A Whole Ocean of Graces

04-16-2023Weekly Reflection

Saint Faustina reports in her Diary what Jesus told her about Divine Mercy Sunday: “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow” (Diary #699).

That day is today! It is the Feast of Divine Mercy! Today’s feast is among the newer feasts in our Church. Though Jesus’ desire that this feast be celebrated on the eighth day of Easter was spoken to Sister Maria Faustina Kowolska back in 1931, it was not solemnly instituted until the year 2000. On April 30 of that year, Saint Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina and inaugurated the Feast of Divine Mercy as a universal feast within the Church. Because this Feast is so recent within the Church, we can be certain that we still have much to learn about the message of this Solemnity as well as the numerous messages about God’s mercy revealed in Saint Faustina’s Diary.

Among the many messages contained within her Diary, Jesus revealed to us that this Sunday, the eighth and final day of the Octave of Easter, is a day like none other. Though grace and mercy are continuously poured out from Heaven upon us, Jesus is very clear that today is unique. Today, “a whole ocean of graces” is poured forth upon souls who approach the font of His mercy. Sit with that image for a time. “A whole ocean of graces.” What does that mean?

Symbolically speaking, a whole ocean is meant to depict the infinite. Try to imagine what it would be like to have the entire ocean poured upon you—it’s beyond comprehension! Thus, God is saying that the infinity of grace is given today. The question for us all to ponder is this: How receptive am I to those infinite graces?

By analogy, imagine that your life was like a thimble, and an ocean of water was poured upon you. As a thimble, you could not contain all that was given. Therefore, we should realize that God wants to stretch our capacity to receive His mercy more abundantly by widening our capacity for mercy. What if your soul were like a large pond? Still, the waters of the ocean could not be contained within that pond. What is it that is capable of receiving an entire ocean of mercy? Only an ocean can contain an ocean. For that reason, God desires to first prepare our souls to receive an infinity of mercy by transforming us into vessels of infinite capacity.

The heart of the path laid out in the Diary of Saint Faustina is as follows: Go to Confession and receive Holy Communion so as to obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. However, as many of the great spiritual writers explain, such as Saint Teresa of Ávila, there are many levels we must pass on our spiritual journey so as to be able to encounter God in His fullness. This, of course, includes encountering God’s mercy given to us in Holy Communion and Confession. Those who receive these Sacraments while dwelling only in the first dwelling places, for example, will never benefit from them to the extent that those who dwell in the seventh and central mansion where the King dwells in fullness. Thus, mercy is given in its fullness but unless we make the transforming journey to God through conversion and purification of our souls, we will never be able to receive the ocean of graces God bestows.

Reflect, today, upon this ocean being poured forth upon you. How much of this mercy are you able to receive right now in your life? As you humbly admit your limited openness to God’s grace, know that God patiently waits for you, dwelling in His fullness deep within you, waiting for you to make the journey to Him. Commit yourself to this journey by prayer, fasting, penance, the reading of Scripture, the celebration of the Sacraments and spiritual reading. There is an ocean of the fullness of life waiting for you. Dive in and allow His mercy to deepen your capacity to receive Him most fully.

My Lord, You are The Divine Mercy, the source of all grace and the Bestower of this grace in superabundance. I thank You for the infinity of Your generosity and pray that my soul will be more fully disposed to receive You. Please stretch the capacity of my soul through my ongoing journey of purification and conversion so that I will receive all that You wish to bestow. Jesus, I trust in You.