The Catholic Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday the Sunday after Easter. It’s not just another feast day, though. Divine Mercy Sunday is an incredible day to receive the mercy that Christ gives His Church.
Here’s what you need to know about the graces that come with Mercy Sunday:
Wait, what is Mercy Sunday?
During his papacy, Saint Pope John Paul II declared that the Sunday after Easter should be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. John Paul II announced this addition to the liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church on May 5, 2000, during Saint Faustina’s canonization Mass.
God’s mercy isn’t a message unique to the Divine Mercy visions that Saint Faustina received, though. Messages of God’s mercy can be traced all the way back through the Old Testament. We hear that God is slow to anger, rich in compassion. God the Father gives humanity His only begotten Son in the ultimate act of mercy. And Christ hangs on the cross as expiation for our sin (while we were still sinners!)
It’s important to note that Catholics don’t have to believe in the visions that Christ gave Saint Faustina. Want to know more about what Catholics have to believe? Check out this quiz.
Christ Himself tells us about the graces
Christ appeared to Saint Faustina over the course of four years. In one of the visions, He told Faustina about the Divine Mercy Promise. We find the promise in her diary:
“Our Lord Jesus said, ‘The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.'”
The graces are better than a plenary indulgence
Plenary indulgences come with a list of conditions. In order to receive the indulgence you must receive the Eucharist, go to confession within 20 days, pray for the intentions of the Holy father, and be detached from all sin.
Christ’s promises for Divine Mercy Sunday removes the requirement for the soul to be detached from all sin. The special graces promised by Christ come through receiving Communion, being in a state of grace, and trusting in Divine Mercy.
Graces from Mercy Sunday return your soul to its baptismal state
So we know that the graces from Mercy Sunday are incredible, but just what are the graces? The most important grace that Christ promises for Divine Mercy Sunday is equivalent to the soul returning to the state it was right after baptism – “complete forgiveness (remission) of sins and punishment”. This grace can usually only be received by baptism itself – or by making a confession with perfect contrition.
“Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment,” Christ told Faustina.
So just what do we have to do to receive these graces?
To receive these graces, the only conditions are to receive Holy Communion in a state of grace on Divine Mercy Sunday (or the Vigil celebration on Saturday evening), make a good confession, and trust in His Divine Mercy.
“On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open,” Faustina records in her diary. “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 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. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”
Christ emphasizes the importance of confessing our sins and receiving His body in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He wants all souls to receive His Divine Mercy!
Eternal Father, we offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.