Sunday, April 7, 2013
Fr. Andersen Homily: Divine Mercy
A homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart-St. Louis in Gervais, OR
April 7th, 2013
Divine Mercy Sunday
In the nineteen-twenties, a young religious sister in Poland began receiving visions of our Lord who spoke to her heart about His divine mercy. This young sister, St. Faustina Kowalska, was commanded by her superiors to write a diary about these locutions. Jesus commanded her to tell the world that the second Sunday of Easter – which is today – be celebrated as a feast to the Divine Mercy. He told her: “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. I use punishment when they themselves force me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy” (Diary 1588).
He showed her an image of Himself in which rays poured forth from His heart, a red ray for His precious blood, and a white ray for the cleansing waters of Baptism. He taught her this prayer based upon the image: “O Blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in Thee” (187). He instructed her that when anyone said this prayer “with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, (He would give that sinner) the grace of conversion” (cf. 186). This is the way that each of the faithful exercises his duty of the common priesthood. Each of the baptized is called upon to intercede for others, to do penance for the sake of the world, in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners. This is one aspect of divine Mercy. Jesus said to St. Faustina: “When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (cf. Diary. 1074-76).
In the Gospel, Jesus breathes on His chosen apostles and gives them the power to forgive sins - or to withhold forgiveness for the sake of a soul’s conversion. These chosen men are to mediate His mercy and justice. This is another aspect of the Divine Mercy. Jesus said: “Tell my priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing my words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who proclaim and extol my mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak.” I trust, as a priest, that when I speak these words from the Diary of St. Faustina, that these words are truly anointed. I trust that because these words are truly anointed, that hardened souls will be converted, even if these hardened souls are not actually here physically among us. I trust that you the faithful, who hear these anointed words, will take heed and pray the Divine Mercy for the conversion of those whose hearts are hardened and whose souls are in danger of being eternally lost. Each of you can make a difference by your prayers.
To the faithful who avail themselves of this message, Jesus said: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls. . . . If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity” (1602). “Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy” (1059). “I will grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy” (1109).
Most beautifully of all, Jesus confirms that the person of the priest is only a screen. He tells us: “Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light” (1725).
Today is a feast to proclaim that mercy, that forgiveness of sins for all sinners. Jesus said, “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. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. . . . Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy” (Diary 699).
Jesus warned St. Faustina to write this: “Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for all eternity” (965). …“before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” (1146)… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near” (965).
Let us remember that God’s justice is tempered by His mercy. God wishes to pour out His abundant mercy upon us. But we have to desire that mercy. We must ask God from the depths of our hearts to pour out His mercy on us. We have to acknowledge that we are in need of His mercy. We have to acknowledge that we are all sinners in His sight. Then, He will pour out His abundant ocean of mercy upon us. Jesus tells us to go to sacramental Confession to receive this ocean of grace and mercy. And He asks us to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet in order to obtain mercy for others. He asks us to pray for poor sinners so that their hearts might be converted and that they might repent and come back to God and to the Church; so that they would be set free from slavery to sin and the darkness and misery that accompany it.
3 pm is the hour of mercy. It is the hour that Jesus died on the Cross out of love for us. Today and every day at 3 pm, we are invited to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Catholic Radio KBVM 88.3 FM broadcasts the Divine Mercy every day at 3. Please listen and pray along.
Here at Sacred Heart in Gervais, we will pray the Divine Mercy at 3 pm during our monthly parish Holy Hour. I will also be hearing Confessions from 1:45 until 2:45. I ask that if you go regularly to the Sacrament of Confession, please leave this time open so that those who have been away from the sacrament for a time can avail themselves of the ocean of mercy poured out on this special feast day.