This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Since mercy is kind of my thing, I figure I should write about it. Only, all I can think of are answers to the question, how did mercy become my thing? Mid-life crisis? PTSD? Exposure to pesticides?
I have other things I am passionate about including cats, dogs, and color-stay lipstick. Unlike mercy, those things make sense to me.
For most of my life, mercy felt above me like one of those words at the top of the hierarchy that I could never reach. It was like the incense used during Holy Days that rose to meet the cherubs at the top of cathedrals. It was an enigma, because I never took the time to contemplate what it meant, how it’s shown, and its source from which salvation hinges.
Now I understand that mercy isn’t just my thing, it’s all of ours. It never rose to the spires of churches, it descended from the heavens reaching down to each of us. It’s forgiveness, do-overs, compassion, and kindness. I have been on the giving and receiving ends of these things my entire life, but I didn’t always recognize it as mercy.
I knew the relief from the burden of sorrow when shown forgiveness. I knew the hope of having another chance. I knew the tenderness of comfort and the warmth of simple kindness. I knew giving these things to others always made me feel better, taught me more about who I am, and had significance unlike anything on my to-do list.
Without mercy, I know I would have no shot getting into heaven. Mercy is like the golden ticket from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It gets you access to the most magical place if you choose to redeem it, practice it, and share it.
Saint Faustina had a special devotion to divine mercy and joined the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Crackow, Poland. She came from a poor farming family in Poland who struggled terribly during World War I. Growing up, she had only three years of rudimentary education. That fascinates me, because I have tried to read her diary and it’s challenging, either proving its divine nature or my devolving brain. Still, I love to read quotes from the notebooks compiled into her diary about the visions of Jesus she had.
In her diary, Saint Faustina wrote the words that Jesus spoke to her, “This Feast emerged from the very depths of my mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it” (420).
I believe and trust in his mercy, because at some point my eyes were opened to it. That has been a game-changer for me beyond my recognition of the genius of color-stay lipstick. It became my thing not because it was suddenly available to me, but because I finally recognized it as having always been there, rescuing, comforting, and offering me redemption despite my unworthiness.
Saint Faustina also acknowledges the importance of works of mercy in her diary. “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere” (742).
So maybe you’ve never considered mercy your thing before. Consider it now. Like Saint Faustina wrote, consider it “always and everywhere.”
Have you heard of Divine Mercy Sunday? Do you do anything special to honor it?
Miss last week’s post? Read more about Saint Faustina https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=510 and Divine Mercy Sunday http://www.divinemercysunday.com/