Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven! God the Son could not die, but he united his divine nature to our human nature and so was able to die in order to pay the price for our sins, and become the fountain of salvation for those who repent of their sins, practice the Christian faith and die in the state of grace. Jesus Christ’s Paschal Mystery, that is, his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension has won for his faithful people the promise of Eternal Life with God in heaven.
Because of this momentous gift, the Church celebrates Easter for eight days, the Easter Octave, which ends next Sunday, now called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Each day throughout the Octave is considered a Solemnity and the “Gloria” is said at each Holy Mass, and the dismissal is chanted: “Go in peace, Alleluia, Alleluia.” And the people chant in response, “Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia,” just like on Easter Vigil/Sunday.
Jesus’ mission of salvation continues through his faithful people who orient their lives to glorify God and his way of holiness. He has raised up saints to re-mind us how to live fervently his divine truth, love and mercy. Saints are ordinary people who dispose them-selves to God’s divine grace, and upon receiving this sanctifying grace at baptism and the other sacraments, they follow Christ with extraordinary love, serving the mission of the Church and others within their appropriate vocation.
One example is the life of Faustina Kowalska who was born of a Polish peasant family in 1905. She was prayerful as a young girl, and this disposed her to hear God’s call to the Religious Life as a contemplative sister. She was inspired to go to the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She received the habit on April 30, 1926. In the convent she received many visions of Jesus, and she began to record them in her diary as the Lord instructed. She received the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (which is prayed after 8:00 a.m. Monday Mass here at St. Mary) and was asked by our Lord Jesus to paint the vision of Divine Mercy. On the Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet brochure (found near the entrance of each of our churches) you can see an image of that painting.
Sister Faustina died October 5, 1938, after liv-ing the Christian faith heroically, even amid rapidly declining health and being misunderstood by some of her sisters. Many miracles were attributed to her, and she was beatified on the second Sunday of Easter, 1993.
After that, another miracle occurred and was verified by the Church, and she was canonized in Rome, April 30, 2000, by Pope John Paul II, on Divine Mercy Sunday. A special grace is attached to the Second Sunday of Easter, which is now called Divine Mercy Sunday. If one were to make a valid confession on that day, a plenary indulgence would be granted to you. That is why I will be hearing confessions on April 16, at St. Columbkill from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The following is from her diary, which has been reviewed by the Magisterium and found to be doctrinally without error:
The Lord Jesus said to Blessed Faustina, “Encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given you… Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. …Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if they were a sinner most hardened…
My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them, and it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I will dwell in the tabernacles as King of Mercy.”
At each Holy Mass, but especially on Sundays which are obligatory Solemnities, we celebrate Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Actively participating at Mass, especially in the state of grace, where we offer our lives and the good work we have done, is the best way to build up God’s Kingdom on earth and secure our place in heaven for all eternity!
Peace in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe