This is a last reminder that this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, offers the Faithful a chance to gain a plenary indulgence. The conditions are described as follows:
The plenary indulgence is granted (under the usual conditions of a sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and a prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!).
So, go to confession this Saturday or that Sunday if your Church offers it then, receive communion, have a strong resolution to turn from sin, pray the Our Father, the Apostles’ Creed, and “Jesus, I trust in you.” Should you die immediately after that, you’ll go straight to heaven without a moment of Purgatory.
How many of my dear readers balked at this bold assertion? A villain becomes a saint in the space of one or two days? And quite painlessly? No, they should have to suffer more! Forgiveness should be more difficult! But, we are forgetting the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, where those who worked one hour are given the same reward as those who bore the day and the heat.
We forget one more thing: mercy is unearned. At least, mercy was not earned by us. It was earned by Jesus Christ for all that would receive His mercy. Either through the instrument of His Church or without the instrumentality of His Church, Our Lord can apply mercy to whomever He wishes. Our very willingness to receive mercy, our tenderness of heart, is something Jesus Christ earned for us. Therefore, we have no right to be like the Prophet Jonah and sulk because Our Lord shows mercy in a manner which doesn’t meet with our human values.
But, we are so quick to doubt God’s Mercy and Love for us! In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father does not have the wayward son weep for a week outside of his door and fast on bread and water before taking him into His house. Rather, He does so immediately. To use an example from the life of St. Gertrude, she once wished to gain a plenary indulgence, but illness or business kept her from being able to obtain it. The Lord asked her if she wished to have it, to which she responded yes. After the Lord’s blessing, she doubted the very purity which she felt in her soul. Knowing her doubts, Our Lord recalled to her that the sun can bleach dyed cloth to a pure white. Our Lord said to her: “If I have given such power to a creature, how much more can I purify souls?”
And so, let us allow the Lord to shine down as much mercy as He wishes upon us two days from now on Divine Mercy Sunday.