The Divine Mercy: A Practical Application for FathersPosted by in Faith & Culture | Husbands & Fathers
Caught up in the joy of Easter, the Church now calls us to contemplate our Lord’s Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, is the perfect time for me, and all fathers, to reflect on the practical application of the Divine Mercy in our everyday lives.
A little history of the Divine Mercy
In the 1930s, Sr. Faustina (now St. Faustina) received a series of revelations from our Lord Jesus about God’s mercy. Sr. Faustina died in 1938, but devotion to The Divine Mercy, as found in her Diary, spread.
Initially there was much resistance to the message of the Divine Mercy. In the late 1950s the Church, due to erroneous translations of Sr. Faustina’s Diary, forbid the spreading of the Divine Mercy message. However, in 1978, the ban was completely lifted, thanks, in part, to the efforts of the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. That same cardinal would shortly thereafter be named Pope.
Pope John Paul II had a special place in his heart for this devotion. On April 18, 1993, the first Sunday after Easter, Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina. Seven years later, on April 30, 2000, again the first Sunday after Easter, he canonized her. St. Faustina became the first saint of the Great Jubilee Year. At that joyous event, Pope John Paul II also declared that the first Sunday after Easter would be celebrated, throughout the Church, as Divine Mercy Sunday.
What exactly is the Divine Mercy message?
God is love and God is mercy. At the heart of the Divine Mercy message is the reality that God loves each one of us regardless of how great our sins might be. Christ urges us to realize that His Mercy is far greater than our sins. This realization allows us to approach Him with confidence, to ask for and receive His Mercy, and to let it fill our lives.
In a nutshell, the Divine Mercy message calls each of us to ask for Christ’s Mercy, show mercy to others, and place all of our trust in Jesus.
What does all this have to do with fathers?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that one of my responsibilities, as a father, is:
creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. (#2223)
So as a father, in my words and in my actions, I must communicate to my children that my love and mercy towards them is far greater than any “sin” of theirs. I have to let my children know that they can approach me with confidence, admitting when they have done wrong, and trusting that, as a father, I won’t “fly off the handle” by reacting with harshness or violence. As a father, I have to discipline my children. However, love, justice, and mercy should motivate and direct that discipline.
Equally important for me, as a father, is my example. How does my example teach my children the meaning and importance of Christ’s Divine Mercy?
- I have to ask for Christ’s Mercy – As a father, in my prayers and in my actions, I need to seek Jesus’ Divine Mercy. Making confession a regular, perhaps monthly, practice is an excellent way to show my children that (1) I need God’s Mercy, and (2) that I know where to find God’s Mercy. Jesus Christ established the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (John 20:23).
“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy… CCC #1422
Once the children have received the sacrament of Penance, as a father I should take them along with me so as to develop in them a love for this awesome sacrament.
- I have to show Mercy to others – God wants me, as a father, to receive His Divine Mercy, and allow it to pass through me to others, especially to my family. In the home, I need to show Christ love and mercy to my wife and children on an on-going basis. As a father, I have to strive to overcome acting with anger, impatience, self-interest, intolerance, and coldness. I must be a reflection of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
- I have to place all my trust in Jesus – As a father, I have real concerns, challenges, and shortcomings. The worries and failures of the day can seem overwhelming, be they financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual. As the “spiritual” head of my family I have to keep one thing in front of me in good times and in difficult times; I must trust in Jesus. Regardless of the situation or crisis, I must be willing to pray: Jesus, I trust in You.In those difficult times I am reminded of the words of Isaiah:
I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. – Is 8:17-18
When it seems as though God is hiding His Face, when there is no answer to the problem, when we’ve done all we possibly can and still this or that bill might not get paid – Jesus, I trust in You.
As a father, I’m always seeking the practical application of my Catholic Faith to my everyday life. What could be more practical, in this day and age, then living the message of Divine Mercy?
As we prepare to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, let our hearts and minds be focused on the great love and mercy Our Lord Jesus Christ has bestowed on each of us.
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