Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday

mercy to give them the fruit of this precious blood. ... So you see, this baptism is ongoing, and the soul ought to be baptized in it right up to the end, in the way I have told you. In this baptism you experience that though my act of suffering on the cross was finite, the fruit of that suffering which you have received through me is infinite. This is because of the infinite divine nature joined with finite human nature [in Christ]. According to St. Catherine of Siena, therefore, the complete renewal of baptismal grace is available to the soul from the Mercy of God in a variety of ways, and a renewal of these graces should be a constant feature of the life of the soul journeying toward perfection. If so, then what is so “extraordinary” about the grace of baptismal renewal offered to souls on Divine Mercy Sunday? Is not such an extraordinary grace always available to us? First, let us examine the nature of the extraordinary grace itself. One can, theoretically, receive the complete remission of sins and punishment any time from the sacrament of Confession followed by Holy Communion, all undertaken with the perfect love of God. But how many of the faithful ordinarily receive these sacraments with such a pure disposition? Usually, the intentions of the penitent-communicant are more mixed, including fear of God as well as love, and, to some extent, with continuing attachment to their sins. As a result, while their sins are forgiven, there remains the temporal punishment due to sin (see Catechism 1472-1473). Of course, this temporal punishment can be completely taken away through a plenary indulgence, granted by the Church, for the devout performance of certain designated good works (such as the recitation of prayers, giving of alms, visiting of a shrine, etc.) — but, again, if these works are not undertaken with pure love of God, then the indulgence is only partial, not plenary. The complete remission of sins and punishment, ex opere operato, is ordinary only available to the soul at baptism. What Jesus Christ has promised to the world, through St. Faustina, is that this complete renewal of this same baptismal grace — the complete remission of sins and punishment — is also available to the faithful through the reception in a state of grace of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. In other words, one could argue that what makes Mercy Sunday so extraordinary is not just the eminence of the graces offered, but also, uniquely, the lesser requirement for receiving them: the reception of Holy Communion by a heart filled only with trust in Divine Mercy. This “trust,” it might be said, is not yet an act of perfect love of God, not yet perfect contrition. For