Prepare Yourself Properly
Going to Confession is not the only way we should prepare ourselves for Divine Mercy Sunday. As Cardinal Francis Macharski, then Archbishop of Cracow, Poland, explains in a 1985 pastoral letter, we are not simply called to ask for God's mercy with trust. We are also called to be merciful:
Our own merciful attitude is likewise a preparation. Without deeds of mercy, our devotion would not be real. For Christ does not only reveal the mercy of God, but at the same time He places before people the demand that they conduct themselves in life with love and mercy. Pope John Paul II states that this requirement constitutes the very heart of the Gospel ethos (Rich in Mercy, 3) — it is the commandment of love and the promise: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5:7). Let it be a mercy that is forgiving and true, and universal, with good words, deeds, and prayer for others!"
Our Lord's words to St. Faustina about this requirement to be merciful are very strong and leave no room for misinterpretation:
Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy. … I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it (Diary of St. Faustina, 742).
Thus, to fittingly observe the Feast of Mercy, we should:
- Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter;
- Sincerely repent of all our sins;
- Place our complete trust in Jesus;
- Go to confession, preferably before that Sunday;
- Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast;
- Venerate* the Image of The Divine Mercy;
- Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.
*To venerate a sacred image or statue simply means to perform some act or make some gesture of deep religious respect toward it because of the person whom it represents — in this case, our Most Merciful Savior.
For more information, download Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday, by Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD.