Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday

for the good of men in general. One can save his or her soul without every special grace from God, but the fact that God offered it, because it is or was useful, must weigh heavily in one’s judgment of it.” In general we content ourselves with a distinction between the one “Public Revelation”, that of the Gospel, and the many “private revelations”, lumping them together in the second category all the supernatural communications made to the “mystics”. And we usually add that only the first is of obligation, the second at the most being allowed to be accepted and held as true with a purely human faith. Two very simple considerations show that that view is faulty. The first is that, among the supernatural communications being given to some at present, we must distinguish [between] those whose immediate object is the good and the management of their [own] souls, and those made to them to be communicated by them to the Church. That is the case at Fatima, at Lourdes and all the great Marian apparitions of modern times. The second reflection is that if it is true that the nature of the act of faith is determined by the motive on which the act rests, we should conclude that a human faith is one resting on human testimony, and that, inversely, where a supernatural testimony of divine origin appears, the act of faith required will also be marked with a supernatural character. It will not be theological faith which, by definition, can be demanded and founded only by the evangelical Revelation proposed by the Church. But neither will it be a purely human faith, left to each one’s free choice. To put it in simple terms: from the moment it is established that God is speaking to us, by Himself or by a messenger, His word justifies an act of faith which belongs in a certain manner to the supernatural order. His word is the basis of it and demands it: there is an obligation to believe and therefore to obey. For the question here is of prophecy. Now the function proper to prophecy, in the New Covenant as in the Old, is to bring back the one to whom it is addressed –king, priest, people of God– to fulfil the duties of that Covenant. It does not take the place of the Covenant, even when it uncovers implications in it up to then hidden: it is rooted in it and entirely in its service. On the other hand, it could be that the prophet had to supply for weakness in the priest. But he, in the New Covenant, stays in possession of apostolic authority and is officially the one in charge of the Covenant. That is why the basic motive for his decision to act is always the word of the Covenant, that of the Gospel – as we have seen for the Popes we have quoted. But the immediate motive prompting the pastor to act and to go back to that fundamental motive could

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