During the 1920s and 1930s, Our Lord appeared repeatedly to a Sister in Poland; her name was Faustina Kowalska and she belonged to the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. During those apparitions to her, Our Lord revealed himself to her as the risen Savior, with white and red rays streaming from his Sacred Heart. He explained that the rays represented the water of baptism and his blood shed on the cross for us and then offered to us in the Holy Eucharist.
Furthermore, he asked that the Sunday after Easter be especially honored as the Sunday of Divine Mercy because the gospel which is read on that Sunday is the one describing Our Risen Savior’s institution of the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation—the Sacrament in which we receive divine forgiveness and mercy. Our Lord also asked Sister Faustina, who is now SAINT Faustina, to have a picture painted of him as he appeared to her, with the white and red rays emanating from His heart and bringing his mercy to the world. Now, we find copies of that painting everywhere we look and we are reminded constantly of God’s desire to forgive our sins and shower his mercy upon us.
In the Compendium, that is, the shortened form, of the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, the question is asked: “What does the acceptance of God’s mercy require of us?” The answer is this: “It requires that we admit our faults and repent of our sins. God himself by his Word and his Spirit lays bare our sins and gives us the truth of conscience and the hope of forgiveness.” Thus we are given the divine grace to recognize that we have done wrong, to be sorry for having offended God and to be firm in our resolve not to repeat these wrongs. And then, to live in the joy of knowing that our savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is kind, merciful, and eager to forgive us and reunite us with himself if we have alienated ourselves from him by serious sin.
There is a favorite prayer used for centuries by the Christians of the East which we can also make our own. It says, simply and beautifully, “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It is very appropriate for this Sunday in particular, that we ask him for his mercy to us, acknowledging that we are sinners in need of divine forgiveness and mercy. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: Father Brown composed this message some years ago. Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.