God is truly at work today in an amazing way.
First of all, I write this to you on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, which I am sure you all know well about: an unprecedented day on which all Catholics who receive Communion and go to Confession
(within 8 days before or after it) (Edit: it appears I have been mistaken in this regard; Confession actually does not have to be within so strict a time period. Just be a regulary confessing Catholic — i.e., in a state of grace. God is really trying to make it easy for us to become saints today!!) are essentially given the grace of a true second Baptism. I hope you all take full advantage of this promise given to St. Faustina!
But I also write to you having just finished reading the Papal Bull pronouncing the upcoming Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.
I am sure that the placement of this Holy Year rightly strikes many of you immediately for what it is:a prophetic Sign of the Times. But allow me to go into more detail:
- It is obvious that this Holy Year is all about not just the notion of mercy in general, but precisely St. Faustina’s revelations. Pope Francis could have announced this Holy Year whenever he wanted to, but he specifically chose the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, which arises entirely from St. Faustina’s revelations. Furthermore he specifically says, in the Papal Bull, “I am especially thinking of the great apostle of mercy, Saint Faustina Kowalska. May she, who was called to enter the depths of divine mercy, intercede for us and obtain for us the grace of living and walking always according to the mercy of God and with an unwavering trust in his love..” (Paragraph 24)
- This Holy Year is all about the “Door of Mercy.” What is meant by this is absolutely unambiguous to anyone familiar with St. Faustina’s writings; for in them, Jesus says “…before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice...” (paragraph 1146)
- Similarly, Jesus said to Faustina “Before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens … This will take place shortly before the last day.” (paragraph 83)
- It is indeed true that the “Holy Door” is always associated with any Holy Year. But it is so especially this Jubilee year in an extraordinary way. Pope Francis is instituting a literal “Door of Mercy” to be opened at every single Cathedral in the world, using precisely those words used in the prophecy given to St. Faustina. So please keep in mind what Jesus said about the “door of My mercy” to St. Faustina (and what comes next), when you see the following quotes from today’s Papal Bull:
- “I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.” (paragraph 3)
- “I will announce that in every local Church, at the cathedral … a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at any Shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion. Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal.”(paragraph 3)
- That this Holy Year will begin on the Immaculate Conception of 2015 and end on Christ the King of 2016 makes it all the more a Sign. We know that it is by Mary’s Immaculate Heart that the Triumph will be won; and yet this victory is really a victory for Christ the King, who will at long last have dominion over this Earth by way of the Reign of the Divine Will of His Father.
- “The Jubilee year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew” (Paragraph 5)
- Some cynics will say “Really this Holy Year is all just a ploy to encourage sacrilegious Communions through the Synod of the Family.” But those who would classify this Holy Year of Mercy as nothing but a piece in the puzzle of the Synod have the funnel pointed in the wrong direction, and they do not understand our Holy Father. First of all, Jubilee years only happen every few decades; Synods happen every few years. Jubilees are far more important. But more importantly still, our Holy Father has an extremely prophetic view of his mission. Consider that he consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, and consecrated the world to her Immaculate Heart. Please don’t fall into ecclesiastical worldliness by looking at everything through the lens of whatever Church discord is getting the most headlines any particular month.
Also in his Papal Bull, Pope Francis speaks of his plan and his desire to send out “Missionaries of Mercy.” It appears that he is yet to reveal exactly the entirety of what he means by that. In paragraph 18, he writes “During Lent of this Holy Year, I intend to send out Missionaries of Mercy. They will be a sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breadth of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer.” (emphasis added).
So these Missionaries of Mercy will indeed include priests with special powers of absolution granted, but the wording does not seem to indicate that those priests are the only “Missionaries of Mercy” he is referring to. Regardless of what he does or does not mean, this is precisely what I have been trying to do with the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy for over a year now in my home city of Albany, NY. Again I invite anyone interested in responding to and anticipating our Holy Father’s call to consider participating in this apostolate; you can read more about it at its own website, www.DWMoM.org.
Also with the theme of mercy, and especially as it pertains to the DWMoM group, I have just received another shipment of 10,000 Mercy Evangelization cards. I’ll gladly mail them out to whomever would use them in batches of about 100. If you’d like a batch, just fill out the forms on this page: http://dwmom.org/request-evangelization-cards-2/
I will close here by presenting the final paragraph of the Papal Bull (with emphasis added): “I present, therefore, this Extraordinary Jubilee Year dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy. She knows that her primary task, especially at a moment full of great hopes and signs of contradiction, is to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplating the face of Christ. The Church is called above all to be a credible witness to mercy, professing it and living it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ. From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people approach it. Every time someone is in need, he or she can approach it, because the mercy of God never ends. The profundity of the mystery surrounding it is as inexhaustible as the richness which springs up from it.”
So this, dear friends, is how we must respond to the unprecedented graces about to flow out upon the Church and the world: using them to Live in the Divine Will and spread the Divine Mercy. Not to worry about prognostications, timetables, or physical preparations. Not to get caught up in discord within the Church or the World. And most definitely not to become lukewarm or self-centered. This is the time to focus like never before on building up treasures in Heaven; for the time for doing so is about to draw to a close, never to return for all eternity. This is truly the Time of Mercy. But it is becoming abundantly clear that there are only a few grains of sand left in the hourglass for this Time.
More on the Divine Mercy:
More on the Divine Will:
Update 7/5/2015: Mark Mallet beautifully drew this same parallel in a post a month before this one here: http://www.markmallett.com/blog/opening-wide-the-doors-of-mercy/