The Catholic Defender: A Word from Fr. Chris Alar on Divine Mercy Sunday
Are you discouraged that you will not be able to receive the special graces of Divine Mercy Sunday promised directly by our Lord through St. Faustina in the 1930s?
Even though churches are closed and you cannot go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, you can receive these special graces this Sunday, April 19, Divine Mercy Sunday. And we’re going to tell you how.
Let’s begin by reading what is arguably the most important passage in St. Faustina’s Diary, when Jesus tells St. Faustina:
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).
There it is: Jesus promises that the soul that’s been to Confession and receives Holy Communion will be completely wiped away of the two stains that are on our soul. Those stains are sin and the punishment due to sin. The special grace promised by our Lord for Divine Mercy Sunday is nothing less than the equivalent of a complete renewal of baptismal grace in the soul.
But how can you receive this complete forgiveness of sins and remission of all punishment? After all, churches are closed and Confession and Communion are not available.
There is, however, still a way to receive this grace.
Do these three things on Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from sin in your life:
Make an Act of Contrition
Since you are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition, instead. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is 'sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again'" (1451).
You thereby will be completely forgiven of all sins, even “mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (Catechism, 1452).
Make a Spiritual Communion
Since churches are closed and you cannot receive Holy Communion, make a Spiritual Communion instead, asking God to come into your heart as if you received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. For instance, you can say this:
Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You. Amen.
Again, do this act of trust with the intent to return to the sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.
Say a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, You promised St. Faustina that the soul that has been to Confession [I’m unable, but I made an Act of Contrition] and the soul that receives Holy Communion [I’m unable, but I made a Spiritual Communion] will receive the complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Please, Lord Jesus Christ, give me this grace.
Finally, please remember that this extraordinary promise of Divine Mercy Sunday is for everyone. Tell your non-Catholic friends about it. Everyone can ask Jesus to forgive their sins. Everyone can make a Spiritual Communion. And everyone can ask for this grace to completely wipe their slate clean of not only all sin, but all punishment due to sin. Normally, the punishment is not remitted unless one has absolute perfect contrition. And unlike a plenary indulgence, there is no requirement of having perfect detachment from sin. In other words, as long as we have a desire for this grace and intention to amend our lives, we can be completely cleansed with grace similar to our original Baptism. It is a way to really start over in our spiritual life!
That is why Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, has stated: “I promise you, it will be the most important thing you ever do in your entire life. In fact, it could mean the difference in your salvation. And Jesus told St. Faustina, Divine Mercy is mankind’s last hope of salvation [see Diary, 998]. Please don’t let this grace pass you by.”
Watch Fr. Chris' video, "What To Do on Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19)?":