This Sunday we celebrate the great Feast of Divine Mercy.  I have always had a special place in my heart for this feast, as my parents introduced it to me as a child.   I remember before it became an officially recognized feast by the church, driving an hour or more away to find a parish who would host a special celebration for the day.  Since the canonization of St. Faustina, a Polish nun who died in 1938, and the universal recognition of “Divine Mercy Sunday” by the Church in 2000, this devotion has been greatly spread across the world.  A world who needs this message of healing and forgiveness.   We are very blessed to have multiple parishes in our diocese hosting Divine Mercy Celebrations this Sunday, at least 11 according to Laity for Mercy site.  I  know I will be squeezing it in between soccer games, but I wouldn’t miss this day for the world!  If you have never attended an event on Divine Mercy Sunday, I would highly recommend it!

Although this devotion has been become much more known in the past ten years, I still am surprised at how many people have never heard about it or have questions about the message and the graces received.  So this week, when I received in the mail Fr. Michael Gaitley’s newest book Divine Mercy Explained – Keys to the Message and Devotion, I was elated.  In a short 20 pages, Fr. Gaitley explains the message, meaning and how to “tap in” to the graces of Divine Mercy.  Known for talking deep theological and spiritual treasures of the church and making them easily understood for the laity, this latest booklet will not disappoint.  Fr. Gaitley uses a FINCH acronym to help you remember the important aspects of this devotion in a nutshell.  F is for the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, I stands for the image of Jesus painted as He looked in his appearances to St. Faustina, N is for the Novena to Divine Mercy, C for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and H for the hour of mercy, the three o’clock hour in which we remember Christ’s death.

Jesus promised to St. Faustina “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, nn. 300).  In explaining the graces received on the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, Fr. Gaitley shares how  it is often confused with a plenary indulgence, however, it is not the same thing.  The graces of Divine Mercy Sunday are likened to a “second baptism.”  Although it is not the same, it is an extraordinary grace of being cleansed of sin and punishment due to sin, but does not require you to be completely detached from all sin as a plenary indulgence does. 

He writes,  Now the good news about the Grace of Divine Mercy Sunday is that to you simply need to go to confession before or on the feast – the experts say that sometime during lent suffices – be in the state of grace (no mortal sin), and receive Holy Communion with the intention of obtaining the promised grace.  Of course, we should also do acts of mercy such as forgiving people, praying for others, and having the intention to be more merciful to our neighbor.” (Divine Mercy Explained, p 11)

This booklet also contains the full prayers of the Divine Mercy Novena and St. Faustina’s Litany to Divine Mercy, as well as two bonus appendices which include top 10 “Mercy Quotes” from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.   This booklet is perfect for anyone who would like to know more about Divine Mercy or to help you articulate the message to share with your friends and family.  At only 3.99 from Marian Press I plan on buying them in bulk to share!  The world needs this message.

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