Catholic or not, Divine Mercy is for YOU!

Jesus told St. Faustina, "On that day [Divine Mercy Sunday] are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. 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. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 699).

By Chris Sparks

Divine Mercy Sunday (April 7 this year) is coming right up, and here on Eden Hill, we’re getting ready to welcome all of you who will come. We’ll be livestreaming the 1 p.m. EDT Mass once again, and sharing our celebration with the whole world through EWTN.

And yet sometimes, I think we practicing Catholics who are making sure to go to Confession ahead of Divine Mercy weekend so we can receive Holy Communion in the state of grace on Divine Mercy Sunday (either at the Vigil Mass or on the day itself – and remember, being in a state of grace applies for every time a Catholic receives Holy Commuion!) can forget that God’s promises of extraordinary grace on the feast reach farther than those of us who can receive Holy Communion.

Sometimes, we forget how great God’s mercy actually is.

Miracles
Jesus came to save the whole wide world, after all, not just His Chosen People, and even in Scripture, we catch glimpses of His Divine Mercy reaching outside the visible bounds of Israel or the nucleus of the Church, of the Apostles. 

Here are a few examples.

First, we see St. John the Evangelist try to close the door on who could and who could not pray to Jesus and receive miraculous graces:

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward” (Mk 9:38-41; see also Lk 9:49-50).

But Jesus wouldn’t go along with it. Anyone can pray to Jesus; everyone can have hope of graces.

Now, some things are reserved to the Church. We are stewards of the treasures of the Sacraments, not owners, and as such, have a duty of care to ensure that those initiated with the Sacraments are prepared for the responsibilities as well as the rights that come. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterates that God’s graces are not confined to the Sacraments: 

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments (Catechism, 1257).

Spiritual warfare
Another time, Jesus was boldly approached by a Canaanite woman with a possessed daughter, who would not take no for an answer:

Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour (Mt 15:21-28).

Great was the faith of a woman who was not a Jewish lady, who was not part of His band of followers, who was initially turned away by Jesus and His disciples. But somehow, probably by the grace of God, she knew better. She didn’t give up. She prayed to Jesus persistently, as we are told to do in Scripture, begging for help for her daughter, whom she loved — and she was heard.

Divine Mercy Graces
Finally, we come to one of the greatest works of Divine Mercy for a sinner in the Gospels: Jesus promises the Good Thief that he’ll see Him in Heaven:

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:39-43).

In light of all this, we can rest assured that when Jesus said, “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet,” He meant that there wasn’t a soul on earth who wouldn’t receive grace if only the soul draws near to Jesus – through repentance and trusting prayer. On Divine Mercy Sunday “are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow,” all the floodgates, all the graces, cascading from Heaven.

So don’t be afraid to turn to God in prayer. Apologize for your sins (if you're Catholic, make a good Confession). Ask for the graces you need for the year ahead.

Be big and bold in your prayers on Sunday.

Ask for every need, and persist in prayer.

Don’t give up!
If you’re sick or homebound, there are graces for you.

If you’re unable to receive Holy Communion due to an irregular relationship or other serious impediment, there are graces for you.

If you’re not Catholic, there are graces for you.

The Divine Mercy Image offers graces for all. 

The Divine Mercy Chaplet offers graces for all.

The Hour of Divine Mercy offers graces for all.

God is waiting for you. Come. Be blessed.
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M17

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