Today’s Feast, Divine Mercy Sunday, helps me recall one of the greatest pieces of journalism that world history has ever witnessed. Even if it did not make it to the headlines. Nevertheless, it is really a saving piece of news! Let me share it with you as it came to us directly from the Person, Jesus Christ. Thanks, of course, to Saint Faustina Kowalska, one of his faithful journalists on earth.
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 souls 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 (Diary, no 1448).
What a remarkable teaching our Lord Jesus Christ handed us through Saint Faustina concerning the sacrament of Reconciliation! What amazes me is the fact that what Jesus is telling to His Secretary perfectly accords with what the Church teaches on this great sacrament of love, namely confession. In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in number 1468, the power of the sacrament of Reconciliation “consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship. Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation. Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true spiritual resurrection, restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.”
Additionally, the sacrament of reconciliation has the power of reconciling us with the Body of Christ, the Church. This is so since, as the Cathecism explains, “sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members”. Thus, in being “re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland” (no. 1469).
When affirming and commenting on some fundamental convictions on the sacrament of reconciliation, as outlaid in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on Reconcilation and Penance in the mission of the Church today, Reconcilatio et Paenitentia, Saint John Paul II said that “it must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation” (No, 31, V).
Empowered by his personal conviction Pope Francis admits that “among the Sacraments, certainly Reconciliation renders present with particular efficacy the merciful face of God: it is constantly and ceaselessly made real and manifest”. That is why he keeps saying to us: “God never ever tires of forgiving us!” Likwise Jesus is telling you and me through Saint Faustina: “Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. (1588).
The sacrament of reconciliation is Jesus’ healing for you and me. It is His own privileged way of pressing you and me to His Merciful Heart! The choice is ours!