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Friday, April 9, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday - First Sunday After Easter

Divine Mercy Sunday
First Sunday After Easter

Sacrament of Confession
Plenary Indulgence
The Connection

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

Divine Mercy is God’s desire to forgive our sins and to reconcile us with the Father and with one another. God’s unconditional love and divine mercy was communicated by Jesus Himself to a Polish nun, Sr. Faustina Kawalska. In one message to Sr. Faustina Jesus said, “I desire that there be a feast of mercy I want this on the first Sunday after Easter, that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.”

Our Lord made several revelations to St. Faustina during the thirteen years she lived in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. In one our Lord asked for special prayer and meditation on His Passion each afternoon at the three o’clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross. This was the hour of His greatest mercy. St. Faustina kept a record of Our Lord’s words in her Diary.

On February 22, 1931 St. Faustina saw Jesus “clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of a blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment….there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale……Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, ...throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory…..I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy….on the first Sunday after Easter….I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me.’” (St. Faustina Diary, 47, 48, 49)

Jesus spoke again to St. Faustina on September 24, 1936 saying, “Tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. …The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” (St. Faustina Diary, 699)

Sr. Faustina was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II, the second Sunday of Easter April 30, 2000, becoming the first person canonized in the 3rd millennium. During his homily, John Paul II declared: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”

By “the whole message,” Pope John Paul II was referring to the connection between the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the unconditional divine mercy of God, or in other words the connection between the Easter Mystery of the Redemption and the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave Day of Easter.

There are two decrees issued by the Holy See regarding the Feast of Divine Mercy. The first states that the normal readings for that Sunday are always to be used. The readings already used on that Sunday were perfect, reflecting mercy, trust and the forgiveness of sin.

In Pope John Paul II homily that first Divine Mercy Sunday he quoted from the Responsorial Psalm and Gospel read that day, "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love [unconditional love or mercy] endures forever" (Ps 118:1). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ's lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room[institution of the Sacrament of Confession]: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (Jn 20:21-23).

The second decree issued August 3, 2002 by Apostolic Penitentiary is for the plenary indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is the duty of priests to inform parishioners of this plenary indulgence and hear confessions.

“A plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus.”

“For those who cannot go to church (soldiers, seriously ill, or those who care for them)….may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus.” (Apostolic Penitentiary August 3, 2002)

Lord You meet me in my pain and suffering
You heal my wounds
You cover my sins
You release me from my bondage
and You flood me with your love
Thank You for Your incredible gift of Mercy
Jesus I Trust in You

Divine Mercy Sunday a Momboisse Family tradition since 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday Part 2: Why Confess to a Priest?
Divine Mercy Sunday Part 3: Indulgences
Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet

For items related to Divine Mercy Sunday
 please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures.

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