Indeed, it begins. Today marks the first day in the Holy Year of Mercy.
Permit me to remind you that this extraordinary Jubilee (Holy) Year is truly unprecedented — although the Church has been proclaiming Holy Years every few decades for over 700 years, during which a Holy Door is opened in Rome, in this particular Holy Year, a Holy Door will be opened in every single diocese in the entire world. These Holy Doors, proclaimed by the authority of the Vicar of Christ, will all become “Doors of Mercy” (I quote verbatim from the Bull of Indiction) on this upcoming Sunday (December 13th).
And so, starting this Sunday, every person throughout the entire world will have the opportunity to literally, physically “pass through the door of mercy.”
“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…” – Jesus to St. Faustina
A mere coincidence? Doubtful. Pope Francis explicitly acknowledged St. Faustina in this very same Bull of Indiction. Make no mistake about it: the Holy Father knows what he is doing. And I dare say he knows what is coming upon this world, though he is being very careful not to be too explicit with this knowledge so as to not cause the wrong type of a response. Consider as well that he has consecrated his Papacy to Our Lady of Fatima (the prophecies of which have not yet been completely fulfilled). He has urged us to read Lord of the World (an apocalyptic novel written by a priest about the rise of the Antichrist). His every decision smacks of unrivaled urgency — even (and especially) those things he does that might not be the most prudent. He does them, despite the risk of their potentially scandalous nature, because he is the primary laborer of the Final Harvest and he knows that time is incredibly short to open up hearts so they may receive the Divine Mercy when the long-prophesied events come. The mere existence of this Papacy (and the conditions that brought it about) is another unprecedented Sign of the Times: Pope Benedict knew it as well. That is why he earlier called for the Year of Faith (though it was not an Extraordinary Jubilee) — during which we would focus on the Catechism — because he knew that never before seen diabolical confusion (see 2 Thessalonians) was inundating the Church, and was about to inundate the Church even more explosively. (Hold fast to every single solitary word of the Catechism, my friends.) And perhaps I need to remind you that Pope St. John Paul II knew full well. He said: “We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.”
Back to Holy Years. These Jubilee Years happen every 25 years, and have been happening every 25 years (unless prevented by political discord) since the 1400s, although they started the preceding century. Such Holy Years are called “ordinary” Jubilees. It would therefore be foolish to read a prophetic meaning to something that is a mere mathematical certainty. But Extraordinary Universal Jubilees (like this Holy Year of Mercy) are quite different: by their nature they are of extreme importance considering the time at hand [with one odd exception whereby Pius XI called one to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination]. Unfortunately it is difficult to find records of the Extraordinary Jubilees before the 1900s, but we do know that Pius IV called one in the 1500s to beg God’s grace upon the Council of Trent in response to the splintering of Christianity from the Protestant Reformation. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed two in the 1880s as the Church in Rome was in the midst of so many trials (so great was the distress for the Church in Rome that three of that century’s four the Ordinary Jubilees — which had been happening for 400 years at that point — could not even be held). The last two Extraordinary Jubilee Years were proclaimed (in 1933 and 1983) in order to mark the 1,900th and the 1,950th anniversaries of Redemption. Paul VI called a partial year Jubilee to celebrate the Second Vatican Council upon its closure. St. Pius X called one for a few months to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
So why am I bringing that all up?
Because this particular Extraordinary Universal Jubilee Year is utterly unique not only in the way I have already pointed out (regarding Holy Doors being opened everywhere in the world), but in that no one knows what exactly it is a response to. The only clear reason given in the Bull of Indiction was that this is a time in which “we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.” (paragraph 3)
Now if you are an enemy of the Pope inside the Church, then you have a very simple answer: “The Pope is inflamed with pride and just wants more attention.” Or “The Pope is calling our attention to ‘Mercy’ as a demonic ploy to change Church teaching on sacrilegious Communion.”
But if you are a good Catholic who has not utterly lost his mind and set himself up against the Vicar of Christ, then you really, it seems, can only come to one conclusion:
This Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a direct response to Pope Francis’ God-given insight that the Time of Mercy is on the brink of ending, and we must now hold nothing back in proclaiming the Divine Mercy.
I’m sorry, but just thinking that Mercy is a good thing and that now would be a nice time to be a little more enthusiastic in proclaiming it would never be sufficient to motivate the Holy Father to proclaim a Universal Extraordinary Jubilee Year.
Consider as well the beginning and ending days of this Holy Year: today, the great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and next year, the Solemnity of Christ the King, respectively. Both of these great Feasts bear the aura of the Triumph of God — the Reign of the Divine Will; the former in its true initiation, the latter in its true fulfillment.
So can we therefore be certain that this Holy Year will be the world’s last chance at the Divine Mercy before the Divine Justice — the Great Chastisements prophesied by countless saints and above all by the Book of Revelation — will fall upon the earth immediately after it, or at least gradually after it leading up to the great 2,000th Jubilee of Redemption? Of course not.
But every sign seems to be indicating that this is a very realistic possibility.
So this is what I exhort, plea, urge, and beg each of you: prayerfully consider making use of this Holy Year for the Coming of the Kingdom like you have never made use of any year before.
I am not advising imprudence. Do not do anything you will regret if the world somehow manages to limp on in its current state for a couple more decades. So continue to honorably fulfill the duties of your state in life. Continue to pay your bills (including debts you owe on loans). Continue to do your job diligently. If you are a student, continue to work diligently and strive for good grades. Above all, be a good spouse and parent, if that is what you are: this is your vocation, and therefore your path to holiness.
But I am exhorting you to consider this: giving the Coming of the Kingdom the benefit of the doubt — at least for this year. Let it be the sole objective of your life. Some concrete ways of doing so could include:
- Is there some daily or weekly undertaking that you could give up and replace with more prayer or works of mercy? Perhaps a television show, a movie-watching routine, a text-conversation habit, a high-maintenance friendship that is not edifying for either party involved, a sports team overzealously followed, an unnecessary news-checking habit… *Or maybe all of the above.* (Don’t be easy on yourself with this. Examine your daily routine and cut out the fat. We are soldiers, and we must act like it.)
- If so, consider giving it up, or at least decreasing its frequency, and replacing it with a daily or weekly:
- Always have Divine Mercy Evangelization cards on you, ready to hand out to people or simply place in various locations. We have more on hand and will be happy to send them out as long as we can! Just request them here if you think you might use them.
- I would like to extend an invitation to anyone interested: Feel free join me at the Albany DWMoM (Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy) group’s weekly meetings. Every Sunday — starting the first Sunday of the Year of Mercy (that is, December 13th) — at 3:00pm (Eastern Time) (edit: This Sunday we’ll be starting at 4:00pm to allow local people to first go to the Albany Cathedral’s Holy Door opening Mass). These meetings will be at my home, but we’re planning to host them online as well so that anyone who wishes to join us in prayer can do so remotely. This will be both a Divine Will/Divine Mercy prayer group and a group dedicated to discussing the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy and Living in the Divine Will. The link to join these meetings will be available at the www.DWMoM.org website, which you can simply click on Sundays at 3pm.
- Have you been feeling called out of a stressful job situation because it demands too much of your time? Perhaps now is the time to work a more reasonable, even if lower-paying, job.
- Perhaps you could put off plans of worldly ambition, at least for this year: seeking career promotions, bigger houses, lucrative investments, additional (unneeded) educational degrees, etc.
- Perhaps you have a large amount of free time due to the status of your state in life; retired, in-between jobs yet financially stable, able to pay the bills without many hours of work a week, or whatever else. Consider dedicating yourself in an extraordinary way, this year, to the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy.
- Discerning your vocation, and very unsure as to what your calling is? Perhaps you could put off zealously trying to figure it out this year, and instead simply “go with the flow” that God gives to your life, while dedicating yourself to Living in the Divine Will and Proclaiming the Divine Mercy.
Aim for daily, where possible. What is most important in life should be a daily occurrence. And — as if this weren’t already true! — the Holy Year puts plainly before our eyes the simple fact that Evangelization, taking its most important form of Proclaiming the Divine Mercy, is of the utmost importance.
But remember that prayer is indeed the greatest Work of Mercy. Do not be anxious if some given day, or week, or perhaps even month, you simply cannot go out and do works of mercy. Intercessory prayer every day is more than sufficient in such scenarios. What we really need is Mary’s more so than Martha’s. Beg God’s mercy on this world so in need of it. Offer up all of your sufferings for that intention. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Rosary unceasingly. Do all that you do in the Divine Will. Offer yourself to God as a victim soul. Pray the Hours of the Passion as much as possible and be instructed by Our Lady on how to live continuously in the Will of her Son. Read the Divine Mercy Diary and let it guide your entire life.
The bottom line is this: God is going to win. His Mercy will triumph. He will do this directly to whatever extent He has to, but He prefers to delegate. Though omnipotent, He is so humble that He wishes His mere creatures to be the channels of His triumph. Therefore I am utterly convinced that our efforts this Holy Year, even the very most minimal by human standards, will reap a superabundant harvest. Just give God an excuse to act. Let Him out, and He will astonish — even if we have to wait until Judgment Day to visibly see what astonishing things He did. Let Him out through your acts done In His Will.
Call me crazy, but I really believe that just walking through the streets in prayer can now achieve what once took a Eucharistic Procession to achieve. I really believe that, if you live in the Divine Will and desire to proclaim the Divine Mercy, saying “God Bless you” to someone can achieve what once took a long sermon to accomplish. I really believe that handing someone a simple Divine Mercy card (or even just placing it somewhere) can do in a soul what once required convincing her to read a long book. I really believe that, even if to us our attempts seem so inadequate, miserable, and meager, that nevertheless through our prayer in the Divine Will, we can be the greatest intercessors and missionaries in history. Should we therefore stop at the minimum? Of course not. But let us trust that even these tiny acts on our part can indeed be and will be multiplied a thousand fold, and let that trust determine the degree of our inspiration to be faithful and attentive to so great an invitation.
It’s very easy for us to say “Fiat.” Let us say it this year.
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that this Holy Year will come and go like all the other ones have. By and large, ordinary life continues, and the prophecies do not yet come to pass.Still no warning, miracle, obvious Great Chastisements, or Era of Peace. That is quite possible; only God knows the future with certainty. Even in that case, please answer me this: Do you really think you will regret, on Judgment Day, having favored (for a year) the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy over and above worldly ambitions, comforts, and pleasures?
To simply have the courage to ask that question is to immediately know its answer.
I would like to leave you with this video I made on Faith. A year or so ago I realized that a certain inspiration has been fundamental in my life and in guiding my apostolates. Ever since then I have been trying to put in words just what this inspiration is. I decided to make a video instead of an essay. Here is my meager attempt! Please forgive the novice nature of this video; all I have is a webcam and a $1 microphone at my disposal. (The first part of the video is addressed to those who doubt. The part of the video addressed to the Faithful starts at about 17:36 in).
(The audio issues are fixed — watch with comfort!)