Mercy: You’re never too far gone

I’ve loved the Divine Mercy message revealed to Saint Faustina for years but, like many truths of the faith, it took a concrete incident for me to “get it.” I used to do nursing home ministry and that, more than anything, taught me about poverty and God’s love.

Feeling Unworthy

Helen had been turning down our offers to visit with her. We knew from the staff that she was Catholic and wanted to as least offer her the chance to receive communion. Finally, our perseverance paid off and she agreed to talk to us.  We found her to be a lovely, though slightly confused, woman.

When the time came to offer her communion we found out that Helen had a resistance to more than our visits; she was resisting the Lord’s love.  She refused the Eucharist because she didn’t feel worthy to receive it, although she had no serious sin on her conscience.

Suddenly, I got it: the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, the message of Divine Mercy.  It all made sense. This is what our Lord means when He speaks of souls rejecting Him.  My heart was pierced in the tiniest way by the pain of His Sacred Heart.

Distrust hurts God’s heart

Here is just one example of what Jesus told St. Faustina:  “The flames of mercy are burning me.  I desire to pour them our upon human souls.  Oh, what pain they cause Me what they do not want to accept them!” (Diary of St. Faustina 1074)

Another time Jesus pleaded with her to spread the message of His mercy: “Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace.” (1074)

While my puny human expectations settled for months of working with Helen to overcome these feelings of unworthiness, Jesus decided to reveal the miracles of His mercy to us.  Just one week after our first visit with Helen we saw her again.

Open the Door to Mercy

When it came time to offer her communion, I have to admit my expectations were low.  Once again, she began to protest, saying she wasn’t sure she was ready.  Unlike last time though, she asked me directly if I thought she was worthy to receive.  I looked her in the eyes, and with confidence, allowed Jesus to speak His mercy and love into her broken heart.  She believed me and I rejoiced with all of heaven as Helen received the Blessed Sacrament that day!

The Lord cannot be outdone in generosity so we continued to see the Lord’s grace operate in Helen.  I truly believe that once she received communion once He was able to pour oceans of grace into her soul.  The next time we visited her, there was no hesitation when we asked if she wanted to receive communion.  When I held up the host and said “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…” she looked directly at it and her fact lit up.  I swear she was seeing Jesus. Helen is blind in one eye and can’t see well in the other!! Now in Mass and adoration I ask to see what she sees.

A Day of Mercy

I tell this story because this is an illustration of the graces that are available on Divine Mercy Sunday and all the time.  If we open the door just a crack for Jesus, He will flood our lives with the ocean of His mercy.  In fact, as the gospel illustrates today, Jesus can even walk through locked doors!  The message of Divine Mercy tells us that Jesus longs to pour out His mercy on all, especially the most hardened of sinners.
Here are some of the graces that Jesus promised would be available on this day and what He desired this Feast of Mercy to be:

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.” (Diary 699)

Mercy is Available to Everyone

Perhaps like Helen, you feel too unworthy or too sinful to approach the Lord today. This could be a lie of the evil one.   It is because of our sin that we need His mercy and the more sinful, the more broken you are, the more you deserve His mercy!  He longs, desires to love you, to pour out His mercy upon you.  The Sacrament of Confession is the Fount of Mercy and this is where we find healing, grace and peace.  If you have been afraid of coming to the Lord this is the first step back.

So, have mercy on Him, on our dear Beloved Savior, relieve the suffering of His heart, and allow the “waves of His infinite tenderness”(St. Therese) to overwhelm you.

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