The short answer to anyone questioning to whom Divine Mercy applies is that it applies to everyone. Short answers aren’t always the best, but in this case, knowing Divine Mercy applies to everyone is shortest, truest, best, and simplest answer. Sometimes God is simple and it is we who complicate matters. That complication requires an explanation I will fail to do justice, but here it goes…
Catholics around the world celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday eight days after Easter. This is the Sunday following Resurrection Sunday as many Christians so wonderfully call our Easter holy day. With the Bible placing such emphasis on the number seven and our use of seven to complete a full week, it may seem odd to Christians that eight days after Jesus’ Resurrection, Catholics celebrate His Divine Mercy. This oddness is because we have lost much of our connection to our Jewish brothers and sisters. These were God’s chosen people from the beginning of time.
The Jews are still Jesus’s people. He followed their teachings and traditions and came to redeem our souls through the fulfillment of those teachings and traditions. It is through understanding one of those traditions that we understand the number eight and His perfect plan. In ancient Jewish tradition, seven marked significance in Earthly terms. Extend seven to an eighth day and you enter eternity.
Jesus’ Divine Mercy is about eternity and where we will choose to spend it.
It is as simple as that. Here’s where we fail to understand and therefore where we complicate things. We live in a messed up world. Not even Adam and Eve continuously closed their eyes to the fact that evil existed after the fall as we do today. Not even in the time of the Great Flood, was mankind as wretched to one another, never mind as wretched to God, as it is right now. Not even Sodom and Gomorrah committed sin as flagrantly as we do in our modern world
We are an incredibly sinful people, yet we have lost our theology. We want the prosperity Gospel to be about the here and now and when we don’t get what we pray for we turn our backs to God or assume He does not exist or does not care. Like defiant, sulking teenagers we demand fixes for our sufferings.
- If we are impatient and horny, we engage in premarital sex because it feels good and is expected nowadays.
- If we don’t want a child, we contracept tossing aside half of God’s gift of sexuality along with any embryos who may try to implant in an environment man has made hostile.
- If one of those embryos happens to implant, we get an abortion offering a silently agonizing child up as a sacrifice to our plans and Satan’s orgasm.
- If we are infertile, we demand a child and freeze embryos destined to die.
- If we are unhappy in Marriage, we cheat, blame our spouse, and leave, never to fully reconcile with those spouses, our broken children, or Love Himself.
- If we meet another, we seek annulments given out by the Church like candy to trick-or-treaters often repeating the pre-marital sex sins that began the cycle in the first place.
- If we are lonely, we fill holes with people rather than with silence and the Cross and redemptive suffering.
Don’t even get me started on the whole LGBTQA+ plus selfishness. It’s diabolic in its own accord on a whole different level! What’s worse, is that many have so fully accepted the prosperity Gospel as applying to this world, that they worship at the feet of the altar of desire and feelings and chaos. The sacrifice they choose is not just of their bodies, laws protecting innocence, and Truths practiced since Creation. Their sacrifice is of God and His plans. Their sacrifice is another attempt to sacrifice Jesus Himself as satan failed to adequately sacrifice our Beloved Lord the first time.
Satan causes us to sacrifice Jesus a bit with every sin we commit until we commit the ultimate Judas sin as we don the crown of arrogance and pride and betray Him by turning away from Him completely.
We’ve Made Ourselves Judges and gods
We are a people caught in a conundrum. On the one hand we see our sin as horrendous and unforgivable. On the other, we see ourselves as good and not in need of a Savior. It’s hard to reconcile horrendous and unforgivable with good and almost divine. We’ve equated Heaven with Grandma making her famous meatballs and with Uncle Joe playing cards with his smoking buddies. We never talk of someone dying and facing judgment or standing before the Lord or of having his horrendousness, his unforgivable thoughts, words, and acts poured out for all to see. The instant someone dies, we assume she lives in glory.
What’s worse is that we’ve equated ourselves to God.
We judge people and find them good enough: “She was such a good person. If anyone is in Heaven I’m sure she is!” We also find them wanting: “Damn you!” and “If anyone deserves to rot in Hell, it’s him.” and “There’s a special place in Hell for people who do that kind of thing.”
The thing is, we don’t know about eternity. We walk in faith. We hope our loved ones are there, not for meatball making and card playing, but for Peace and Love in the Trinity and the celebration in the Communion of Saints. We cannot forget that this is our Hope, and that Hope is far greater than any Italian Grandma’s delicious meal or poker game’s stacked hand.
It seems sometimes in this world that Faith is too much to ask for and Hope is so far away. It is part of why we take matters into our own hands and judge injuries as unforgivable. It is the loss of God in our every day existence that makes our existence so challenging and causes us to frantically attempt to re-create what God has made in our own image, reflecting the chaos in our own thinking rather than the serenity of God’s design.
Nefarious & The Gift of Divine Mercy
To a people who doesn’t believe they A – deserve Divine Mercy or B – believe they need Divine Mercy or C- believe others deserve or need Divine Mercy, the concept of Divine Mercy is difficult to wrap our heads around. We try to forgive small things, not hold grudges, and move past the fact that we committed the same sin again and again and again. When we find this difficult, we say things like, “I can forgive almost anything, but I cannot forgive that.” We assume because we cannot forgive it, God will honor our hurt, not be calling us to better but by condemning those who so injure us to lower.
Jesus does not work that way.
Jesus is perfection personified. No one is good enough compared to Him. No one is worthy of love compared to Him. No one is worthy of eternal Glory compared to Him.
Jesus is forgiveness personified. Nothing is unforgivable to him. No one is unlovable to Him. No one is unredeemable to Him.
Yet, His Mercy surpasses all our faults. It is not us that is good enough, worthy, forgivable, lovable, or redeemable. It is His Love and His Divine Mercy that makes us so. Because of that, the free gift of Divine Mercy applies to any of us and all of us. No one is exempt. No one is left out. No one is forgotten or not included.
That means even Edward, the serial killer in the movie Nefarious, is offered Divine Mercy.
On the big movie screen, we see how the demon manipulates and messes with the soul who has opened doors to them (The demon uses them, their pronouns for they are legion). We see evil reveling in pain and chaos, destruction and death. We see Edward as a hapless vessel used only to be tossed aside and ground out for eternity like a cigarette butt under satan’s perpetually, eternally grinding heel.
Yet we also see a softer side of Edward. On rare occasions, the demon releases Edward so Edward can suffer more fully and the demon can more completely rejoice in humanity’s pain. It is in these moments the viewer’s heart breaks for Edward. He cries. He is sorry the demon has had him do bad things. He is clearly wounded.
The goodness in us wants to wrap that Edward in our arms, hold him close to our hearts, and tell him forgiveness, redemption, peace, and Love are possible. Knowing the evil he has done, we should not feel that way, yet, because we are privy to these movie scenes, we see Edward in a way his victims’ families would not. Because we see him more clearly, we want to offer him mercy.
Yet that decision is not ours. We cannot give what another does not want. Abandoned spouses know this better than most. Gifts like Mercy and Love are only valuable if they may be freely rejected.
The viewer who understands Divine Mercy sees Edward in those moments and desperately wants him to ask for forgiveness and to embrace Divine Mercy for his salvation and God’s Glory.
Does he do so in the end? I don’t know. His suffering is drawn out and profound. Was that for the enjoyment of evil as the demon said it would be or was it for the Angel of God to give him one final chance? Demons are fathers of lies. God is the Father of forgiveness and new creation. Only Edward (and each of us is Edward to some degree) will know what happened in those moments, what will happen in our final moments.
Our endings will hopefully be much less dramatic than Edward’s but we are also offered the same forgiveness. No matter what we have done. No matter who we have hurt. No matter how much destruction we have caused, God sees each of us in ways our victims and their families would not. We are each Edward to some degree. We are each unforgivable and totally forgiven if we seek forgiveness through Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy is not given to you because you are special. It is given to you because you are Loved by the only one who is Love and who is capable of perfect Love personified. That perfect Love personified offers Divine Mercy, not just to you, but to those who hurt you as well.
That means, your fallen away children are offered Divine Mercy. Your abusive, adulterous, manipulative ex husband is offered Divine Mercy. The other woman, the home wrecker, the woman who has stolen your children from you and, worse, from God is offered Divine Mercy. The priest who pushed the annulment through and married the adulterers and all who celebrated their union are offered Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy is for everyone.
Knowing that, how can you hold a grudge? How can you not offer forgiveness and mercy as well? How can you not hope to be reunited with all in Heaven? The questions may make you uncomfortable. This shows how in need of Divine Mercy you are. They definitely show me how in need of Divine Mercy I am!
I thank God I am offered Jesus’ Divine Mercy and I pray to the Holy Spirit, my Mary, and Angel, that I never take that gift for granted, continuously reach for it, and yes, with Divine help, redemptively offer it to others as well. I pray for strength that we all do the same and that we meet together in Heaven one day. I pray we sit immersed in Peace and Love in the Beatific Vision and maybe we even sit around swapping amazing stories of how our Lord’s Mercy brought us there.
Help spread the word of God’s Love and the power He gives through struggle. Subscribe, like, and share Single Mom Smiling. Comment and tell me what you like and don’t like.
If you are looking to have fun in a Christian based mind, soul, heart, and strength challenge, if you want to get in shape, make social connections, love learning again, break chains of discouragement, and build resilience and hope, if you want to love your faith, your country, your family, and yourself better, then join my Live Not Ordinary Fiercely Beloved Challenge. I am looking for “Founding Members” to take the first trial run through at a greatly discounted tuition! You must join by April 27th, 2023 to receive the Founding Member discount.
As always, if you’re stuck and need a boost, email me for personal coaching at KerriBishop@LiveNotOrdinary.com
If you would like to join the Fiercely Beloved Challenge click here.