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DIVINE MERCY IN THE MODERN WORLD

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DIVINE MERCY IN THE MODERN WORLD

WARNINGS MARK HIS MERCY


Our PASCHAL MYSTERY, JOY AND DIVINE MERCY series continues as we look forward to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 28th, 2019—the Second Sunday of Easter. It is fitting that we look to God’s loving kindness and great mercy in this Easter season. We celebrate the victory of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ over sin, death and the grave, and look to the One Who is rich in mercy.


We have focused on three co-related themes in this series—including the topic of God’s mercy. That theme has been present throughout church history, and it is our current focus. From beginning to end in Scripture we witness God’s mercy. God speaks of it often through His written word and demonstrates it frequently—throughout the Old and New Testaments. Then we see it in the writings of the Church Fathers.

APPARITIONS AND MESSAGES

In the latter half of the 17th century in France, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced apparitions of Jesus and of His Sacred Heart. Simply put, His Sacred Heart represents His great love for us, and prayers to Jesus’ Sacred Heart invoke His mercy that comes from His loving heart.

St Faustina Kowalska was a 20th century saint born in Poland in 1905. Faustina had visions of our Lord and of His heart showing red and white rays emanating from it—representing His blood shed and His mercy. She wrote and kept a diary (at our Lord’s request and that of her spiritual director) in which she recorded her encounters with Jesus. St. Faustina was canonized by (now St.) Pope John Paul II in the year 2000. At that time, the pope also established “Divine Mercy Sunday” to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter each year. He said that this act would help to “pass this message on to the new millennium.”

Some of the most primary themes in St. Faustina’s revelations are these truths:

“Tell all people, My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” Diary of St. Faustina, 1074

“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners… I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy… Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” Diary of St. Faustina, 699

“My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy; [urge] all souls to trust in the unfathomable abyss of My mercy, because I want to save them all.” Diary of St. Faustina, 1182

“Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion"… Diary of St. Faustina, 965

“Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.” Diary of St. Faustina,1146

"I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy." Diary of St Faustina, 1059

“He who refused to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” Diary of St. Faustina, 1146

“Let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice.” Diary of St. Faustina, 848


GOD’S LOVING MERCY WARNS HIS CHILDREN

Warnings have been part of our loving Father’s communication throughout God’s history with mankind. He cares so much for us that, like the father who warns his children to stay away from the street or the mother who warns a child not to touch a hot stove, He warns us of dangers. This is evident from Genesis through the New Testament… in the Garden of Eden… the books for the Prophets… Psalms, Gospels and Epistles. And it does not stop there.

In modern times, God continues to speak to His people—to both canonized saints, everyday saints and to His followers. He does so in order to repeat, emphasize and apply what the Bible has already said…through messages, apparitions and visions… and even through new waves of the Holy Spirit.

Modern day messages and visions include the Marian apparitions at Lourdes and at La Salette—both in France in the mid-19th century. There are many present-day voices throughout the Christian world who are speaking prophetic messages that dovetail with both Biblical messages and Marian messages. We are living in a time when it seems apparent that God wants to get through to us—whatever way He can.

In the 20th century, Mary appeared to the three young children at Fatima—with messages and visions given. This has been widely publicized. A vision of hell and a prophetic secret opened later in the 20th century were included in these visitations. (You can get details from our Fatima series published just 1 ½ years ago as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.. A series of four articles were posted on this blog in October 2017: THE FATIMA STORY AND THE ROSARY; THE SECRETS AND A CALL TO PRAY; THE DIFFICULT MESSAGE OF FATIMA; WARNINGS; WHY PAY ATTENTION NOW?)


CONNECTED WARNINGS

There is connection between Lucia’s account of her experiences at Fatima and a request made to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. In 1689, St Margaret Mary was given a message from the Lord to give to the King of France, King Louis XIV. He was asked to consecrate his country to the Sacred Heart. He did not. One hundred years later, King Louis XVI made the consecration—too late to keep France from the French Revolution (and its bloodshed and persecutions) or keep King Louis XVI and his queen from violent execution.

Then it was in 1931 that the Lord referred back (through His words to Lucia of Fatima) to the disastrous consequences for France following King Louis XIV’s failure to heed His request to dedicate France to the protection of His Sacred Heart. Sr. Lucia at Fatima was told to tell the pope that he was called to gather the bishops to publicly consecrate Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary. In similar manner to the events in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, such a dedication did not happen until decades later—after Communist bloodshed, persecution and propaganda flourished through much of the 20th century.

The following warning had been revealed to Lucia:

“Make it known to My ministers that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command… that, like him, they will follow him into misfortune. The will repent of it and they will do it, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors in the world.” (The quote is taken from St Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart, by Brian Kelly, April 8, 2014, Catholicism.org)

A recent apparition was in 1973 on October 13th—the same date as visitations of Mary at Fatima—at Akita, Japan. Our Lady spoke of a “great chastisement” and said for the people to “Listen well” , saying that we “must repent and better [our]selves” for something “greater than the flood” and “never seen before” would be coming upon the whole earth—including “fire from the sky”. She warned both clergy and hierarchy of trouble in their midst, saying that the “roar of the devil” would be seen in the church.. Cardinal Ratzinger, in 1988, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirmed these apparitions. The events of Akita seem to continue to have ecclesiastical approval.

The apparitions and messages in more recent times merely underscore and affirm and emphasize the warnings and truths that God, through Scripture, has long proclaimed. Even Christian voices speaking outside of the Catholic Church are sharing prophetic messages that point to these truths. They dovetail with foretelling signs found in Scripture, and similar in warning to Marian apparitions and other (including Divine Mercy) messages.

HOW DO WE RESPOND?

It seems that we human beings love to be about our own business (and too often not about our Father’s business). The Bible is full of such stories and prophetic warnings in many of its books. Consequently, our loving Father knows that we need frequent reminders. We are like wayward children.

It’s as if God is saying—with utmost patience and clarity—“What will it take for you, My dearly beloved children, to listen to My word, and heed My voice?” The Bible is continually available to us to read and learn its rich instructions, encouragements and warnings. How do we respond? Are we paying attention? Or are we like those children who run out into the busy street or play with the fire on the stove… and wonder why hurtful consequences come? (And even blame the loving, attentive, deeply caring “Father” when these unfortunate consequences come?)

As frustrated and disturbed as many are concerning the conditions and events and practices in the world as a whole, we can heed the words of a former pope who said, “The salvation of many depends on the faithfulness of a few”. What can we do? We can choose to join with those “few”. We can continue to pray and intercede. Jesus, Himself, encouraged us: “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” [Mt 20:28; Mark 10:45]

We can, at least, give our lives in prayer as often as possiblein all kinds of Spirit-led prayer. Mary has exhorted us in her apparitions to pray the rosary. Jesus requested devotion to His Sacred Heart and His Divine Mercy—recognizing the depths of His loving kindness and mercy.

Whatever form of prayer we choose that gives God glory, we can be assured that our loving and merciful Father hears and cherishes every prayerful petition and intercession—however small or short or quiet or public or private it is. Jesus the Savior is still “ever interceding” **for all of us. We can join, in Spirit, with Him and with His heart that continues to reach out. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—and a needy world—await our prayerful action.

** "Therefore, He is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He lives forever to make intercession for them.” **[Hebr 7:25]


We have more coming up in our next blogs as we see God's mercy manifested in Mary's apparition at Fatima... and take another look at the rosary as we celebrate the month of May. You may want to take another  look at our March 18th blog on ST. JOSEPH, HONORING HIS MANY ROLES to remember him on May 1st, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Join us!


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