|Hearts of Jesus and Mary: Archbishop Raymond Burke
The Revelation of Divine Mercy
Cardinal Raymond L. Burke
Written during his time as Archbishop of St. Louis
The Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday recalls the fullness of the revelation of God’s all-merciful love of us in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.These holiest of days in the Church Year mark the events by which our Lord won our salvation, making us heirs, with Him, of eternal life. They also make present for us, in a strong way, the abundant gifts of God’s immeasurable love,the gifts of His grace won for us by God the Son’s Suffering and Dying.
The fifty days of Easter, beginning with the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and concluding with His Sending of the Holy Spirit onPentecost, are filled with the recognition of how God continues to pour out His merciful love for us in His Son, our Lord, risen from the dead and alive for us in the Church. In the events of the Sacred Triduum, which culminate with the Resurrection, all time finds its meaning and every person of every time and place is embraced by the love of God. Christ, after he had risen from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God the Father, so that He might send the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and, through the Apostles, upon the whole Church. Through the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church, Christ is with us always, most especially in the Sacraments, until His return in glory on the Last Day.
Public Revelation and Private Revelation
In the last century, our Lord Jesus granted a private revelation to a Polish religious sister, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The purpose of the private revelation was to draw us to the fullness of the public revelation of the Father’s immeasurable love of us in His Incarnate Son. As with all private revelations, the private revelation to Sister Maria Faustina draws us to recognize the public revelation of God’s love in the Redemptive Incarnation of God the Son.
In the particular case of Sister Maria Faustina, the private revelation is centered upon the mercy of God. Sister Maria Faustina kept a meticulous record or diary of all that our Lord taught her about His immeasurable mercy toward us. It is entitled Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul and is available through the religious order of men, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, who are in charge of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Having studied the Diary and having returned often to reread its passages, I wholeheartedly urge you to obtain a copy for your daily spiritual reading and meditation.
Why the Private Revelation of Divine Mercy?
The private revelation of the immeasurable mercy of God toward us came at a time when many had lost hope. It was the time between World War I and World War II, a time of great disillusionment and suffering. It was also the time in which the godless philosophies of Rationalism and Atheistic Materialism (Marxism) had more and more insinuated themselves into the popular culture, leaving many with a sense that there was nothing beyond themselves and the material realities about them. The resulting forgetfulness of God and of His plan for us and our world leaves them without hope.
In response to man’s loss of hope, our Lord, in His infinite love, spoke to Sister Maria Faustina and revealed to her an image of Himself to remind us of His unfailing mercy. In the image, two streams of light, red and white in color, flow from the pierced Heart of Jesus. These streams represent the blood and water which flowed from the Heart of Jesus, when, after His death on the Cross, it was pierced by theRoman soldier’s spear. They symbolize the unceasing outpouring of divine grace from the glorious Heart of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. Under the image are inscribed the words: “Jesus, I trust in You.” These words are our prayer when we look upon the image of our Lord, Divine Mercy Incarnate.
Divine Mercy Chaplet and Divine Mercy Sunday
Through Sister Maria Faustina, our Lord asked that, each day, we recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 P.M., the hour of His death for our salvation. He also asked that we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, preceding the celebration with a novena to Divine Mercy, beginning on Good Friday. Those who devoutly participate in these devotions can only be filled with hope in God’s merciful love and strengthened against the temptations to discouragement and despair.
The one who most promoted the devotion to the Divine Mercy was our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II, first as Archbishop of Cracow and then as Roman Pontiff. Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Maria Faustina on April 18, 1993, and he canonized her a saint on April 30, 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter. During the homily of the Mass, he declared: “It is important 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’.” Since April 30, 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter also bears the name of Divine Mercy Sunday.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, the image of the Divine Mercy, revealed to Saint Faustina, is to be displayed in the church or chapel, and the homily is to be a reflection on the immeasurable mercy of God toward us. In order to participate fully in the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, the faithful are asked to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, and to cultivate interiorly a great trust in the mercy of God and to practice exteriorly acts of mercy, especially on behalf of brothers and sisters in most need. We should go to Confession on Divine Mercy Sunday itself or some days before Divine Mercy Sunday, so that we will be rightly disposed, that is, free of any mortal sin and from any attachment to sin, to receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday.
Regarding Divine Mercy Sunday, Saint Faustina records these words of our Lord to her: My daughter, 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. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.... 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, n. 699). Let us all draw near to the Fount of Divine Mercy in the Sacraments of Confession and, above all, the Holy Eucharist. Let us pray, in the coming days and especially during the Novena of Divine Mercy that all souls which have drifted away from our Lord will receive the grace of forgiveness and reconciliation with God and neighbor.
May you have a most blessed celebration of the Sacred Triduum. May the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday fill you with the peace which comes from the forgiveness of our sins and the joy which comes from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
On December 2, 2003, Bishop Burke was named Archbishop of St. Louis, succeeding Justin Cardinal Rigali. Archbishop Burke was installed in St. Louis on January 26, 2004, the fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's historic pastoral visit to the archdiocese. Pope John Paul II invested Archbishop Burke with the pallium on June 29, 2004, at the Basilica of St. Peter, in Rome. On June 27, 2008 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to Rome where he now serves as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and President of the Commission for Advocates.
Link to More Homilies of Archbishop Burke>>>
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