Praise the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1).
The Church commemorates the great attribute of God this Sunday: His Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul II declared that the Sunday after Easter should focus especially on Divine Mercy. St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-38) received private revelations from Jesus while she was in her convent in Poland. He revealed that He wanted an image of Himself painted with “Jesus, I trust in You” as an icon of Divine Mercy. In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her that on Divine Mercy Sunday, “the very depths of My tender mercy are opened. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy” as “all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened” on this very day (Diary, 699).
What Jesus promised was that a “soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishments” (Diary, 699). Why is Divine Mercy Sunday, however, unique from all other days when we go to Confession? Confession absolves the eternal punishment due to our sins. However, normally, we still have temporal punishments that remain because we often do not have perfect contrition for our sins. We can often remain attached to our sins and return to them repeatedly just as St. Peter says, “‘a dog returns to its own vomit,’ and ‘A washed sow returns to wallow in the mud’” (2 Peter 2:22). What remits temporal punishment due to our own sins? A heart sincerely converted to the Lord with purity of intention through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in this life cleanses us of these punishments experienced as a plenary indulgence. In the next life, however, if those attachments still remain, to be fully purified to enter into God’s holiness, our soul will experience purgatory, a cleansing of those temporal ties that we did not rid ourselves of due to self-love, laziness, willful ignorance, love of the world, etc.
Because of our sins, we deserve only one destiny: eternal separation from God in hell. However, God does not give us what we deserve in strict justice only. We can be most thankful of that fact. The whole point of the Incarnation—the Son of God becoming man—was to offer us eternal union with God within His own family of the Blessed Trinity. The Son of God, Jesus, came to die for us so that we could have a life better with Him even than what Adam experienced before the Fall. God treats us much better than we deserve.
Therefore, we encourage everyone to take advantage of Jesus’ invitation to honor His Divine Mercy this Sunday and receive a full remission of both the eternal and temporal punishments due to our sins. The schedule is as follows:
- Saturday Confessions at 3:30-4:15 pm.
- Sunday Confessions at 1:30-2:30 pm.
- The Divine Mercy Chaplet (sung) at 3:00 pm in the Church. Confessions will be available after the Chaplet also.
May you have a most blessed and holy week!
Fr. Shawn William Cutler