Divine Mercy Sunday has only been celebrated since 2000. It seems incredible that such a Feast, especially one during the Easter season, could be so new. But, of course, it is based upon the messages St. Faustina received from Christ in the 1930’s. Because it is so new, today’s Feast may seem to be less central to our faith, or maybe a bit less necessary for us to observe. Some might even argue that it should have been on a different Sunday, but this wouldn’t be in line with how St. John Paul II spoke of this day when he announced it on April 30th of 2000.
This was the day he chose to carry out the canonization of St. Faustina, so as to make it clear that the message she carried for us is so important. In fact, he also canonized her as a Saint at St. Peter’s in Rome (rather than in her home country), to make sure everyone knew that this message was meant for the whole world, not just her own people. Of course, when we speak of God’s Love for us, what could be more universal than God’s Mercy.
So what more did we have to learn about this, why did St. Faustina have to carry this message into the world? Because it is so central to the Catholic Faith, it may seem unnecessary to us sometimes, but those are the times when we must focus on St. Faustina’s message even more.
The message itself boils down to three things:
1. Ask God for Mercy
2. Be merciful toward others
3.Place your trust completely in Christ
Your starting point may be different every time you come back to this. For example, you may know in your mind that you need to be merciful toward someone, which will then soften your heart to ask for the mercy you need. Maybe you feel like you have burned all your bridges, and turning your heart over to Christ in complete trust is the only thing you can do, so this is the path to mending those relationships. Or when you realize that you need to grow in forgiveness and mercy, and that the only path to this is through God’s Mercy first.
All of the ways this can happen are ways in which God can break through and change your heart. All of it seems to work in conjunction with the others parts, one aspect needed to draw us deeper into another, and so our lives are more completely drawn into God’s Love. Then this sends us forth to spread that Love through the mercy we show to others, and the success of this builds our trust in God, which leads us deeper in again, seeking now to be made more perfect in God’s sight.
This type of cycle, leading us deeper into God’s Love, is the one we want to be on, but we all know it isn’t one we stay on continuously. Perhaps this is why we call it Divine Mercy Sunday, rather than human mercy Sunday, or trusting Sunday. We all need to begin again sometimes, and for this, we depend on God’s Mercy. When this seems like the only option we have left, let us remind ourselves to call upon God immediately. God will already be reaching out to embrace you.