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A Gift for Divine Mercy Sunday
By Chris Sparks (Mar 7, 2017)
Do you need a way to drive out the devil? Saint Faustina's Diary offers some particularly powerful ways to break the traps of Satan and set the captives free.
One very powerful way to defeat the devil is by celebrating the Feast of Mercy, Divine Mercy Sunday. Many people have heard of the promises attached to Divine Mercy Sunday, coming especially through the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, which set us free from the stain of sin, give us a share in the divine, eternal life of God, and, on Divine Mercy Sunday, also set us free from all temporal punishment due to sin. Knowing this, many people work very hard to have Divine Mercy Sunday properly celebrated in their parishes and dioceses so that as many people as possible may receive the graces God wants so badly to give us all.
Another important tool for breaking the power of hell involves another essential element of the devotion: the Divine Mercy Image. Jesus said to St. Faustina:
I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it (Diary, 341).
Now, that sounds like a minor detail, really, a little addition to receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace and doing works of mercy to celebrate the great Feast of Mercy. Right?
Not according to the Diary.
When Sr. Faustina convinced Fr. Michael Sopoćko to have the image publicly displayed for the first time in the chapel at Ostra Brama, the Gate of Dawn, in Vilnius on Divine Mercy weekend, 1935, the effects were literally out of this world.
When the image was displayed, I saw a sudden movement of the hand of Jesus, as He made a large sign of the cross. In the evening of the same day, when I had gone to bed, I saw the image going over the town, and the town was covered with what appeared to be a mesh and nets. As Jesus passed, He cut through all the nets and finally made a large sign of the cross and disappeared. I saw myself surrounded by a multitude of malicious figures burning with hatred for me. Various threats came from their lips, but none of them touched me. After a moment, this apparition vanished, but for a long time I could not get to sleep. (Diary, 416)
The imagery she saw brings to mind some of the words from the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: "Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil." Clearly, obeying Jesus about the display, blessing, and veneration of the image opened the door to Jesus' powerful action, setting the captives free from all sorts of spiritual traps and snares, driving out the demons from their places of strength and security throughout the town, places where people had allowed hell to act through their sins. Further, the devils were essentially powerless against St. Faustina because she had been obedient to Jesus.
But there was more:
[April] 26. On Friday, when I was at Ostra Brama to attend the ceremony during which the image was displayed , I heard a sermon given by my confessor [Father Sopocko]. This sermon about Divine Mercy was the first of the things that Jesus had asked for so very long ago. When he began to speak about the great mercy of the Lord, the image came alive and the rays pierced the hearts of the people gathered there, but not all to the same degree. Some received more, some less. Great joy filled my soul to see the grace of God. Then I heard the words, You are a witness of My mercy. You shall stand before My throne forever as a living witness to My mercy.
When the sermon was over, I did not wait for the end of the service, as I was in a hurry to get back home. When I had taken a few steps, a great multitude of demons blocked my way. They threatened me with terrible tortures, and voices could be heard: "She has snatched away everything we have worked for over so many years!" When I asked them, "Where have you come from in such great numbers?" the wicked forms answered, "Out of human hearts; stop tormenting us!"
Seeing their great hatred for me, I immediately asked my Guardian Angel for help, and at once the bright and radiant figure of my Guardian Angel appeared and said to me, "Do not fear, spouse of my Lord; without His permission these spirits will do you no harm." Immediately the evil spirits vanished, and the faithful Guardian Angel accompanied me, in a visible manner, right to the very house. His look was modest and peaceful, and a flame of fire sparkled from his forehead. O Jesus, I would like to toil and wear myself out and suffer all my life for that one moment in which I saw Your glory, O Lord, and profit for souls. (Diary, 417-419)
The image is clearly a tremendous vessel of graces (see Diary, 327), graces that lend power to Fr. Sopoćko's preaching about Divine Mercy even greater than that already promised by the Lord to the priests who preach about Divine Mercy (see Diary, 1521). Again, demons are displaced. The powers of hell are shaken and removed from their strongholds, driven out of the hearts and lives of the people listening to the words of Blessed Michael Sopoćko.
And through the faithful response of St. Faustina and Blessed Michael Sopoćko to the call of God to have the image be blessed, displayed, and venerated publicly, graces are given to the entire world:
Sunday, [April] 28, 1935. 420 Low Sunday; that is, the Feast of The Divine Mercy, the conclusion of the Jubilee of Redemption. When we went to take part in the celebrations, my heart leapt with joy that the two solemnities were so closely united. I asked God for mercy on the souls of sinners. Toward the end of the service, when the priest took the Blessed Sacrament to bless the people, I saw the Lord Jesus as He is represented in the image. The Lord gave His blessing, and the rays extended over the whole world. Suddenly, I saw an impenetrable brightness in the form of a crystal dwelling place, woven together from waves of a brilliance unapproachable to both creatures and spirits. Three doors led to this resplendence. At that moment, Jesus, as He is represented in the image, entered this resplendence through the second door to the Unity within. It is a triple Unity, which is incomprehensible — which is infinity. I heard a voice, This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of My tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it. I was overjoyed at the immense goodness and greatness of my God. (Diary, 420
Now, as we've already written elsewhere, we believe that Divine Mercy is the answer to the great and growing evils of our time. One hugely important element to allowing Jesus to triumph over evil in our lives and present times is to welcome His providential action and loving power into our homes, our parishes, and our world through having the Divine Mercy Image on display for Divine Mercy Sunday, publicly blessed, and venerated, according to the writings of St. Faustina. Put an image in your home, using prayers of enthronement and entrustment, welcoming Divine Mercy into the heart of your family, neighborhood, and wider community. Pray for your enemies before it, seeking victory over them through their conversion into brethren in the Lord and friends (see Diary, 48). Ask for every grace and blessing from Jesus, the Divine Mercy, and through trust, draw forth as much grace and strength as your mustard seed of faith will allow (see Diary, 1578).
Let us obey the call of God, as given through St. Faustina, and so draw forth the many graces needed by our world today. Let us spread the Divine Mercy Image throughout the world, and so open the door even more widely to Jesus' presence, power, and free action in the darkness of the present day. Let us trust, and win the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil, all by the grace of God.
Let us pray, now and always, the words at the bottom of the image, words that sum up the whole of the Christian faith: Jesus, I trust in You.