When the year of Mercy was here in 2016, I was all about Divine Mercy. I had my pictures of Jesus with the red and white rays emanating from his heart in a couple different rooms in my house. I even gifted many of these that year to my older children and anyone else I thought could benefit from that image. I devoured the Divine Mercy for Moms book by Emily Jaminet and Michele Faehnle. My part-time job as “video producer” for the Catholic Conference 4 Moms had me filming and editing over a dozen talks on mercy that year, as that was the theme for the online conference. If you can imagine editing a presentation sentence by sentence, repeating those often, and writing out quotes, then you can imagine how well I knew these stories of incredible witnesses to God’s Divine Mercy and the lessons they shared. Lastly, I lead a group from our parish in a 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat by Fr. Michael Gaitley, a Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy.
Yes, I was full of mercy! What a grace!
My husband even said to me several times that year that he “noticed” that I had become more tender and might I say, “merciful.” This is an absolute miracle. Usually those so close to us don’t get a chance to witness our good lives because often we are at our worst when we are with them. Sadly, this is almost always the case for me, except during that year of mercy.
One could say that like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that year.
Thank you, Jesus, for a recent wake-up call--or make that three of them! First of all, my friends Emily and Michele, who wrote the Divine Mercy for Moms recently put together another book about God’s Mercy and St. Faustina. I was privileged to read an advance copy. Being familiar with many of the stories the book, I was able to relive some of those witness accounts. Secondly, I was “forced” (not really, but because of my connections to the hosting place) to be put on a committee in charge of hosting a Fr. Michael Gaitley Mercy and Mary Retreat. Another bell goes off in my head--remember after the 33 Days to Morning Glory, I consecrated myself to Mary. Have I thought about that prayer and commitment in awhile? And lastly, I looked to my calendar to make my plans for the Triduum and Divine Mercy Sunday. Yes, just around the corner, a week from Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday! This is the day that is especially set aside to remember and celebrate all of these things related to this Mercy of God.
For someone who had all these “Divine Mercy” devotions down a few years ago, I sadly realize that I’ve totally forgotten that these were even a thing. Again, I am so thankful for the Church’s wisdom in celebrating events in the Liturgical year. Divine Mercy Sunday is to bring to mind all of these devotions, but most importantly, to benefit from St. Faustina’s urgent message to all of us, summed up here by me: God’s merciful love is for all of us, and we can completely give ourselves to this knowledge.
Here’s how I am going to “start over” and live in God’s mercy!
- Dust off that Divine Mercy picture! It’s worth having this image where you will see it and be reminded of this message. Who doesn’t need to see these words, “Jesus, I trust in You?” Jesus gave this image to St. Faustina to give to us because he knew that we need all the reminders we can get. When I feel despair or sadness or disappointment, I can easily look on my desk at those words and make them my prayer.
- Honor the hour of mercy. Our Lord died on the cross at 3:00 in the afternoon making that hour a sacred and holy time. Ideally, we’d like to use that whole hour to meditate and remember what Christ sacrifice, but we know this isn’t always possible. We can however just give a “holy minute” to Jesus during this time, like my friend, Allison Gingras does. She sets her alarm on her phone to go off at 3:00. This reminds her to say a small prayer or part of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
- Which leads to my third suggestion. Say the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In our family, we replace our rosary saying during the Easter season with the Divine Mercy Chaplet. And what a mercy that is because it is so much shorter! And before you think we faithfully say the rosary every day, let me fix that misconception. We usually say the rosary just once a week on Sundays--not always, but usually. And with the chaplet fresh on your mind from saying it with the family, you may want to continue it on your own throughout your week, driving in your car, doing laundry, when you can’t sleep at night. The Divine Mercy app works great for this.
I’m counting on using these little reminders so that I may come often into my Merciful Father’s arms. I pray that he can transform me to be an agent of His mercy to my family and all that I meet, especially to my husband! (And may that image never get dusty or buried again!)