We have been told umpteen times that the mercy of our God is infinite. And there is nothing wrong in proclaiming the fathomless mercy of the Heavenly Father. It is beyond human comprehension as Isaiah writes; ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isa 55:9). Remember that this is stated in the context of God’s mercy. ‘Let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon’ (Isa 55:7).
God’s mercy covers the whole universe as oceans cover the earth. St Faustina calls it the ‘Ocean of His mercy’ in her Diary (see 1142 and 1319). It is not like a priest sprinkling holy water on us where a few droplets might fall on us, but Divine Mercy is an ocean where we are given a chance to immerse ourselves. It is not for those who would like to just sit and relax at the shores but to those who are ready to dive deep into the ocean and experience it.
For the one who sits at the beach watching the waves caressing his feet, Divine Mercy is a distant dream and will remain as such forever. But for the one who, like a child jumping into the hands of its mother, jumps into the hands of the Lord will experience His mercy in its fullness.
We have the archetypes of both at Calvary. They were hung on two crosses on either side of Jesus Christ. In those hours when Divine Love was manifest in all its shades, and when Divine Mercy was overflowing like an ocean to encompass the whole of humanity, one was just looking at it. He knew that he too should be a beneficiary of it. We see his friend on the other side of Jesus’s cross reminding him about it also. But something held him back from trusting in the mercy of God. In his folly he demanded Jesus to go and save him. He forgot the most important condition to get mercy from God, that there should not be any conditions for a person approaching the seat of mercy. All that he could do is to pray for mercy, because mercy is not a right or privilege but a favor from God.
The other person knew it. His prayer was as open as his heart. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). The petition was without any strings and the reply too was quick and unconditional. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).
The flow of God’s mercy stops at the door of the unrepentant. Any teaching – and there are many – extolling the mercy of God as available to every person irrespective of whether he repents or not, is not a teaching from heaven. It is true that Jesus died for our salvation. It is equally true that all of humanity from Adam to the last person on earth stands saved by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus has done his part. Now it is our turn to claim it. At Calvary, Jesus opened the doors of Divine Mercy to us and we should approach him with a contrite heart to get inside.
These are days granted by God for humanity to repent and experience His love and mercy. His intention is to cleanse us in the ocean of His mercy and make us worthy to enter Paradise. Woe to those who live in a fool’s paradise thinking that God’s mercy will save the unrepentant too.
Let us pray for the grace to take refuge in Divine Mercy with a contrite heart.