Today is one of my favorite feast days, the Triumph of the Cross, a day the Church sets aside to celebrate hope in darkness. This feast day answers the deepest question of the human heart: why and how we suffer?
Many years ago, a friend’s teenage son had been diagnosed with leukemia. At the same time, another teenager in my parish was battling throat cancer. I approached my pastor at daily Mass and asked him to offer Mass for my son’s friend. We spoke a bit, and I don’t remember the whole conversation, but I do remember one thing he said with a sigh and deep pain as his voice trailed off – “…the mystery of the suffering of the innocent…” Indeed, this is one of the most profound of mysteries.
Above all, this day is about mercy. The Church reminds us that life does not end with the Cross, but rather, continues through the cross to the glory of the resurrection. The most unfathomable part of this expression is that God did all this out of love – because he wants us with him forever – not just our minds and hearts in this world, but for eternity. How we love, and especially how we love through suffering makes all the difference.
Jesus loves us freely, faithfully, fruitfully and totally through his suffering on the cross. His love atones for our sins – yours and mine and those of the whole world. The greatest act mercy God does for us is to forgive our sins and to restore us to wholeness. He calls us to love the same way.
Last night, as I often do, I read from St. Faustina‘s Diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul. (on my iPhone using a terrific app from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. I highly recommend it!) Two entries (below) speak of God’s mercy and our appropriate response to venerate it. On this Friday at 3:00, the hour of mercy, let us particularly embrace the Triumph of the Cross with prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Stations of Cross. Won’t you join me?
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! Anne
Jesus speaks to St. Faustina in these two entries from her diary.
Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late. (1448)
I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world-mercy triumphed over justice. My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. I claim veneration for My mercy from every creature, but above all from you, since it is to you that I have given the most profound understanding of this mystery. (1572)