Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday

This would also be the reason why Christ asked the Church, through St. Faustina, publicly to venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy on this Feast Day. The Image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy, is to have a special place of honor on the Feast of Mercy because it is a visual reminder of all that Jesus did for us through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and a reminder, too, of what He asks of us in return — to trust in Him and be merciful to others: I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it (Diary, 341). In short, just as the Feast Day itself is a summary-celebration of the Paschal mystery, so the Image is the visual, iconic summary of the Paschal message. Pope John Paul II pointed this out in his homily for the canonization of St. Faustina: From that Heart [of Christ], Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world. “The two rays”, Jesus Himself explained to her one day, “represent blood and water” (Diary, entry 299). Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a soldier on Calvary pierced Christ’s side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (see Jn 19:34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7:37-39). Clearly, the promise from our Lord of extraordinary graces for Divine Mercy Sunday, as well as this request to venerate the Image of Mercy on that day spring from the same source: His desire to make that day the summarizing celebration, proclamation, and application of the graces of His merciful love that flow to us from the Paschal mystery. 2. The Promise Draws us to the Sacraments Rev. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, explains to us clearly in his booklet The Divine Mercy: Message and Devotion another, pastoral intention that the Lord seems to have had in promising extraordinary graces on this Feast day: Our Lord is also emphasizing, through this promise, the infinite value of Confession and Communion as miracles of mercy. He wants us to realize that

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