An Extraordinary Grace

Image of the Divine Mercy of Jesus

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY April 11th, 2021

After many years of investigation, Saint Pope John-Paul II canonised Sr. Faustina and instigated this day as  “a day of graces for sinners ”,  re-stating Jesus promise of “complete forgiveness of sins AND any punishment due”.  “ This is equal to the grace we receive in baptism.  It offers a completely new beginning ”, he said.

The selection of this Sunday by our Lord indicates that Jesus sees a strict connection between the paschal mystery of our redemption and this feast: it is designed that we contemplate on that day the mystery of Redemption as the greatest revelation of Divine Mercy towards us.  Saint Faustina also took note of this connection when in 1935 she wrote: “I see now that the work of Redemption is bound up with the work of Mercy that the Lord desires” (1,37).

Jesus asks that the Feast of Mercy be preceded by a Novena.  He said. “By this (the Chaplet) novena I will grant souls all possible graces” (II 197). The words “all possible graces” mean that people making this novena can obtain every sort of divine blessing they ask for regardless of whether they pray for graces for themselves or for others.  Jesus asked that the feast be celebrated solemnly, that is, as a liturgical feast of the Church Universal. He expressed two wishes: firstly, the image of the Divine Mercy is to be ceremoniously blessed on this feast and liturgically venerated (1, 142).  Secondly, “On that day priests are to speak to souls about this great and unfathomable Mercy of Mine” (II,40).

The evidence of the unimaginable mercy of His human heart is (above all) His Passion, for he wants “that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.”   There is no other means of drawing graces from the well spring of Mercy but through trust, an unwavering and fervent attitude of trust in Jesus.

The most singular grace which Jesus attached to the celebration of this feast was “The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (II.138). This extraordinary grace promised by Jesus is something greater by far than a plenary indulgence as it is very much akin to the grace of Baptism.

The Sacramental grace of Baptism received by an adult is not only the removal of original sin but is also the forgiveness of all personal sins and any punishment due to them.  So the soul cleansed on the Feast of Mercy is like the soul of one newly baptised in the promises mentioned.  However, Christ joined this to the Holy communion received on the Feast of Mercy, raising this to the rank of a second Baptism.  It is obvious that in order to effect the complete forgiveness of sin and punishment, the Holy Communion on the Feast of Mercy must not only be a worthy one, but in fact, must also be the expression of the fulfilment of the basic requirement of the Divine Mercy Devotion. At the moment there is dispensation that this can be a Spiritual Communion but communion unworthily received, or not accompanied by trust in the Divine Mercy and by some deed of mercy toward one’s neighbour, would be a contradiction of the Devotion.

Jesus did not limit His generosity on the Feast of Mercy exclusively to this most extraordinary grace. On the contrary, Jesus declared that “on that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open; I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who will approach the fount of My mercy … On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened”. Therefore, Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet,” (11,138).

From these words of Christ it is evident that he fervently desires the Feast of Mercy to be an unusually effective refuge for all people, especially sinners.  The incomparable effectiveness of this refuge is manifested in three ways:

Firstly, through its universality. All people, even those who hitherto never had devotion to the Divine Mercy (even sinners who repent on the day of the Feast itself) can participate to the fullest extent in all the graces which Jesus prepared for this feast.

Secondly, on this day Jesus not only wishes to shower people with saving graces for eternal life, but also with temporal blessings for this life, since He said: “Mankind will have no peace until it turns (as to a source of help) to the fount of My mercy” (II.138).  Especially relevant in the midst of a modern day plague!

Thirdly, all graces and benefits are this day accessible to everyone so long as they are asked for with great trust. Christ did not attach such an extraordinary abundance of benefits and graces to any other form of the devotion.

Don’t forget also the importance of saying the chaplet for the dying…… Jesus said “..when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between my Father and the dying person, not as a just judge but as the merciful Saviour”.

(This adapted analysis by Canon Ignacy Rozycki, Doctor of Dogmatic Theology, was approved by St.John Paul II and the Sacred Congregation for the faith.)

Poster Describing Divine Mercy Sunday