“I saw an Angel, the executor of God’s wrath… about to strike the earth…I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel’s helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment….” – Diary of St Faustina
With these words, Saint Faustina described to us the vision she experienced on the night of 13th September 1935. The following day, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – and which we celebrate today – the Merciful Lord gave Saint Faustina the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, telling her to “Say unceasingly this Chaplet I have taught you”. He then spoke to her about the immense power of the Chaplet, particularly for sinners and for the dying. Speaking to her about the Chaplet on this day in 1935, the Lord said –
“When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the Just Judge, but as the Merciful Saviour.”
Of course, it is no surprise that the giving of the Chaplet took place on this particular feast day – after all, the Chaplet begs mercy from God the Father precisely because of the merits of the Passion and Death of Jesus, which took place upon that Cross.
The feast today also celebrates the exaltation of the Cross – once a symbol of ignominy, it has been sanctified and transformed into the means of our salvation, becoming both the instrument and the altar of mercy; for upon It, Mercy Incarnate died. And so truly, we do exult in the Cross.
Without the Cross, there can be no Resurrection. As Pope Francis said a few weeks ago –
“The Way of the Cross is the only thing that conquers sin, evil and death, for it leads to the radiant light of Christ’s resurrection and opens the horizons of a new and fuller life.”
Saint Faustina had expressed something similar two years before the Lord gave her the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Her Diary records this entry from 1933 –
“I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord’s wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus.”
Truly then, the Cross is our joy and in it we exult, as the feast today proclaims. It is our hope of salvation, the Altar upon which the Saviour of the world made His great sacrifice, dying for our redemption. The instrument of execution has become the instrument of salvation.
Writing in his great encyclical ‘Dives In Misericordia’ (‘Rich In Mercy’), Saint John Paul II had this to say –
“In the Passion and Death of Christ—in the fact that the Father did not spare His own Son, but ‘for our sake made him sin’—absolute justice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the Passion and Cross because of the sins of humanity. This constitutes even a ‘superabundance’ of justice, for the sins of man are ‘compensated for’ by the sacrifice of the Man-God. Nevertheless, this justice, which is properly justice ‘to God’s measure,’ springs completely from love: from the love of the Father and the Son, and completely bears fruit in love….The divine dimension of the redemption is put into effect not only by bringing justice to bear upon sin, but also by restoring to love that creative power in man thanks to which he once more has access to the fullness of life and holiness that come from God. In this way, redemption involves the revelation of mercy in its fullness.” – Pope John Paul II, ‘Dives In Misericordia, ch.7
When we look upon the Cross, today and every day, may we never fails to see in it the instrument of our salvation, the door of Divine Mercy opened wide to us and for us, and the infinite love of the Son of God, Who willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to that sacred wood and to die for us.
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.