Divine Mercy — Really?

Jesus knows what you have suffered. He has suffered it with you. You are not alone. You never were. Whatever anyone has done to the least among us has done the same to Jesus.

By Chris Sparks

In a world at war with Christ and His Church, it can be easy to wonder why Divine Mercy is the answer, not divine justice. 

Our Christian brethren are in the midst of such tremendous suffering around the world, as veteran journalist John Allen documents in The Global War on Christians, and have been for the past century and a half. Wars rage on many continents. Poverty continues to cause tremendous suffering around the world. Addiction, lack of access to medical care, or other such evils plague far too many of our brothers and sisters, problems made worse by crime, oppression, or other such social ills. 

As ever, the world, the flesh, and the devil are at war with Christ and the Church today. Far too many in the media, the educational system, and our cultural elites deride faith, hope, and love, and propagate skepticism, consumerism, and moral mediocrity instead – poisoning countless souls every day!

On and on the list runs.

Why this promise?
Why, in the midst of so many emergencies, would Jesus tell St. Faustina, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 300)?

Why this promise?

The Lord said to me, My daughter, do not tire of proclaiming My mercy. In this way you will refresh this Heart of Mine, which burns with a flame of pity for sinners. Tell My priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak (Diary, 1521).

Or this, one of the most mysterious and extraordinary phrases in the entire Diary

The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy (Diary, 723).

Why proclaim mercy to a world that seems to dig itself deeper into sin, crime, and evil with each passing day?

The answer, of course, is in the sign of the Cross. 

Salvation, not destruction
Heaven’s greatest answer to sin is salvation, not destruction. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). Fallen nature on its own has no hope; with the grace of God, all things become possible. We need rescue first before we can begin to improve things on earth.

Imagine you are a parent of children who have climbed too high in a tree and gotten stuck. What good would beginning with punishment do? You need to rescue the children first, and then you can figure out what needs to be done to make sure they don’t do it again.

Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life (Rom 5:10). 

Once we have the grace of God, how much more will all our efforts be effective? How much more powerful will our works be when united to the life and love of God? This is the central insight of the Christian classic Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Chautard; this is the secret of the saints, and of the supernatural effectiveness of their words and works.

The answer
Divine Mercy is the answer, even to missiles flying overhead and bullets in the air, because the way to set things right isn’t simply to punish those who are wrong. God holds us in existence with His merciful love. And all things being held in existence by merciful love can be set right by that same merciful love. 

This can be hard to hear when you’re suffering, or in pain, or the victim of the evils of the world, the flesh, and the devil. It’s only bearable because God isn’t asking us for anything He didn’t go through. 

The mystics tell us that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus didn’t just sweat blood in anticipation of suffering to come. No. He was loaded down with all the sin of the world, past, present, and future. He took it on. He suffered it. His whole divine and human natures revolted against it, and yet He bore it. He went to His Cross bearing it. 

He knows what you have suffered. He has suffered it with you. You are not alone. You never were. Whatever anyone has done to the least among us has done the same to Jesus. 

Join with Our Lady
So as we approach the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on Sept. 15, let’s remember that Jesus bore all things, as Love does (see 1 Cor 13:7). Let’s remember that our Lord and Our Lady know the full price of Divine Mercy, the full burden of being merciful to our neighbors, who may also be our enemies.

Let us remember that we are not asked to bear any burden that God has not. Let us turn to Our Lady of Sorrows for her intercession, that we may have the grace and strength in these difficult times to be the face, hands, and feet of Divine Mercy in the world.

Pray for me, that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.

Chris Sparks is the Senior Writer/Editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

Illustration by Phancamellia245/Wikicommons
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