Happy Easter! This Divine Mercy Sunday I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises. This is the last day of this series.
Today is the Feast of Divine Mercy, which we celebrate because Christ Himself requested this in His appearances to St. Faustina Kowalska. During His visits, Christ instructed St. Faustina on His Divine Mercy and introduced the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which He asks that we pray for for three purposes: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ’s mercy, and to show mercy to others.
The Chaplet—a series of prayers much like the Rosary—calls for the use of Rosary beads. On the decades used to pray the ten Hail Marys, the Chaplet has us pray: “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
I can’t say that I fully understand the Chaplet. I don’t know the reason behind the prayers or their efficacy. When I pray the Rosary, at least I have some concept of the Mysteries I am meditating on and I am familiar with the component prayers. But the Chaplet is more difficult for me. So I am reminded by Christ’s statement to St. Faustina:
“My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”
This helps me understand that I am human, of limited comprehension skills, and may not always understand. Even when I don’t understand, I pray that I am doing His will. I am reminded of my favorite Psalm: “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:11.
The Psalm helps me to trust that He is God and will sustain me if I but trust in Him and His mercy. And then, with this trust in my heart, I will strive to “walk by faith and not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7.
Thomas Merton expressed this surrender succinctly in prayer:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
I am comforted knowing that, as long as I try to please Him and seek to live a life in humble submission to His will as He expresses it in His Church, I’m golden!
It is worth noting, as Scott Hahn does, that at times the earthly Church seems to work against the values it purports to espouse. “We see scandal and hypocrisy, bland liturgies, false teaching, broken families, sin and sinners everywhere.” But Scott also reminds us that the Church is the chosen bride of Christ. He tells us that when we focus on these shortfalls of human members of the Church and use them as an excuse for leaving the Church, we are spurning the Bride of Christ.
Instead, I need to remember that I am called to be a saint for the Church. And, knowing I can’t do it of my own, I lean on Him who sustains me. “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me”. Phil 4:13.
And so, while I am called to sainthood, as we all are, I know that I cannot do this on my own.
There are times—more often than I care to admit—that I would rather NOT be a saint, when I would rather enjoy the immediate pleasures of this world instead of sacrificing for the long term gain He offers. In those moments I need to “immerse [myself] in the ocean of [His] Mercy.“
This was the last day of the reflections on Scott Hahn’s book, but not my last blog entry. Although I will not be blogging as regularly, I hope to continue to grow in faith and share in my journey. And, as always, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”