|The Feast of Mercy|
by Val Conlon
If a physician knew that with a new method available to him on one day of a year, he could heal as many people as he could gather together in one place with a serious cancerous condition, and if he was told that the procedure would only take about an hour or two at the most, and if he was told about a book of instructions that outlined the way to heal this cancer, wouldn't there be a serious onus on that physician to get hold of that book as soon as he could to study the method, in preparation for this momentous occasion? Shouldn't that physician then, find as many ways as he could, to get as many sick people to come to his place of healing on this wonderful day. Well the priest is that physician. The book is the Diary. The day is Mercy Sunday. The method is Divine Mercy.
The Better Face of God
John Paul II said at the canonisation of St. Faustina, "by this act today, I pass on the message of Divine Mercy to the new millennium. I pass it on because I want people to know the better face of God, and that of His Divine Mercy, and through it, the better face of their brethren. The light of the message of Divine Mercy which the Lord wished to renew in the world, will be as much a beacon of hope for the third millennium, as the apostles were in the first". He said that in future this Sunday would be known throughout the world as Divine Mercy Sunday, and that priests and the laity should avail of it, in this time of special grace.
In todays world, it is demonstrably clear that man has failed to listen to God and the world needs this new prescription for healing. This is obviously why Jesus (the chief physician for all our spiritual illness) has found it necessary to show us a new way and has given us this extraordinary message revealed through Saint Faustina, with extraordinary promise's attached to help heal modern man and bring him back to a healthy faith.
The Image of Divine Mercy - Vessel of Graces
He has given us a new Image of Divine Mercy, from which he promises great graces will flow wherever it is exposed and venerated. An Image which is to be a fount of healing, that we can continue to come to, and replenish our health, strength, and belief, with the graces that flow from it. We can fill our vessel which is our body and soul with a new spirit of well being and faith, this feeling of well being, through faith, that erodes so easily in today's world.
The Prayers of Divine Mercy
He has given us a new and powerful formula to achieve this, through powerful prayers, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which if said sincerely and reverently, gives us, the extraordinary opportunity to offer up to the Father, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of His Dearly beloved Son, which is the sacrifice, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. What a powerful prayer this is, a prayer with a power that may be second only to the power of the Mass. He also promises that if this prayer is said in the presence of a dying sinner, regardless of whether they take part or not, will save that sinner from hell. The Conversion prayer which if said sincerely, at the moment of three o'clock, with a contrite heart, and with faith, on behalf of some soul, will result in a promise from Jesus to come into the life of that soul. The Proclamation or spreading of the Message, has the wonderful promise attached, ensuring the saving of your own soul, if you help spread His Mercy in Deed, Word, and Prayer.
The Feast of Mercy
Then there is the greatest promise of all, a day of healing for all, no matter how ill your soul is, on the Sunday after Easter, the Feast Day of His Divine and Infinite Mercy, for those who comply with the simple steps desired by Jesus to show our obedience and belief in Him. This promise is manifest by a complete healing of the soul, making it as whole and as well, as the day of our Baptism.
On this great Feast of His Divine Mercy we also receive the unique Spirit of Divine Mercy. It is this Spirit of Divine Mercy, that will heal the wounds of the human heart. It is this Spirit of Divine Mercy that will heal the sickness that separates us from God, It is this Spirit of Divine Mercy that will heal the distrust that separates us from each other, and it is this Spirit of Divine Mercy that will restore the Fathers love for us, and our love for the Father. What a wonderful occasion the Feast of His Mercy is.
Feast Approved by Vatican
Remember the Feast of Divine Mercy is not anymore a private devotion. It is a public feast formally established by Pope John Paul II. This approval was given to the Church on the 5th May 2000 in the form of a Decree, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, and the Discipline of the Sacraments. and it will be celebrated as an official feast day on the Sunday after Easter forever more. As the feast has been approved by the Holy See, it is now open to any Bishop to establish it in his own diocese, or for a Bishop's conference to establish it for the whole of a country.
Clearly the Pope was himself eager for the Church everywhere, to formally celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy, but it is up to the Bishops to establish it as a liturgical feast day, in each country. To answer any doubts that this celebration of the Feast of Mercy conflicts with the Church's liturgy during the octave of Easter, the answer is that Jesus chose this day because it is already a day of celebration of His Divine Mercy, and therefore does not conflict with the liturgy of the day. The Scripture lessons on Low Sunday already centre on God's Divine Mercy. The Gospel for the day has always been of Jesus appearing in the upper room to the Apostles and bestowing authority to forgive sins, and the responsorial Psalm for the day, has always been Psalm 118 which sings of the mercy of God enduring forever.
If you read St. Augustine you can see, that in the ancient Church the Sunday after Easter, was held as a great feast day in celebration of the merciful love of God, which he said was displayed in all the events of the Paschal Mystery. St. Augustine called the Sunday after Easter, "a day that is a compendium of all God's mercies". Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast that conflicts with Easter but the renewal of an ancient feast of the Church, that celebrates Christ rising from the dead and thereby bringing everlasting life to mankind, which is the ultimate act of God's Divine Mercy.
Preparation for the Feast of Mercy
The following are the simple steps requested by our Lord in preparation for the Feast, so that the Father will grant you complete healing of the soul.
On Mercy Sunday, go to a Church where they are being fully obedient to the desires of Jesus and follow the steps He asked of us in the revelations for this day.
The revelations in the Diary of Saint Faustina makes the following quite clear:
(1) The Feast should be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter
(2) It should be preceded by a Novena of Chaplets of Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday
(3) An act of mercy should take place in our lives, on each day of the novena, as part of our preparation for the feast. We should be merciful to others in our words, deeds and prayers.
Merciful Word: forgiving those that you have a grievance with
Merciful Deed: is to carry out some work of mercy or donate to a work of mercy
Merciful Prayer: to say prayers for sinners in need of God's Mercy
(4) The Image of Divine Mercy should be ceremoniously blessed on the day
(5) We should demonstrate publicly our trust in Jesus, Divine Mercy. This can be carried out by kissing or touching the Image, and saying the words aloud, "Jesus I trust in You". This can be done either during the celebration like the kissing of the cross on Good Friday or as people leave the Church, if numbers attending, prevent it during the ceremony.
(6) Confession and Communion on the day: If confession is not possible on the day, it should be as close to the day as possible. The important requirement is that your soul should be in a state of grace on the day.
St. Faustina made her confession in preparation for the feast on the Saturday before. Communion, as always, should be accompanied by complete trust in Divine Mercy.
(7) The Sermon by the priest on that day must be on God's Mercy - that is the mercy which God the Father bestows on us through Jesus Christ His Son.
(8) We must contemplate, on this day, the Mystery of our Redemption as the greatest revelation of Divine Mercy towards us.
This is also a day of extraordinary opportunity to bring erring souls with us in spirit, to the throne of Gods mercy, with petitions of prayer, and offer these souls up to Jesus when He promises to heal and strengthen them. Jesus said, "I yearn for souls, on the day of My Feast, the Feast of My Mercy, you will bring faint souls to the spring of my mercy, where I shall heal and strengthen them".
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