Photo: Felix Carroll
Imploring the Mercy of God for our Nation
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Apr 30, 2007)
Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy.
— Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, 687
The recent tragedy at Virginia Tech University has left many of us bewildered and quite overwhelmed in light of the daily images on television and the media. Without faith and an understanding of God's mercy, this entire tragedy makes absolutely no sense. Only our Lord in His mercy can bring some notion of peace, understanding and compassion to this rude awakening that attacks our sensibilities. Where do we go for answers? Who knows what good can eventually come out of this? How does a person of faith respond? How do we help someone to grieve after experiencing this kind of tragedy?
Each of us has to struggle with our own response. However, the cross of Jesus Christ reveals a similar and, at first, seemingly nonsensical act that in retrospect brings us once again to an awareness of what our Lord endured to prove His love and mercy for each of us. Where does our struggle with life's questions take us, other than to "Him from whom all blessings flow"?
According to the psalmist, God "does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:10).
Our Lord dealt with similar absurdities in His life. Spiritual writers say that the greatest agony of our Lord in the Garden came not from His knowing the physical tortures of His Passion, but from His foreknowledge of how utterly profitless His sufferings would be for many souls. It was that vision of the apparent uselessness of all that He was about to endure that crushed His soul with such grief that it forced His own blood to pour out. It seemed so callous and so useless. What was the purpose of it all? Many would indeed profit, but how many others would live and die as though He had never done a single thing for them, as if He had never lived? Many Christians at some point or other are challenged by frustration that also seems beyond their comprehension. How many parents and loved ones of those who died in the school massacre are experiencing a total confusion of their own view of God?
Some people have resolved their confusion with the consideration that what happened in Virginia could be a wake up call for all of us. In light of the greatest singular mass murder in our history, our Lord is inviting us to pray for the future of our beloved country. We can consider this a motivation to pray so that God in His mercy would prevent future episodes like this from ever happening again. We can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy not only for those who have died, but for the perpetrator of this heinous crime as well. We pray for those who grieve over the loss of a loved one. We can pray that the world joins them in their sorrow, knowing full well that nothing can fill the void of their losses other than Jesus Christ Himself.
We can pray through the merits of Christ's death for everyone affected by this tragedy. Jesus Himself said:
Implore My mercy, especially for sinners.... I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).
As for the individual who performed this deadly action, Jesus told St. Faustina and by inference reminds us:
Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.
— Diary, 699
Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy...write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion.
— Diary, 1146
Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the immeasurable depths of My mercy.
— Diary, 1059
Wake up calls have been given to mankind many times over during the last one hundred years — including Our Lady of Fatima's warnings to repent and live lives of holiness. Are we willing to change, to forgive, and to leave all sin aside? As Jesus told St. Faustina, "Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy"
— Diary, 300
St. Faustina pleaded for God's mercy for the entire world. We can also offer the Divine Mercy Chaplet specifically for the protection of our country from future tragedies. As St. Faustina recorded, "The Lord let me know that everything can be obtained by means of this prayer" (Diary, 1128).
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, D.C. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars.