Divine Mercy Sunday and St. Faustina
St. Faustina was born in 1905 into a poor Polish family and experienced a religious calling from a young age. She initially deferred pursuing a religious vocation to help her family with her earnings as a housekeeper. At age 19, after a vision of the suffering Jesus, she earnestly sought entrance into religious life. Initially turned away by many convents, she entered the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in August 1925. In April 1928, she took her first vows with her parents in attendance.
St. Faustina served the Congregation in Krakow, Plock, and Vilnius as a cook, gardener, and porter. While living a simple religious life, she grew in great union with God, experiencing profound sufferings as well as consolations. She had many visions of Jesus and wrote a diary of her experiences. St. Faustina died from tuberculosis at the age of 33 in 1938.
In 1959, the Vatican suppressed the Divine Mercy devotion. But in 1978, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lifted the suppression after new original documents were examined and texts were retranslated.
ThenCardinal Karol Wojtyla strongly promoted the message of Divine Mercy. Later, as Pope John Paul II, he canonized St. Faustina, in April 2000, and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. Because of her work fostering devotion to Divine Mercy, St. Faustina is known as the “apostle of Divine Mercy.”
April 9th: Feast of the Annunciation
First celebrated in the fourth or fifth century, this feast focuses on the Incarnation. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. Because Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God given role from beginning to end. Mary is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14. Together with Jesus, Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.