Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Mercy, Not Justice

Yesterday was the Feast of Divine Mercy, a holy day that Jesus Himself requested in His apparitions to St. Faustina. Mercy and grace are talked about frequently in Christian discourse and music, but it strikes me that many lack the comprehension of the completeness of God’s mercy.

In St. Faustina’s diaries, she records how Jesus describes His mercy. He uses words like “unfathomable” and “torrents.” The true meaning of these words is so deep that it’s beyond our comprehension. It’s akin to contemplating the depth and size of space, but even then, God’s mercy is beyond even that.

We receive God’s mercy for our venial offenses at the beginning of Mass, but to truly encounter the torrents of God’s mercy, we approach Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

On the evening of Easter, when Jesus appears to the 10 Apostles in the Upper Room, His first words to them are the first absolution. Despite their intimate years spent traveling around their region with Him, seeing all the signs and wonders He performed, and living with Him, at His passion they all abandoned Him. So, when He appears in their midst, He forgives them, “Peace be with you.” He then establishes the Sacrament by granting to them to power to bind and loose.

Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the torrents of God’s mercy are unleashed on the repentant sinner, and even those mortal sins that have suffocated their relationship with God and destroyed sanctifying grace in their life are forgiven. Like Lazarus, they are brought back from the dead and restored to the life given to them at Baptism. That is truly complete mercy.

In the early days of her encounters with Jesus, St. Faustina brought these experiences to her spiritual director. Seeking to test them, to ensure that they were truly Jesus, her director instructed Faustina to ask Jesus what sins he had confessed in his most recent confession. The next time Jesus appeared to Faustina, she posed to Him that question, to which Jesus replied that He had forgotten. Complete mercy.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not a sacrament of justice, but of mercy. In a true encounter with the risen Christ, out of total love for us, He forgives our worst failings so that we might be with Him forever. That is an unfathomable mercy.