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Archive for April, 2018

Divine Mercy

Almost everyone in the church has now heard about the Divine Mercy movement and revelations to a young uneducated nun, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, who was in a convent called the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the 1930s.

Saint Faustina experienced revelations and messages from Jesus that speak directly to our times, and they were published from her writings in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.  The Diary holds significant warnings for the hour mankind finds itself in:

Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice is near. (Diary Entry 965).

and

Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy … (Diary Entry 848).

Her many messages echo several of my own experiences of Jesus, accompanied by urgent exhortation messages for us to repent and amend our lives.  Messages such as:

TELL SOULS TO HAVE RECOURSE TO MY MERCY WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME FOR MERCY. I LOVE YOU AND YOU ARE MINE.” (Jesus to me – March 6, 2005)

and

My sweet and tender child of Mercy, write that I am in love with the world.” (Jesus – November 25, 2007) and REPENT!!! JUDGEMENT IS AT YOUR DOOR!!!” (Urgent, urgent, urgent narrated message from Jesus – June 12, 2008)

Jesus made clear the times we are now in when he said to St. Faustina:

Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy” (Diary Entry 1588)

Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD, Director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, based in Stockbridge Massachusetts, speaks here about the spread of the Divine Mercy message throughout the world, and its implications for our times; the spread of the gospel and the message of Divine Mercy that precedes the Second Coming of Jesus.

The use of technology and global communications in our time has done much to bring about the worldwide preaching of the gospel and the message of God’s unfathomable mercy.  However, certain areas of the world, such as China, remain difficult areas to evangelize. Jesus in Matthew 24 had much to say about the preaching of the gospel message to the whole world and the signs of the times:

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (New International Version)

In these verses Jesus refers to events that must come as the beginnings of birth pains.  It is as though the entire creation is groaning in the birthing of the sons and daughters of our Father, and until that time as the birthing process is complete, we all continue to labour – for the Kingdom – and for growth in ourselves in holiness.

A dream experience I had in January, 2010 illustrates both the joy and pain of the ‘birthing process’ as it relates to Divine Mercy, and I wonder at its symbolism regarding our Eastern brothers and sisters:

 I had a dream where I was in a large building.  I walked past a room where I heard sounds of what I thought was crying and lamenting.  The door was closed as I walked past it the first time, so I could not tell for sure what was occurring, but I knew it was a large labour room. 

I continued walking to the area I was supposed to be in, and found myself sitting in a chair with one of my Divine Mercy cenacle friends – her name was Collette (which means “Victorious People”).  We sat in something like meeting room chairs – waiting for something.

All of a sudden there was much excitement and activity.  Collette ran off in the direction of it.  I too began to get up and go find out what was occurring.

All of a sudden I realized I was in the Divine Mercy Centre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  I came into an adjoining room and realized there was much hoopla because the nuns of the Centre were on the move – marching in a procession to somewhere – as if for a special ceremony or Mass, and they were all dressed head to toe completely in white – not one speck of colour – full white habits.

I knew this first before seeing it because as I came into the room I saw Pope John Paul II.  He was at another entrance or doorway to this room I had come into and he stood completely opposite to me at opposite entrances to the same room.  I looked straight at him and he at me, but he did not speak.  His expression was neither joyful nor sorrowful, as I remembered it.  If I had to label it I would say it appeared ‘matter of fact’ – steady, even, plain and matter of fact.

Then I went outside, to the right, and saw the massive chapel of Stockbridge and saw the nuns then all processing outdoors in a courtyard or something – wearing their white robes for some special occasion – going I know not where, but getting ready for a big event.  Then I realized there were people – like people visiting on a pilgrimage – everywhere there!

I marvelled at how teeming this place was – the interest and excitement at whatever special thing was taking place there.

As I walked back to join the crowds and the procession, etc., I passed the same large birthing room I had passed with the closed door the first time.  This time the door was open and I saw and knew what the cries and lamenting were all about.  I saw an oriental mother had given birth to twins.  It had been a difficult birth, but I saw her standing and being supported by another lady – perhaps her mother, and I saw the twins on a delivery table of sorts.  The doctor was working on them and they appeared joined somehow, but alive.  I was relieved to know all the noise and pain was to give rise to this and not a stillbirth, as I had feared.  I then went outside to join the nuns, crowd & procession.

Upon awakening it did not surprise me to see that the image of JPII was in this dream about Divine Mercy, as the Centre in Stockbridge writes about his personal passion for the writings of St. Faustina, the inception of the movement, and the installation of the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the church:

Pope John Paul II, both in his teaching and personal life, strove to live and teach the message of Divine Mercy. As the great Mercy Pope, he wrote an encyclical on Divine Mercy:

“The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which it in a sense forms the image of this Pontificate.”

In his writings and homilies, he has described Divine Mercy as the answer to the world’s problems and the message of the third millennium. He beatified and canonized Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the nun associated with the message, and he did it in Rome and not in Poland to underscore that Divine Mercy is for the whole world.

Establishing Divine Mercy Sunday for the Entire Church
When Pope John Paul canonized Sr. Faustina (making her St. Faustina), he also, on the same day, surprised the entire world by establishing Divine Mercy Sunday (the feast day associated with the message) as a feast day for the entire Church. The feast day falls on the Second Sunday of the Easter season. On that day, Pope John Paul II declared, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

Entrusting the World to Divine Mercy
In 2002, the Pope entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy when he consecrated the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow in Poland. This is where St. Faustina’s mortal remains are entombed. The saint lived in a convent nearby. The Pope himself remembers as a young man working in the Solvay Quarry, just a few meters from the present-day Shrine. He also says that he had been thinking about Sr. Faustina for a long time when he wrote his encyclical on Divine Mercy. Further, the Holy Father has frequently quoted from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and has prayed The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy at the saint’s tomb.

Beyond the Life of John Paul II
Given all these connections to Divine Mercy and St. Faustina, is it any wonder that Pope John Paul II died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (the evening before the feast day), which fell that year on April 3?. It is also no surprise that the Great Mercy Pope left us a message for Divine Mercy Sunday, which was read on the feast day by a Vatican official to the faithful in St. Peter’s after a Mass that had been celebrated for the repose of the soul of the Pope.

Repeatedly Pope John Paul II has written and spoken about the need for us to turn to the mercy of God as the answer to the specific problems of our times. He has placed a strong and significant focus on the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout his pontificate that will carry the Church long after his death. “(www.thedivinemercy.org)

The movement of Divine Mercy was clearly a calling very close to the heart of our former Pontiff.  It is also a call that is close to my heart, though I have a feeling part of my overall ministry is to prepare the world for the future time of God’s justice as well.  This calling was the reason I joined a local Divine Mercy Cenacle, and continue to labour for the Kingdom with the work that Jesus has given me to do.

And so I leave you with this little meditation today, as we are in the period of the Novena to Divine Mercy.  Should you wish to join this Novena, please click the link & start praying (and play catch up from its start on Good Friday).  Also consider joining a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area, or reciting this prayer daily.  Our times demand that the faithful invest themselves in as much prayer as possible so that the Mercy of God be brought to those who desperately need to hear the message of Mercy.

Lastly, find out if your parish has a special celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, coming up next Sunday on April 8th.  God bless you this Easter Season!

Karen

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