February 22, 2016

A Tour of Mercy

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus
as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”   (Diary, 84)
Blood and water!  The Evangelist John saw blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side after the soldier on Calvary thrust a spear into His side. From His side we receive the gift of the Eucharist and the gift of Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus asked Saint Faustina, “My daughter, tell everyone that I am Love and Mercy personified” (Diary, 1074).  
Knowing this, the two rays (Diary, 299) radiating out from His Heart, combined with this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy: the Fountain of Mercy that flows out upon suffering man, through His Hands, and then through our hands to one another. That receptivity of Mercy: received and given.

One day, I walked through the Holy Door at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and took a seat in the back pew just inside the Holy Door.  Glancing to my left toward the Image of the Divine Mercy and Saint Faustina, the painting of Saint Maria Goretti and Alessandro, and the painting of Jesus Crucified and Saint Peregrine.  What did I notice? A common thread, if you will: the extension of that hand of mercy.

A Brief Tour of Mercy
It is a holy moment – that crossing the threshold of the Holy Door into the Shrine Church. Since this Holy Door is on the left side, it seemed as if the “procession” down the left aisle was like entering that “fountain of Mercy” personified in the lives of three saints portrayed there.
In order to give mercy to those in need, spiritually and/or corporally, I need to encounter Mercy.  Thus my first goal on this brief journey is the confessional, the mercy-seat.
Afterwards, I go to meet each of the saints, in whose lives the work of mercy is made tangible.
First: Saint Peregrine who, as a young man, rebelled against the Church and authority. Upon experiencing the mercy of God, he confessed his sin, amended his life, and followed God’s call as a member of the Servite order.  Later in life a cancerous sore on his leg was to result in amputation. The night before the surgery, Saint Peregrine prayed before the Crucifix for the grace to accept whatever God willed. Jesus extended His Hand from the Cross on which He hung and touched him. Saint Peregrine experienced a physical healing of his leg!
Next: This brief journey takes me to the vision of Alessandro Serenelli, who had stabbed Saint Maria Goretti.  She appeared to Alessandro, who was bound in chains in his prison cell. Bound by his lack of remorse, bound to darkness.  But Saint Maria Goretti wanted Alessandro in Heaven with her.
During the vision, something inside Alessandro reached for the gift of mercy that Saint Maria Goretti was extending to him in the form of fourteen lilies: forgiveness for each stab against her dignity.
Saint Maria Goretti had already forgiven Alessandro before she died. Her mother also forgave him: “My daughter forgives Alessandro, how can I not?”  Alessandro accepts the mercy and forgiveness extended to him, and he is freed from the chains that held him bound. Saint Maria Goretti is the Little Saint of Great Mercy.
Lastly, before reaching the Holy Door, this brief journey has me meet Saint Faustina Kowalska.  She also had a vision: that of Divine Mercy Himself. Her encounter resulted in what we know as her Diary. The Image of the rays of mercy flowing from Jesus’ Heart is a fountain flowing down upon the whole world in need of God’s Mercy.  Jesus asked Faustina to spread the message … to evangelize.  So appropriate as a “final” reflection: how will I extend mercy today after I walk out of this church?
The tour has concluded. It is as if it is “now the hour” to come down from the mountain and to go out into the valley to extend in a variety of ways, spiritually and corporally, the love and hope of mercy!
 - Sister M. Ancilla, FSGM

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