Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for April 23, 2006

As our Easter joy continues to lift our minds and hearts to God, we recall in a unique way His boundless Divine Mercy this Sunday, the Octave of Easter. Throughout history, the Church has celebrated the greatest feasts on the calendar (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.) with an Octave. Throughout the Octave (eight days), the Liturgy (Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours) remains focused on the feast in a particular way: the readings, antiphons, and psalms explore different aspects of the same truth. The Easter Octave has given us eight days to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection with the same fervor and expectant hope that characterized Easter Sunday.

The 2nd Sunday of Easter (the Octave of Easter) has been known as “Divine Mercy Sunday” since the declaration Misericors et Miserator (May 5, 2000) from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which stated: “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.”

This devotion – and today’s Feast of Divine Mercy – originated with the revelations of Jesus Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska, in Krakow, Poland. Our Lord appeared to Sister Faustina on February 22, 1931, which she describes in her diary:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”

Sister Faustina was canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, and so that this marvelous message of Christ’s Mercy would be extended to the whole world, he decreed that on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church extends “a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’)” (Decree on Indulgences attached to the Divine Mercy).

As we celebrate the glory of the Risen Christ, we are made aware of the Mercy which poured from His pierced side upon the Cross. Even as we bear our individual crosses of anguish, suffering, and sin, Christ accompanies us and offers us His boundless Mercy, if we desire to receive it. Let us rejoice in Christ’s merciful love that has saved us from sin, made us sharers in His Divine Life, co-heirs with Him to the Kingdom of God, and adopted Sons and Daughters of the Father.

Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!