By Rev Fr. Alphonus Obiekezie
SUNDAY 19TH APRIL IS DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY.
My dear people of God, in Latin, it is said that ‘Nemo dat quod non habet’: No one gives what he does not have’. You cannot show forth God’s mercy without first receiving it from God.
Jesus told St. Maria Faustina, ‘Tell sinners that no one shall escape my hand. If they run away from my merciful heart, they will fall into my just hands (Diary 1728). While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of mercy, let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them
We need to open our hearts to the mercy of God. God showers His mercy to the righteous soul and to the sinful soul. However, our Lord remarks, ‘I am more generous towards sinners than toward the just. It was for their sake that I came down from heaven. It was for their sake that my blood was spilled. Let them not fear to approach me, they are most in need of my mercy (Diary 1275).
The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are of great comfort to me. I pour all the treasures of my graces into them. (Diary 1578). The greatest sinners would achieve great sanctity, if only they would trust in my Mercy (Diary) 1784).
Jesus further declared to St. Maria Faustina, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to my mercy” (Diary 300). Mercy of God is the answer to the troubled world or tormented soul. Individual souls find peace by trusting in God’s Mercy. Peace for the nations and the world is not fully gained by summit meetings, stockpiling of arms or acquiring more material goods. The path to peace is found in opening ourselves to the Divine Mercy and being merciful to others.
Having received God’s unfathomable Mercy, we are expected to allow the mercy of God we have received to reach others. Thus, there will be mutual sharing of Divine mercy – which is a virtuous circle of Divine Mercy.
The response to Divine Mercy has to be manifested in the way we relate to God and to Mankind. Our Lord explained to St. Faustina, that faith alone would not suffice. There must also be acts of his mercy. Jesus told her, ‘Even the strongest faith will be of no use without good works (Diary 742).
As the mercy of God flows into us, it cleanses us, converts us so that we too can become merciful. Being filled with mercy ourselves, we allow that mercy to flow through us and towards God in thanksgiving and praise.
We have examples of great men and women in the scripture. Reception of God’s favours and good news goes with outburst of praise and thanksgiving: Think of Our Blessed Mother Mary (Mother of Mercy) Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna and others. They are very good examples in this regard.
Being filled with the mercy of God, we relate towards our neighbour in love and works of mercy. In this, we need to journey with God. God mostly inspires us into good actions towards our neighbour of which we would have become blind to their plight. Doing the work with God will help us to do the much we can, while leaving the rest for God. God provides for His creatures through various and mysterious ways.
Remember, God loves all His creatures and provides for them. Only that we can be instruments of His love and providence. We can through others, get help from God. This proper knowledge humbles us when others could get divine help through us. We glorify God for making us His instrument. It also discourages us from undue and improper attachment to worldy creatures.
Whenever we receive help from our neighbours, we should rather have full attachment to God who provides through human being. We should also understand the situation when God could not provide through the persons we expected to get help from. They may not give us the needed help due to one reason or the other. This instance reminds us of the need to rely and trust in the will of God always.
The scripture maintains, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mtt. 5: 7) Our Lord further told St. Faustina, “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy towards your neighbour: by deed, by words and by prayers. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy and it is an unquestionable proof of love for me. By this means, a soul glorifies and pays reverence to my mercy” (Diary 742).
The Church however has taught the works of mercy in two groups: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy still contains the three degrees of mercy. Jesus further charged us through St. Maria Faustina, “You are to show mercy to your neighbour always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it (Diary 742). We have to humble ourselves and trust in the Divine mercy”. (Diary 1074).
Jesus further assures; “When a soul approaches me with Trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but will radiate them to other souls. (Diary 1074).
So, let us make proper use of this opportunity to seek for Divine Mercy, trust in Jesus the mercy incarnate, appreciate the mercy of God, and then be the vessel of God’s mercy. Remember that the mercy of God has been in existence since creation. This could be attested to in the scripture, writings of the Church Fathers, “Rich in Mercy (1980) by St. John Paul II, and the Diary of St. Maria Faustina.
May we make constant recourse to the merciful saviour who is rich in mercy in our daily life. It will be of great value to us and others both in this world, and in the world to come.