He Comes to Us

by Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC

In a time of pandemic, when the social and economic order has been upended, we need to be reminded what Jesus seeks to give to us and what He wants in return.

This June, the month when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 19), we know that, through Jesus' revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, God's love for us is infinite. Despite how we wound His Heart by our sins, He presents Himself before us, a confidante, a protector, a miracle worker, a healer. He is Mercy Incarnate, His pierced Heart of flesh aflame with love for us, for sinners, the broken-hearted, the fearful, and those lost in despair.

Three centuries later, in the 1930s, through His revelations to St. Faustina, our Lord reminded the world once again of who He is.

"My daughter," He told her, "know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1777).

Today, as we seek to surmise the toll on the world from the coronavirus pandemic in terms of lost lives, lost business, and lost bearings, we are duty-bound to recall that Jesus — through the revelations of the Sacred Heart and later through the Divine Mercy revelations to St. Faustina — calls upon humanity to turn from sin, echoing what He said in the Gospel: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28).

With the jobless rate reaching levels exceeding that of the Great Depression, with so much of society still shuttered and silent, the next year, at least, will be difficult for many, if not most.

We are in a dark place. We are in the tomb. But we must never forget that we are loved. In this dark place, we must make room for Christ, whose Heart burns with yearning for our well-being.

If this notion of His Sacred Heart sounds abstract or even a bit sentimental, St. Faustina can provide a more precise understanding of what's at stake.

She often wrote in her Diary about Jesus' Heart, and she called upon our Savior to step forward in times of darkness. At one point, she wrote, "O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners" (72).

Once, when she had fixed her gaze upon His Most Sacred Heart, He told her, "The flames of mercy are burning Me — clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don't want to believe in My goodness" (177).

Interestingly, when Jesus first started appearing to St. Faustina, her assumption was that He was simply revealing His love for her. She didn't grasp yet He was revealing something beyond the Sacred Heart devotion that had already been revealed to St. Margaret Mary.

It didn't take her long to realize He was revealing something more. That "something more" included the Divine Mercy Image that He gave to the world through her.

In the Divine Mercy Image, Jesus is no longer speaking to us as He did to St. Margaret Mary, in which He essentially said, "Come to Me." Rather, He comes to us. He steps forward out from the darkness towards us, His hand raised in blessing. He's showing us His Heart, pierced by a lance from which flow the rays of His mercy.
"By means of this image," He says, "I shall grant many graces to souls" (Diary, 742).

Through St. Faustina, Jesus calls upon you and me to venerate the Image and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of sinners. For those who may be despairing because of their ill health, economic devastation, spiritual bankruptcy, broken relationships, and estrangement from people, ask God to pour out His graces.

He will. He keeps His promises.

We who have a devotion to the souls in Purgatory also share a great concern for the living as well. We know we need to pray for ourselves, our family, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who are suffering. We know we all need to ask God for the grace of conversion. We know that if we don't learn to live well, we can't hope to die well. And if we don't die well, we won't enter into the promise of heavenly glory.

Turning to Jesus' Sacred Heart, therefore, is a preemptive strike — a preemptive strike of love.

May God bless us all.