The second Sunday of Easter is celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday in the Roman Catholic Church. Divine Mercy Sunday was promoted by St. Faustina Kowalska, whom St. John Paul II canonized on Arpil 30, 2000. The devotion to the Divine Mercy is a perennial invitation for us to face, with confidence in goodness, the shortcomings of both the present and the future. It is a devotion to Jesus Christ that is associated with reputed apparitions of the Lord to St. Faustina Kowalska. The devotion and the venerated image under this Christological title refers to the unlimited merciful love of God towards his people. Sr. Kowalska was granted the title “Secretary of Mercy” by the Holy See in the Jubilee year of 2000 by Pope John Paull II.
Sr. Kowalska reported a number of apparitions during religious ecstacy which she wrote in her personal diary. The diary was later published as the book “Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.” The three main themes of this devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ’s abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God’s mercy towards them. Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, had a great affinity for Divine Mercy devotion and authorized this on the Sunday after Easter.
With the command of our Lord to paint an image according to the pattern that Sr. Faustina had seen, came also a request to have this image venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel, and then throughout the whole world. The same is true with the revelations of the Chaplet. The Lord Jesus requested that the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy be said not only by Sr. Faustina, but also by others. Jesus said to Sr. Faustina: “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet that I have given you.”
“The Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnity be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy.” These requests of the Lord given to Sr. Faustina between 1931 and 1938 can be considered the beginning of the Divine Mercy Message and its Devotions.
The message of Divine Mercy began to spread throughout the world through the efforts of Sr. Faustina’s spiritual directors, Fr. Michael Sopocko and Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ, and others – including the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It is a powerful reminder of who God is and has been from the very beginning. This truth that God is in his very nature love and mercy itself, is given to us by our Judeo-Christian faith and God’s self-revelation.
May we always obtain the mercy of God, as we journey in the land of the living. Let us pray together: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” May God graciously bless us all.