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The Real Mercy of God

by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 1, 2015

These days it seems as if the religion we learned from our parents, and they from their parents back for a hundred generations, is fast disappearing in a welter of slogans and buzzwords that have no roots in Catholic tradition:  “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “interreligious dialogue,” “encounter,” “accompaniment” and above all a nebulous “joy” that is proclaimed incessantly to the exclusion of what is now ridiculed as “doctrinal rigidity” and “proselytism.”

But our Faith is as demanding as it is easy to obey with the grace that Christ won for us by the Sacrifice we are about to commemorate. After all, did not Our Lord Himself promise:  “My yoke is easy, and my burden light (Matt. 11:30)”? It is, rather, sin that weighs us down and so often makes of life a living hell.

The essence of our Faith, lost in all the confusion of the past fifty years, was expressed by the first Pope in his exhortation to the men of Judea. Peter’s words are devoid of the empty rhetoric that plagues the Church today. He simply told his listeners what they must do to save their souls:

Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.  And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:38-41).

Our Lady of Fatima delivered a similarly unadorned message about the urgency of conversion and the very real threat of hell:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.

How long has it been since the leaders of the Church have spoken with such clarity?  How long since they have communicated the simple message that Christ died on the Cross so that all who believe in Him, and keep His commandments by the grace He won on Calvary, will become the eternal beneficiaries of the Redemption if they “persevere to the end (Matt. 24:13).”  Our Lady came to Fatima, in the name of Her divine Son, to establish devotion to Her Immaculate Heart as the very means by which the grace of Christ would be applied, through Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, to the men of all nations, beginning with Russia, so that all men could be saved by their correspondence to grace.

Repentance, conversion, and perseverance in grace until the end of this earthly life.  That is what our Faith demands of us, and that is what Christ Himself makes it possible for us to achieve.  There is no need for any “Synod on the Family” to address “pastoral challenges” that are nothing more than the same mortal sins men have always committed, leading in our time to the “silent apostasy” John Paul II observed not long before his death.  We see this apostasy manifested in a terminally decadent culture of contraception, abortion, divorce and militant homosexualism to which the Bride of Christ can never in any way be accommodated — “pastorally” or otherwise.

In this time of diabolical disorientation we ought to remember Peter’s exhortation to the men he converted by the thousands on the spot:  “Save yourselves from this perverse generation.”  In those simple words are found the true nature of Divine Mercy.