We - meaning, Catholics - have been participating in an ongoing Novena to the Divine Mercy since Good Friday. Tomorrow, is Divine Mercy Sunday - a day instituted by Blessed JPII. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is simple in its elegance, similar to the Rosary but ordained by Jesus Himself as He revealed Himself to St Faustina.
The principle behind it can be summed up in one line:
Jesus, I trust in You.
Tomorrow, in Rome, John Paul II will be Beatifide - declared a Blessed among the Saints. His intercession is credited with healing a young French nun from Parkinson's Disease - the very disease which took him from us only a short time ago.
JPII lead Holy Mother Church for over a quarter of a century and many young people today knew no other Pope but him and B16, our present Holy Father. In my short life there has been Blessed Pope John the 23rd, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict the 16th. I have 'known' a lot of Popes.
If there is anyone who is aware of the healing power of Divine Mercy it is me. I have lead three distinct lives - the life of a good, Catholic child, the life of a wild, pagan girl and my present life: a sober, wild, crazy, devout Catholic woman who has vowed to never walk away from The Eucharist again.
This present life is the toughest. I am very alone. Most of my family has either left the Church or are social Catholics - they do not want to leave but they don't want to have to do too much.
I understand that - I lived like that for the first two years of my sobriety. I knew, I always knew, that eventually being sober through a 12 step program would mean a return to Holy Mother Church but I was really afraid I would not be able to do the deal. And if I cannot do it right, why do it at all?
Devotion to Divine Mercy has relieved me of the need to be perfect without relieving me of the desire to do so...it is a subtle difference, I supposed, and probably seems like a matter of semantics to non-believers. However, in my mind I have come to understand that I must strive to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect while accepting that I will not be able to do so while on this earth. It is the understanding of humility, understanding the need for the Sacraments, and accepting that God loves me as I turn deliberately to Him - but He loves those who turn away from Him also.
This walk towards heaven means stumbling. JPII knew that, and he knew it all too well. He knew that something horrid had happened to his Church when the sexual scandal broke. He knew he had misunderstood the work of Archbishop Romero when those thugs walked into Mass and shot him dead as he changed mere bread and wine into The Creator of The Universe. Yet he never stopped demanding the best of himself and of those around him...not because he wanted to hurt us, but because he knew we DESERVE to be our best.
I have lived a short time. I have learned so much. I have so much more to learn. Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for me.