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T&T should embrace the Feast of Divine Mercy to become a more forgiving society

As the Church throughout the world prepared to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday April 7, the Chair of the Missionaries of the Divine Mercy spoke passionately on The Catholic News’ April 5 programme of Altos about the significance of this holy day for the nation. Mona Rahael felt the people of Trinidad and Tobago have embraced this special feast with a renewed sense of urgency and hope.

Rahael explained that Divine Mercy Sunday was formally instituted by St John Paul II in 2000, when he canonised St Faustina and declared the second Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy.

The pope’s reasoning was rooted in the revelations received by St Faustina, as Rahael recounted: “…he said that the risen Christ on Divine Mercy Sunday is pouring out His mercy to the world.” What  issued forth from Jesus’ heart in St Faustina’s vision was blood and water. “It represented the Holy Eucharist as well as Baptism and the gift of the Holy spirit as well,” Rahael said.

Rahael went on to share a powerful excerpt from the Diary of Saint Faustina, where Jesus Himself spoke of the graces He desired to bestow upon humanity on this feast day: “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a 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.”

In a country like Trinidad and Tobago, where Rahael lamented the presence of “so many lost souls” and a deep-seated need for forgiveness, the message of Divine Mercy holds a particular significance.

“…So many people, just caught up in so much of unforgiveness because they’ve been hurt. There’s so much rage, so much frustration, so much hurt people have experienced, that they operate out of that hurt and that woundedness.”

Rahael said  to be merciful to others, the mercy of the Lord had to be received, and faithful must know Him as “our Lord and Saviour.” “We have to know Him as a loving God, not a punishing God. And the whole image of Divine Mercy, it portrays that of His mercy, His unfathomable mercy, His love, His tremendous love that He suffered on the cross for us.”

The excruciating death Jesus suffered “shows us that He has taken all of our sins upon Him, but He wants us to be merciful as well to each other.”

To receive the extraordinary graces promised by Jesus on this Feast Day, Rahael emphasised the specific requirements: “a few of the requirements for this Divine Mercy Sunday and the extraordinary grace that our Lord wants to pour out upon us is: repenting of our sins, going to sacramental Confession, receiving Holy Communion on the day, trusting in His divine mercy, venerating His divine image and also being merciful to others, most importantly.”

Confession can be done eight days prior to Divine Mercy Sunday, or within eight days after. Importantly, she said, is not to be attached to sin.

Rahael’s own experience with the message of Divine Mercy has profoundly impacted her life, and she is eager to share this transformative power with the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

“It is through reading that I came to experience God’s love in a more powerful, real way…. I’ve had experiences throughout my life, especially in reading the (St Faustina’s) diary, and knowing that as a Christian, this is what Jesus has asked, to be able to forgive another who has hurt you deeply.”

Rahael’s deep conviction in the healing and reconciling power of God’s mercy is evident as she encourages citizens to embrace this feast, for it is the only way, as she eloquently concluded, “to become a more forgiving society.”