By Dan Valenti (Apr 19, 2009)
"I should be in Bialystok," said The Most Rev. Edward Ozorowski, Archbishop of Bialystok, Poland, with the hint of a smile. Archbishop Ozorowski was the main celebrant for the Divine Mercy Sunday liturgy at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass.
Bialystok is where his flock was and where the relics of Blessed Michael Sopocko are enshrined. Blessed Michael was beatified on Sept. 28 of last year in Bialystok. The archbishop, however, did the next-best thing to being home: He brought a little of St. Faustina's confessor and spiritual director with him for his pastoral pilgrimage to Eden Hill. It took the form of a first-class relic of Blessed Michael, which he presented to the National Shrine.
That the archbishop would make the transatlantic flight to be on Eden Hill on this special day testifies to how much this day of grace means to him. He chose the long journey so he could personally minister to America at mercy's national home.
A Deep Love for The Divine Mercy
Archbishop Ozorowski also brought his deep love for The Divine Mercy itself.
In an exclusive interview prior to the 1 p.m. Mass, Archbishop Ozorowski said, "I see the devotion to Divine Mercy has extended well beyond Poland. I am gladdened by how the people have responded to this beautiful call to faith."
Asked how he personally understands the love and mercy of God, the archbishop responded:
Divine Mercy is a sign of God's love for us. Saint John the Evangelist said "God is Love." His mercy is an extension of the love that God has given to us through His Holy Sacraments. You can never reduce Divine Mercy to pity, because all of us, without exception, are surrounded by the rays of mercy. Faith in The Divine Mercy changes us, inspires us, sustains us, and leads us to our final goal, which is friendship with God in heaven.
Conversion is Action, Not Talk
As to the difficult problem of convincing those who are closed to receiving God's mercy to open their hearts, the archbishop advised action: "To convince someone of this, we must not limit ourselves to words alone. To convince someone is to convert them, and to assist that conversion, we must not be afraid to share with another human being in his difficulties and sufferings. We have to be witnesses to God's mercy."
Inclusion, the archbishop said, is a key part of how God's mercy unfolds. We must realize that Divine Mercy is for everyone, without exception. How do we do this?
"First, [let us realize that] God loves us," he said. "Second, God has already restored love in us when we were baptized. Third, He shows us how to live our lives, and that is in accordance with His commandments."
These three elements, the archbishop said, produce the ingredients for a good and holy life. Archbishop Ozorowski then extended his apostolic blessings to America on this holy day of grace and blessing.
Dan Valenti writes for numerous publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, both in print and online. He is the author of "Dan Valenti's Journal" at thedivinemercy.org.