This is going to be (possibly) the most important post for this year.
God is love (1 John 4:8), and in God there is no darkness or imperfection. He is perfect truth and as such He demands perfect obedience- even so much as one sin can be enough to condemn a man to eternal perdition because He is perfectly just and must by his very nature give what is justly due to others.
At the same time, God is also VERY understanding of our sinful, human condition. He does not desire the death of the sinner, but his repentance and conversion. The Father sent His Son, Jesus, to dwell and die among men, to descend into time so that we might be taken up into His eternity and be made like Him. As a man walks upright with a sky to face the Heavens and God, we are made to worship and love Him. This is the fulfillment and meaning of our existence.
These two great attributes of God- mercy and justice- are absolute and final. There is nothing outside of them because they are the natural products of God’s very nature since God is love itself. To reject God’s love is to reject God, as He is love, and to merit justice. To embrace God in our sinful state is to seek and implore His mercy, for while He extends it to us freely, He does NOT have to on account of His perfect justice, and would be perfectly right in condemning us for our sins.
This is the great judgment, the second of the “Four last things” that all men will face- the death of the body, the judgment of the soul, and either its condemnation to hellfire or entrance into Heaven.
If Heaven is gained, all is won. If Heaven is lost all is lost.
From what I have learned and understood in the many years I have been Catholic, is that the only sin which God will not forgive is the sin which you do not want Him to forgive. You may still be a sinner, but so long as you are working towards Christian perfection and not giving up, simply resigning yourself to sin and then remaining obstinate in sin, then God does not give up on you. And even if you did give up on God…so long as you live, you can still come back to Him. This especially true on Easter, when God gave up His only Son so that through His death we might pass into eternal life.
Yet remember- God’s mercy is not an entitlement. It is a gift. He does NOT have to give it to us. So what does a person who, say, has lead a very sinful life various reasons, start back on the path to righteousness?
Enter divine mercy.
Divine mercy is devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and specifically, the mercy that came into the world through it. A variant of this devotion is found in the Orthodox Church in what is called the hesychast prayer, which is repeated by monks unceasingly, especially by certain Greek and Russian monks-
Господи, Иисус Христос, единый сын живущего Бога, помилуй меня, грешник.
Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner
Devotion to the Divine Mercy was popularized by St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland. She was a nun who lived in the early 20th century and had visions of Jesus. He spoke with her, and she both wrote down his words as well as painted the vision of Him that she saw:
Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina on April 30th, 2000. He called her “the apostle of divine mercy” because, as she wrote in her diary (various passages quoted, all taken from her diary and compiled on EWTN’s Divine Mercy website):
You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for granting mercy. (Diary 635).
Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)
Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)
Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).
Divine Mercy is, per the Catholic Church, a precursor to the Dies Irae– the day of wrath, or judgment.
For the Catholic Church to make a statement like this is huge.
This year’s Divine Mercy I believe is particularly important for two reasons:
1) Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. This is particularly important because for many Catholics (myself included) who do NOT believe that Russia was consecrated per Our Lady’s instructions, there will be grave temporal and spiritual consequences. As Sr. Lucia said in a message she received from Our Lady in 1931:
“Make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”
Like the Kings of France who disobeyed the heavenly King’s command by delaying the solemn consecration of France for 100 years, the ministers of the Lord who do the same in regard to the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary “will follow the French king into misfortune.”
(NOTE: This is in reference to the revelations of the Sacred Heart: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque told the King of France in 1687 that France needed to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart, which it was not. Most prophetically, exactly 100 years to the day when the message came that the French King need to have France consecrated to the Sacred Heart came, June 17th, 1787 the French national assembly voted to strip the French King of his power, in the act which began the anti-Catholic, Freemason-organized, pagan French Revolution)
Like the countless numbers who also followed the King of France and his family “into misfortune” by their deaths at the guillotine, the Third Secret Vision of Fatima makes it clear that, “if my (Our Lady’s) requests are not heard,” a bishop in white (generally understood to be the pope, who is the Bishop of Rome and traditionally wears white for certain occasions) will die at the hands of soldiers who bear both guns and arrows; the Holy Father will be immediately followed by a long line of faithful Catholics from all states in life. The Third Secret Vision also reveals that the Angels will gather up the blood of those who die, traditional symbolism in regard to the deaths of martyrs.
In regard to the long-awaited collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, is it not possible that Our Lord was also telling us that, “like the King of France,” He will again allow exactly 100 years for His ministers to completely obey Him? If so, the 100 years conclude in less than 10 years – on July 13, 2017.
Am I saying that the world is going to end on July 13th, 2017? No.
I am saying that Fatima is a BIG matter in the Church. It is as controversial as Donald Trump is for the Republican party- and that tells you something right there. And claims made about it need to be taken seriously.
2) The other reason is, and as I wrote earlier this year, Pope Francis has declared 2016 the “year of mercy.” Not only that, but the Pope has extended special privelages to priests for this year to forgive sins that would traditionally be reserved only to the bishop or pope himself. There has never been a year dedicated solely to mercy in the Church before. At least, I have not been able to find it.
This Friday, March 22nd, 2016, is the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena.
A novena is an ancient form of devotion in the Catholic Church. It involves specific prayers, fasting, and penance over the course of nine days for a specific request. Novenas can be said at any time of the year, but some novena also have special days of celebration they correspond to. The Church encourages Catholics to start the Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday in order that it finshes on the Sunday after Easter, which is Divine Mercy Sunday.
If you want to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the Novena, please visit EWTN’s website on Divine Mercy here for instructions. In addition the Pray Divine Mercy Website also has a good visual for how to pray the Chaplet, especially for beginners. The Intentions for the Divine Mercy Novena are right here courtesy of EWTN.
Beginning Good Friday, I will be posting instructions for each day’s prayers (you can read them on the website as well) and how to pray it.
Pray hard and well, for yourself, us here at Shoebat.com, and for everyone, especially those who are most in need of Jesus’ mercy. Now is the time to take all the mercy we can get, for once the time of mercy is no more, then will come the time of justice.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet recited at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.