April 30, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday

What makes our prayer for mercy powerful, capable of changing not only our lives but the whole world?  From my childhood, Pope John Paul II helped me learn to be confident in prayer.  In particular, his efforts restoring the devotion to Divine Mercy proposed by Sr. Faustina Kowalska as well as his encyclical on Divine Mercy have helped me deal with personal suffering and begin to learn to be merciful to others.  The secret to confidence in prayer is union with Christ - He perfects our prayer.

For the last nine days, my family has gathered each evening to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for ourselves and the whole world.  The prayers "Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus" and "For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy" are deep and rich.  They dispose the soul to the logic of God's mercy, the logic of the Cross.  They also are Eucharistic - and help me think about the sacrificial and liturgical dimensions of our faith.  The death of Christ released his saving power into the world and his resurrection restores and raises up the dignity of humanity so that we might pray in a way the pleases God.  The power of Christian prayer is its union with the prayer of Christ, the Heavenly Man, whose prayers are always heard by the Father.

Christian prayer filled with the Holy Spirit is taken up by the Risen Lord from our hearts into His Heart where our human weakness is infused with divine power.  In  the sanctuary of his Heart, our prayer is transformed into something beautiful for God, something worth offering to the Father. This is because in His Heart all that is true, noble and good about humanity has been rescued from death and raised up above the heavens.  Our prayers find their place in this heavenly humanity of Jesus.  These prayers breathed in the believer by the Holy Spirit co-inhere in Him and His prayer co-inheres in them. In such prayer God is praised, and men and women are heard.  Elisabeth of the Trinity contemplated how this union of hearts with the Lord "thrills" the heart of the Father, and Faustina Kowalska understood how our prayers made pleasing and acceptable by the blood of Christ extend the splendors of his power and glory to the whole world.

For those who are celebrating the mercies of the Lord tomorrow,  for those joined either physically or spiritually with the beatification of John Paul II on this great Feast of Mercy, we are participating in a great spiritual revolution which the world needs today more than ever.  Our prayers are no mere exercise in sentimentality or mental hygiene. Joined to Christ, they have the power to change the world.  Our prayers ride on the waves of the divine mercy that flow from the heart of Christ.  Have confidence in the power of God and pray ardently - for He is the unfailing Fount of Mercy who counts on our prayer and our witness.  It is his plan to use our frail efforts, our humble prayer, to envelop the whole world in His power of love, especially those people and places that are most in need.  Hope in God ...He hopes even more in you.