The Pope’s crusade to extend mercy to everyone on the earth who seeks it, through the ministry of the Church, comes in the era of the Divine Mercy devotion which originated with St. Faustina Kowalska, the uneducated Polish nun who is known as the “Apostle of Mercy,” and was canonized in 2000 by St. John Paul II.
Mercy has always been a feature of the Church’s teaching about God and about the Christian life, yet in our times it is being presented to humanity, it appears, with a special emphasis.
Another facet of Church teaching is that concerning what is sometimes termed the “the end times” or the “time of tribulation” which is spoken of in Biblical prophecy, as well as other private revelations.
While no one need believe the specifics of any privately revealed prophecy, the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself tells us that there will be a time of trial before the Second Coming of Christ.
Our Lord said, “Keep watch, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.” Perhaps Pope Francis’ calling of the Jubilee of Mercy is a gift to the world, so that those who take part in it may more easily “keep watch.”
Our Lord’s Words to Sr. Faustina
On February 22, 1931, Our Lord appeared to Sr. Faustina, as she tells us in her diary under this date:
“I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale … Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”
Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her:
“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls… Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
Other words of Christ concerning the time of God’s mercy, as reported by St. Faustina Kowalska in her diary, published as Divine Mercy in My Soul: “Speak to the world about My mercy… It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy.” (848)
“Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” (965) “I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.” (1160)
“He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” (1146)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…”