Divine Mercy in Catholic Tradition: Conclusion

There is no better way to close this series on the merciful love of God as it is found in Scripture and Catholic Tradition, than to consider the words spoken by Pope John Paul II on Aug. 17, 2002, when he consecrated the whole world to Divine Mercy.

In his homily that day at the new Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, Poland, the Holy Father explained that the whole story of God's merciful love for mankind - a story we have traced in this series from Genesis to the present day - culminates in an urgent need for Christians everywhere to proclaim, pray for, and practice merciful love; this is truly the only hope for the future of the human race.

May the words of John Paul the Great, the Pope of Divine Mercy, echo in hearts and minds throughout the world, and pave the way for the final victory of the merciful love of Jesus Christ over the forces of evil:

Dear Brothers and Sisters...

Like St. Faustina, we wish to proclaim that apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind. We desire to repeat with faith: Jesus, I trust in You!

This proclamation, this confession of trust in the all-powerful love of God, is especially needed in our own time, when mankind is experiencing bewilderment in the face of many manifestations of evil. The invocation of God's mercy needs to rise up from the depth of hearts filled with suffering, apprehension, and uncertainty, and at the same time yearning for an infallible source of hope. That is why we have come here today, to this Shrine of Lagiewniki, in order to glimpse once more in Christ the face of the Father: "The Father of mercies and the God of all consolation" (2 Cor. 1:3). With the eyes of our soul, we long to look into the eyes of the merciful Jesus in order to find, deep within His gaze, the reflection of His inner life, as well as the light of grace which we have already received so often, and which God holds out to us anew each day and on the last day....

How greatly today's world needs God's mercy! In every continent, from the depths of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise up. Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace. Wherever respect for human life and dignity are lacking, there is need of God's merciful love, in whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed to insure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in the splendor of truth.

Today, therefore, in this Shrine, I wish to solemnly entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God's merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland, and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth "the spark which will prepare the world for His final coming" (Diary, 1732).

This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God, the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters.... May you be witnesses to mercy!

God, merciful Father, in Your Son, Jesus Christ, You have revealed Your love and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. We entrust to You today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman.

Bend down to us sinners, heal our weakness, conquer all evil, and grant that all the peoples of the earth may experience Your mercy. In You, the Triune god, may they ever find the source of hope. Eternal Father, by the Passion and Resurrection of Your Son, have mercy on us, and upon the whole world! Amen.

Robert Stackpole, STD
John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy

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We have seen so far that the New Testament does not substantially alter the Old Testament definition of Divine Mercy, but it does show us just how deep and all-encompassing God's merciful love for us really is.

Much of the message of Divine Mercy in St. Luke's gospel has its parallels in the other gospel accounts.

If the Son of God Himself is overflowing with merciful love, it is no wonder that the New Testament encourages everyone to place all their trust in Him, and in His heavenly Father.