The Catholic Church celebrates, every 2nd Sunday of Easter, the Divine Mercy of our Lord. And it’s within a fitting season, as we still observe the redemption of our Lord for us through His Body and Blood. We keep in mind, in a special way, Sr. Faustina through whom the Lord spoke to us to celebrate His Divine Mercy. Her diary has been read, discussed, and meditated upon; the chaplet prayed; people with this devotion are gathered. Nevertheless, it may also well be fruitful to step back and meditate what is Divine Mercy. Why Divine Mercy? What is Mercy?
Our faith is a pilgrimage to our True Home, which is to be with God. When we are with God, we find our True Selves, and our greatest happiness lies in that pilgrimage with God. Yet, there wouldn’t be mercy if there’s no offense to be given mercy upon.
Άμαρτία (“hamartia”) – it is a Greek word that means to miss the mark. It is the same meaning as well for sin.
When we sin, we miss the mark. To say that we are sinners, we are saying that we have been missing the mark, the mark which point out to where God leads us to: our true selves. We miss the mark by failing to follow God. We follow our own ways and put up false selves and when we do, frustrations and restlessness come in. And much worse, we fail to feel loved. And when we don’t feel loved, we do things that harm others: we give in to pride, infidelity, destructive anger, any form of addictions, etc. When we fall into these things, we suffer the consequences of them. One of those consequences is the fear of the penalty for the wrongdoings we have done, so we turn away from the pilgrimage with the Lord. Another consequence is experiencing unhappiness. To describe what our world has been like is to say that it has suffered from these consequences. The worst of it all is that we have failed to faithfully and genuinely turn back to God and ask for pardon. We have been blinded by our own sin, believing that because of all the offenses we have done – whatever it may be – we feel undeserving of the Love of God anymore. Such is a natural human tendency; when we offend someone, it is hard to go up to that person and apologize, thinking that the person will never accept our apologies. And even if we have been forgiven, it is also hard to ask for pardon thinking that we will commit the same offense again and again. Love can feel great with hugs and affections, but it can never be real unless there is a test which gives room for mercy.
When our Lord rose from the Dead, we have been given redemption, a redemption that we didn’t really ask for. The Lord, through His Resurrection, tells us: “You have fallen far from your own ways, my child, and I see the despair in your heart, a despair that hinders you from coming back to me. You don’t have to linger in that despair, my child, for my Blood will wash it away, just come back to me and I will lead where your heart yearns to be.
Mercy is when you offend the one you love the most, you feel the pain of that relational bond breaking down because of what you did so you feel undeserving to be forgiven, but the one you love forgives you anyways and reaches his or her hand to you saying “My love, let’s build this relationship back up again”. In a broken world like the one we live today, no other thing is needed more than mercy. The Lord did not come down to demand people to worship Him, but to restore that relationship we had with Him, broken by sin. Even when we may realize that we deserve great punishment for our sins, the Lord generously offers us His Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy shows us that we have a God who remains faithful to us even during the times we have not been faithful to Him, when we have missed the mark.