Written by: Denise Serafini on Thursday, March 23, 2017
I was touched by the number of individuals, men, women and children alike, that came forward to venerate the relics with tears in their eyes. Not only that, but the pilgrims that joined us that day had a sense of faithfulness that prompted them to spend extra time in venerating the relics with true devotion and respect for the sufferings of Jesus in His Passion. Because of the size of the crowd we ran over our allotted time and finished some three and half hours after we began. What a blessing!
When we had originally approached the shrine a few years back to ask for the opportunity to present there, I thought that we would only have that one opportunity. However, the message of Christ’s Passion is totally synonymous with the message of His Mercy, positioning us for a much longer term relationship. In 2016 our program was all about celebrating mercy, highlighting many of the concepts presented by St. Faustina. The message promoted by the Shrine of Divine Mercy as they put it is, “It is that God loves us – all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy”. Our message for the 2017 program is designed to convey the very depth and breadth of God’s love based on what we read from the Gospel of John (3:16) which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That love is mercy.
We were each lovingly created with a unique character and therefore something having only one approach to recognizing God’s love in our day to day lives would only provide that “knowing” to a narrow few. God knows that what appeals to one individual may not “hit home” with another. So God creates a broad spectrum of vehicles to communicate His love to us. Sometimes we recognize Him because the basic tradition and teachings of the church or in his saints that set example for us from different perspectives, or in the various prayer devotions that are available. Sometimes we can see God’s hand in the way a kind word or gesture is extended to us or someone we love. And I’m sure He inspires the development of all sorts of shrines and lay apostolates and hundreds, if not thousands, of other means to continuously send His message of love.
Sometimes the vehicles for the message team up. Coincidence? Maybe, but I think the shrine and the apostolate have been teamed up by divine design to convey the message to His people in an expanded way, even if for only one morning a year.
I am of the belief that the divine plan includes creating multiple sources to spread the message of His Divine Love and once we are touched by that love we reflect it. If what we witnessed in the reverence coupled with the tearful encounter the pilgrims had with Christ’s Passion as they approached the relics at the Divine Mercy Shrine this past weekend is any indication, I’d say the message of God’s love and mercy truly touched many hearts. The evidence was reflected in their faces.