As I reflect on what devotion to divine mercy is for me, I am aware that I would be totally depressed and left to my wretchedness without His mercy. I would be hopeless and wallowing in a mud puddle of my sins and disorders….
But instead I have been called out, called forth from the tomb by our beloved redeemer and bridegroom, to plunge myself into the ocean of his mercy, his love, his Redeeming Blood.
Now this excites me! I Don’t have to prove myself to anyone, or try to pull myself up by my bootstraps, but only need to come humbly and honestly before my God and tell Him who I am, in the raw, without mincing.
“The greater the sinner, the greater the right He has to my mercy,” Jesus tells us through St. Faustina. The question I often need to ask myself is, “Am I aware of my sin? Am I aware of my great need for His mercy?” I may not commit major sins such as murder, adultery or other sins of impurity, but in what ways am I not living in His Divine Will? In what ways am I living out of my human will or self-centered inclinations? In what ways am I lukewarm and tepid in loving and serving Him?…
When I first read Sr. Faustina’s writings on Divine Mercy, it gave me courage to face more directly who I really am. As I read how Jesus so loves the sinner and longs for us to come to Him, though our sins or even our sinful inclinations “be as scarlet,” this helped me to let my guard down to become more real with Him in who I am…and it continues to encourage me to let my guard down and be real about any and every area in my heart and my life where I am not in full conformity to Christ.
So often throughout my earlier years of life, I felt I needed to wear a mask, to hide things about myself that I was ashamed of … disordered inclinations and sinful actions of different kinds. I felt a need to hide and not bring into the light things about myself that weren’t perfect, and maybe even far from perfect. Because I didn’t think I would be unconditionally loved and accepted if others knew these things about me.
But what a grace this devotion to his divine mercy is. This is no new revelation for us as followers of Christ. Any authentic private revelations draw us to the riches we already have in public revelation and help us to go deeper in living them out. And, this is certainly how it is with the divine mercy devotion…
We are being drawn to the foot of the cross to be with the centurion soldier when he pierces the side of Jesus and His Blood and Water pour out. Just as the centurion converted, we are being called to remain there with Mary at the foot of His cross, allowing Jesus’ redeeming blood to constantly permeate us as we continually open ourselves each day to still further conversion (metanoia).
Jesus tells us through St. Faustina of the two rays shown in the image, “These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross… Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him” (299 Diary).
Now that’s truly Divine Mercy, and cause for great rejoicing, when the just hand of God will not lay hold of us…
Would we not but long to crawl up into Jesus’ open wound of the heart, where He is inviting us in to encounter the “depths of [His] tender mercy”? …
What does it mean for us to dwell in the shelter of these rays. The red ray represents His redeeming Blood that was shed for us, and the Holy Eucharist; the white ray represents the cleansing waters of Baptism,and the life-giving holy spirit.
Jesus tells us, “The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” (1578 diary).
All gifts are out on the table and being offered to us, especially on this divine mercy Sunday. And, it is but a matter of us trusting and disposing ourselves to receive them.
What is it in our hearts that we most struggle with, are ashamed of or feel the need to invite God into? Sometimes it is hard for us to take the time and energy to go there; giving ourselves permission to get in touch with our deepest desires or inclinations, be they rightly ordered or disordered.
Often times, it’s easier to live on a more surface level of life, never really living from the deepest core of who we are created to be; because sometimes there’s a lot of junk and poopy scoop in between there that we need to face.
And this can be grueling and take effort. But this is where the tremendous grace of devotion to His Divine Mercy comes in.
Jesus has already redeemed us, there are just parts of us that haven’t yet been open to receive His redeeming graces….He tells us, “I am Love and Mercy itself … let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet… My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world…. I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart.”
Jesus’ Divine Mercy is always there for us, just waiting for us to trust and invite Him in. But in a most special way we are invited to receive these graces on this Divine Mercy Sunday where “all the Divine floodgates of [His] Mercy are open.
He tells us, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I 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….
On that day ALL the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.”
This means no reparation for sin. This means we are cleansed, not just as we are in any confession (where we may need to make reparation afterwards); rather, we are cleansed as though a newly baptized, starting off with a clean slate; and if we died right after would go straight to Heaven (given we have a contrite heart, etc).
Just as the good thief on the cross received the grace of going straight to Heaven, may we take full advantage of these special graces our Lord is offering to us this Divine Mercy Sunday.
“Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, we trust in you!”