Author Topic: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...  (Read 9046 times)

Dave_Poedel

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Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« on: April 22, 2007, 10:34:27 PM »
OK folks.  Here is a question and answer about Divine Mercy Sunday.  How many ecumenical issues can you spot between Rome and Evangelical Catholics (aka: Lutherans)?  Enjoy!

Code: ZE07041729
Date: 2007-04-17
Divine Mercy Sunday
And More on Communion on Good Friday
ROME, APRIL 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

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Q: Would you please clarify what is "special" about Divine Mercy Sunday, and what the faithful and priests have to do in order to obtain the special grace associated with this day? According to the priests that I have spoken to, the same graces can be obtained at reception of holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday as on any other day when Communion is received by a communicant in a state of grace, i.e., a plenary indulgence. So what is different about Divine Mercy Sunday and how should the liturgy be properly celebrated so that the faithful may receive the special graces associated with it? -- J.C., Ballina, Ireland

A: The devotion to the Divine Mercy stems from the revelations made to the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) over a number of years and at several convents, including the one in Krakow where she is buried.

There are several elements involved in this devotion. One is the image of the merciful Jesus based on a vision of February 1931. In it Our Lord is pictured in the act of blessing, with two rays, one red and the other pallid (representing blood and water), shining from his heart. The words "Jesus, I trust in thee" are placed at his feet.

Copies of this image are today found in many churches all over the world -- a sign of the rapid extension of this devotion.

Other elements are the hour of mercy, at 3 in the afternoon, in which the Passion is meditated upon and certain prayers recommended by the revelations are recited. As well as this, there is the chaplet of Divine Mercy with its attendant litany. It is recited using rosary beads but substituting other prayers such as "Through your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world" on the beads of the Hail Mary.

A special request of these visions was that the first Sunday after Easter should be the feast of Divine Mercy and that on this day the Divine Mercy should be proclaimed in a special way.

The spirituality of Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and he dedicated his second encyclical, "Dives in Misericordia," to this theme. As archbishop of Krakow he promoted the beatification of Sister Faustina and on the occasion of her canonization in April 2000 announced that henceforth the second Sunday of Easter would be the feast of Divine Mercy.

This announcement was followed by two juridical acts by Vatican offices.

With the decree "Misericors et Miserator" (May 5, 2000) the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments stated: "And so with provident pastoral sensitivity and in order to impress deeply on the souls of the faithful these precepts and teachings of the Christian faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, 'Divine Mercy Sunday.'"

The congregation explained that the change consisted in the additional name for this day. The liturgy would suffer no change whatsoever. All the texts and readings would remain those of the Second Sunday of Easter.

The second decree was published two years later by the Apostolic Penitentiary. This Vatican tribunal, among other tasks, oversees the granting of indulgences. This decree granted new perpetual indulgences attached to devotions in honor of Divine Mercy.
Among other considerations, this text states:

"The faithful with deep spiritual affection are drawn to commemorate the mysteries of divine pardon and to celebrate them devoutly. They clearly understand the supreme benefit, indeed the duty, that the People of God have to praise Divine Mercy with special prayers and, at the same time, they realize that by gratefully performing the works required and satisfying the necessary conditions, they can obtain spiritual benefits that derive from the Treasury of the Church. 'The paschal mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man, and through man, in the world' (Encyclical Letter 'Dives in Misericordia,' n. 7).…

"Indeed, Divine Mercy knows how to pardon even the most serious sins, and in doing so it moves the faithful to perceive a supernatural, not merely psychological, sorrow for their sins so that, ever with the help of divine grace, they may make a firm resolution not to sin any more. Such spiritual dispositions undeniably follow upon the forgiveness of mortal sin when the faithful fruitfully receive the sacrament of Penance or repent of their sin with an act of perfect charity and perfect contrition, with the resolution to receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as they can. Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the parable of the Prodigal Son that the sinner must confess his misery to God saying: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son' (Lk 15,18-19), realizing that this is a work of God, "for [he] was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found" (Lk 15,32).…

"The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during his first public appearance: 'On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And then he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"' (Jn 20,19-23)….

"To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God's pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters….

"Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: 'Mindful of the words of the Lord: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success. ... It is the Father's will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective love, in word and in deed' (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93)….

"Three conditions for the plenary indulgence

"And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences:

"a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!");

"A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.

"For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill

"In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you).

"If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.

"Duty of priests: inform parishioners, hear confessions, lead prayers

"Priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests, should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church's salutary provision. They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions. On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass or Vespers, or during devotions in honor of Divine Mercy, with the dignity that is in accord with the rite, they should lead the recitation of the prayers that have been given above. Finally, since 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5,7), when they instruct their people, priests should gently encourage the faithful to practice works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the example of, and in obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ, as is listed for the second general concession of indulgence in the 'Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.'

"This Decree has perpetual force, any provision to the contrary notwithstanding."

In conclusion, it must be mentioned that our correspondent was misinformed when she was told that Communion on this or any other Sunday granted a plenary indulgence. This is not the case. For more on indulgences in general, see our columns of Feb. 15 and March 1, 2005.

Finally, because of the special liturgical nature of this Sunday, all devotions must be made outside of Mass and no change may be made in the liturgical texts or readings. Mention of the theme of Divine Mercy may be made, however, during the homily, commentaries and during the general intercessions.

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 11:46:07 AM by Dave Poedel »

Mel Harris

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 12:29:18 AM »

OK folks.  Here is a question and answer about Divine Mercy Sunday.  How many ecumenical issues can you spot between Rome and we Evangelical Catholics?  Enjoy!


I lost count.  Though how well I qualify as an Evangelical Catholic could be debated.

Mel Harris

peter_speckhard

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 01:41:50 PM »
Well, for starters, we were celebrating Mundane Wrath Sunday, which, like Festivus, begins with the Airing of Grievances.

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2007, 04:25:45 PM »
Next would the "Feats of Strength," between Hansen and Ratzinger.
Pete Garrison, STS

Dennis

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2007, 10:12:59 AM »
Actually, the ones I would like to have explain this all to me are Klein, Neuhaus, Hahn, et. al. 

This is the part of contemporary Catholicism that I just can't understand, and which still seems so medieval.  My response to "Divine Mercy" Sunday is to say, "So what else is new?  We didn't need Sr. Faustina to tell us what scripture teaches so clearly."

And, this is from one who considers himself an evangelical catholic.

Dave_Poedel

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2007, 12:10:43 PM »
When my dad (who died loosely connected to the Roman Church, I was able to preach at his funeral in a RC Church) was hospitalized, the prayer book he received from the Eucharistic Minister had a notation after each prayer indicating the number of years of indulgence for each prayer, each time prayed.  I remember commenting to a colleague about my surprise that these things were still around.

I was told that the more liberal wing (the NCR crowd) had pretty much done away with any indulgence piety, but the conservative renewal was bringing them back, along with Eucharistic adoration outside the Mass, scapulars, etc.

It looks like the "renewal" is coming from the highest level.

Gladfelteri

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2007, 12:16:16 PM »
I was told that the more liberal wing (the NCR crowd) had pretty much done away with any indulgence piety, but the conservative renewal was bringing them back, along with Eucharistic adoration outside the Mass, scapulars, etc.  It looks like the "renewal" is coming from the highest level.
  When our local diocese got its new bishop, the first thing he did was fire all the staffers who were of "the NCR crowd."  Scapulars and eucaharistic adoration never went away.  Neither did scapulars. but public processions with a priest carrying a monstrance are back.  Indulgences never went away either, just de-emphasized.  they are now being emphasized but ther are not being sold! 

Revbert

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2007, 12:21:08 PM »
...I was at a RC funeral service (at the funeral home chapel, not a Mass) in Canada a couple of years ago where the priest's homily had a lengthy discourse on puuuuuuuuuurgatory and the need to get the deceased out of there in due time.  Had all but a 900 number to call to pay for the Masses.

Indulgences?  Yeah, he had them, too.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2007, 01:01:04 PM »
Actually, the ones I would like to have explain this all to me are Klein, Neuhaus, Hahn, et. al. 

This is the part of contemporary Catholicism that I just can't understand, and which still seems so medieval.  My response to "Divine Mercy" Sunday is to say, "So what else is new?  We didn't need Sr. Faustina to tell us what scripture teaches so clearly."

This expresses my reaction exactly, especially to things related to Mary. Evangelical Catholics will always say that there is nothing un-evangelical about Marion devotion because she always and only points people to her Son Jesus. But what is the point then? It is like looking up a number in the phone book that you already know anyway. Nothing against the phone book, and if I didn't know the number I'd be glad for it. But once I know the number I can bypass the phone-book. If Mary is always and only going to point us to Christ, it would seem directly contrary to her own wishes that we focus on her.

Evangelical Catholics will also talk of purgatory, quite properly in my view, as the process whereby the imperfect truly becomes perfect not only by promise but by fact-- the completion of sanctification. But where does the idea of years come into that? Who comes up with the number? When somebody dies it makes sense to me to say they went to heaven. I can also at least understand the idea that we wait for the Resurrection and Judgment Day. But what makes no sense to me is that the person is not in heaven now but might be in a negotiable number of years.

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2007, 01:39:17 PM »
As usual, Speckhard speaks along the lines I am thinking.

I've spent about 3 years looking at the RC Catechism, the Compendium, JPII's encyclical letters, the writings of Benedict XVI., Scott Hahn's books, St. Thomas Aquinas and so on.

I keep running up against two major problems for me as a Lutheran theologian and it's the same two problems Lutherans historically have with the Romans:

1. Mary.

2. Purgatory.

I'm fine with the Pope being the Kapuna Kahuna. I'm fine with Church Tradition trumping Historical Criticism. And the authority of a magisterium with historical and bureaucratic gravitas is as attractive as a greener, nicely-weeded and mown RC lawn is to the browning wilt of the ELCA's current crop of issues.

But, if according to RC teaching, Mary is to be venerated and only Christ adored, then let's just adore Christ and get on with it.

When you've got the best, why fool with the rest?

Now, it's true that the RC has a charming way of integrating folk-pieties and backwater whirpools of superstition into their communion with the company of local saints and the carrot-and-stick authority of indulgences. The ELCA could only dream of being so inclusive and diverse with so many ethnic and racial blends of pieties and organically-grown liturgies.

But what stops me from converting this second is threefold:

1. The Confessions as the best explanation of what's going on with Jesus.

2. The Society of the Holy Trinity which focuses on Christ and our ordained vows to serve Him and His Church.

3. The focus-on-so-many-things-Roman-Catholic which seems to dim the focus on the Light Eternal, Jesus Christ my Lord.

Pete (So close to Rome- and yet so far...) Garrison
Pete Garrison, STS

Gladfelteri

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2007, 02:30:49 PM »
...I was at a RC funeral service (at the funeral home chapel, not a Mass) in Canada a couple of years ago where the priest's homily had a lengthy discourse on puuuuuuuuuurgatory and the need to get the deceased out of there in due time.  Had all but a 900 number to call to pay for the Masses.

Indulgences?  Yeah, he had them, too.
A Jesuit friend of mine years (decades) ago described Purgatory this way:  that it was "a blessed and protected place within  heaven in which those who die needing further spiritual growth will achieve it taught personally by Christ and by the Saints and Angels."  I have used that ever since.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2007, 02:32:53 PM by Irl Gladfelter »

Dave_Poedel

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2007, 02:45:37 PM »
For a detailed explanation of current indulgences practice, see: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

What still confuses me is how long a plenary indulgence is good for.  Once granted, do only sins committed since the last plenary indulgence have to be covered by the next one received? If one dies between plenary indulgences, does one have to make satisfaction in purgatory only for those sins committed since the last plenary indulgence?

Regarding "partial indulgences", Peter, the new directive prohibits the assignment of years to the satisfaction.  What the effect of that is, I do not know.

The new guidlines speak of purgatory as flames and torments, so Irl's Jesuit friend needs to review his Pope Paul VI decrees.

This subject baffeled me when I was Roman Catholic, now it makes me glad to be an Evangelical Catholic.  This doctrine is not part of the "good news".

Deb_H.

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2007, 03:07:45 PM »

The new guidlines speak of purgatory as flames and torments, so Irl's Jesuit friend needs to review his Pope Paul VI decrees.

Who thought up purgatory anyway?  Is there any hint of a basis for it in scripture?
I was thinking the same thing, by the way, about Irl's description of purgatory being a place in heaven -- if one is already in heaven, and not only that, but in the presence of Christ! , why would their family and friends on earth want to hurry them out of that situation??
None of it makes any sense to this Lutheran.

Debbie Hesse

Dennis

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2007, 05:27:56 PM »
I agree with Peter on Mary, too.  However one defines Mary's personhood and identity theologically, it is the common piety and devotion to Mary that always gets me.  I can't help but think that for the person in the pew, there is little difference between adoration and veneration.  For example, the rosary doesn't work mathematically for me: 10 Hail Mary's to 1 Our Father, 1 Glory Be and 1 "Oh my Jesus"  (the Fatima prayer)    That equals 53 Hail Mary's (three at the beginning) 11 Our Fathers, 11 Glory be and 11
"Oh, my Jesus (which is optional).  53 to 33 or 22.   

I also don't think that in the pews there is much understanding of the true and official view of indulgences which is that they remit the penalty for sins already forgiven.


frluther1517

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Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2007, 06:15:07 PM »
This expresses my reaction exactly, especially to things related to Mary. Evangelical Catholics will always say that there is nothing un-evangelical about Marion devotion because she always and only points people to her Son Jesus. But what is the point then? It is like looking up a number in the phone book that you already know anyway. Nothing against the phone book, and if I didn't know the number I'd be glad for it. But once I know the number I can bypass the phone-book. If Mary is always and only going to point us to Christ, it would seem directly contrary to her own wishes that we focus on her.

"Our confession approves giving honor to the saints.  This honor is threefold.  The first is thanksgiving: we ought to give thanks to God because he has given examples of mercy, because he has shown that he wants to save humankind, and because he has given teachers and other gifts to the church.  Since these are the greatest gifts, they ought to be extolled very highly, and we ought to praise the saints themselves for faithfully using these gifts just as Christ praises faithful managers [Matt. 25:21,23].  The second kind of veneration is the strengthening of our faith.  When we see Peter forgiven after his denial, we, too, are encouraged to believe that grace truly superabounds much more over sin [Rom. 5:20].  The third honor is imitation: first of their faith, then of their other virtures, which people should imitate according to their callings."   Kolb/Wengert edition Book of Concord, Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Article XXI p. 238

I think the Marian issue is part of a much larger issue that we have as Lutherans.  We have a tendancy, in my opinion, to divide the Church between the living and the dead in such a way that the "saints" are excluded.  We tend to focus so intensely on the Church Militant that we have no clue how to understand the Church Triumphant.  We want little or nothing to do with the saints, especially when it comes to Mary.  Lutherans tend to almost react violently to anything Marian related in regards to the Church.  This is a way Lutherans have traditionally distinguished themselves apart from Roman Catholics.  Unfortunately that self-identification is still alive and well today.  It seems to me that the Saints and especially Mary can and do strengthen our faith and with it the Church, because they point to God's work in the world.  I think our distaste for the saints and Mary is to our detriment. 

Granted all of this is in my own Marian Evangelical Catholic skewed view of the world.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2007, 06:18:42 PM by frluther1517 »