We begin in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Father, as we come before you on this Divine Mercy Sunday, I ask through the intercession of St. Faustina that you open the floodgates of your mercy upon your people who are so faithful and devoted to you. And I ask especially those preparing for Confession that they may trust in your great mercy. No matter how scarlet it may be, there is no unforgivable sin, and you desire to show them your mercy. Give them the grace and courage to confess, especially the hardest or shameful sins to confess so that they may know your freedom. In the Gospel of John, we hear that while he was still a long way off, the father caught sight of his son and was filled with compassion. He ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him. Father, I ask that all your children here today know of your prodigal love that you desire too to run to them, embrace them, hold them in your arms, kiss them, and show them your unconditional love on them this Divine Mercy Sunday. We ask this through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I titled this talk Divine Mercy Peace in a time of war. I will talk about what it means to be at peace and how we can do that. I’m talking about the physical war we’re experiencing with Russia and Ukraine. The battle that we fight with Satan and how Jesus wants us to overcome that.

I’d like to introduce Divine Mercy by reading some of Faustina’s introductions herself. So, just for some of you that may not be familiar with Divine Mercy, this might help you become familiar with it. 

I was not familiar with Divine Mercy until probably my third year in the priesthood. The Year of Mercy was when the Pope declared it the Year of Mercy. I thought, well, I’ve been given four copies of Divine Mercy Chaplet since I was a seminarian. People would give me the Chaplet. If you have it or you’ve seen it, right? It is like seven to eight hundred pages. So, when I was in the seminary working on my studies, thesis, and master’s, I thought I could not read one more book. Let alone 800 pages, but still people would give me the book. Father, read this. You need to read this. Over and over again, I did not take the hint. It wasn’t until the Year of Mercy that I finally read Sister Faustina’s Diary of Divine Mercy, and it changed my perception of God forever. I came to know God really like a loving and merciful God. Whenever I doubt, anytime I’m worried about my sinfulness, or anytime I’m in fear, I can always go back to Divine Mercy and always trust and remember that that is Jesus’ promise to us. The number one quality of God that He wants us to know is His mercy and that we can trust in His mercy.

Sister Faustina begins by saying, [949]* Let the doubting soul read these considerations (that I’m writing) on Divine Mercy and (let that doubting soul) become trusting. That is what I hope for today. If any of you doubt the truth and the goodness of God’s mercy, that will be shed entirely. She says, [171]* Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, I trust in You. Divine Mercy, the most significant attribute of God (the most excellent quality of God, Divine Mercy), I trust in You.

[1578]*She says, “The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of ONE VESSEL ONLY, AND THAT IS TRUST. So, Jesus is telling her that the one means only that you can experience this mercy is by the trust. We have to trust that the most important attribute of God is mercy. The more a soul trusts, the more it (a soul) will receive (His mercy).” So let us today greatly trust in the mercy of God so that we can receive that mercy.

It is a privilege, and I am grateful as a priest any time I get to preach on Divine Mercy Sunday because I am given the promises through Jesus of St. Faustina that she will bless the priest who speaks about Divine Mercy and that you will hear not only the voice of the priest but the voice of God. So, I stand here with great awe and humility that I get to be an instrument today.

Sister Faustina was a mystic. That means that she experienced God authentically and profoundly. She experienced Jesus. Since she was a child, she felt called to religious life, and her parents did not want her to become a nun. They said, “We want you to get married, and we want you to have children. We do not want you to go into the religious life.” She felt that call, and it wouldn’t go away, but she was obeying her parents and listening to her parents. She was at this social, dancing, and suddenly, she turned around, and everything went black. Every single person disappeared, and she saw Jesus before her. She saw Him as the crucified Lord. So, He had the crown of thorns, and His wounds were bleeding, and He said to her, “How long must I wait?” He was speaking to her, “It is time. I want you to enter into the convent. I have been agonizing over this invitation. How long must I wait?”

Jesus is saying the same to every one of you right now. “How long must I wait for you to trust in Me? How long must I wait for you to know My great mercy and love?”

You see the divine image on the altar there. Jesus appeared to her many times, but one of the times that He seemed to her, this was the image that she saw. He had His hand raised like this. That is the position of the priest’s hand whenever he blesses people, or when you go to confession today, he absolves the penitent before him. Jesus is raising His hand in absolution like this as a blessing. Then, His left hand is held right at His heart where His heart was pierced. From that came blood and water, which flowed from His side. Jesus asked St. Faustina to paint this image so other people could see the mystical experience that she was seeing. She said to Him, “I am not an artist. How am I supposed to paint this?” The great thing about Faustina is that she had authentic conversations with the Lord, and you will hear about this later. She talked to Him, and the Lord said, “The more childlike you talk to me, the more we can communicate.” She said to Him, “I can’t paint this painting. I am not an artist.” So, her spiritual director asked them to commission an artist. An artist came, and she was to describe this painting to the artist. So, she told the image, and the artist painted it for her. When she came back and looked at it, she broke down in tears because it looked nothing like it was supposed to. Nothing like Jesus. She asked the artist repeatedly to make this change, to make that change. The artist began to get highly frustrated with her, and as it went on, she finally said to Jesus, “It’s not looking like you.” Jesus finally said to her, “It’s close enough. It looks enough like me. I want people to just know of the image, show veneration to the image, and know of my divine mercy.” So that right there is the closest we can get on this earth to a painting of Jesus.

I’m sure you have seen the latest news about the shroud. They also took the shroud and superimposed it with the image of the Divine Mercy. His features lined up very profoundly with that image. 

What brings us here today? Back in the 1930s, when the Lord called for a special feast day of the Divine Mercy, it was celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.  St. Faustina was told this directly by the Lord. He wanted this to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. She went to her Bishop and told him about this, and he said, “We already do that. We already have it.” And kind of blew her off. She went back to Jesus and said, “The bishop is not listening to me. He is telling me that we already have it.” Jesus says something clever. He says, “Well, who knows about it? Who knows about Divine Mercy?” He wanted her to become the ambassador of the Divine Mercy message.

If you think about it today, you are so blessed to be here because you know about Divine Mercy. So many people do not know about the beautiful graces here for us today.

When St. Pope John Paul II canonized her on the feast of Divine Mercy, he proclaimed that the first Sunday after Easter would formerly be called Divine Mercy Sunday. We have this as Divine Mercy Sunday even in the sacrament readings now.

There are so many prophecies that Jesus gave to Faustina that would be fulfilled, sometimes after her lifetime.

The Lord expressed His will regarding this feast in her diary. He said to her, [699] My daughter, tell the whole world (the whole world) about My inconceivable mercy. I desire the Feast of Mercy to be a refuge and a shelter for all souls. Think about that. Today is a refuge for you to shelter from all the power of sin that the enemy has had over you. 

On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. So, today we get to experience the same depth of His tender mercy. 

I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. He is just pouring out His grace upon you today.

The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. So, when we go to Confession, we usually receive the forgiveness of sins. However, we still have the effect of it and the punishment after. But, on this day, you accept this indulgence where we are forgiven of our sins, and all discipline, all harm and effects of it are removed.

On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me. So, if you’re afraid to go to Confession, there is some sin you fear confessing, don’t be scared to go. I promise you that we have very merciful priests here today who hear confessions. Please take advantage of that and don’t be afraid.

Even if their sins be as scarlet, my mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. So, no matter how bad your sin is, you will experience His mercy.

Everything that exists has come from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul related to Me will contemplate My love and compassion throughout eternity. So, we’re experiencing today what we will encounter throughout all of eternity: God’s love and mercy.

The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. Finally, He says, Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy. Until we turn to the fount of God’s mercy, humanity will not have peace.

Here briefly is the message of Divine Mercy. These are five points just to begin with:

First: [1521]* Tell My priests.  Just like somebody gave me four Divine Mercy books, tell them about Divine Mercy, whoever your priest is. Please. Encourage them. Let them know about it so that the priests maybe what we are truly called to be. She was called to speak to priests and teach them God’s mercy.

Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (pp. 103-104). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.

Second: The Second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy. The priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy. I have been doing that as much as possible, and this is a beautiful turnout. Thank you for being here today. The image is to be on view in the church, which the image is here, and using this image; I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it. At some point, if you can’t see the image, just come and spend some time with it. You can also pull it up on your phone, and I think you have the images as well.

Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 218-219). Marian Press. Kindle Edition

Third: [50] I desire that priests proclaim this mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. My job, a priest’s job, is to tell God of all sinners that He’s merciful and that we do not have to be afraid to approach Him. He says the distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; they do not trust me despite My inexhaustible love for them. The pain that it causes souls that do not trust God and do not trust to approach Him in the fount of mercy in Confession. 

Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 46). Marian Press. Kindle Edition. 

Fourth: [1521] Tell My priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy. This is the part where I trust that He will soften even the hardest hearts upon hearing this speaking about His mercy. I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak. So, He will also touch your heart right now during this time and open you up with His mercy by His grace.

Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 462). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.

Fifth: [687] Say the chaplet that I have taught you unceasingly. If you don’t know the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, look it up on your phone right now. I do think you have pamphlets as well. After this talk, we will pray it together, which is part of the indulgence. Get to know that. The other part of this promise is: Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. So, if someone is dying, I ask them to please pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I ask them to do that with their families. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. So, if you can help somebody recite this chaplet just once in their life, they will receive the infinite grace of Divine Mercy.

Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (p. 250). Marian Press. Kindle Edition.

I want to talk about a time of war and what St. Faustina has to say about this. The only way to peace is through His Divine Mercy. Fifty-Nine days now that the war has been going on between Russia and Ukraine. When Sr. Faustina went to make her perpetual vows, her final vows as a sister, she made three promises to Jesus:

  1. [240] I beg You for the triumph of the Church, particularly in Russia and in Spain; for blessings on the Holy Father, Pius XI, and on all the clergy; for the grace of conversion for unrepentant sinners. I will make my confessions for the priests before whom throughout my lifetime. She prayed for every priest who would hear her confession, her congregation, and her parents.
  2. I beg Your blessings on our Congregation, and may it be filled with great zeal. Bless, O Jesus, our Mother General, and our Mother Directress, all the novices and superiors. Bless my dearest parents. Bestow Your grace, O Jesus, on our wards; strengthen them so powerfully by Your grace that those who leave our houses will no longer offend You by any sin. Jesus, I beg You for my homeland; protect it against the assaults of its enemies. She lived in Poland during this time of war.
  3. Jesus, I plead with You for the souls most in need of prayer. I plead for the dying; be merciful to them. I also beg You, Jesus, to free all souls from purgatory. We will be doing that today and asking the Lord to free souls from purgatory.

This was December 19, 1936. [818] I have offered this day to Russia. I have offered all my sufferings and prayers for that developing country. After Holy Communion, Jesus said to me; I cannot suffer that country anymore. (Listen to this) Do not tie my hands, My daughter. (209) I understood that if it had not been for the prayers of souls pleasing to God, the whole nation would have already been reduced to nothingness. Oh, how I suffer for that nation which has banished God from its borders!

We are still experiencing this today. Sometimes the prophecy, the fulfillment of God’s plan, takes some time. I will talk about The Consecration that we recently made to Russia.

[848] While (she) was praying the chaplet, (she) heard a voice which said, Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say this chaplet. Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable grace and mercy. 

He says to her, “It is a sign for the end times; after it will come (230) the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. O human souls, where are you going to hide on the day of God’s anger: Take refuge now in the fount of God’s mercy. O, what a great multitude of souls I see! They worshiped the Divine Mercy and will be singing the hymn of praise for all eternity.”

He is talking about the end of times in response to Russia. I know we have all probably thought about the possibility of nuclear war or nuclear disaster, but this is a grave scenario that our world is in. So, we need to turn to Our Lord’s mercy all more. He says to her at another time, “You have a choice. You can enter into my mercy, or you can enter into my judgment.”   God is mercy and justice. He wants us to enter into His mercy. I think because we, especially people that are unbelievers, have such a distorted view of God that they don’t know that doing His will and being freed from sin is loving. That God wants to love us in that.

In September, she then talks, “I saw an Angel, the executor of God’s wrath… about to strike the earth (the second coming was about to happen) …I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw Angel’s helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment… Her prayers brought off the end times. Our prayers, your prayers, are just as powerful.

The Marians of the Immaculate Conception, who promulgate a lot of this, talked about the consecrations made to Russia over the years. I don’t know if you do know. Still, several consecrations have been made, and Mary asked that Russia should be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Mary. Different popes have done it along the way, beginning with Pope Pius XII who consecrated Russia. St. John Paul II also did, and Pope Francis did on Oct. 13, 2013, and he also did it again this year in 2022. But to Sr. Lucia of Fatima, back in 1984, when John Paul II consecrated Russia and the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Mary, she said that that did fulfill what was necessary.

The Act of Consecration that was made this year, I just want to read a few lines because it was a rather lengthy consecration. Hopefully, your priest did it at your parish. It was asking Mary to be our Mother in this time of trial to turn to Mary, acknowledging that we have strayed and forgotten the lessons we have learned. Disregarded our commitments and our fidelity to God.

Then asking Mary, amid our sinfulness, struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us but continues to look upon us with love. So, remember that any time you are afraid as we continue to talk about war and spiritual battle, God never abandons us.

Having talked about the physical battle, I now want to discuss the spiritual battle. The battle that goes on in each of our souls and the need for us to experience God’s mercy in the midst of this battle.

She was talking about a day when she was in church waiting for Confession. You are going to notice that there are a lot of repetitions here. Whenever she was approaching the Sacraments, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, when she would pray her nightly Examen, she would have very profound experiences of God and she would also have very intense attacks by Satan. When this happened, the Lord said to her, [370] Beneath these rays a heart will grow warm even if it were like a block of ice; even if it were hard as a rock, it will crumble into dust.

She was asking Jesus to set her on fire.

I want you to think about your own heart right now. How is your heart? Is it hard? Is it like a block of ice? Is there resentment there towards your spouse or towards work or towards God? No matter how hard that is, He can break it right now. He can melt it right now.

Jesus said, My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. His mercy is greater that any sin that has been committed or could be committed.

When St. Faustina was fighting with temptations and fighting with the enemy, Satan, Jesus said to her; You gave Me great glory today by fighting so faithfully. I want you to know that when you are fighting temptations, you fight Satan; you give God great glory in the midst of that battle. Don’t be concerned while fighting. Don’t be discouraged if the temptations seem strong or go on for too long. God is so pleased with your willingness to fight the battle against sin. Then He says, [106] Let it be confirmed and engraved on your heart that I am always with you. So, imagine Him confirming and impressing on your heart, “I am always with you.” Then He says, even if you don’t feel My presence at the time of battle. So, I am always with you when we don’t feel His presence engraved on our hearts.

Then she says, Oh, may God keep every soul from delaying confession until the last hour! There has always been a Catholic thought that we can just wait until the end of our lives, then go to Confession. Hopefully, that will be enough to get us into heaven. She is saying, “Why wait for that? Why wait until the end of your life to experience God’s mercy? Experience His mercy now.” 

I understood the incredible power of the priest’s words when they are poured out upon the sick person’s soul. So that is what happens when we go to Confession. We are ill, and we need healing. In Confession, the priest pours out that gift of healing upon your soul. I know there is tension between going to Confession and wanting to be absolved from sin. Still, there is also something medicinal about Confession that we need to be healed from our sin. So, don’t be afraid to go to Confession even in your struggle.

Great is the divine grace that accompanies these words of the priest. The soul feels power and courage for the battle. We just had a lot of confessions yesterday, and a lot during Easter as Divine Mercy has approached. We have heard a lot of admissions, and I just love this time as a priest because sometimes people have been away for a very long time. They unburden themselves, and every one of them walks out glowing, smiling, beaming, happy, joyful because this has unburdened them. We should take that as strength for going back to the battle. So, don’t be discouraged if you confess ain and find yourself tempted again later, but realize you draw power. Go back to that confession and say, “I have been forgiven, and I can overcome this sin through the grace of God.”

That’s talking about war; now, I would like to talk about peace. The need for peace and how we can experience and receive God’s peace.

During that holy year of the Holy Father, St. John Paul II, in that same homily, said, “Jesus told Sr. Faustina: ‘Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy’ (Diary, p. 132). That phrase is so important. We have to trust in His mercy. We got to go all in that God will be merciful with us, and that is a difficult thing for us. We still have some pelagian attitude that God will not love us until we get ourselves awarded. There is distrust about, “Can I trust His in His mercy will be enough?” St. John Paul II is saying that we will not find peace until we trustfully surrender to Divine Mercy.

If you have not done this before, I want you to make an act of trust. Trust is a virtue. It’s something that we work with like God’s grace, and we can trust in His mercy, and that does mean going all in believing that His understanding is what will save us.

Jesus talks to her, and He says: My child, know that the most significant obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. 

So, the greatest obstacle is not sinning. Jesus says, “The greatest obstacle is discouragement.” When we give in to discouragement and exaggerated anxiety, when we get hyper, anxious, and all worked up about something, that is an obstacle to trusting in His mercy.

Not even momentarily, all temptations united together ought not to disturb your interior peace. No matter how tempted we are, it does not have to concern our internal peace. That will only come if we trust in His Divine Mercy.

Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. So, if you are oversensitive and give easily to discouragement, He is saying that is the fruit of self-love. You’re putting your trust in yourself and not in Me.

You should not become discouraged, but have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon. So, if you have to come back to Confession repeatedly, if you fight that same sin your whole life but turn towards His mercy, do not be discouraged. Trust in His mercy. I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy. Any time we pray for His mercy and forgiveness, we celebrate His Divine Mercy. Be at peace.

Then He says, [1499] Be absolute as frank as possible with your confessor. So, I think this is an important thing when we go to Confession, to be as frank as we can.

Sometimes, myself included, but a lot of time when penitents come, they kind of like give a little nuance to the sin. They’ll blame their spouse for their sin. Half the confession is about their spouse and should be what their sin is. So, He says that we ought to be very frank about it. When you go to Confession, just name that sin. Whatever that shame is, just call it. Bring it to the light. Because if it is in the darkness that we try to soften or make excuses for it, it remains hidden, and the grips of that sin stay with us. But, if we are frank about it and say, “This is my sin.” You will experience His grace and mercy. So, be as frank as you can, all of you who are going to Confession.

At these moments, Jesus filled me with such great peace that, later on, even when I tried to become uneasy, I could not do so. She was in such harmony that she could not even try to get out of it. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get out of peace. That’s never happened to me. If I have it, I want it, but she couldn’t even get out of it if she tried. That is genuinely God just overwhelming because she knew and trusted in His mercy and dwelled in it that could not be overcome.

Jesus said I will give you profound peace [67] that even if you wanted to feel troubled and frightened, it would not be in your power to do so today. Still, love will flood your soul to the point of self-oblivion. So, we can find this peace here on this earth, and the way to that peace is trust. Trust in His mercy. If we trust in His mercy, we will be at peace.

She had a vision from Jesus on Easter Sunday.  [205] The Resurrection. Today, during the [Mass of the] Resurrection, I saw the Lord Jesus amid a great light. He approached me and said, Peace be to you, My children, and He lifted His hand and gave His blessing. The wounds in His hands, feet, and sides were unforgettable and shining. Think about that. Jesus’s wounds, at first, when she saw them, would be bleeding; now, she saw that they were shining and brilliant.

He said [215] My daughter, be at peace; I am taking all these matters upon Myself. The conversation went on a little bit longer, but she had all these different things that she was wrestling with and struggling with, and He said, “Be at peace; I am taking this all to Myself.” Be at peace. Whatever you are holding on to, wrestling with, or struggling with, I am taking this all to myself. Jesus says that to you right now.

She also said I must maintain peace and stability during times of suffering. So, we will suffer in life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Suffering does not have to surrender our peace. We can still be at peace in suffering. How do we do that? She says, [226] In difficult moments, I must take refuge in the wounds of Jesus; I must seek consolation, comfort, light, and affirmation in the wounds of Jesus. So, the next time you experience suffering, imagine Jesus physically placing yourself in His wounds and holding you there because He wants to suffer with you.

I want to talk a little about the division that can cause the disturbance of peace between us. I want to focus on just our culture today: The tendency to have the polarization that we have pretty much with everything, politically, medically, pandemically. You have to have an opinion on this side or that side. There is absolute division and polarization more and more in everything we experience. 

I also want to talk about “cancel culture.” If somebody does something wrong, we have a cancel culture; especially we know it most as celebrity culture. That’s it for them. They’re never going to be on TV again; they’re never going to be in movies again, whatever it may be. But, we also have to cancel culture in our schools, churches, and presbyterate. There seems to be this sense that if anybody sins or does something wrong, they are cut off. If anybody does something you see as an unforgivable sin, we cut them off. Where does that fit in Divine Mercy? It doesn’t fit. As Jesus will say, “Unless you are merciful, you will not receive mercy.” 

So, I want to discuss how we need to be aware of this solid dynamic and ebb and flow. It’s almost like a current going on of this idea of canceling culture, polarization, dividing, wanting to cancel people out, wanting to label people as here or there, taking sides when He wants us to be merciful.

She says, [1195] O my Jesus, nothing can lower my ideals, that is, the love I have for You. Although the path is very thorny, I do not fear going ahead. So, her way, she’s saying, is thorny, and as I go on, you will realize that she is talking mainly about people in her life. She talks about nuns and superiors in the convent that she is dealing with. There is a thorny path that she is walking on. Even if a hailstorm of persecutions covers me. So, during this time, Sister Faustina was being persecuted. Her sisters looked at her with disdain.

How dare you think that you’re a saint? How dare you think that you’re a mystic? What makes you think Jesus is talking to you? Her message, Divine Mercy, would be rejected by the Bishop, left at one time by the Vatican, and be suppressed for several years. Even if a hailstorm of persecution covers me, even if my friends forsake me, I just want you to think about that. Do you have the pain of being rejected by anybody, a friend or family member, or a loved one? Even if all things conspire against me, the horizon grows dark, even if a raging storm breaks out, and I feel quite alone. The saddest thing, right? She’s in a convent with other sisters. She lives in a community, and she feels alone. 

Mother Teresa once said that “the greatest disease in the West is loneliness. There is spiritual poverty.”

Pope Francis talked recently about the loneliness of the elderly in nursing homes. 

But the truth is, we all feel loneliness from time to time, don’t we? Even if I am a priest or you are married or have families, or if you are single. Amid the religious community, she felt lonely. Even with this closeness to God, she felt lonely.

She says I must brave it all; still, entirely at peace. Why is she fully at peace? Following phrase, I will trust in Your mercy, O my God, and my hope will not be disappointed.

She goes on to talk about the severe sufferings that she experienced in the places in the wounds of Jesus. She shared these sufferings from her sisters, not only from her religious superiors; she also experienced physical suffering.

Jesus said to her, [1531] Do not become sad about this; I too was a stumbling stone for some souls. If you ever feel rejected because of your faith by your children, spouse, parents, or friends, He too felt that. He, too, was a stumbling block.

Here is another one, [21]. One day, one of the Mothers [probably Mother Jane] poured out so much of her anger on me and humiliated me so much that I thought I would not be able to endure it. Her Mother, a Superior who is supposed to be a loving mother to her, pours out so much anger on her that she thinks she would not be able to take it.

Listen to this. She said this to St. Faustina, her daughter; told me, “You queer, hysterical visionary, get out of this room; go on with you, Sister!” She continued to pour out upon my head everything she could think of. When I got to my cell, I fell on my face before the cross and looked at Jesus; but I could no longer say a single word. Yet I concealed everything from the others and pretended nothing had happened between us. [129] Satan always takes advantage of such moments,

Even if you think about your own life, whenever you have been verbally abused, physically, or emotionally abused, those become wounds in us that Satan just has a field day with.

Jesus says to her, [129] Satan always takes advantage of such moments. Thoughts of discouragement began to rise to the surface — for your faithfulness and sincerity. How can one be sincere when one is so misunderstood? She is talking to Jesus about being so misunderstood. So many of our saints were misunderstood by the church, hierarchy, and peers. She finally said, Jesus, Jesus, I cannot go on any longer. Again, I fell to the ground under this weight, and I broke out in a sweat, and fear began to overcome me. I had no one to lean on interiorly. Suddenly I heard a voice within my soul, Do not fear; I am with you. 

I want you to know this sacramental that she did. She fell before the cross, and because of that, she heard the voice, “Do not fear, I am with you.”

And an unusual light illuminated my mind, and I understood that I should not give in to such sorrows. I was filled with a particular strength and left my cell with new courage to suffer.

Jesus says to her, [1937] We resemble God most when we forgive our neighbors. So, as we are here on Divine Mercy Sunday, I want you to go to the depths of your heart and think about is there anyone that you have not forgiven? Because you can be given the grace to forgive them on this Divine Mercy Sunday. Not only when you forgive that person, but your heart will also open up, and you will receive that ocean of grace. Forgiveness is a choice. It is an act of the will. I choose. I forgive this person. You have to do it totally without conditions. You have to forgive that person completely from your heart.

In her journal, she talks about how she experienced this rejection from lay people, from some of the workers who worked in the convent. Throughout it all, she learned to be at peace even in its midst.

One day five construction workers were coming, just looking for work. They wanted money and were just hitting the sisters up. They went to see Mother Superior, and Mother Superior passed them off to Sister Faustina. So, Faustina has to talk to these guys and tell them that there is no work for her, and they are mad. Think about it the construction workers are probably swearing at her. As she is going, she is afraid, and she does not know how to confront them, and Jesus says to her, [1377] Go and open the gate and talk to them as sweetly as you speak to Me. 

Have you ever experienced that on the phone when you have waited for two hours with a company, and you just want to scream at them, and you know that it is not their fault? But if you’re nice to them, it often turns it around, and they are lovely.

She says that this happens. She talked to them as sweetly as she talked to God, and then, suddenly, these men who seemed so menacing began to be sweet and calm back to her. And they too began to speak gently, and they went away peacefully. 

We have to get passed this division and divisiveness. Yes, we hold on to our values, and we hold on to the things that are strongest to us. Still, we have to get passed this point of being so angry with each other and wanting to shut out that relationship because it is too frustrating. We have to get past this. We have to forgive.

Then finally, the last point before I talk about the end of this when I talk about the Novena is the battle against Satan for peace in our souls.

You are in a battle, and he is trying to take away your peace, and he is going to try to take every avenue that he can do it.

Jesus says, [1560] First, do not fight against a temptation by yourself. If you are trying to overcome temptation by yourself, you will fail. Do not try to do it by yourself. That means first of all, with the help of God, but then He says to her, disclose it to the confessor at once. St. Teresa of Avila would say, “Whenever you have a temptation, speak it to a wise spiritual person.” So, it is excellent if you can do it in Confession, but you probably can’t go to Confession every day. But if there is a temptation, you can speak to a wise spiritual person just by sharing what that temptation is. Satan loses his stronghold. 

Second, during these ordeals, do not lose your peace. You have to stop and calm yourself and say, “No, I am not going to lose my peace. Even though I am being tempted, even though it is going on, and even though it is difficult, I am not going to lose my peace.” Live in My presence. Try to close your eyes and return to that place of presence. Remember Jesus is with you, inscribed upon your hearts. Ask My Mother and the Saints for help. 

Third, have the certainty that I am looking at you and supporting you. 

Fourth, try to see Jesus in your temptation looking at you with the supporting look of love. Almost like a kid with a parent coaching them. He’s got you. He’s encouraging you.

Fifth, know that by fighting bravely, you give Me great glory. Temptation gives you a chance to show Me your fidelity. So, we give God great glory by battling temptation.

If you do have a sin you are constantly tempted by, don’t give in to it, but don’t fight it alone. Do it with God and know that He supports you and encourages you in that time. And that by your fighting it, it brings Him glory.

This is just a beautiful paragraph. St. Faustina is writing. She’s journaling, and she says, 

[1322] The barque of my life sails along

Amid darkness and shadows of night,

And I see no shore;

I am sailing the high seas.

The slightest storm would drown me, 

Engulfing my boat in the swirling depths, 

If You Yourself did not watch over me, O God, 

She’s realizing how fragile she is and how fragile we are. We do not realize that He is watching over us.

At each instant and moment of my life. 

Amid the roaring waves 

I sail peacefully, trustingly, 

And gaze like a child into the distance without fear, 

Because You, O Jesus, are my Light. 

Dread and terror are all about me, 

But within my soul is peace more profound 

then the depths of the sea, 

For he who is with You, O Lord, will not perish; 

Of this, Your love assures me, O God. 

Though a host of dangers surround me, 

None of them do I fear, for I fix my gaze on the starry sky, 

And I sail along bravely and merrily, 

As becomes a pure heart. 

I want you to try to do that the next time you are tempted and wrestling with something. Imagine you are on a boat as a kid and merrily drifting along the way, knowing that God has you.

1[287]  Despite the peace in my soul, I fight a continuous battle with the enemy of my soul. So, if you are fighting a constant struggle, don’t be discouraged. You are right there with the saints. Sr. Faustina, although she remained her peace because she trusted in Jesus and Divine Mercy, she still had a continuous battle.

[1361] If you fail in taking advantage of an opportunity, do not lose your peace, but humble yourself profoundly before Me and, with great trust, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy. In this way, you gain more than you have lost,

If you have any regrets and you think about, “I should have done that”; “Why didn’t I do that”; let that be a moment to allow yourself to be immersed in the mercy of Jesus. He says You gain more than you have lost. So, in one moment of accepting His mercy, it washes away everything that we have lost.

Now I just want to talk about just ending this part and then going into some tangible things.

She uses a lot of imagery about God the Father, Mary, Jesus, about St. Joseph and all of these images are very physical. When she talks about God the Father, she talks about the father holding a child to his bosom, to his breast. So, the next time you find yourself panicking, anxious, or worried, and you want to trust in mercy, you don’t know how to let Him hold you in His breast. The same thing with Mary; she talks about Mary placing the mantle around you. Imagine yourself and let Mary surround you with her mantle. The same thing about St. Joseph. St. Joseph is holding you like a tender child protecting you. Then, of course, Jesus, who is so intimate that He wants to take you into His wound, and He has written His name on your heart.

If you don’t know (these are some of the practical things), it is never too late to experience God’s mercy. Even upon the hour of death. Say you couldn’t find a priest for last rites. If you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with that person as they die, they will be given tremendous grace. Jesus promises that He will step between God as judge and be the intercessor of mercy. So, they will enter the gates of heaven through mercy. So, make sure that you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with anyone dying.

Sr. Faustina asked to pray for priests especially. We priests, we need your prayers. In the Diocese of Cleveland, we have our Annual Chrism Day, and we concluded that we had lost seven priests in the last year. That has been a big number ever since the scandal. So, I would just encourage you to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for your priests to be holy, and we can be the priest that God desires us to be.

In the last nine days, hopefully, some of you have made the Novena; I will quickly cover one phrase from each one that she is asking for. If you have not prayed the Novena, I will encourage you to pray for these nine things as often as possible when you pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

]1212]* For souls of priests and religious – Try to keep the priests and religious in your prayer.

[1214] For all devout and faithful souls

[1216] For pagans and those who do not yet know Me

[1218] For heretics and schismatics – So pray for them.

[1220] For meek and humble souls and the souls of little children – So, pray for little children. I talked about some of these with our grade school kids. When I teach them how to pray, I teach meditation with them, and they like it because it is the prayer where they can just lay on the ground, kind of like sleep if they want. Their lives are so stressful, right? And they are so vulnerable. So, pray for children.

[1224] Pray for souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy – Those who are here today.

[1226] Bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy – I can’t stress this enough to pray for the souls in Purgatory. They need our help.

[1228]* Bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm – Remember, Jesus said, I desire that you be either hot or cold rather than lukewarm? Lukewarm, I spit you out of my mouth. If we are lukewarm, it’s like indifference. He says These souls wound My Heart most painfully, these lukewarm souls. His soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. Maybe that is yours? Maybe you need to pray for that fire to be set within you.

These are the full indulgence descriptions and prayers. We will do the Divine Mercy Chaplet after this, but I want to give you some concrete background.

A plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions of this: Sacrament of Confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. (Sacrament of Confession can go back 20 days or go forward 20 days.)

*Indicates the paragraph number in Saint Faustina’s Diary