Wednesday, June 22, 2005

M&I: Divine Mercy

One of the chapters in John Paul's book Memory and Identity is entitled "The Mystery of Mercy." Mercy, one of the attributes of God, is indeed a mystery and JPII reminds us that it is not to be ignored that Our Lord chose early 20th century Poland, the place where soon some of the greatest horrors in history would be played out, as the place to reveal this mystery to the nun Faustina.

What is interesting is that this revelation was not made in Nazi Germany or in the Soviet Union, the states which perpertrated crimes on the Polish people and to others on their land. If I were God, I'd think that be the right place to deliver that message. But, thankfully, I'm not God. Rather, the late Holy Father says that the gift of Mercy is revealed by God to the people who would prove the limit to hate. He says this of St. Faustina (whom he canonized):
The patrimony of her spirituality was of great importance, as we know from experience, for the resistance against the evil and unhuman systems of the time. The lesson to be drawn from all this is important not only for the Poles, but also in every part of the world where the Church is present. This became clear during the batification and canonization of Sister Faustina. It was as if Christ had wanted to say through her: "Evil does not have the last word!" The Paschal Mystery confirms that good is ultimately victorious, that life conquers death and that love triumphs over hate.

I blogged about a month or so ago about the miracles Our Lord sends us today and how I thought forgiveness was one of the great signs of His Power in our times. Mercy, obviously, fits in with this perfectly. Mercy is a gift that we as humans need inherently - it's not something that is only available to the great sinners or the great saints - it is an invitation to us all. Not only does mercy cleanse and purify us, but it also enpowers us to be more Christ-like.

Of course, John Paul died on the eve of the Feast of Divine Mercy. His successor is German. As Pope Benedict himself said recently, it is certainly no accident that Our Lord chose men from these two countries to lead His Church. It says a lot about the role of Our Lord in history (another major theme of Memory and Identity). Nazism may have fallen 60 years ago and Communism 16 years ago, but the marks they left on Europe are in many ways still fresh; that's why Christ is still healing them. And if we're smart, and respond to Divine Mercy, we will abandon ourselves to it now to heal those wounds, as well as those of the disregard and destruction of life and the family ,and also to prevent other wounds from happening. After all, the message of Divine Mercy was given before WWII.