On Good Friday, Mercy


One of our family’s fairly new Good Friday traditions is to begin the Divine Mercy novena, spending a small part of the sad day of the Lord’s passion looking forward to Mercy Sunday. The feast of Divine Mercy, also known as Mercy Sunday, is the Sunday after Easter every year. The message of Divine Mercy is based on the writings of a Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska, who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary recording her revelations about the mercy of God. I will post each day of the novena here.

We are assured that God loves us, no matter how great our sins and that He wants us to trust in His mercy. We beg His mercy, trust in His generous response and know that His mercy flows through us to others.

When I was on bed rest, waiting in complete stillness for Sarah to be born, Karoline was not quite 2 years old. Before bed rest, she was a nursing baby who was dependent upon me for pretty much everything. With the beginning of bed rest, she was a weaning toddler who had to learn a whole new routine. Putting her to sleep was a great challenge. Karoline was used to nursing to sleep right next to me. It fell to my 12-year-old daughter to comfort her to sleep in her own room.

Mary Beth left the bedroom door open and from my bed in another room, I could see her curled up around Karoline. She had a beautiful sung version of the Divine Mercy chaplet playing in the room. The rhythm and repetition soothed my wee one to sleep. The words of the chaplet played on during her entire naptime, every day, seeping into our souls.

Over and over, we heard, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” His mercy was palpable in a home where we knew that birth could come any time and would bring with it a medical emergency. When the time did come, it was the middle of the night. I went into Mary Beth’s room to tell her we were rushing to the hospital and heard the chaplet still playing. Those words echoed in my head that whole tense day, right up to my baby’s emergency premature birth.

Now, that sung chaplet is very much a part of our family's tradition. The message of mercy is a  simple one and children (and the adults in their lives) can call it to mind as readily as ABC:

A — Ask God for His mercy. It is His desire for us to come to Him again and again, confessing and repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy over our souls in such abundance that it will flow from us to others.

B — Be merciful. When we know God’s mercy, we know what it is to be forgiven and to receive grace. God wants us to be missionaries of that mercy, to forgive others and to shower grace upon them.

C — Completely trust in Jesus. The message of mercy is that the more we trust in Jesus, the more completely we rest in Him and are peacefully confident in His mercy, the more we become channels of that mercy and grace. When we live in God’s mercy, it flows abundantly through us, spilling generously into the lives of the people we touch.

{reposted from the Arlington Catholic Herald}