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Divine Mercy — Essential to the New Evangelization

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By Fr. Andy Davy, MIC (Jun 7, 2019)
Benedict XVI once said:

If ever man's sense of being accepted and loved by God is lost, then there is no longer any answer to the question whether to be a human being is good at all...Where doubt over God becomes prevalent, then doubt over humanity follows inevitably...We see [this doubt] in the joylessness, in the inner sadness, that can be read on so many human faces today.

Mankind is out of balance. It has lost the sense of its purpose because it doubts whether there is a God who loves and cares about humanity. The New Evangelization, Benedict XVI reminds us, is receiving afresh the "good news" that Jesus proclaimed to the poor (see Luke 4:18). The poor who doubt in their own lovability. And we are that poor. This poverty of joylessness and hopelessness runs deep within our society — we have only to look at the number of teen suicides that increase exponentially year after year!

As a response to this poverty, our Lord told St. Faustina these words:

Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people]...that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1074).

In order to break through the walls of such profound doubt and despair, we must be "struck by something utterly unexpected," as Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, puts it in Divine Mercy Explained: Keys to the Message and Devotion (Marian Press) — a beautiful "good news" that can take our breath away with the hope that we are accepted and loved by God. Jesus wants us to "snuggle" our aching hearts next to his heart!

In this key passage and countless others within the written experiences of St. Faustina that form the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska (Marian Press) as well through practicing the various forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy, millions of people have discovered a God who loves them, is close to them, and has given His life for them personally.

This personal encounter with God frees them from fear, and enables them to become "living reflections" of mercy toward others. When this occurs, the fruits of joy, love, peace, and forgiveness start to be seen in radical ways within the lives of these "apostles of mercy," and the moral signs and wonders that so powerfully marked the life of the early Church are seen once again, drawing more and more people to an encounter with the Merciful Heart of Jesus. This is what Divine Mercy theologian Robert Stackpole, STD, calls being "infected" by God's mercy!

The Divine Mercy message and devotion has been in recent years a core instrument for the New Evangelization in the Church. It provides a remedy for our broken humanity, equipping men and women to bring mercy into the world by first encountering the Divine Mercy Himself, Jesus Christ. As 1 Jn 4:19 states: "We love, because he first loved us."

Father Andy Davy, MIC, is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Plano, Illinois.

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Jason - Jun 8, 2019

This is a GREAT article Fr. Andy! The passage 1074 is fraught with insight and direction for us. Thank you for drawing out its significance!