Testimony to the “Ocean of Graces”
It was Divine Mercy Sunday in 1996 and I will forever be grateful to Our Lord.
I had been away from the Church and regular Sunday mass attendance for about 25 years when in 1993, after having been shown my sins and the destruction I had left in my life during an encounter with Jesus that lasted about 2 hours, I returned immediately to the Catholic Church and I was led to purchase the diary of St. Faustina for future reading.
When I finally picked up the diary, after about 3 years, and cracked it open, and realized that Jesus had been speaking to St. Faustina, I couldn’t put it down. At this point, in my re-version, I had still not gone to Confession, even after being shown my sins, 3 years prior.
When I read, in Faustina's diary "Divine Mercy in My Soul", about Jesus requesting that a Feast of Mercy be established in the Church and the promise for the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment, I just had to take advantage of it; it was so appealing to me.
If you can imagine, I had already been back to the Church for about 3 years, had become an Extra-ordinary Minister of Holy Communion, but I had not yet been to Confession since I had originally fallen-away from the Church, about 28 years before.
I guess that I thought, like many people do nowadays, that I didn’t have to confess my sins. I guess that it was the overwhelmingly convincing truth of Jesus’ words in the diary that motivated me to prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Mercy. Not only that, but it was what Jesus said about Himself, waiting for us in the Confessional, that really gave me the courage, and took my fear away about approaching a priest again in Confession.
About halfway through Lent I called my pastor to ask if our parish could celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy that year. He responded by saying “Not this year, but maybe next year”. I pleaded with him 2 more times but was told about the same thing. At this point, I realized that he didn't "have to" celebrate the feast, because the Church hadn't made it quite official at this point, in 1996, but it was the words of Jesus saying that the loss of each soul plunges Him into mortal sadness, that kept me motivated to urge its celebration.
Well, like anyone who has read the diary, I was thinking of the poor souls that would not hear about the promise of Jesus and die in the state of mortal sin before next year. I was thinking “how can we put off not telling everyone about this feast?”
So what I did was to start telling people about Jesus’ promise on my own. When I took Holy Communion to the homebound I would tell them about it and provide them with booklets and leaflets so that they may also prepare. I urged them all to go to Confession in preparation to receive Jesus on the Feast of Mercy.
It was then the Saturday before the feast and I finally made my Confession in the late afternoon. For some reason, which I didn't understand yet, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to constantly remain in prayer so that I would not fall back into sin, in thought, word, or deed. I kept praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy until I fell asleep.
On the following day, which was the Feast of Divine Mercy (now known as Divine Mercy Sunday), I remained in prayer until I got to Mass. After Mass I made it a point to take Holy Communion to all of my homebound because I wanted them to get a chance to receive communion right on the feast itself, as Jesus said. The normal routine was to deliver Holy Communion just on Fridays.
When I got done bringing Holy Communion to the others, I went home, gave my two handicapped parents, I was taking care of, Holy Communion and made them our breakfast. After we had finished breakfast, I was in the kitchen cleaning off the counters, when all of a sudden it felt as though someone had come up from behind me and was pouring, what felt like, “a bucket of liquid peace all over me”.
I thought that I had peace already, but this peace, that was being poured over me, was unbelievable. It actually felt as though liquid peace was being poured all over me. As I was experiencing this, I heard Jesus very clearly speak these words to me, “When I say something, I mean it”. Our Lord Jesus was showing me that His words, about His mercy, in Faustina's diary, were absolutely true.
The next time that I cracked open the diary, these words of Jesus, about His promises for His Feast of Mercy, just jumped right out at me from the page “I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy” (Diary 699). It was then that I realized why Jesus had given me that sensation of “liquid peace being poured all over me.” Needless to say, when I read those words, I felt the Holy Spirit come all over me, reminding me what happened, and the hair on my arms just stood straight up!
Jesus was reminding me that it just wasn't about the total forgiveness of sins and punishment on that day; that is just the enticement to participate, the big thing on that Feast of Mercy, is the outpouring of a whole ocean of graces. That day is set apart from any other day. On that day, all the Divine Floodgates through which graces flow are open! It was then that I realized what Jesus wanted of me.
Ever since receiving those graces, on that day, I just can’t keep quiet about that great Feast of His Mercy “Divine Mercy Sunday”.
I immediately wrote to my bishop and requested a diocesan-wide Feast of Mercy for the next year and had a positive response. He told me that he had forwarded my letter to the diocesan liturgical commission with the directive that the entire diocese celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy. When the next year came around nothing had been organized for a diocesan celebration. I was told by the diocesan liturgical director, a priest, that he, himself, did not know what to do to celebrate the feast. I felt the sorrow of Our Lord Jesus from the number of souls that had been lost and had caused our Savior so much suffering. I was incredibly energized to get active.
I then contacted Fr. George Kosicki at the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge Massachusetts and was invited to participate in a training program for Divine Mercy leaders. I can still remember his words to me after our half hour phone conversation “You better come up here, you’re on fire!” After the training program I became an official promoter for the Divine Mercy devotion.
In 1997, I started a group to promote the celebration of the Feast of Mercy called the Apostles of Divine Mercy in my local parish that immediately grew into a worldwide ministry. A few years later, I was motivated, out of a great need for clarification and education, a website called www.DivineMercySunday.com . The website provides information that is needed for the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday in every diocese and parish. We have Documents for Bishops and Priests that have become very popular with the clergy.
It is my hope that all souls may trust in the promises of Jesus and not be afraid to approach Him in the confessional so that they may be renewed and refreshed by the “ocean of graces” that are available in abundance on the Feast of His Mercy.
Sincerely for all souls,
Robert R. Allard
I can be reached for priest seminars or conferences by calling 772-343-9475 (US) or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
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