Tapping into Divine Mercy

Today is the feast of St Faustina Kowalska, the young Polish sister who received revelations from Jesus about the depth of His love and His mercy.

We should never be afraid to approach Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Even though our own sins and failings reproach us and we are burdened by guilt, they are as nothing to Christ, who wishes to show us His mercy and bring us back home to His eternal, unchanging love.

Sometimes I feel like I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I know I need to go, but it’s awfully scary to tell my faults and failures out loud to a priest.  I wonder what he will think, and like many people I know, I get embarrassed and find ways to justify why we aren’t really so very bad and that we don’t really have anything to confess.  We’re all good people striving to follow Christ, so how bad can we be, really?

This denial of sin does contain an element of pride, but I think it has far more to do with a lack of trust.  Somehow we feel deep down inside, that we are unforgiveable.  That our faults and failings are so immense that we could never get to the bottom of them all, never mind know where to start confessing.  So we judge ourselves unworthy and hold our own selves away from the Sacrament without stopping to think how Jesus might feel about this.

After all, Jesus died a horrible death on the cross to forgive ALL our sins, not just the ones we think are forgivable.  His mercy is far greater than we think it is, far beyond our understanding.  And because people didn’t understand this, Jesus gave His message of mercy again to St. Faustina, along with a most beautiful and powerful prayer, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to help us draw closer to Him again.

In 2000, Blessed John Paul II established the first Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy so that the whole church could celebrate and implore God’s mercy together.  Each year more and more parishes are celebrating with Mass, followed by hours for the reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with the entire parish praying the chaplet together at 3pm to close the celebration.

For those like me, who are still intimidated by this Sacrament, it is the perfect time to celebrate.  Jesus calls us all to repentance, because each one of us has fallen short and failed in many ways.  But we should not let our sins come between us and God.  He is waiting with His mercy and His love for us.  Since we can trust Hi to be gentle with our lives, we can trust Him to be gentle with our sins and weakness too.  The only thing we should really fear is losing our trust in God.

And, once we have received and accepted His mercy, our next step is to allow Him to transform our lives.  Act with the mercy you have been given, forgive as you were forgiven.  This is how the good news of God’s love will spread like lightning across the sky.  Not only with grand words, and prophetic sermons, but with the simple acts of daily kindness to which we are all called.

Copyright © 2013, Carol Ann Chybowski

Carol Ann Chybowski

Carol Ann Chybowski

Carol Ann Chybowski is a long time member of the Catholic Writers Guild. She has published book reviews at various websites and appears in two volumes of A Community of Voices: An Anthology of Santa Barbara. When not busy about her parish, Carol Ann can be found knitting, gardening, or on horseback.

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