Reflection – A Time of Grace and Mercy

April 25, 2019 – “Dear children! This is a time of grace, a time of mercy for each of you…”

Tomorrow is the feast of Divine Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), in which the infinite mercy of Jesus is glorified and poured out upon us.

In her messages in Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother often reminds us that, in spite of what we see in our current world, we are living in a great time of grace and mercy. The fact that the Mother of Jesus is still appearing and transmitting messages today, while the world has plunged deep into sin and darkness; and calling souls back into the arms of her Son, shows, indeed, we are being offered an abundance of graces and mercy.

Today, in order to contemplate the Mercy of Our Blessed Lord, I’d like to share a little from St. Faustina’s Diary. Two of which are conversations of a soul with Jesus. I sometimes like to read these two sections because they’re just so relatable, and they help us observe the tender love and mercy of Jesus to souls.

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul

Jesus: Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

Soul: Lord, I hear your voice calling me to turn back from the path of sin, but I have neither the strength nor the courage to do so.

Jesus: I am your strength, I will help you in the struggle.

Soul: Lord, I recognize your holiness, and I fear You.

Jesus: My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful. Behold, for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth —the tabernacle— and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue or guards. You can come to me at any moment, at any time. I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace.

Soul: Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright.

Jesus: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace. 

Soul: You have conquered, O Lord, my stony heart with Your goodness. In trust and humility I approach the tribunal of Your mercy, where You Yourself absolve me by the hand of your representative. O Lord, I feel Your grace and Your peace filling my poor soul. I feel overwhelmed by Your mercy, O Lord. You forgive me, which is more than I dared to hope for or could imagine. Your goodness surpasses all my desires. And now, filled with gratitude for so many graces, I invite You to me heart. I wandered, like a prodigal child gone astray; but you did not cease to be my Father. Increase Your mercy toward me, for You see how weak I am.

Jesus: Child, speak no more of your misery; it is already forgotten. Listen, My child, to what I desire to tell you. Come close to My wounds and draw from the Fountain of Life whatever your heart desires. Drink copiously from the Fountain of Life and you will not weary on your journey. Look at the splendors of My mercy and do not fear the enemies of your salvation. Glorify My mercy. [1485]

The words of Jesus to this soul reminded me also of the words of His Mother in her messages:

“…Do not be afraid to believe in His love and mercy, because His love is stronger than every one of your weaknesses and fears…” (12/25/18)

“…In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to open your hearts to God’s mercy, to begin a new life through prayer, penance and a decision for holiness…” (3/25/17)

“…God the Father is sending me to show you the way of salvation, because He, my children, desires to save you and not to condemn you. That is why I, as a mother, am gathering you around me, because with my motherly love I desire to help you to be free of the dirtiness of the past and to begin to live anew and differently. I am calling you to resurrect in my Son. Along with confession of sins renounce everything that has distanced you from my Son and that has made your life empty and unsuccessful. Say ‘yes’ to the Father with the heart and set out on the way of salvation to which He is calling you through the Holy Spirit…” (5/02/11)

We’re so used to judging and being judged in our world, so the fear of exposing our sins to Jesus brings about a tidal wave of fear, guilt, and shame. The enemy of the soul takes advantage of fear and weakness, and works to make us believe we are beyond saving and forgiveness. This, of course, is the biggest lie that’s ever existed. Our Blessed Lord wants nothing more than to enter our hearts; to be a part of our lives; to confide in Him and hand over everything into the depths of His infinite mercy. Jesus Himself stated that He never refuses a contrite heart. It’s true what Jesus says; who can possibly measure and calculate the extend of His love and mercy?

“…For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you…”

As Our Lady stated, Jesus’ love is stronger than all our fears and weaknesses. He desires to heal us, not hurt us. Within the sanctuary of His Mercy, we could not be safer. In Him, and with Him, we can always start again, no matter what each of our pasts or present situations look like. We have nothing to fear. Now, let’s move on to the second conversation of Jesus with a soul.

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Despairing Soul

Jesus: O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.

— But the soul, deaf even to this appeal, wraps itself in darkness.

Jesus calls out again: My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father.

— In the soul arises this reply: “For me there is no mercy,” and it falls into greater darkness, a despair which is a foretaste of hell and makes it unable to draw near to God.

Jesus calls to the soul a third time, but the soul remains deaf and blind, hardened and despairing. Then the mercy of God begins to exert itself, and, without any co-operation from the soul, God grants it final grace. If this too is spurned, God will leave the soul in this self-chosen disposition for eternity. This grace emerges from the merciful Heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God’s effort; but conversion depends on its own will. The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.

My omnipotent mercy is active here. Happy the soul that takes advantage of this grace.

Jesus: What joy fills My Heart when you return to me. Because you are weak, I take you in My arms and carry you to the home of My Father.

Soul (as if awaking, asks fearfully): Is is possible that there yet is mercy for me?

Jesus: There is, my child. You have a special claim on My mercy. Let it act in your poor soul; let the rays of grace enter your soul; they bring with them light, warmth, and life.

Soul: But fear fills me at the thought of my sins, and this terrible fear moves me to doubt Your goodness.

Jesus: My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does — that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness. 

Soul: O Lord, save me Yourself, for I perish. Be my Savior. O Lord, I am unable to say anything more; my pitiful heart is torn asunder; but You, O Lord…

Jesus does not let the soul finish but, raising it from the ground, from the depths of its misery, he leads it into the recesses of His Heart where all its sins disappear instantly, consumed by the flames of love.

Jesus: Here, soul, are all the treasures of My Heart. Take everything you need from it.

Soul: O Lord, I am inundated with Your grace. I sense that a new life has entered into me and, above all, I feel Your love in my heart. That is enough for me. O Lord, I will glorify the omnipotence of Your mercy for all eternity. Encouraged by Your goodness, I will confide to You all the sorrows of my heart.

Jesus: Tell me all, My child, hide nothing from Me, because My loving Heart, the Heart of your Best Friend, is listening to you.

Soul: O Lord, now I see all my ingratitude and Your goodness. You were pursuing me with Your grace, while I was frustrating Your benevolence. I see that I deserve the depths of hell for spurning Your graces.

Jesus: (interrupting) Do not be absorbed in your misery — you are still too weak to speak of it — but, rather, gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments. Strive for meekness and humility; be merciful to others, as I am to you; and when you feel your strength failing, if you come to the fountain of mercy to fortify your soul, you will not grow weary on your journey.

Soul: Now I understand Your mercy, which protects me, and like a brilliant star, leads me into the home of my Father, protecting me from the horrors of hell that I have deserved, not once, but a thousand time. O Lord, eternity will hardly suffice for me to give due praise to Your unfathomable mercy and Your compassion for me. [1486]

How much Jesus loves each and every soul, that He’d seek us out, even in our darkest moment, to save us! This brings us back to the words of Jesus in the Gospel:

What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. [Matthew 18:12-14]

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  [John 10:14-18]

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. [John 10:27-30]

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, seeking out all those who’ve wandered from the fold. And He will not stop until His search until each soul has returned to Him. He waits for our hearts to utter their “yes” to His love and mercy.

The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.

This also reminds me of Our Lady’s April 2nd message:

“…My Son saw beauty in all things. He seeks the good in all souls-even that which is little and hidden-so as to forgive evil…” (4/02/19)

We have a tender and merciful God Who is waiting for us. His love calls to us each moment, desiring for us to love Him back and allow His grace to embrace us.

Whatever guilt, shame, or fears you feel do not compare to the boundless mercy of God. Humans judge and condemn everyday, but God loves endlessly.

He listens to you. He hears your sorrows and cries. Even when you think He is far, or when you struggle to speak. No one knows the depths of a heart better than He does. He knows what you need and desire better than you’ll ever imagine.

Our Lady tells us that this is a time of grace and mercy. May we heed the words of our Mother, and seek out the Heart of her Son, our Merciful Lord and Savior. Because, truly, this is what the world needs more than anything. And it is what humanity is crying out for.

 

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