mercy...It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the Day of Justice. You will prepare the world for My final coming. Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near:
Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.
While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.
Our Lady has also spoken to St. Faustina about the urgency of spreading the devotion to the Divine Mercy:
You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior but as a just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for granting mercy.
Do these words make us feel frightened, anxious, and fearful? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says: "...when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke: 18, v. 8)
Notwithstanding the evil and lukewarmness around us, notwithstanding our own personal difficulties and trials in life, let us find that childlike faith and abandonment to respond: "JESUS KING OF MERCY, I TRUST IN YOU!"
The Second Coming of Christ will take place in your lifetime.
According to this book which contains a series of incredible messages and prophecies to an Irish seer, our present generation will witness the Second Coming of Christ.
Click here to read a book review that summarises the key messages of the book.
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