Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday

II. Prophetic Revelations and Popular Devotions in the Life of the Church: Selected Texts 3. A private revelation as a mission to the Church signifies not so much an Indicative communicating something new (which would be difficult to reconcile with the essence of a private revelation directed to the Church), but an Imperative which, within the context of a particular historical situation of the Church, points out a particular course of action from among the many possible according to the universal and public revelation as the one most urgently needing to be realized. The new feature in such a private revelation consists therefore not in its particular material elements but in the imperative marking and shifting of accentuation within the possibilities of Christianity. An imperative of this kind is possible because, while in the knowledge of the faith many things at the same time can be true and good, in the action of the faith not everything that is true and good can be actuated at the same time, to the same degree and with the same intensity. Hence the private revelation as a mission to the Church can be conceived as a heavenly imperative interpretation of the particular situation of the Church at this time; it answers the question as to what is most urgently to be done here and now in accordance with the general principles of the faith. (Karl Rahner, S.J., “Les Révélations Privées. Quelques Remarques Théologiques,” RAM XXV (1949), pp.506-514) Father Walter Kern in his work “Updated Devotion to the Sacred Heart” (pp. 74, 75)., commenting upon Fr. Rahner’s statement, says: “Since public revelation is proposed for the obedience of faith on the authority of God, one must believe it — if he knows about it — to be pleasing to God and to assure his eternal salvation. Private revelations are to be accepted ‘with an assent of human belief according to the rules of prudence, when these rules present them as probable and devoutly believable’ (Pope Benedict XIV). Yet they are offered as a special grace