My Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday, April 19th, the Church will once again celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Normally we would gather together as a community for Mass, breaking upon the Word and sharing in the Bread of Life. Many would re-gather later that day to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, contemplate the image of Jesus as shown to St. Faustina and recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 pm. This year, however will be different. Each of us will remain in our homes. We will gather for virtual prayer when Mass is live streamed. We will pray the ancient words of spiritual communion, ardently longing for that day when we can receive the Lord sacramentally again, and later in the day, we may engage in our own devotional time. Perhaps, like Thomas, in today’s Gospel we will question God. At a time when we are most in need of God’s mercy, we may experience silence and doubt. It is for this very reason that we need to embrace the message of Divine Mercy, and the short prayer “Jesus, I trust in You.”
My colleague and friend, Bishop Barres wrote a poignant letter to the faithful in his diocese addressing the importance of this feast to our situation today. It returns us to the core of our faith, and points to how this feast is exactly for times such as these. I ask that you take some time to read and pray over the message as I have done.
St. Francis de Sales, who is the patron saint of our Diocese, is quoted to have said: “Anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall a soul except sin. God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry.” There is no doubt that we live in a time of great anxiety. It is difficult to not worry when we are in the midst of the unknown, and when things change every day.
Yet, here we are in the Easter season, a season of hope and great joy. Easter is the answer to death and to fear. Easter is God’s resounding “Yes” to humanity, and the Resurrection reminds us that all is possible with God when we, as Jesus did, place our trust in him. And, it appears that God is indeed calling all of us to a radical trust that He will take this time and forge something new. So in the midst of the darkness, the message of mercy shines bright. Jesus is calling us to gaze upon him with radical trust in a way we may have never done before, and He, Himself gives us the words to pray when we are filled with doubt, despair and fear…“Jesus, I trust in You.” At a time when we may seem overwhelmed with the needs of our world, let us place all, especially the sick, the dying, their families and caregivers under the mantle of the Lord’s Mercy. “Jesus, I trust in You.”…may those words be our consolation now and always.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus