Photo: Felix Carroll
The Healing Power of Divine Mercy
By Fr. Walter Dziordz, MIC (Sep 2, 2006)
A person recites the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy and feels close to God. A feeling of being forgiven may manifest within the person as well. Such an experience is the healing power of Divine Mercy.
A person experiences the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and goes home also feeling closer to God — feeling both cleansed and, of course, forgiven. This, too, is the power of Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy is as old as the first experience of God with humanity — as old as His creation of Adam and Eve. In the very act of creation, mercy became known. Nonetheless, mercy manifested even more brilliantly after the fall of man, when God promised to send a Redeemer.
Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC — my fellow Marian and a leading expert in Divine Mercy — is quite correct when he says that the message of mercy did not begin with St. Faustina, but rather has always been with us. And not only has mercy always been with us, but we could even say that the potential for experiencing and offering mercy has always been with us, too. With us, and within us!
Consider the very nature of love. Mercy and love are family relatives, and both can be seen as mystery. That is to say, there is much depth to mercy and love, and as such, there is always more to learn. Pope Benedict XVI stated clearly in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love"), that though people think they understand love, in truth they do not.
Nonetheless, the potential for understanding love and mercy remains within us. Why would we be challenged by Pope Benedict, indeed, by Christ, if such potential was only a mirage or an illusion? Our Pontiff believes in us and in our potential for deep movement in the spiritual life. Christ has always believed in us.
Christ is Love Incarnate from which mercy flows. When He preached, He would tell His listeners of how people in the past yearned to see His time on earth, but were unable to. His listeners were blessed and fortunate to be able to experience Him. Yet, many still failed to grasp, fully at least, their good fortune. Many of them could not see what was right in front of them, so to speak.
Today, we remain in a similar situation. In more than 2,000 years, we have learned so much, spiritually. We have the sacraments, for instance. Yet, while there is so much we can learn and experience, for some reason we still falter. We do not go as far as we can, even though we may yearn to. The result is that we still struggle to forgive and to show mercy.
The very nature of our spiritual legacy as a Church enables us, if we are so open, to experience God's mercy so that our very consciousness can expand — enough to fully appreciate what is right in front of us.
When I was a child, my father came home one day holding what seemed to be a deformed Lincoln Head penny. It was a cent with two images of Lincoln in the front.
"Look at the mistakes that can be made in printing coins," he said to me, showing me the coin. He then added the coin to other change and used it all to buy some cigars. The next day he was talking about the penny to a co-worker. The co-worker informed my father that this penny was called a "double-struck" Lincoln Head penny and was worth a considerable amount of money, depending on the coin's condition.
Boy, was my father mad! As it turns out, those cigars were the most expensive ones he ever bought! He had something valuable in his hand, but he didn't recognize it. What was valuable to others, he regarded as simply "flawed."
Something can be right in front of us, but we fail to recognize it. How many objects, for example, have we failed to truly appreciate? More importantly, how many people have we failed to appreciate? How many people in our lives do we regard as simply flawed?
Do we tell our friends how much we appreciate them? Do married couples remember to tell each other that they are loved, cherished, and appreciated? Aren't we rather inclined to take each other for granted? Don't we see some people as flawed and invaluable because they do not meet our standards or expectations? Do we see ourselves this way?
Christ would want us to see ourselves and others as truly valuable children of the Heavenly Father. Another ancient truth! Love others as yourself!
Christ witnesses to this ancient truth by dying for us, thereby touching our hearts by His dramatic story of love. And He continues to remind us of mercy and love through those who have been touched by His mercy — those who have allowed themselves to be so open. These people are the saints, true believers of His undying love. Among them, of course, is St. Faustina, whose life gives exquisite, powerful witness of the mercy of God.
To you, the reader, I invite you to explore this Web site. Read the stories of faith. Remember the depth of mercy and love that Christ makes available to us. Our brothers and sisters are not flawed pennies, but children of God, more valuable than we know. This means you, too!
Father Walter Dziordz, MIC, is Provincial Superior of the Marians' St. Stanislaus Kostka Province, based in Stockbridge, Mass.