Sunday, 15 April 2007

Divine Mercy Sunday

I spent much of the afternoon sitting in the church car park, basking in the warm April sunshine. Given the popularity of the Divine Mercy indulgence, I placed a prie-dieu beside me and heard confessions from those who were attending the Divine Mercy devotions in our small hall. Meanwhile, the monthly Nigerian Mass was being celebrated in the church: the combination of their loud drums in the church and the Divine Mercy hymns in the hall served to cover from preying ears the sins that were being confessed. This pious competition, to see who could sing the loudest, was quite impressive and a vivid expression of the universality of the Church in this part of London.

I must confess to being rather under-read when it comes to St Faustina and the Divine Mercy - after all, the Church offers so many laudable devotions and private revelations. The essential message of today, however, is clear, stressing the infinite depths of God’s mercy, no matter how serious our sins may be.

Today's Gospel reminded us that Confession is an Easter Sacrament; it was the first gift to the Church from the Risen Lord. All the Sacraments continue the Incarnation – and through Confession, we have a share in the Paschal Mystery by dying to sin and rising to the life of sanctifying grace. Our Lord knows us too well. He knows that we blunder along in life and often take the wrong turning. That’s why He gave us the promise of His peace and forgiveness. That's why we are never closer to Jesus than when we sincerely repent of our sins.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would recommend reading up on it further - you can buy her diary on amazon. I could write a more scholarly comment but will just point out that it was JP2 who made this a Feast Day of the Universal Church. It seems more than chance how their paths crossed as indicated by this extract from brief internet research "As a young man in the same city, the pope used to visit a sanctuary dedicated to her after her death. After he became Archbishop of Krakow in the 1960s, he pressed the Vatican for years to lift the ban on St. Faustina’s writings. Convinced that Rome’s opposition was based on a faulty translation of her diary, he had it re-translated – and the ban was lifted in 1978, six months before his election as pope. The second encyclical of his pontificate, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), published in 1980, was dedicated to the divine mercy theme that drove St. Faustina’s spiritual life."

I whole heartedly hope Father that you will be inspired to learn more and add the chaplet to your private daily prayers. Yes, The Church in her wisdom leaves us free or not to follow certain devotions but at the same time there are some that appear particular compelling and in this respect I find The Divine Mercy on a par with Fatima for how central to our times and how universal the message seems to be.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The oddest aspect of Divine Mercy Sunday, coming at the end of the Easter Octave, is the stress on confession. Surely people will already have fulfilled their Easter duties, or doesn't that count any more? I always thought that confession was only obligatory once a year. I have once attended a Divine Mercy Mass and I was shocked by how spooky and fanatical were most of the people present. I couldn't help feeling sorry for them. Or are they the 'little ones' that the Holy Father is so concerned about? I was so put off that I don't think I shall be going again. The rosary is good enough for me.

7:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are able to take a few days off abroad to recharge the batteries after the hectic Easter period.

I think that I work pretty hard too. I can't afford to go to Germany - or indeed anywhere! Any advice?

12:10 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

The only way I can afford holidays abroad is by either staying with friends (as I have done this past week) or staying in ecclesiastical institutions rather than hotels (eg convents), which are cheap or even just accept donations. There are various books about them; I think one is called Bed and Blessings. Hope you find a chance to go away!

9:48 am  

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