In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave us "a mandate" to "go forth and be witnesses of God's mercy, a source of hope for every person and for the whole world."
Television viewers got two Benedicts, one David, and The Divine Mercy — all in one hour of broadcasting Sunday evening.
David Came, executive editor of Marian Helper magazine and author of the new book Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate, was the guest on Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "Sunday Night LIVE" on EWTN on Sunday, July 12.
Mr. Came spoke about his new book and about the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy.
The seeds for his book were first sown, Mr. Came explained, when a newly elected Pope Benedict spoke of receiving "a gift of Divine Mercy" through the intercession of John Paul II in 2005. Particularly, Mr. Came began wondering — and watching for — whether Pope Benedict would follow the footsteps of his predecessor as our next "Mercy Pope."
And indeed, the Holy Father has. Through his writings, speeches, and witness, Pope Benedict has purposefully, compellingly, and unmistakably embraced the message of The Divine Mercy, as Mr. Came's book well describes.
"That's something that many people are unaware of," Mr. Came told Fr. Groeschel,"— of how Pope Benedict has followed up on Pope John Paul II as a mercy Pope."
Father Groeschel asked Mr. Came to tell the viewers about St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, whose revelations in the 1930s and whose Diary have sparked the modern Divine Mercy movement. The message of Divine Mercy calls for placing our trust in the Merciful Father, of receiving His mercy, and being merciful to our neighbors.
"Saint Faustina was a simple, humble, Polish nun, and she was given these revelations of Divine Mercy by Jesus Christ, and they were given to her shortly before the outbreak of World War II and the horrors that were visited upon the world," Mr. Came said. "So the timing seemed to be providential. And of course Pope John Paul II, who we now recognize as the 'Great Mercy Pope,' lived through the horrors of World War II, learned about these revelations, and embraced them in his own papacy."
"Yes," said Fr. Groeschel, "and he's the one who has really put Divine Mercy in front of the whole Church."
Mr. Came agreed, noting that Pope John Paul II not only canonized St. Faustina in 2000, making her the first saint of the new millennium, he also eventually entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy. Since then, Pope Benedict, he said, has taken the baton and run with it.
Mr. Came spoke about how Pope Benedict's trip to St. Faustina's convent in Poland in 2006 underscores this. Reflecting on that trip, Pope Benedict said how mercy is "a divine barrier against the evil of the world."
Another example: On his trip to the Middle East, Pope Benedict used beautiful language "about the call for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike to really unite because they are all serving the God of Mercy," Mr. Came said. "The Holy Father cuts to the quick on how all 'believers in a God of mercy' must promote a 'culture of reconciliation and peace.'
"He puts the focus on how peace is possible when we all recognize that we all serve a God of mercy," Dave said.
And another example: In April 2008, the Holy Father opened the first-ever World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in St. Peter's Square, which drew thousands of Divine Mercy devotees to Rome for an ensuing five-days of talks, worship, and celebration.
"At the conclusion of the Congress, in his Regina Caeli," said Mr. Came, "the Holy Father gave all of the participants a mandate. He used that word 'mandate,' which is very forceful, and said, 'Go to the world and be witnesses of God's mercy, a source of hope for every person and for the whole world.' These are powerful words."
"And that's [directed] to the whole world," said Fr. Groeschel. "I cannot help but think of any authentic religious person — of whatever religion — who would not be able to accept the message of Divine Mercy, the mercy of God."
Mr. Came spoke of other examples on how Pope Benedict has embarced the message of The Divine Mercy.
When asked how people can get involved in Divine Mercy, Mr. Came suggested that they attend the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy in Washington, D.C., Nov 13-15.
"It will be a time to say our country really needs Divine Mercy and to bring back that fire from the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy to our own continent," said Mr. Came, who works on Eden Hill, in Stockbridge, Mass., home of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.
Learn more about the North American Congress on Mercy.
Father Groeschel ask how people who are homebound can get involved in Divine Mercy. Mr. Came suggested that they be given an image of The Divine Mercy to venerate and begin to pray daily the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.
Father Groeschel took questions from several callers of the live broadcast. One woman called to say how a friend of hers recently gave birth to a stillborn baby boy.
The baby, she said, "brought so many people together through prayer. We wanted to know how we could memorialize him at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy."
"At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy," said Mr. Came, "we are in the midst of creating a Shrine of the Holy Innocents precisely for these sorts of situations — for children who have died, and the parents want to memorialize them in some way. There's an opportunity for Masses to be said and memorials to be erected."
"I've seen the beginnings of it, the plans," said Fr. Groeschel, "and it's a beautiful, beautiful idea."
You may order a copy of Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate through our online gift shop.