Always remember his teaching, was in essence, Pope Francis’ message in 2015, on the 10th anniversary of John Paul II’s death (May 18, 1920-April 2, 2005). A message that is ever valid in the great Novena of Divine Mercy, which since 2000, begins every year on Good Friday and ends on the Sunday of Mercy — Sunday, April 28, 2019.
Pope Francis recalled this anniversary on addressing the Poles present at the General Audience of Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in St. Peter’s Square.
Moreover, Saturday, April 27, was the fifth anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s Canonization.
The Memory of His Teaching
“You have come here to pray at the tomb of Saint John Paul II, on the 10th anniversary of his death. Always keep the memory of his teaching and be faithful to God and to your homeland,” said the Pontiff in Italian before being translated into Polish.
Pope John Paul II died on the evening of April 2, 2005, in the liturgical time of Divine Mercy Sunday, which he instituted in response to the request Christ expressed to Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), whom the Polish Pope canonized the same day as the institution of this feast — April 30, 2000. The date of his death sealed in some way his spiritual testament.
Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II also on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Pope Francis canonized him on this same feast on April 27, 2014: three confirmations in some way, of the path indicated by this giant. That year, Easter fell on April 16 and the Divine Mercy feast the following Sunday, April 23.
The Posthumous Message of April 3, 2005
John Paul II himself indicated this Divine Mercy message as his spiritual testament. He had prepared a talk for that Sunday of Mercy, April 3, 2005, and he willed that the text be read and published as a posthumous message. “The Risen Lord has gifted to humanity — who sometimes seems lost and dominated by the power of evil, by egoism and be fear –, His love that forgives, that reconciles and opens the soul again to hope. It’s the love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and to receive Divine Mercy!”
On inaugurating the new Shrine of Divine Mercy at Krakow-Lagiewniki on August 17, 2002, during his trip to Poland (August 16-18), he entrusted humanity to Mercy, saying: ”In God’s mercy the world will find peace and man will find happiness! I entrust this duty, dear brothers and sisters, to the Church in Krakow and in Poland, and all the faithful of Divine Mercy who will come here from Poland and the whole world. Be witnesses of Mercy!”
Humanity Entrusted to Mercy
“This is why, today, in this Shrine, I wish to entrust solemnly the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the desire that the messages of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may reach all the inhabitants of the earth and fill their heart with hope. May this message spread from this place to the whole of our beloved homeland and to the world. May the Lord Jesus’ solid promise be realized. It’s from here that the “spark” must spring, “which will prepare the world for His final coming” (Cf. Petit Journal, 1732, p. 576 published by the Apostolate of Mercy, Paris 2007). It’s necessary to light this spark of God’s grace. It’s necessary to transmit to the world this fire of mercy.”
“I Trust in You”
As Saint Faustina, said Pope Wojtyla, “we want to profess that there is no other source of hope for man outside of God’s mercy,” “we wish to repeat with faith: Jesus, I trust in You!
John Paul II stressed the urgency and timeliness of this announcement: “We are particularly in need of this announcement in our time, which expresses trust in God’s all-powerful love, when man experiences feelings of bewilderment in face of the many manifestations of evil. It’s necessary that the invocation of God’s mercy spring from the depth of hearts full of suffering, apprehension and uncertainty, but at the same time in search of an infallible source of hope.
The Icon and the Shrine
The Pope then invited to contemplation before the icon of the merciful Jesus, saying: “We desire to contemplate the look of merciful Jesus with the eyes of the soul, to find in the depth of that look, the reflection of his life, as well as the light of the grace that, so many times already, we have received and that God keeps for us every day and for the last day.”
The Pope stressed the importance of this Shrine of Mercy. “It’s in this same spirit of faith that I have come to Lagiewniki, to dedicate this new church, convinced that it is a particular place chosen by God to shed the grace of his mercy.”
It was in this place that the World Congress of Divine Mercy took place in October 2011, in the presence of the relics of John Paul II and Saint Faustina.
Saint John Paul II highlighted the Eucharistic importance of this place. “I pray that this church will always be a place g=to announce the message of the merciful love of God; a place of conversion and penance; a place of celebration of the Eucharist, source of mercy; a place of prayer and assiduous imploration of mercy for us and for the world.”
“It’s the Holy Spirit, Consoler and Spirit of Truth, who leads us on the ways of Divine Mercy,” repeated John Paul II.
Merciful Love Is Necessary
He spoke of the need of today’s world. “How much today’s world is in need of God’s mercy! On all the Continents, from the depth of human suffering, the invocation of mercy seems to be raised. Where hatred and the thirst for vengeance dominate, where war sows the pain and death of innocents, the grace of mercy is necessary to soothe spirits and hearts, and have peace spring. Where there is a lack of respect for life and for man’s dignity, the merciful love of God is necessary, because manifested in His light is the inestimable value of each human being. Mercy is necessary so that every injustice in the world finds its end in the splendor of the truth.”
Saint John Paul II ended his homily with this prayer, where an echo is found of the “chaplet of Mercy,” taught by Christ to Saint Faustina:
“God, merciful Father,
Who revealed Your love in your Son Jesus Christ,
And and shed it on us in the Holy Consoler Spirit,
We entrust to You today the destiny of the world
And of each man.
Bend over our sins,
Heal our weakness,
Overcome every evil
Let all the inhabitants of the world have the experience of your mercy
So that in You, God One and Triune,
They always find the source of hope.
Eternal Father, by the sorrowful Passion and Resurrection of your Son, have mercy on us and on the whole world! Amen.”