Putting mercy into action is not an option of the Divine Mercy Devotion – it’s a requirement!
The Divine Mercy Devotion and Mercy in Deeds
Devotion to the Divine Mercy involves a total commitment to God as Mercy. It is a decision to trust completely in Him, to accept His mercy with thanksgiving, and to be merciful as He is merciful. The devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina are completely in accordance with the teachings of the Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.
“Lip Service” or Merciful Heart
There are two scriptural verses that we should keep in mind as we involve ourselves in these devotional practices:
1. “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Is 29:13);
2. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).
Living the Message of Mercy
The devotional practices revealed through Saint Faustina were given to us as “vessels of mercy” through which God’s love can be poured out upon the world, but they are not sufficient unto themselves.
It’s not enough for us to hang The Divine Mercy image in our homes, pray the Chaplet every day at three o’clock, and receive Holy Communion on the first Sunday after Easter. We also have to show mercy to our neighbors. Putting mercy into action is not an option of the Divine Mercy Devotion; it’s a requirement!
Like the gospel command, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” this demand that we show mercy to our neighbors “always and everywhere” seems impossible to fulfill. But the Lord assures us that it is possible. “When a soul approaches Me with trust,” He explains, “I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (Diary, 1074).
How do we “radiate” God’s mercy to others? By our actions, our words, and our prayers. “In these three degrees,” he tells Saint Faustina, “is contained the fullness of mercy” (Diary 742). We have all been called to this threefold practice of mercy, but we are not all called in the same way. We need to ask the Lord, who understands our individual personalities and situation, to help us recognize the various ways we can each show His mercy in our daily lives.
Asking for the Lord’s mercy, trusting in His mercy, and sincerely trying to live His mercy in our lives, we can be assured that we will never hear Him say of us, “Their hearts are far from Me,” but rather that wonderful promise, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
It is our hope that we will continue to read and make the prayers, attitudes, and practices presented as a real part of our life, so that we may come to trust completely in God and live each day immersed in His merciful love – thus fulfilling the Lord’s command to let our life “shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven” (Mt 5:16).
Our Lord strongly speaks about this to Saint Faustina:
I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it (Diary, 742).
* * *
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
The first – by deed
The Second – by word
The third – by prayer
In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy, and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the Image which is painted. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works .
Diary, Notebook II, 742
1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Comfort the imprisoned.
6. Visit the sick.
7. Bury the dead.
1. Admonish sinners.
2. Instruct the uninformed.
3. Counsel the doubtful.
4. Comfort the sorrowful.
5. Be patient with those in error.
6. Forgive offenses.
7. Pray for the living and the dead
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