Jesus, Messiah, Saviour of the World
At the centre of the Divine Mercy Devotion is the person of Jesus. Jesus is the Second Divine Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, eternally loved by the Heavenly Father and eternally loving in return. But due to our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness and healing, He took flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and became a man like us in all things but sin. He became one with us in our struggle with sin and took it upon Himself to be our saviour and our champion. He entered into our hells to bring us mercy and healing. He and no other can do it. As the prophet Isaiah says “Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried… On Him lies the punishment that brings us peace and through his wounds we are healed”.
He comes to set us free
We say in the Creed “He descended into hell”. We can so easily overlook this important statement. This article of our faith is far richer than simply saying He died, it is a far more profound statement about Jesus and thus about God. God in Jesus entered into the hell of human existences, the sadness which life so often forces us to enter into. But He comes to set us free, He comes to give us hope. The psalmist says “He came down from Heaven to earth that he might hear the groans of the prisoners and free those condemned to die” (Ps 101).
Through Thick and Thin
We can find ourselves in many different hells. The hell of losing a close friend to death, addiction, depression, sickness, financial ruin and into each of these the Lord Jesus has come with His merciful love. We know from the Gospels that Our Blessed Lord cried at the death of His friend Lazarus. He was betrayed by someone He thought was His friend. He was denied by someone who said that he would forever stand beside Him. Our Blessed Lord knows what it is like to have all His friends leave Him, afraid to be seen in His company.
Alone and Abandoned
He knows what it is like to enter into a garden alone to face the fear of the future. He knows what it is like to feel trapped and alone. Jesus went into the garden of Gethsemane because He knew that he would meet each of us there. In those places or times in our lives when we feel so frightened and alone, when we become so filled with anguish and anxiety, that our sweat becomes like drops of blood falling to the ground. Our God is not some distant God. Jesus, in His mercy, knows how it feels to be one of us. He knows what it is like to be left alone and abandoned, even by God, as He prayed on the Cross, “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?”
Freed from the Past, Healed for the Future
Our Blessed Lord is the only one who can come into the hell of our own feelings and set us free. Not only does He understand you but He alone can release you from the prison of the past, and through His mercy carry you to the future. Only someone who is God and man can bring true healing to the human spirit.
Not now, but in the future?
When Our Blessed Lord went to visit the sisters Mary and Martha after the death of their brother Lazarus, He asked Martha if she believed in her heart in the resurrection and she said yes, but she said it was something in the future. But Jesus says the belief in the resurrection is not simply for the future, it is for the now also, He says “I am the Resurrection”. Do you believe it for the present? Do you now believe that Jesus is now coming into your life, as you read this article? He is now bringing His hope, His presence, His mercy, His forgiveness into the reality of your pain. He is not just asking Martha, He is asking you. Are you prepared to accept Him into your life now? Are you prepared to say, “Jesus I trust in You”?
The Living Presence of Jesus among us
The resurrection is the living presence of Jesus among us; the living presence of Jesus who comes to each and every one of us in that silent place of our own hearts. He is the one who says to each of us, “you are not alone, I am with you, I do love you.”
Quick Fix Mentality
However, rather than going to Him, we often look for the quick-fix from the pain of life. We look for the company of other people and to novelties. We can so easily turn to drink or drugs. But there is no such thing as the quick-fix for the human heart. We are human beings, not machines. You can’t just push a button and move on.
Bring the Light back into our Lives
What we need is healing, the healing power of knowing that there is someone there who understands, someone who cares, someone who can bring the light back into our lives. That is why we come to the Lord. The Lord, who cares, loves, doesn’t judge. When we allow the Lord into our lives, the healing begins: the presence of Christ, the gentle forgiving presence. The presence that stops us from rewriting the past but allows us to live for the future.
The One True God
This is the greatness of Divine Mercy. It is called “divine” because it is the presence of God, not any god but the True God, Jesus of Nazareth, coming into our lives as our saviour. Jesus is not simply one religious leader among other spiritual masters. He is truly God-with-us. Other religious figures pass on their teachings, which may be helpful, but only Jesus comes to us personally, not simply by His teachings but in Himself.
Draw life from Him, like leaves on a branch
No other great religious leader ever claimed to be God, but Jesus does. He also says that we can have no life unless we live in Him and He lives in us. No spiritual guru every made such a claim. But this is Jesus’ offer to us, for us to draw life from Him, like leaves on a branch; His presence in our lives gives meaning and purpose to our lives. As a branch cut off from the vine can have no life, neither can we, if we were cut off from Christ. The devotion to Divine Mercy keeps us in close communion with Jesus Christ and allows us to live in His healing and merciful presence. He alone is the one Saviour who can release us from hell.