The Spark of Mercy
For many over the age of 25, the word “Pope” during our younger years likely conjured in our minds the image of St. Pope John Paul II. As a child, I can recall seeing images of him on television, surrounded at times by millions of people of many nations and cultures cheering on the Polish Pontiff. Most memorable to me was his strong, warm smile that seemed almost an outward expression of God’s love in his own heart. He was one of those larger than life figures that moved millions, and brought many hearts to Christ. We now proudly call him a Saint in recognition of his heroic love for God and His people.
As the 264th Successor to St. Peter, St. John Paul II was truly a unique Pope for many reasons. He was the first Pope of the modern, globalized age and travelled to more countries than any Pope in history. He was born in Poland, where his younger years were battle hardened through surviving the horrors of the Nazi occupation, and in his later years he was instrumental in bringing about the fall of Communism in Poland and abroad, especially during his Papacy. He is also known for his series of lectures, called collectively “The Theology of the Body,” a wonderful gift which helped bring the heart of the Church’s marital and sexual teachings to a flock in deep combat with the spirit of The Sexual Revolution.
One of the greatest gifts the Church received from this beloved Saint, however, came in the year 2000, when John Paul II solemnly declared the Sunday after Easter “Divine Mercy Sunday.” This declaration comes in response to Jesus’s words to Polish Nun St. Faustina Kowalska. He detailed to her His desire to see this feast fully established by the Church. From St. Faustina’s Diary we read: “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” (Diary 699)
The message of the Divine Mercy was incredibly important to John Paul II. In an address, he once said: “”The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which it in a sense forms the image of this Pontificate.” He preached that God’s greatest attribute was that of His Mercy, and that we find a God constantly ready to embrace us and forgive us our sins, no matter what we have done. We have then, two wonderful Saints working together to bring the Church Jesus’ message of mercy. One who lovingly recorded and published the Message, and another who firmly established it in its full power within the Church.
The following was written in St. Faustina’s Diary, and perhaps can be equally said of St. John Paul II as it is of St. Faustina: “I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary, 1732). Between St. Faustina and John Paul II, this prophecy of Mercy is clearly being fulfilled.
“Mercy is Love when it encounters suffering.”- Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr. Michael Giatley
Every month Catholic T-Shirt Club strives to bring you awesome new sacramentals and a one of a kind Catholic t-shirt, tied together by a theme that will help grow in your knowledge of our wonderful faith!
This month’s box features Pope St. John Paul II and the Divine Mercy!
The image on our T-Shirt depicts the living, beating heart of our faith, the Eucharist, radiating the blue and red rays of the Divine mercy. John Paul II is quoted “This Miracle of Mercy has radically changed humanity’s destiny.” As Catholics, we believe this statement to be true, not only of the Divine Mercy as a message, but of the Eucharist itself, which is both sign and reality of Jesus’s mercy and love for us.
Also included is a Rosary styled for use as a Divine Mercy Chaplet. The Rosary has the same bead count as a standard Rosary, but may also readily be used to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet as given to St. Faustina. This prayer is best said at 3pm in remembrance of His Passion, but is always a great prayer when we need to call God’s Mercy into our lives.
Two holy cards are also included, one for both St. John Paul II and the Divine Mercy, as well as their respective medals! Jesus told St. Faustina that great graces would be granted to those who honor the image of the Divine Mercy. On the reverse side is a reference page for the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to aid in reciting the prayers.
As a special addition to this month’s box, we have also included a CD containing “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told”, an incredible talk given by Fr. Gaitely, who goes into more detail about the deep connections between St. Faustina, St John Paul II and the Divine Mercy message. This is an incredible story you won’t want to miss!