Sunday 19th April was Divine Mercy Sunday, a day to celebrate, instituted by Pope Saint John Paul II. Sister (Saint) Faustina of Poland was inspired by God to deliver the message of divine mercy to us all and was also inspired to paint the, now famous image of Divine Mercy I have included here. The message of Divine Mercy is quite simple and three-fold:
• Ask for his Mercy
• Be merciful to others
• Completely trust in Him.
ABC. How easy is that? That last one is perhaps the hardest for us to implement, especially in this time of COVID-19 self-isolation. We are all feeling cooped up and perhaps even imprisoned in our own homes. How can what we are going through be related to divine mercy? Shouldn’t God, if he was showing us mercy have eliminated this coronavirus before it started killing so many people? Why is he letting us all suffer like this?
Those are tough questions and I think we need to go back to history to see how these kinds of queries played out before. In the early days of St. Faustina, there was not even an actual country called Poland. It had been wiped off the face of the earth in the 19th century, as it had also been erased in the 18th century for a while as well. St. Faustina watched several poor attempts at independence rise and get crushed. She saw a new Poland rise from the ashes of WWI, only to become the first country consumed by Hitler in WWII. Yet, It was this poor, 3rd grade educated woman from war-torn Poland whom God inspired to write about his Divine Mercies and who painted this image of Christ’s heart pouring out blood and water in a showering of Mercy.
We may be going through tough times but it’s in these tough times when we most often come to recognize that we cannot manage on our own but that we need to rely on God’s mercy. “Jesus, I Trust in You”. Those words are the hardest ones to put into action sometimes. Now, more than ever, we need to do just that, trust in Jesus.
Part of the divine mercies comes through our own actions, inspired by God. How are we doing at following the inspiration Our Lord offers to us? The Knights of Columbus are offering some suggestions in their “Leave no neighbour behind” campaign (http://kofc.org). We need to refocus our efforts these days to making sure that our brother Knights, families, and neighbors are all taken care of. There is so much uncertainty and potentially so much need now, because of our unprecedented situation. Our Council has been forced to suspend or outright cancel most of the remaining activities we were planning for the coming year. The Golf tournament is cancelled, Steak bbq, all meetings and any gatherings of our brothers for meetings or otherwise are on hold for the foreseeable future. We, as a council, have decided to continue to offer our support to the St. Vincent de Paul society for their outreach program of feeding the poor and the homeless. But even that is now in peril. The Golf tournament was to be our big fund-raising even this year and it was to be done on their behalf as our charity partners for this year. Their expenses have not disappeared as a result of self-isolation, it may have increased in fact but their revenue has not gone up as fund-raising possibilities have dried up. We are encouraging our brother knights to offer individual support to St. Vincent de Paul (http://www.svdpkingston.com/) in place of the monies we might otherwise have donated to things like the golf tourney. They need our support. Additionally, as is proposed in the Knights Leave no Neighbor Behind campaign, we should be looking out for our neighbors. Some of us may be in need of help, others are able to offer that help. Either way, let us know. If you know a neighbor who needs help but you are unable to directly support them, let us know. Perhaps we can help. If you’re fit and healthy, let us know. We can use your help.
Cheers and May God, in his infinite mercy, bless you all.
Note: The image above is a representation of the first image of Merciful Jesus painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski in co-operation with Sister Faustina in 1934.