October 27, 2015 // Local
Gratitude to God’s mercy: The ABCs of Divine Mercy
‘Ask, be merciful, complete trust in God’ — ABC’s of Divine Mercy
AUBURN — When introducing Divine Mercy, Father Dan Cambra, a priest of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, likes to discuss the Divine Mercy message and its devotion. Father Cambra’s religious community was given the task from Pope John Paul II in 1992, to make Divine Mercy known, to add it to their Marian charism to promote the Immaculate Conception.
“The devotions of Divine Mercy is what is unique about St. Faustina’s revelations,” Father Cambra told Today’s Catholic after a presentation at Immaculate Conception Parish in Auburn in October. “St. Faustina received a series of revelations — over 80 — from Jesus Christ explaining to her what His will was for all of us to show gratitude to God’s mercy.”
The other side of the discussion is the message of Divine Mercy. “It is impossible to talk about God without talking about God’s mercy,” Father Cambra said, “because God’s mercy is mentioned in every single liturgy of the Eucharist” — in the opening prayers, the preface to the Eucharistic canon, the canons themselves.
When it comes to talking about mercy, “we always begin with the Scriptures,” Father Cambra said. “There is not a single book in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that in one way or the other does not talk about God’s mercy.”
After studying the diary of St. Faustina, theologian, psychologist and healing minister Father George Kosicki realized that the Divine Mercy message could be summarized in three simple Scriptural verses. He called them the ABC’s of mercy.
Father Cambra related, “‘A’ stands for ‘ask.’”
Matthew’s Gospel 7:7 says: “Ask and you shall receive.”
“Ask for the things that you need,” Father Cambra said, “to become the saint you are called to be at Baptism.”
“Don’t ask for frivolous things,” he said. “Don’t ask for things that may draw you away from God. Don’t ask for the things that might ruin your soul. Ask for the things that will make you the saint that you were designed to be by God before you were even created in your mother’s womb, before you were baptized. And now that you are baptized, bring that Baptism to fulfillment by embracing the light of Christ in your life and shining it out to the world around you.”
“B” stands for “be merciful.” Again, from Matthew’s Gospel 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Father Cambra said, “Sometimes we forget, even though we say the Our Father every day … the command to be merciful is a kernel of how we are to live out our Baptismal promises.”
In the Our Father, one says, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Father Cambra said, “So if we’re going to hold a grudge against someone, we’re asking God to hold a grudge against us for the times we offended Him.”
“If on the other hand we genuinely attempt to show mercy towards others by forgiving them, even if they don’t deserve it, even if they don’t ask for the forgiveness — to forgive them. Then we are doing what St. Therese the Little Flower called ‘taking that first little step.’”
St. Therese talked about the importance of taking those first little steps “to show God that you are trying to do His will,” Father Cambra noted.
When St. Therese referred to herself as a “little child,” she told St. Faustina, in St. Faustina’s “Diary”: “Unless we take those first steps, like just any other child, God our heavenly Parent, is going to scoop down, pick us up, take us up the staircase to heavenly glory in His bosom because that is what a parent does, because that’s what God does, because God is love. And He can’t be anything other than love.”
St. Francis de Sales said, “Love is the flower, and mercy the fruit.”
“God certainly pours His love into our lives,” Father Cambra said. “But as we read in the Gospel, ‘We’re called to bear good fruit.’ If we fail to bear good fruit, He’s going to prune us. And after He prunes us, if we still are resistant to His will, then I’m afraid we end up in the trash pile, in the burn heap.” It’s in the Gospel.
“The Divine Mercy message is not just a pious devotion,” Father Cambra said, “The Divine Mercy message is the heart of the Gospel. It’s the center of our faith. The Divine Mercy message is displayed in the Eucharist. When you and I receive the Eucharist in the liturgy, we become living tabernacles as the priest sends us forth into the community. Because suddenly then we give the world the opportunity to look at us and examine our lives and cause them to say, ‘So that’s what it is to be a follower of Christ, to be a living tabernacle of God, who is love.’”
“C” stands for “completely trust in God’s providential care for you, complete confidence in God’s trust for us.”
In Romans 4, St. Paul talks about Abraham, and because Abraham trusted in God’s providential care for us, God made him the father of all those who would follow in his example of trust. Abraham becomes our father in faith precisely because of his trust, Father Cambra said.
“You and I are called to trust,” he said.
Returning to St. Therese’s conversation with St. Faustina, St. Therese said: “The only thing that separates saints from sinners is their ability to trust.”
Despite her lack of education, St. Faustina desired in her heart to be a saint for God. She asked St. Therese how to do this. St. Therese told Faustina, “First you have to get better at trusting.”
People ask Father Cambra, “How do I grow in trust?”
Father Cambra remarked, “I say, ‘Were you not listening, Ask, and you shall receive.’”
It is in the everyday life experiences — picking up laundry after the children — that we embrace the cross, noted Father Cambra. “A mother loves her children despite how badly they behave at times, and it is precisely in those moments that you realize how much God loves you,” Father Cambra said.
‘Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy’ tickets now available
In preparation for the play, “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy,” Today’s Catholic will publish a series of stories on Divine Mercy and Sister Faustina. Tickets to “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy” are now available online through the diocesan website: www.diocesefwsb.org/faustina.
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