Monday, September 3, 2012

Divine Mercy Taught by St. Gregory The Great

Original Divine Mercy Picture
St. Faustina, a Polish nun who lived in the 20th Century and died shortly before the beginning of WWII, is often referred to as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.  Our Lord appeared to her and gave her many visions and proclamations regarding His Divine Mercy.  She was also directed by Our Lord to have the picture painted, shown above, as an image of Christ's Divine Mercy.  The picture above is the original Divine Mercy picture.  However, St. Faustina wept when she saw this painting because it did not capture the beauty of the risen Christ. 

St. Faustina was directed by her confessor to keep a diary of everything that happened to her, and as a result we have St. Faustina's Diary entitled, "Divine Mercy in My Soul." 

Many think that the teaching of Divine Mercy is a new understanding of the church.  Far too many believe that prior to the 20th Century, the Church believed in a harsh unbending God who condemned people for the slightest infraction.  We either "toe the line" or we're out. 

While it is true that we must become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, the Church has always recognized our God as a great God of love and mercy  That fact is amply demonstrated by the following reading from St. Gregory the Great, whose feast day is celebrated in today's contemporary calendar.  St. Gregory the Great lived from 540 to 604 A.D., and was pope from 590 to 604.  That is a long, long, long time before St. Faustina, and yet he wrote profoundly and deeply on the power of Divine Mercy in our lives. 

St. Gregory is considered one of our very greatest popes, and was immediately cannonized upon his death.  He died on March 12, 604 and was cannonized that same day.  He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.  He is responsible for the development of Gregorian chant, which has been strongly promoted by our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who describes it "as the supreme model of sacred music."

This reading is taken from today's Magnificat, a magazine I cannot recommend highly enough whether you go to daily Mass or not.  It is specifically for the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but even if you are not a devotee of the Ordinary Form, you will still benefit greatly from this magazine and daily devotional, which is a spiritual feast.

Today's meditation from the Magnificat:

The Mercy Jesus Proclaimed
What tongue can describe the heart of the divine mercy? What mind is not amazed by the riches of such great love? The psalmist was thinking of these riches of divine love when he said: My helper; I will sing a psalm to you.  It is you, O God, who are my protector; my God my mercy.  Carefully weighing the labors surrounding our humanity, he called God his helper.  He calls his "protector" the one who protects us in the midst of our present distress until we come to eternal rest.  But bearing in mind that God sees our evil deeds and bears with them, that he puts up with our sins and still preserves us for his rewards because of repentance, he could not just speak of God as being merciful but called him mercy itself, saying:  My God, my mercy.
Let us then recall before our eyes the evil deeds we have done, let us consider with how much goodness God puts up with us, let us bear in mind the depth of his love.  He is not only lenient toward our sins, but he even promises the heavenly kingdom to those who repent after sinning.  Let each of us say from the very depths of our hearts, let us all say, My God, my mercy.
St. Gregory The Great 
The Church has always taught the love and mercy of God, and don't ever let anyone tell you differently.  We need never doubt the Mercy of God.  You need only to look upon the suffering Lord on the Cross and know that if He cared that much to come and die such a terrible death that we might be saved, He is always going to be there for us.  As St. Gregory the Great wrote:

He is not only lenient toward our sins, but he even promises the heavenly kingdom to those who repent after sinning. Let each of us say from the very depths of our hearts, let us all say,
My God, my mercy. 

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