The Truth about Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday
Sunday and has decreed that it remain “perpetually” in place. It has also, in that decree, issued a specific directive to priests entitled “Duties of Priests: Inform Parishioners, Hear Confessions, Lead Prayers”. These duties are the guidelines for the correct celebration of the octave and the Holy See has left no options.
The specific duties, which can be seen on the Vatican website, were originally issued in August of 2002 and presented to all bishops. They are all clearly presented in the last paragraph of that special plenary indulgence and include the proclamation of that indulgence by all “priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests”. It also asserts that they “should promptly and generously hear their confessions” and also “lead the prayers after the masses” on that day.
It is very clear that the Church, moved by the Holy Spirit, has acted compellingly to insure that everyone has the opportunity to obtain these incredible graces that are offered on this octave. It has set in place a renewed enthusiasm for Easter. It is imperative that Easter be celebrated for a full eight days and in a solemn way. No longer can we let the Easter-only Catholics walk out of Church on Easter Sunday without an invitation to come back and to celebrate the Easter Octave.
Although the Easter season extends for a full fifty days until Pentecost, the Easter feast itself is only 8 days long, from the Easter Vigil until the evening of that octave, Divine Mercy Sunday. It is very important that we celebrate Easter correctly and that includes celebrating the octave.
Pope John Paul II, who may be beatified soon, had stated that he had fulfilled the will of Christ by instituting this Feast of Divine Mercy. This statement by a Pope of the stature and holiness of Pope John Paul II, must be taken seriously. Jesus requested this Feast of Mercy to be placed on that Octave Sunday of Easter and He made a very special promise to forgive all sins and all punishment to any soul that would go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on that day.
The Church made it an official feast on the Octave Sunday of Easter (Second Sunday of Easter) in the year 2000 and by God’s providence, Pope John Paul II died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday just five years later. JPII’s last written words that were read on Mercy Sunday, the day after he died, called for a greater acceptance and understanding of Divine Mercy. This must be viewed as a great sign and a mandate for everyone to follow, especially all bishops and priests.
There have also been many inquiries as to using the Divine Mercy image on Mercy Sunday and its permanent installations in churches. Pope Benedict, in his book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, wrote of the importance of having such an image to assist in every liturgy and as a sign of hope to lead people to the Second Coming of Christ. He wrote of the “void” that was caused by the removal of icons and sacred art from our sanctuaries and the importance of having the images.
Jesus also insisted that the Divine Mercy image be venerated and solemnly blessed on Mercy Sunday. And why not? The image perfectly represents everything that happens in that Gospel. It even supports the other readings including the reference to the washing away of sins in water, redeeming us in the blood, and the new birth in the Spirit, found in the Opening Prayer. It also represents that it is through “trust” that we receive grace, with the words “Jesus, I trust in You”.
The Divine Mercy image portrays, in the two rays, the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, and the Eucharist. The focus on that Sunday has always been on the institution of confession and the need to trust and believe in Jesus to receive grace (blessings). Jesus promised an outpouring of a whole ocean of graces on that Feast of Mercy and Jesus said that the repentant sinners that would receive them would not be able to contain them, but would radiate them to other souls.
Recall again what Jesus said on the “last and greatest (octave) day” of the Feast of Tabernacles, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me; let him drink who believes in Me. Scripture has it: ‘From within him rivers of living water shall flow’”. (John 7:37-39) Every word that Jesus spoke has great meaning and St. John recorded that it was specifically on that last and greatest day that Jesus shows us that believing and trusting in Him will yield great graces on the octave.
Three of the greatest Doctors of the Church, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine support the celebration of octaves and they clearly indicate and uphold that the octave Sunday of Easter is the fulfillment of, the perfection of, and most important Sunday without taking anything from the greatness of the Day of the Resurrection itself. Easter is the greatest feast and it is “on the last and greatest day” that we receive an outpouring of graces.
Correctly celebrating Easter involves correctly celebrating the Octave of Easter. The Church has acted, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to insure its proper celebration by adding that special plenary indulgence for that octave, Divine Mercy Sunday. It has set into place the “Duties of Priests” to insure that everyone be told about it. It wants to insure the salvation of all souls. It is only through humble obedience to the Magisterium that this calling will be fulfilled.
There is no issue more important than the salvation of souls. Jesus wants to prepare us for His Second Coming. The Church has acted decisively. Jesus wants to pour out His graces in great abundance to give souls a chance to be completely washed clean before He comes. The Church in its explanation of the Feast of Mercy, indicated, that the promise of Jesus for the forgiveness of all sins and punishment is “equal to the grace that is received in the sacrament of Baptism”.
It doesn’t take a genius to see the times that we are living in. The signs of Jesus coming are all around us. The number of Catholics that do not attend Sunday mass is at worse than epidemic levels. The Church has acted appropriately and has given us this feast with the ability to renew souls and subsequently renew and rebuild the Church itself. Jesus told us of the importance of leaving the 99 and going out to find the lost one. It is about time that all Catholics get to work.
There is one more thing that is of the utmost importance and it would be a grave injustice to the Lord not to proclaim it. Jesus said that the Feast of Mercy would be the last hope of salvation. These words can be found in the diary of St. Faustina “Divine Mercy in My Soul” entry #965. If this be true, then everyone must be told about it, including fallen-away and lapsed Catholics. Proclaim it from the rooftops and tell everyone about those special graces on Mercy Sunday!
Robert Allard has been helping the Church to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday since 1996. He had been a Fallen-away Catholic for over 25 years and received a special grace on Mercy Sunday.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
- The Surprise of Easter
- Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis: Let the Risen Jesus Enter Your Life
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- The Resurrecting Power of Mercy
- On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Reflection: Let us Apply the Splint of the Cross to our Fractured Freedom
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2013
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 4/1/2013
Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, He´s so heavenly he is no earthly good. I suggest again that it misses the mark completely. We are Easter people. We are called to ...Continue Reading
Fr. Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
To make sure that all mankind knows that it is not over but actually just beginning, God has an Easter bombshell. While we may have been able to anticipate the wondrous joy of a day of resurrection, ...Continue Reading
Pope Francis - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »