Pope John Paul II greets the faithful after he is elected pope in 1978.
What a glorious day! What a JOY and a grace to celebrate both the Feast of God’s Mercy – my second-favorite day of the year (after Easter Sunday) – and the beatification of Pope John Paul II, one of my dearest friends in Heaven. My first thought this morning was of these words that we pray so often at Compline:
I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify Your name forever;
for Your love to me has been great:
You have saved me from the depths of the grave.
Last year, I started reading St. Faustina’s Diary on Divine Mercy Sunday. That book is so spiritually rich and so profound that it took me an entire year to finish it – and what a journey it’s been. I don’t think any other book (except maybe Story of a Soul) has done so much to deepen my faith and to transform the way I pray.
Perhaps the most important and most beautiful thing I’ve learned from the Diary is this: devotion to the Divine Mercy isn’t just about the mercy and forgiveness we receive from God – it’s about His mercy remaining in us and flowing through us. When we truly accept God’s mercy, it grows in us, transforms us from within and teaches us to believe, to hope, to love. We see this in the optional prayer (taken from the Diary) that can be said at the end of the Divine Mercy Chaplet:
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us…
Pope John Paul II echoed this sentiment in the homily he gave at St. Faustina’s canonization:
“It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God’s love. Looking at him, being one with His fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!“
All this is mercy! (So much like Thérèse’s “All is grace!”) Sometimes, I am just astounded by God’s goodness, particularly by the gift of His saints and the light they are to the Church. JPII did a great deal during his papacy to spread the message of the Divine Mercy – he wrote his second encyclical letter, Dives in misericordia, about God’s Mercy, canonized St. Faustina, and instituted the Feast that we celebrate today – but more importantly, he lived this message of mercy and unshakeable faith in God’s goodness.
Immediately following his death, Pope John Paul II became, together with St. Thérèse and Mother Teresa, one of my “big 3” intercessors in Heaven. I can’t really explain it, but I just know that I owe those three an incredible debt of gratitude for the graces I’ve experienced in my discernment. I have no doubt that they’ve been with me, praying for me every step of the way. Their friendship has been a truly precious gift, straight from the merciful Heart of the Father!
What a glorious day! What a joy and a grace to have so much to celebrate!
Blessed John Paul II, pray for us! St. Faustina, pray for us!