“Acts of Mercy”
He is Risen!…He is truly Risen! Please accept my warm wishes and prayers for a most blessed and Happy Easter to you and all your family members. On this most Holy Day, during which we celebrate what is defined as the Easter Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, my fervent prayer is that we have all become spiritually over-flowing with exuberant joy and redemptive hope. Today, in the very midst of our Easter euphoria, we also continue on with our Divine Mercy Novena, which we began on Good Friday, April 14th. Our praying of the Novena continues through this week and concludes next Saturday, at the Divine Mercy Vigil Mass.
Pope Saint John Paul II, when instituting this Feast Day of Mercy fifteen years ago, back in 2002, emphasized the supreme benefit, and indeed, the duty that all Catholics have, to praise and be thankful, with special prayers, for Our Lord’s Divine Mercy. Jesus, Himself, spelled out (in His message to Faustina), a list of provisions with which we must comply, in order to obtain a Plenary Indulgence (a plenary indulgence is the complete remission or, forgiveness, of all temporal punishment due to sin). To help us reflect on Forgiveness, every family will receive a book as an Easter gift from the parish, to be given out at the end of each of the Masses. Any child who is home visiting for the holiday, will also receive this gift as well. The gift is the new expanded edition of a book entitled… “Everybody needs to Forgive Somebody” …and it flows ever-so-perfectly into the Divine Mercy Message we celebrate today.
Pope Francis designated this year, 2017, as the “Year of Grace”. In three places in her Diary, St. Faustina records our Lord’s promises of specific, Extraordinary Graces. In paragraph 1109 she recorded our Lord’s instruction…”/ want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy.” In paragraph 300 she records Our Lord saying “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment”. And in paragraph 699, He amplifies His Mercy by telling her…”The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” The worthy reception of the Eucharist on Divine Mercy Sunday is sufficient to obtain the Extraordinary Graces promised by Jesus. A plenary indulgence, obtained by fulfilling the usual conditions, also is available.
To receive these graces, the only condition is to receive Holy Communion worthily on Divine Mercy Sunday (or the Vigil celebration) by making a good Confession beforehand…staying in the state of grace, and trusting in His Divine Mercy. By these conditions, Our Lord is emphasizing the value of Confession and Holy Communion as “Miracles of Mercy.” The Eucharist is Jesus Himself, the Living God, longing to pour Himself as Mercy into our hearts. Our Lord also instructed St. Faustina, that all of us who receive his Mercy are, in turn, to Perform Acts of Mercy when He said: “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be Acts of Mercy” (742).
Well “Forgiveness” is really the Epitome of Mercy. And, our Lord wants us, to not only ask for it of Him and receive it, but He also has been adamant…that our receipt of His (Jesus’) Forgiveness, demands that we reciprocate; that we in turn examine our past life and identify those who we need to forgive…and in particular on this Feast Day of Mercy, that we Act in Mercy and Forgive someone(s) as well. Why not plan now to dedicate some time today, and this week, to determine who it is that we can forgive with our Acts of Mercy.
Once you prayerfully come to grips with the grudges and hurts we have kept sealed up, thinking that they are sealed away and can do no harm, and accept Our Lord’s counsel to forgive others as we want God the Heavenly Father to forgive us….you will experience liberation and a freeing joy…that charity always brings.
As the book title exclaims…”Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody”. Go ahead and do it this year and embrace the relief and graces that will flow down upon you in a cleansing and uplifting wave. That’s a great way to come out of your Lenten strivings for increased holiness. Eternal Father, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And, we offer You as well, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly Beloved Son…in atonement/or our sins and those of the whole world. Jesus I trust in You!.
May this Blessed Easter Season bring you and yours great joy, graces and peace, as He is truly Risen!
Sincerely yours in Christ,