We had so many confessions today, and no wonder: this is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus said to Sr. Faustina to “ask of my faithful servant [a priest] that, on this day, he tell the whole world of My great mercy; that whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” There is no better day to make a good confession than today. It’s kind of like getting bonus points for just entering the confessional. Jesus also told St. Faustina that “mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy” (Diary 300). He told her that just after World War I had unstrung a thousand year civilization of mutual respect and culture in Europe. But perspicacious men knew that the war had not resolved anything, and that another, more brutal war would come unless mankind turned back, with trust, to the mercy of God.
Peace I give to you
When we were children we trusted our parents, and we trusted that the world was beneficent. As the world proved less rightly-ordered than we thought, we gradually lost that trust. The Gospel for the second Sunday after Easter speaks of ten men who had lost that trust on a Friday afternoon but regained it the following Sunday night. On Easter night, 10 of the original 12 apostles are huddled in an upper room behind locked doors. The first thing Jesus says to them upon walking through the locked doors is “Peace be with you.” You can trust me. He says it again. Pax vobis. He brings the peace of right order into the room. “I have risen from death, never to submit to it again,” He tells them, “and nothing and nobody can disturb your peace.” Thomas was not with them on that Easter night. Where was he? The apostles were gathered in prayer, in community, with at least some hope that all was not lost, as some had reported seeing Jesus alive. But Thomas: he was agitated, skeptical. He was not with them in prayer. “I will not believe,” he insisted.
We all need more silence
ut a week later (that is, today) Thomas was with them. Jesus returns and say to them (for the third time): “Peace be with you.” He is not angry at Thomas, but he does command him to believe in the Resurrection. And Thomas makes the great act of faith: My Lord and My God. It is hard to believe. To believe without seeing, without touching the nail marks on His risen body, we must pray. And to pray we must quiet ourselves, we must find silence and stillness. There is so little peace in our society because there is so little silence. Deep faith is only possible with deep silence, a silence that is full of God. We need places and we need times when there is no computer, no smartphone, no negative news reports, no gossip, no demands on us to outperform others, nothing but God. We need more silence in our lives.
My greatest hope
My greatest hope for our parish, and for the Church universal, is quiet prayer before the Holy Eucharist. That is why we built our adoration chapel. Many are coming to pray in silence and finding peace. Last night I came in at 11pm to do my night prayers and there was a young man, in silence before the Risen Christ.
Every good thing comes from Eucharistic adoration. In my last parish, after we started adoration, our Mass attendance doubled, our income doubled, four men entered the seminary, many more people came to confession, our love for the poor increased (we opened a full time St Vincent de Paul center, among other commitments to charity). Families became stronger and more beautiful, blossoming with children. Spouses stayed together against unbelievable odds. And why? Because people in crisis had a place to pray; because we were praying as a parish, as a family. So the greatest thing you can do for your happiness and those you love is to spend an hour a week with Jesus. “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy,” Jesus told Sr. Faustina. It is before the Holy Sacrament that we will find the peace of a child who trusts his Father. Come, let us pray.