In the liturgical calendar, Easter or The Resurrection of Our Lord, is ushered in with the Easter Vigil. Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Christ and with it, a new beginning, salvation renewed and humanity restored to the Lord. It is a time for us to meditate of the central events of our Redemption, the essential core of our faith. Easter is not just a one day event or feast in the Catholic Church, it is a fifty day celebration that ends on Pentecost.
Easter follows Holy Week and it is the third and final day of the Paschal Triduum, the three day period which began on the evening of Holy Thursday, followed by the Lord's Passion on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is during the Triduum that we reflect on Christ's redemption of humanity and the perfect glory given to the Father, through His sacrifice on the cross. For in dying, He destroyed our death and rising He restored our life. The evening prayer of Easter Day officially ends the Triduum. The Paschal Triduum contains the heart of the Christian faith: Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. It is the complete story of His passion, the physical, mental and spiritual suffering He endured prior to and during His trial and execution on the cross.
In the Gospel narratives, one of many important segments is when the three Marys arrived at the tomb of Jesus, the first to do so and noticed the stone closing the tomb, had been rolled away. At this point an angel appeared to them and said, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen." (Mt 28:5-6) Every Easter, we renew the angel's declaration and state, "He has risen."
DIVINE MERCY DEVOTION
The Divine Mercy Devotion is a devotion that is direction connected to Easter, one that has been encouraged and approved by the Vatican. The Divine Mercy Devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930’s from the writings of Sister Faustina, a young uneducated Polish nun who in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of approximately six hundred pages recording the revelations she received from Jesus about God’s mercy. The message was nothing new, but it was a powerful reminder of what the Church has always taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving and that we too must show mercy and forgiveness. The Divine Mercy Devotion has three key devotional prayers, which enriches the devotional experience and increase the precious gift of God's mercy in our lives and for the whole world:
The Feast of Divine Mercy which had already been granted to Poland, was granted to the Universal Catholic Church by Blessed Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sister Faustina on April 30, 2000. In a decree dated May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that, “...throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” Jesus revealed to Sister Faustina that, “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (Diary 300).
Blessed Pope John Paul II, in an effort to further encourage the faithful to observe Divine Mercy Sunday with intense devotion, granted on this day a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence will be granted under the three usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!").
In granting this plenary indulgence, it was the desire of the Blessed Pope John Paul II, that the faithful would receive in great abundance the gift of consolation of the Holy Spirit, fostering a growing love for God and for their neighbor and after obtaining God’s pardon, that they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.
For a summary of this devotion, please visit our dedicated Divine Mercy Devotion page. Below are two sources for further in depth reading and details of this devotion: