‘Holy God, holy mighty One, holy immortal One,
have mercy on us and on the whole world’
– Chaplet of Divine Mercy
“Eternal Father, in Whom mercy is endless and the Treasury of Compassion inexhaustible; look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”
– Concluding prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
God is all holy. The Angels attest to His holiness in chapter 6 of Isaiah – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory”.
In the Diary of Saint Faustina, the Lord speaks over and over again of His infinite holiness. We echo the praise of His holiness every time we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy – that final little prayer at the end of the Chaplet recognises and adores the holiness of God, and begs His mercy.
Mankind is called to be holy as God is holy – but of course, we all fail in one way or another, either through individual sins or through sins which can seem like weeds which we cannot eradicate from the gardens of our lives. And of course, this is true – we ourselves can do nothing; but with the grace of God, we can do everything, for His power is without limit and His grace is without end.
Recently, I have heard from a couple of people who are struggling deeply with the practice of their faith; they struggle not because they do not believe any longer, but because they do believe, and this belief is shining a light on their human frailty, weakness and sinfulness. If these people did not believe, then none of this would be a concern for them.
As his life neared it’s end, Saint Paul, too, saw his life in this same divine light and noted the shadows cast by that light in the areas where his sinfulness remained, his “thorns”, as he referred to it.
For all of us, at least at particular moments, this glaring abyss because the holiness to which we are all called and invited, and the reality of our sinfulness in our day to day lives, can seem disheartening at best and a cause of despair at worst. It can be very hard to reconcile these two things.
Thankfully, this same Lord Who is infintely holy, is also infinitely merciful –
“When (a soul) repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it. My mercy embraces and justifies it. With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me.” (Diary, para.1728)
The whole message of Divine Mercy issues from the Heart of this Merciful Lord – and is directed squarely at the heart of each sinful human soul; that is – to every single one of us. Blessed be God for this great grace of His mercy! And so, there is hope for us, no matter how filled with sin our heart might be. This compassionate Lord will not only offer us His mercy, but He will pursue us and use every means at His disposal to encourage us to turn to Him in confidence and to seek His mercy and grace; all we need do is recognise our sinfulness and ask His forgiveness, and then TRUST that He will cover us with His mercy.
Through Saint Faustina, He tells us –
“Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy. Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness. Even the devils glorify My Justice, but do not believe in My Goodness. My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy. Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” (Diary, parae.300-301)
Later in the Diary, the Lord makes this appeal even more explicitly to us –
“How painfully distrust of My goodness wounds Me! Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully!” (Diary, para.1075)
And so TRUST is the key. We need to believe that the Lord is merciful, as He says He is, and that this Divine Mercy knows no bounds. It does not remove our need for penitence – rather, it recognises and accentuates it; but it also provides the grace and the mercy needed to overcome our sinfulness. The Lord reveals to us what happens when we TRUST in His Divine Mercy –
“Tell (souls) that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” (Diary, para.1074)
And so in this way, this Divine Mercy which is given away, increases; when we are covered in that Mercy and changed by it, we begin to radiate it out to toher souls, encouraging them, too, to approach this Lord, Who is the very Fountain of Mercy, Whose Heart is a depthless Abyss of Mercy.
In our prayers today, let us recognise our human frailty and our sinfulness; and then let us immediately approach the Lord with great confidence, knowing that He is waiting to dispense His mercy to us to it’s very fullness. And in doing this, may we become vessels of Divine Mercy, little shining lights amidst the darkness of the world, aware always that the Lord is the True Light, which that darkness can never overcome.
Jesus, we TRUST in You!