View all Novenas | April 9, 2020
A Divine Mercy Meditation Novena – Day 2
Day 2 – The Dance with Mercy Begins
This Russian Divine Mercy icon was originally
produced by Mount Tabor Studios
A little history about St. Faustina can help us on our journey. In June of 1924, a town festival was held in Łódź Venice Park. It was near the home of St. Faustina, who recently, due to poverty and family resistance, had given up on her hopes of becoming a religious sister.
During the evening music and dancing St. Faustina was trying to convince herself that she could be happy living the life she saw around her. At some point during the evening she somewhat reluctantly accepted the invitation of a young man to dance. But even so, she narrates that her soul was experiencing “deep anguish” (Divine Mercy in My Soul #8). It is this moment that would change her life forever.
As St. Faustina began to dance, she suddenly found herself face to face with Jesus himself. He appeared to be in his Sacred Passion, covered in wounds and racked with pain. Jesus looked at her and said: How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off? (Divine Mercy in My Soul #9)
St. Faustina relates that for her the music stopped and the festival and dancing faded away. Only Jesus and St. Faustina remained. She doesn’t relate how long this encounter lasted, only that after a time she withdrew from the dance and had to sit down. When asked by her sister why she wasn’t dancing, she feigned a headache. Alone and separated from the festivities, St. Faustina made her choice to answer Jesus, who was silently inviting her to be with him. She left the dance floor and never returned.
A very important element in the painting is that Jesus is walking towards the viewer. He is advancing, on the move, wanting to approach us. And this is one of the secrets of Divine Mercy!
In the Prodigal Son story from the Gospel of Luke, the father leaves the house and goes out to find and meet the wayward son. The father did not wait for the son to return and grovel at his feet for mercy. Jesus, like the father, approaches us first and is on the lookout for us. Jesus wants to meet us where we are and invites us to take a step forward with him. That is what the advancing steps of Jesus in the painting mean: We are so loved and mercy is so great, it pursues us! Mercy and forgiveness are always there for the asking.
We are called to imitate Jesus as apostles of mercy. An apostle of mercy does more than just pray the chaplet and carry an image of Jesus in their wallet. Divine Mercy is a spirituality – a way of life and a gift for the Church. It takes the form of love for God and love for neighbor. Where might Jesus be coming to meet me today?
Today Jesus asks us to pray for priests and religious brothers and sisters. Here is one of St. Faustina’s prayers:
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. (…)
May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me” (Divine Mercy in My Soul #163).