The Importance of the Feast of Mercy
The first revelation of Jesus in His message of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina on 22nd February 1931 was to say how much He desired mankind to avail of the infinite mercy of God on earth and this was why He was establishing the Feast of His Mercy. So, the Feast of Mercy was the first revelation in the message of Divine Mercy and is considered the first and most important element of the whole devotion.
Jesus devoted fourteen revelations in all, more than He devoted to any other element of this devotion because of the importance of the extraordinary graces He desired to give to all souls on this holy day.
In fact, He attached such importance to the Feast of Mercy that in the 43rd revelation, He stated, “I desire that My mercy be worshiped, and I am giving mankind the last hope of salvation; that is, recourse to My mercy. My Heart rejoices in this Feast”. (Diary 998)
First Sunday After Easter
Jesus said it was to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. The selection of this day was to indicate that Jesus shows a special close connection between the paschal mystery of our redemption, and the Feast of Mercy and it is partly designed so that we contemplate, on this day, the mystery of our Redemption as the greatest act of Divine Mercy toward mankind.
Saint Faustina also noted this, when in 1935 she wrote: “I see now that the work of Redemption is bound up with this work of Divine Mercy that the Lord desires”. (Diary 89)
Celebration of the Feast
With regard to the manner of its celebration, Jesus expressed a number of wishes. Firstly, that the Image of Divine Mercy to be ceremoniously blessed and publicly venerated on the Feast of Mercy. (Diary 49, 341)
Jesus requires not only that the subject of sermons on the Feast of Mercy be on His divine and infinite mercy, but also the unimaginable mercy of His human heart, which is shown above all, in His Passion and death on the cross for He wants that the Feast of Mercy to “a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners”. (Diary 699)
The priest will be able to do justice to this assignment, only if he manages to show the faithful the inconceivable love and mercy of Jesus, both in His Passion and in the entire work of Redemption.
A Second Baptism
Jesus said, “The soul that will go to confession in preparation for this day and receive Holy Communion on the day, shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary 699) What exactly does this mean? Canon Rozycki, who was appointed by the Pope John Paul II to analyse the promises of Our Lord in the revelations of Divine Mercy states, “The extraordinary grace promised by Jesus in connection with the Feast of Mercy is something greater by far than a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence consists only in the forgiveness of temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven; it is never the forgiveness of sins themselves”.
He also went on to say, “The remarkable grace promised by our Lord on the Feast of Mercy is the same as a second Baptism. Now the Sacramental grace of Baptism if received by an adult, is not only the removal of original sin from their soul, but also the removal of all personal sins committed since birth, and any punishment due to them”.
So the soul who receives this special grace on the Feast of Mercy is the same as an adult who is baptised for the first time and receives the grace of having their soul cleansed through the sacrament of Baptism.
Confession in Preparation
According to Canon Rozycki, this grace takes place when you receive Holy Communion on the Feast of Mercy, provided that you have made a good confession in preparation and that your soul is in a state of grace.
But it is obvious that in order to receive this extraordinary grace, the confession you make in preparation for the Feast of Mercy must not only be a good one, but in fact, must also be the expression of the fulfilment of the basic requirement of the Divine Mercy devotion. You must have full trust in God’s mercy, you must have repentance, you must make atonement where necessary and you must forgive all others who have offended you.
If confession is just some kind of performance and not accompanied by trust in God’s Mercy, repentance, atonement, and forgiveness, instead of drawing Divine Mercy, could draw Divine Wrath upon the head of the participant, because it would then be a complete contradiction of Devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Telling Others about the Feast
Jesus requests also from us, that if we know what great graces are offered on the Feast of Mercy and the conditions they can be obtained under, then there is an onus on us to make this known, to the best of our ability, and to seek to provide for the spiritual good of others.
Jesus said, “I yearn for souls, My daughter. On the day of My feast, the Feast of Mercy, you will go through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of my mercy. I shall heal and strengthen them”. (Diary 206)
Jesus said, “On this day the very depths of My tender mercy are open; I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who will approach the fount of My mercy on this day. On this day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Therefore, Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet” (Diary 699)
The Feast of Mercy is the most important day of the year within the devotion to Divine Mercy. Jesus offers us extraordinary graces on this special holy day, a new feast day within the church. It is akin to a second baptism and a complete cleansing of our souls, a grace we will probably never fully comprehend. We must take seriously the conditions for receiving the graces offered to us on the Feast of Mercy and make every effort to meet the requirements for receiving these unfathomable graces on the Feast of Mercy. We must remember that the Feast of Mercy is a gift from God to mankind and He wishes everyone to avail of His mercy so that all will be saved. We should be immensely grateful to Jesus for the kindness and goodness He shows us on this truly unique and special Feast of God’s infinite mercy.