It's Divine Mercy Sunday. Today we're reminded of the outpouring of mercy and grace given to us by Christ from His Most Sacred Heart. His appearances to Saint Faustina left us with a beautiful testimony of just how much Jesus wants us to turn to Him and live in His Mercy. Oftentimes we fear God's judgment, but Jesus reminds us through St. Faustina that "mercy is the greatest attribute of God." As Catholics, we're called to emulate Christ in every way, but most especially His mercy. However, it's so much easier to judge than it is to forgive. So what do we do?
I think that sometimes, we put forth what we feel like we're receiving, and as humans, it's easy to focus more on the negative than on the positive a lot of the time. So, how does this trickle down into our interactions with other people? If our mind is always set on the judgment or often what we perceive as punishment of God, we begin to feel as though this judgment should also be passed on to others. We cannot, however, live life solely focused on those things which are meant to positively correct our souls through a lens of pride and fear. When we do this, we breed fear and pass it on to those around us. This kind of mindset is what leads those outside of the Church to see the faithful as judgemental, and oftentimes we hear the question "If God is so good, why is everything the Church says about me bad?" If we champion only for justice, the people we attempt to call to Christ will not believe in mercy. Pride can tell us that mercy is designed only for us, only for those who follow Christ's teaching.
This could not be further from the truth! God's mercy is for everyone, and Jesus has a special love for those who are not yet a part of His fold. The Novena of Divine Mercy is designed especially for those who are further away from Christ than we are. For each of the nine days, Jesus gave Saint Faustina a different intention, and they are as follows: All mankind, especially sinners; the souls of priests and religious; all devout and faithful souls; those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus; the souls who have separated themselves from the Church; the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children; the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy; the souls detained in purgatory; and souls who have become lukewarm. Do you see the focus on those who have strayed from the Truth? We as Catholics are called to love, and to especially love "the least of these."
Christ's Mercy is immeasurable, and we should "have fear of nothing", but fully rest in the hope and love of Our Lord. It's easy to be frustrated with our circumstances. It's easy to feel frustrated at those around us, especially those who annoy us, hurt our feelings, or make us question our faith. It is easy to pass judgment. Jesus tells Saint Faustina: “My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for my kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone. I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing. Take the vessel of trust and draw from the fountain of life – for yourself, but also for other souls, especially such as are distrustful of My goodness."
We are not alone and we are covered in Christ's Love and Mercy, which flows from his side like blood and water. There is an outpouring of this Love and we are called to be channels of this ocean of Mercy, giving water to those deprived of love and hope. The gifts we have received are meant to be given. Christ will not give us more than we can handle. Rather, He gives us that very trust we have in Him so that we can share His message of Love. On this Feast of Divine Mercy, may we emulate Him who has given us the greatest gift of all.