THE APOSTLE OF MERCY
Blessed Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in the village of Glogowiec west of Lodi, Poland, on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women.
The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added "of the Most Blessed Sacrament," as was permitted by her Congregation's custom. In the 1930s, Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God's mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God's plan of mercy for the world.
It was not a glamorous prospect. Her entire life, in imitation of Christ's, was to be a sacrifice --- a life lived for others. At the Divine Lord's request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others; in her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others; and by writing about God's mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again.
Convinced of her own unworthiness, and terrified at the thought of trying to write anything, she nonetheless began keeping a diary in 1934 in obedience to the express wishes of her spiritual director, and then of Our Lord Himself. For four years she recorded Divine revelations and mystical experiences, together with her own inmost thoughts, insights, and prayers. The result is a book of some 600 printed pages that, in simple language, repeats and clarifies the gospel story of God's love for His people, emphasizing, above all, the need to trust in His loving action in all the aspects of our lives.
It also reveals an extraordinary example of how to respond to God's mercy and manifest it to others.
Blessed F~ustina's spiritual life was based on deep humility, purity of intention, and loving obedience to the will of God in imitation of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance gave her the strength to bear all the suffering that God willed for her. She died at the age of thirthy-three from tuberculosis and was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
According to Jesus' wish, this Mercy Sunday is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Jesus is showing us the close connection between the Easter mystery of man's Redemption and tHis mercy. The liturgy for this day extols God most fully in the mystery of His mercy.
Divine Mercy Sunday is to be not only a day designated for the singular worship of God's Mercy, but also a day of grace for all people, particularly for sinners. Jesus attached great promises to this feast, the greatest of which is connected with the reception of Holy Communion on that day. It is the promise of complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. In other words, this grace is equal only to the one we receive in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. The greatness of this day lies also in the fact that everyone, even those who are converted that very day, may obtain any grace for the asking, if what they ask for be compatible with God's will. I want this image, Jesus told Sister Faustina . . . to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especwlly for poor sinners, On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy, The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the Divine floodgates through which graces flow, let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.
The Feast of My Mercy has issued
forth from My very depths for the consolation
of the whole world and is confirmed in the vast depths of My tender
Please note that this promise is
not technically a plenary
indulgence, for only the Church can grant one, but since the promise
comes directly from Our Lord, the full remittance promised is the same
as if it were.
The preparation for this Sunday
is to be a novena consisting of the recitation
of the Divine Mercy Chaplet for nine days, beginning on Good Friday.
See Also, St. Alphonuss Liguori, THE MERCY OF GOD, THE ABUSE OF THE MERCY OF GOD AND THE DELUSIONS OF THE DEVIL