(NOTE: Portions of this post were cobbled together from earlier ones.)
Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a new celebration established by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000 when he canonized a Polish nun who had received messages (or “interior locutions”) from Jesus in the 1930’s. (These are an accepted part of Catholicism, although not binding upon the faithful. Apparitions like those at Lourdes and Fatima and messages such as those received by Sr. Faustina (now Saint Faustina) do not add anything new to God’s Revelation to humanity. They are merely signs that the Good Shepherd is doing His work and is reminding us of certain necessary things. Quite often apparitions and locutions occur during critical moments in human history, indicating that the Lord’s “sheep” are going astray and He is coming after them.)
Jesus’ messages to St. Faustina concern God’s immense love for people and His boundless “ocean of Mercy” to which we are all entitled. No matter how dirtied we are by the sins of our past, when we dip into the ocean of Mercy we are scrubbed clean. God’s mercy is available to us for the asking, and is the source of immeasurable graces.
The devotion and practice of Divine Mercy is critical, I think, to anyone in recovery. It fixes our brokenness and mends our wounded souls. It teaches us that God is a loving Father, that Jesus is our brother and the Holy Spirit our infallible guide.
It was important to me, and critical in my recovery and how my Catholic Faith became more important than the Twelve Steps in maintaining my sobriety.
I had drifted away from the Catholic Church in 1987 thinking that religion was just human nonsense designed by the powerful to control people. I never doubted or disbelieved in God’s existence, as I’ve always regarded atheism as a supremely irrational and stupid human notion. I did feel nevertheless that religion was pointless. Anyway, to make a long story short, I drank to excess, abused it, and ended up returning to live with my Mom for 10 years. Originally I was to be her caregiver (my alcoholism was manageable), but for a while I was the person being cared for. (See also Drunkalogue.) My Mom watched EWTN a lot. Aside from the Daily Mass, from which I got a daily injection of Truth and sensibility from the sermons, she also watched the “Chaplet of Divine Mercy” each morning. She eventually taught it to me, particularly around Divine Mercy Sunday.
I think it was her daily praying of the Chaplet that brought me back into the Church. It also was, and continues through this day, to be a source of healing and mercy.
This is important to us Catholic alcoholics and addicts. We are so broken and wounded from our past. For many the past is just too much and they never fully escape from its haunting.
The all-encompassing nature of Divine Mercy heals our souls and enables us to draw upon the endless reservoir of God’s Mercy. It is a tremendous aid in our spiritual growth and progress. It led me back into the Catholic Church, with Her fullness of the Gospel Truth and the sacramental life and graces. It helps you to achieve a more fuller life.
The key elements of the Divine Mercy Devotion are:
- The diary of St. Faustina (“Divine Mercy in My Soul.”)
- The Image of Divine Mercy
- The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- The Divine Mercy Novena
- The Hour of Mercy
- Divine Mercy Sunday
Please click on each of those links to learn more! You can also click on this: Divine Mercy to explore anything else I wrote on it.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)