Trad Hate for the Divine Mercy devotion is so cringe to me. Yes, I know all about the problematic parts of St. Faustina’s diary. Saints make mistakes, even to the point of sin. It happens. Sister Lucia made mistakes too. Also, it’s not her fault if the Divine Mercy has overtaken devotion to the Sacred Heart, and/or diminution of the Rosary. None of that should have happened. If you are a regular reader of this space, you know of my ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart, His Eucharistic Heart, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Most Holy Rosary. You can have all of these things, if you direct your will towards them, and act.
But the subject we are dealing with today is a fact, a revealed truth, not up for debate: Divine Mercy. You’re free to reject St. Faustina’s revelations completely and remain a good Catholic, as they are private revelation. You can even reject Fatima if you want, although I wouldn’t recommend it. But the Divine Mercy itself is not private revelation, it’s Scriptural. The administration of Divine Mercy is the very business of the Church. It’s what the Barque was built for. It’s why you’re aboard Her.
(Fans of Star Trek TOS will recognize that device)
I also think it’s totally appropriate for this feast to occur on the Octave Day of Easter. It doesn’t mean the Octave Day of Easter has been suppressed… that’s like claiming that calling it Low Sunday or Dominica in Albis or Quasimodo diminishes the Octave. Furthermore, the readings for today miraculously appear to be perfect selections to instruct us on the Divine Mercy, even though the old missal obviously pre-dates the institution of the feast. Have you ever noticed that? Yes, I said miraculous. God knows what he is doing.
EPISTLE I John 5:4-10. “Beloved: For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory which overcameth the world: Our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth. And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God hath the testimony of God in himself.”
How can you read that and not have the image of Divine Mercy come to mind?
Note that the Epistle and Gospel are both from St. John the Apostle.
GOSPEL John 20:19-31. “At that time, when it was late the same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them: “Peace be to you.” And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: “Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said: “Peace be to you.” Then he said to Thomas: “Put in thy finger hither and see my hands. And bring hither the hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to him: “My Lord and my God.” Jesus saith to him: “Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.”
So here we read, on Divine Mercy Sunday and the Octave Day of Easter, of the institution of the Sacrament of Confession. Is that not wholly appropriate? The preaching today inevitably focuses on St. Thomas, with the earlier portion of the Gospel ignored. Which is too bad, since the Sacrament of Confession is also largely ignored in the N.O. Church today, except for 3:00-3:15pm on Saturdays and by appointment only. A billion “Catholics” all over the world who think they don’t need Confession, who effectively reject it as a sacrament, wherefore rejecting the Divine Mercy. Woe to them. Christ’s offer of peace, cited twice in today’s Gospel, comes only through the Spirit, blood, and water of Divine Mercy, conferred by Grace.
Christ instructed Sister Faustina: “My daughter, tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy. 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 opened…the divine floodgates through which grace flows are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the font of my mercy.”
“even though its sins be as scarlet…” <raises hand>
Thanks be to God for His Divine Mercy.