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Hear ye! Mercy is possible: Weekly Message for 10-03-2023
Dear Friends in Christ,
Two images that have come to adorn countless U.S. churches in recent decades have been those of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Divine Mercy.
The huge influx of immigrants from Mexico certainly had a big part in the Marian image’s spreading distribution. And the scientific investigations of the original 16th-century Guadalupe tilma have fueled the fascination.
The Divine Mercy image has its own interesting story, and its message is more readily grasped: No one should fear drawing close to Our Lord and imploring his mercy.
This week the Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Faustina, whose accounts of the apparitions of Jesus inspired the devotion to Divine Mercy. That an uneducated religious in a low-profile part of Europe would be a conduit for this devotion is fitting; for God tends to choose humble instruments to relay special messages.
St. Faustina died at the age of 33, less than a year before her native Poland became the venue for the start of the bloodiest conflict in history. World War II focused mankind’s attention on the struggles between armies and ideologies. Yet it was the message transmitted by St. Faustina that gained global attention in its own way — and offers an antidote to the world’s fixation on power and politics.
Her message is still something a wary world needs to hear: Mercy is possible for all of us, even the worst sinners.
It is God’s mercy that offers a cause for hope, even to those in their darkest moments. That mercy, which carried the ancient Israelites through countless difficulties, can sustain us, too.
To focus on that theme, it might be helpful to pray along with our Retreat Guide “Miracles of Mercy.”
And rest assured: Miracles still happen.
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor