Q: What Should I Do When Violence Surrounds Me?
-By Rev. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B.
In His conversations with Saint Faustina, the Lord emphasized the connection between Himself, who is mercy itself, and finding peace. This peace which comes from trusting God's mercy is not just for individuals, but also for nations and the whole world. The path to peace is not in summit meetings, nor in stockpiling arms, nor in acquiring more material goods. The path to peace is found only in God's mercy. The Lord told Saint Faustina:
"Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary, 300).
"Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace" (Diary, 1074).
We all need to know how to pray for God's mercy on the whole world.
Our world is caught in a spiral of hatred and violence. It seems we are in a vortex, being pulled deeper and deeper into self-destruction. We must act decisively to bring peace and mercy. We can do it by calling on Our Merciful Lord.
St. John Paul II spoke directly about the spiral of violence immediately after celebrating Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday (April 23, 1995):
Dear brothers and sisters. We must personally experience [the tenderhearted mercy of the Father] if in turn we want to be capable of mercy. Let us learn to forgive! The spiral of hatred and violence which stains with blood the path of so many individuals and nations can only be broken by the miracle of forgiveness.
Repeatedly John Paul II has called for Divine Mercy in order to forgive. Mercy, he says, is the only solution for peace. Governments must halt the violence of terrorism, but more violence is not the permanent solution for peace.
You who have experienced God's mercy and are at peace will radiate mercy to others. You can plead for mercy on the whole world. But there is more! You can encourage those who are without hope or trust in God to turn to the merciful God. You can be apostles of Divine Mercy to those who are trapped in fear.
The present situation worldwide is so serious, so vast, so beyond our human power that we need salvation by the sovereign act of God's mercy to break the evil and violence of the destructive spiral.
St. John Paul II proclaimed a “Manifesto of Mercy” on November 30, 1980, when he published his second encyclical Rich in Mercy.
With a prophetic sense, he made clear that mankind must turn to God's mercy as the only source of peace. He described mercy as the presence of love which is greater than death. He summoned the Church to plead for God's mercy on the whole world. Since then he has continued his strong call for mercy. It could be called a cornerstone of his pontificate. “Where, if not in Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope?” he said at the Beatification of Saint Faustina on April 18, 1993.
On Mercy Sunday, April 13, 1994, he said: “As people of this restless time of ours, wavering between the emptiness of self-exaltation and the humiliation of despair, we have a greater need than ever for a regenerating experience of mercy.”
St. John Paul II has testified how he personally prays and how he has himself served as a minister of Divine Mercy. At the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Poland on June 7, 1997, he said:
I pray unceasingly that God will have mercy on us and on the whole world (Chaplet of Divine Mercy).
Also, in the conclusion of his encyclical, Rich in Mercy, he wrote his prayer for mercy on the whole world:
We lift up our voice and plead that the love which is in the Father ... may be shown to be present in our modern world and be shown to the more powerful than evil, more powerful than sin and death.”
The Divine Mercy Chaplet itself can be summed up as a simple prayer: “Jesus, Mercy!”
The prayer, “Jesus, Mercy” can take on several levels of meaning when we pray it sincerely and from the heart. We are saying:
•Jesus, You are mercy itself (it is a prayer of praise)
•Jesus, have mercy on us (it is a cry of repentance)
•Jesus, give us grace and mercy (it is a petition for help).
So be an apostle of Divine Mercy.
You who know God's mercy can and must do something to break the spiral of violence in the world. There is a three-step action plan that works:
1. Form a deep desire to break the spiral of violence;
2. Confess to God that man cannot do it because he is inadequate and incapable;
3. Ask God for His grace and mercy on the whole world. Plead in confidence with your whole heart and strength for His mercy which enables us to forgive — and so enables us to pray the Lord's prayer.
By living with trust in His Divine Mercy and pleading for His mercy on the whole world, you will be “holy ministers of Divine Mercy” (John Paul II, April 21, 2002).
-By Rev. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B.
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