When reading St Faustina’s diary, “Divine Mercy in my Soul,” I became convinced that the message of and devotion to Divine Mercy is a key devotion for the renewal of the Church. This devotion draws us into the very heart of our faith, into Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart, because mercy is essential to understanding His message of love and salvation. Mercy is central to the message of the Bible and Church teaching throughout time; it reveals God’s very identity. Understanding His identity as Mercy Himself, we Christians are drawn to live the Divine Mercy devotion: constantly asking for His mercy, being merciful to others, and striving to completely trust in Jesus, Divine Mercy Incarnate.
The merciful love of God is the central theme of the Bible. In the Old Testament, God solemnly declared to Moses that He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6). The whole story of God’s Chosen People, Israel, shows how the Lord taught them more and more of His faithfulness to His merciful love for them, and His compassion for their plight. St. John Paul II wrote: “In the course of [Israel’s] history, this people continuously entrusted itself, both when stricken with misfortune and when it became aware of its sin, to the God of mercies.” The New Testament further develops this message of the merciful love of God. The mercy of God was perfectly shown when the Son of God gave His life for us on the cross, “while we were yet sinners” (Rom 5:8). Then He rose again in glory to be with us always and to give us the hope of everlasting life.
Throughout the Church’s Tradition the merciful love of God is a constant refrain. The great Church Fathers St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas taught that in God’s relationship with His creatures, mercy is His greatest attribute. The great mystic St. Catherine of Siena found the mercy of God expressed through all of His acts of creation and redemption, saying: “O Mercy! My heart is engulfed with the thought of You! For wherever I turn my thoughts, I find nothing but Mercy!” (The Dialogue, 30).
God’s very nature is love (see Jn 4:8): infinite, eternal, self-giving love among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But “mercy” is the form that God’s love takes when it overflows His divine life and pours out upon His creatures.
I encourage you to come join us for the Divine Mercy Chaplet and a Holy Hour adoring Jesus at the hour of Divine Mercy, 3pm, this Sunday. I also encourage you to read up more on this devotion and practice it daily. It is a great source of holiness, strength and joy!
Jesus, I trust in You!