Blessed John Paul II and his Message of Mercy Continue to Light the World
He will be forever remembered as a humble and living image of the healing mercy of Christ Jesus
Through his love for Jesus and through his love for Mary whose "fiat" brought Mercy into the world, he will be forever remembered as a humble and living image of what humanity unceasingly seeks: the regenerative and healing mercy of Christ Jesus.
The Mass will be preceded by a gathering of the faithful to recite the Devotion of Divine Mercy, a prayer in which we offer to the Father the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of his dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world. In reciting this profound prayer, we are spiritually united with the Paschal Mystery of our Savior who so unreservedly gave of himself for our sake.
Too, we immediately recall the gift of the Risen Lord in Eucharist -- the supreme gift of Christ himself, perpetuated throughout all time, in which Jesus the Christ unites his own sacred body to ours in an act of incomparable mercy, and thus draws us with profound and tender delicacy into his own life of everlasting Love.
As Pope Benedict has pointed out, that the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, was chosen as the day on which Venerable John Paul II would become Blessed John Paul II is significant. If it were possible to sum up John Paul II's pontificate in a word, I think it would be "mercy." There is perhaps no one who has looked into this saint's eyes and not seen reflected there the great abyss of Mercy Itself.
Further, we have seen it not only in John Paul II's eyes, but in his compassionate, tender, and knowing smile; we have felt it in the tone of his voice; we have witnessed it reflected in the crowds who flock before him and wait in silent anticipation of his strikingly meaningful words which, through and in and with Christ, were so masterfully articulated to a spiritually hungry flock.
John Paul II seemed to have not simply a grasp of the needs and troubles of humanity, but rather displayed an intimate connection with the desires, frustrations, fears and weaknesses of the people spread across the world. His words had the ability to stir us in the depths of our hearts, remain there, and resurface time and again throughout the days and years. It was as if he saw with more than human eyes: he looked upon mankind from within and without, always assisted by the divine promptings of the Holy Spirit whose love guided his thoughts, words and actions.
Yet above all, in his words, teaching, and exquisite writing, the message of Christ's mercy shines through. Such a wondrous and life-giving message is the proclamation of the universal Church; it is the heartfelt plea of humankind; it is the desire of every man, woman and child who has experienced failure, hurt, and disappointment in life; it is a treasure for which we strive and thirst. Further, it is a free Gift which God has promised, and which is sealed in the consummation of God's love: the Person of Jesus Christ.
John Paul II, again and again, directed us toward a face-to-face encounter with Mercy Itself -- a healing and regenerative encounter we so desperately need. In the third year of his pontificate he wrote in Dives in misericordia of the prayer of the Church in our times: "The Church proclaims the truth of God's mercy revealed in the crucified and risen Christ, . . . Furthermore, she seeks to practice mercy towards people through people, and she sees in this an indispensable condition for solicitude for a better and 'more human' world, today and tomorrow.
"However, at no time and in no historical period -- especially at a moment as critical as our own -- can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it. Precisely this is the fundamental right and duty of the Church in Christ Jesus, her right and duty towards God and towards humanity. The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word 'mercy,' moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy 'with loud cries.'
"These 'loud cries' should be the mark of the Church of our times, cries uttered to God to implore His mercy, the certain manifestation of which she professes and proclaims as having already come in Jesus crucified and risen, that is, in the Paschal Mystery. It is this mystery which bears within itself the most complete revelation of mercy, that is, of that love which is more powerful than death, ...
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