An Encounter with Divine Mercy


An Encounter with Divine Mercy

I had come to the Divine Mercy celebration Mass at St. Agnes in Green Bay the previous year and had been overwhelmed by the crowd.  This time I had come extra early – I was one of the first people in one of the many lines for Confession and I was settled back in my pew by the time that the Church began to fill.  Jesus was exposed in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar and a large picture of the Divine Mercy image was displayed off to the side.

I believe that the Holy Spirit guided me into a devotion to Divine Mercy.  A number of years before, my family and I were at our then-parish’s summer picnic.  More because I was an avid reader than serious about my faith life, I checked out the white elephant sale bargain bookshelf.  I was drawn to a copy of The Diary of Blessed Faustina (now St. Faustina).  I had never heard of her.  Actually, I think what first caught my eye was the book was obviously brand new as it was still in its original cellophane wrapping.  It was marked at $1.00.  It seemed like a bargain.

I tore the cellophane off that same evening and found myself pulled into Faustina’s story and experiences and visions.  I was deep into the book before I could put it down and turn in for the night.  Here was a message that was all utterly new and astounding.  The diary is much too rich to sum up briefly, but one thing that Jesus said in a vision to Faustina that is especially powerful for me, “I perform works of mercy in every soul. The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. My mercy is confirmed in every work of My hands. He who trusts in My mercy will not perish.” (723). 

I found a seat and slid into the open pew just as they announced that they were going to begin praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy so I knelt and took my rosary out of my pocket.  A cantor began to chant the Chaplet.  I don’t recall much of that prayer because as I gazed at the image in the sanctuary everything just blacked out.  I felt like I was asleep and dreaming.  I realized that now I was standing in a huge empty hall and all I could see was darkness.  I became keenly aware that I was not alone – someone was out there in that darkness.  Someone was looking at me.  I felt that whoever it was could see me quite well even though I still saw no one.

Then I realized that there was something very heavy in my arms that were outstretched in front of me.   I seemed to be unable to look at whatever it was.  I didn’t want to look down in any case.  My arms trembled some with the weight but I also knew that I could not put my burden down.  I stood there facing whoever was out there in that blackness.

Suddenly I was deeply aware of my own sinfulness.  It wasn’t like I recalled specific sins – there was no “movie” playing out the details in my mind.  Nevertheless, I felt a deep remorse in my heart.

Then it hit me like a jolt of lightning – I knew who was out there.  I still didn’t see anyone but I knew who it was.  It was God the Father.  And he saw the sinfulness in my heart.  I wanted to run but my feet seemed fixed to the floor.  I wanted to hide but there wasn’t anything to hide behind.  I felt utterly exposed.

My heart was pounding.  Now it wanted to burst as now I realized, even without looking, what I was holding.  With great effort I forced myself to look down and my breath froze.  It was exactly what I feared it was – it was the lifeless body of Jesus, just taken down from the cross.

Tears streamed down my face.  I extended my arms up and out towards the Father.  I could barely choke out the words, but I looked up and said, “See what I have done.”

A voice answered, “See how much I love you.”

It wasn’t like waking from a dream, but it was like opening my eyes as I became aware again of everyone around me.  The rosary beads must have been slipping through my fingers the whole time because we were finishing the last decade and I held the correct bead in my fingers.

On April 30, 2000 during the canonization of Sr. Faustina Pope St. John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter should be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday.  Thanks be to God.

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan