This Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter, and it is based on the private revelations of St. Faustina Kowalska, which recommends a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy
Most people are under the impression that their “slate” would be wiped clean on that Sunday after attending Mass and that for example, if they were hit by a bus walking out of the church doors they would immediately to Heaven. There’s also something about attending Mass for the next seven Sundays.
Is that True? These people are more correct than we might think.
First, let us examine the part where they are right. If you notice, the name of this feast day is DIVINE MERCY. This feast is a shout out to all sinners even to the worst sinners and regular old sinners alike that God’s Mercy is boundless. This means that his mercies are without boundaries.
God will forgive anyone for anything as long as the person is truly sorry for their mistake, even if ‘mistake’ is just euphemism for the heinous crime, debauchery or mayhem. This is simply God’s mercy, and not ours.
It’s what Jesus came to teach us, and that is why the Pope stuck it onto the second Sunday after Easter. God’s Divine Mercy rather sums up just about everything Jesus wanted you to know.
Jesus Christ appeared to a nun named Sister Faustina and told her all about God’s Divine Mercy. He sent an angel to take her on a tour of hell so that she could be very specific when she talked about what people might avoid by seeking God’s Mercy. Then he gave her a plan, and a nice portrait of Himself, to guide people to receiving God’ Mercy.
So, technically, they are absolutely correct that by participating in the second Sunday of Easter devotion to Divine Mercy, they can go to heaven if getting out of the church they were knocked down by a car.
This brings us to two important things:
1. What it means to participate.
2. What is a plenary indulgence?
Participation of the Divine Mercy Sunday
One can not just have this “let’s just participate” attitude and expect to get a plenary indulgence. He’ll have to also go to confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the Pope and stay sin free until maybe he dies or gets into an accident. He’d better jolly well go to Mass for the next umpteen Sundays and every Sunday after that, because if you are an able bodied person, it’s a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday.
People have a major problem with the idea of indulgences. I think that a lot of people don’t have a clue of what they are at all.
Once you confess your sins and are forgiven, you still have to pay the piper and be punished for your sins. An indulgence is a pass on the punishment portion of sins
Let’s say the Confession is like this, you go to the hospital very sick, the medical professionals do all kinds of things to you to make you better and you actually get well. That would be the confession part.
But then after that, you have a big fat hospital bill to pay. The iller you were, the bigger the bill.
That’s the punishment for sin part or the Penance part.
Now suppose the hospital waived your bill or part of your bill?
If they waived part of the bill, that would be an indulgence. If they waived the whole thing, that would be a plenary indulgence. A complete waive of the punishment due for your sins that you just confessed and one’s you forgot to confess as long as you actually forgot and didn’t “forget”.
Therefore, a plenary indulgence is what you get for your participation in the Divine Mercy devotion Sunday. That means you actually have work to do. You have to go to confession. You have to have no sin in your heart. You have to go to Holy Communion. You have to pray for the Pope.
And the indulgence, even the plenary indulgence, is only effective until you sin again. It is just like going with our hospital analogy, you got sick, got well in the hospital, the hospital waived the whole bill and then….you get sick again. Maybe you have the same illness, maybe you have something new, maybe it’s just a little glitch, a slight complication, but the point is you fell sick again. And even after you’re well again, you’re going to have to deal with a new bill. That is just it.
That means that a person could be walking out of the church, have a sinful thought about Mr or Mrs. Smith lumbering out the door in front of him and when the bus hits that person, there at the curb, he or she might find himself or herself in Purgatory with a bill to pay. Let’s hope they don’t manage to commit a mortal sin on the way out the door or they will be doing more than touring Hell.