St. John Paul II
May 18th , 1920 – 2 April 2nd, 2005
Pope St. John Paul II situates mercy deeply in the context of Restoration. Using the Parable of the Prodigal Son in his encyclical Rich in Mercy, (Dives in Misericordia), the Holy Father expands the understanding of mercy. On the son’s return after a dissolute life, the issue for the father is not one of forgiveness. The story informs us of this loving father who stands on the porch, longing for his son’s return and seeing him, runs down the road in great joy to embrace and welcome him home!
In this deeply emotional encounter, the son, in this profound act of mercy, is restored to the father and so then to his place as son, but also the father; he too is restored in his place as father. For Pope St. John Paul, mercy is not an act of charity, of one handing down to another, but rather both experiencing a profound sense of restoration. On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to a Polish nun, St. Faustina Kowalska, empowering her to be His secretary, His apostle of mercy, asking her to bring to the world this message of healing and restoration. He appears to her as we see in the image presented here on this page, saying that the blood and water that flowed from His Side on the Cross are rays of mercy to envelop us, bringing this healing, forgiveness and restoration!
Jesus further explains that the rays represent the Eucharist, Baptism, and Reconciliation and so, in a word, the Sacraments of the Church. This mercy of God is profoundly and so totally directed to the celebration of holy Mass, intending us, the prodigal children, back home to the Father, in and through Jesus in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives and the place where we find our true identity!
It necessarily follows that we come home to this Father of Mercy by embracing and living out the teachings and directives of the Catholic Church and in a particular way, those of the Second Vatican Council as the Church Fathers had truly intended and spelled out clearly in the document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.
As we look with eyes of hope to Quito Ecuador, the message of Mary of the Good Event of the Purification is a call of mercy, of healing, of restoration, and this restoration must, most vividly, be lived out in the Sacramental life of the Catholic Church! We passionately proclaim Jesus as the Mercy of God, looking with such trust, ‘Ad Orientem’, for the coming of this new splendor, new Pentecost, New Evangelization, and in the words of our Blessed Mother, Buen Suceso, a glorious restoration!
O Blood and Water which gushed forth
from the Heart of Jesus
as a fount of mercy for us,
I trust in You!
have mercy on us
on the whole world!