Photo: Felix Carroll
Is Divine Mercy for All Christians?
By Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC (Jul 19, 2011)
One reader writes, "Is the message of Divine Mercy only for Catholics, or is it ecumenical?"
Two thoughts from the revelations of Jesus to St. Faustina seem to give us the answer to this question: "Ask of My faithful servant [Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko] that, on this day, he tell the whole world of My great mercy. ... Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary of St. Faustina, 300). Jesus says nothing about limiting this message to Catholics. He wants everyone to know about His great mercy and His desire to forgive us, heal us, and bring us peace.
The Bible is filled with examples of the longing of the Lord to make Himself known to the ends of the earth. In the Old Testament, after God healed Naaman the Syrian from leprosy through the Prophet Elisha, Naaman said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel" (2 Kgs 5:15). Naaman came to know the Lord because mercy was extended to him.
Some of our Protestant brothers and sisters may question some aspects of our Catholic faith such as the Communion of Saints, the role of Our Lady, and the doctrine on purgatory. However, all Christians can agree that we are redeemed through the death of Christ on the cross. There is no reason, therefore, why all Christians could not pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, since it focuses on our redemption in Christ.
To show being merciful is essential to God's character and to our call as Christians, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, points to three sayings from the Scriptures that are intimately related: "Be holy, for the Lord your God is holy"; "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect"; and "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
All mean the same thing: We are all called to be like God, and that means being merciful as God is merciful.
Father Joe Roesch, MIC, is the Marians' vicar general. He lives in Rome, Italy.