Intent: Penance and an appeal to Divine Mercy
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, man has repeatedly offended God and con-stantly required His infinite mercy. God does not want a single soul to perish, yet He has given us a free will to choose whether or not to follow Him. This free will is inviolable. God will not force us to love Him. Instead, He wants us to freely choose to love Him and follow Him using our own free will. All too often, however, we exercise our free will to do things that are against God’s will. Because of the awesome and incomprehensible majesty of God and our complete indebtedness to Him, even the slightest transgression against Him should require the sinner to suffer eternal damnation. Fortunately for us, “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him” (Ps 103:8-11). Indeed, scripture announces to us the most awesome example of the love and mercy our God has for us: “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). We can freely partake of this ocean of Divine Mercy if we do the following: 1) profess belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind, 2) admit our guilt and confess our sins, 3) strive to do works of mercy and penance, and 4) avoid sin and those things that lead us to sin.
On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina Kowalska, making her the first “official” saint of the Jubilee year. It was to her that Our Lord appeared in 1931. Jesus asked her to paint (or have painted) a very special image of Himself that would become a vessel of graces for those who would venerate the image (as with all religious images, appropriate veneration is rightly given to the person the image represents, not the image itself). Jesus required that the image include the inscription “Jesus, I trust in you.” Our enemy tries hard to make us give up following Christ. Satan tempts us with despair. With the words “Jesus, I trust in you,” Jesus wants to remind us of His infinite mercy, and He wants us not to despair and give up trying to be holy. He wants us to trust—to believe completely that He is merciful enough to forgive us for anything we might do, no matter how horrible it may seem. The need to trust in and invoke the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ is more critical now than ever before. We are living in a very special time of mercy. Many people are in open rebellion against God and His laws. Let us pray for those who have been deceived and lured by this culture of death. We invoke the boundless mercy of God and ask for the conversion of poor sinners all over the world.