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"By Erma Jean Beil

Since 1986, when I discovered St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I have been praying for a close friend, M.B., whom I consider like a sister. For the last two years especially, I've been praying that she would return to the Church. On the evening of Nov. 2, 2018, I was compelled to pray as never before and mourned for her soul, though I had no reason to believe she was deathly ill. 

On the morning of Nov. 3, 2018, M.B.'s neighbor wanted to borrow an item from her. She told her neighbor to wait 30 minutes, because she was not feeling well. Thirty minutes later, the neighbor went over to find her terribly ill, incapable of moving her legs or standing on her feet. When the ambulance took her to the hospital, her lungs began to fill with fluids. 

Doctors induced her into a coma. Her blood sugar was extremely high, her blood oxygen low, and her heart rate was poor. I rushed to 
the hospital. A sonogram revealed that M.B. had a cancerous tumor inside her heart about 4 inches long and as round as my fist. 

They operated on her the next morning, but I stayed with my dear friend all night in the intensive care unit. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet continually. The day after M.B.'s surgery, the doctors said it went well, but they had to wait for her to wake up. Turns out she wouldn't wake up. Doctors explained that she was in a permanent vegetative state, and they didn't expect her to come out of it. I was horrified thinking that she would die without having the benefit of Confession and Holy Communion after being away from the Church for 40 years. 

All night long, I begged God to save her soul. The next day, I found M.B. somewhat awake. Her body was moving, but her mind was not there. She often thrashed about, her eyes rolled, her mouth gaped, and she supposedly knew none of this was going on. She was tied down because her thrashings were so violent. 

At 3 p.m., a priest visited. He anointed her, and we prayed over her. 

The doctors set up a meeting for the next day to discuss what to do with M.B. now that she couldn't communicate. In other words, they wanted to discuss whether she should remain on life support. 

Before I went to research the Church's teachings on this issue, I went to my friend and whispered in her ear, "You won't understand this, but I am praying for you, and Jesus is standing between you and God the Father, not as Just Judge but as Divine Mercy." I stroked her forehead. Though they said it was just automatic responses, at one point she gazed into my eyes for a few seconds. I just said to her, "Jesus is with you. Trust Jesus." A tear ran out of her eye. 

The next morning, they called me and said, "M.B. woke up and is asking for you. It's truly a miracle." No one told the doctor, and when he arrived to her room for our meeting and saw me standing there talking with her as though nothing had ever happened, he also said, "It's a miracle." 

M.B. later told me, "I heard you tell me you were praying for me and that Jesus was here." She also told me she felt me praying for her the night before (but in reality, that was four or five nights ago), and that she sensed me there in the room pacing back and forth. Being handicapped using a cane, I don't typically pace, so it is not something she would imagine of me. But, indeed, I did pace back and forth that night praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. She also told me she was awake and in a nightmare trying to move and scream. This is exactly what she looked like to me.

Despite the original prognosis, more than a year later, she continues to defy the doctors' expectations with her progress. All thanks to God's mercy. Please pray for my dear friend's continued conversion and health."

https://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=8326
Quote:... Jesus is standing between you and God the Father, not as Just Judge but as Divine Mercy...

This points out one of the biggest issues I think we should have with the Divine Mercy devotion. I understand the sentiment, but it's simply not an orthodox way of understanding the Mercy of God, or the role of Christ. Granted when you're talking with someone comatose a theological treatise dost thou not make, but it should at least be a statement which is not a variance with Catholic truth.

The biggest failing of the Divine Mercy devotion is a new idea of Mercy without the idea of propitiation. This statement treads that path. God is Merciful, but demands in that Mercy that we correspond, convert and rend our hearts in contrition and penance. It is a Mercy that God grant this grace of contrition and the desire for penance, because he does not owe us this grace. It is gratia—free.

Next the idea of Jesus standing between a soul and God the Father is not incorrect, but has a Protestant tone to it, as if Jesus is holding back the hand of Divine Justice by instead offering Mercy. As God, Jesus is not any different in his acts towards men than God the Father. If he offers Mercy, then the Father is, as is the Holy Ghost, because as God acts towards whatever is outside of Himself, it is the whole Trinity acting. As Man, Jesus is Just Judge, but also merited so that grace would be given to souls that are willing to receive it. That is His Mercy. Mercy regards the misery of another, and offers what is necessary to help. By his propitiatory sacrifice, Jesus merited the graces which will help to repair for the offense to Justice, but it requires cooperation of the soul itself, along with its doing penance and its own sacrifices.

Jesus is both Just Judge and Merciful God at the same time. These roles cannot really be separated. In fact in the Divinity there is no distinction between Justice and Mercy. They are the same thing. We make a mental distinction based on the effects we see, but the Justice of God is His Mercy, and His Mercy is His Justice.

Secondly, while the Divine Mercy is infinite in itself, it is finite towards any soul. God offers a certain amount of grace to each soul, not an infinite amount.

That said, my critique is not about the devotion itself, but about the confused Modernistic and Protestant warping of the notion of God and His Mercy which often accompanies the devotion, and of which this is a good example. I have no doubt that by the devotion of some miracles may happen, or certain favors granted, but that does not mean that everything that surrounds it is good.

A perfect example of this is the priest anointing the woman. Sacraments cannot be given to someone who is away from the Church in a public manner like this, if there is no sign of repentance. Even the modern moral manuals would forbid this because of the scandal. At best it could be given conditionally, since it is probably invalid and risks sacrilege, but certainly not in front of witnesses to avoid scandal.

And the kicker is that after all of this the person has not yet converted ... if that is the Divine Mercy, apparently it has not had the intended effect. Tears may run out of her eyes, but if she hasn't come back to the Church, the whole point of the story is undermined. If this was a miracle, grace touched her to understand God's Mercy and she even wept, and yet she still needs to convert?
(04-23-2019, 06:11 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]A perfect example of this is the priest anointing the woman. Sacraments cannot be given to someone who is away from the Church in a public manner like this, if there is no sign of repentance. Even the modern moral manuals would forbid this because of the scandal. At best it could be given conditionally, since it is probably invalid and risks sacrilege, but certainly not in front of witnesses to avoid scandal.

There is one part (among several) in the journal of St. Faustina which has made me reconsider my support of the devotion; as Faustina is in the hospital there is a dying Jewish woman in the room, who is not conscious, who she herself baptises once she's alone with her. Something about this seems a little off to me, along with other thoughts and actions of the saint.

Apart from my criticisms of the diary, as I've learned more about the Sacred Heart devotion I kind of don't see the necessity of the Divine Mercy devotion. I mean, God's infinite mercy can be found in the Sacred Heart since it's main aim is reparation anyway.
(04-23-2019, 08:20 AM)Augustinian Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-23-2019, 06:11 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]A perfect example of this is the priest anointing the woman. Sacraments cannot be given to someone who is away from the Church in a public manner like this, if there is no sign of repentance. Even the modern moral manuals would forbid this because of the scandal. At best it could be given conditionally, since it is probably invalid and risks sacrilege, but certainly not in front of witnesses to avoid scandal.

There is one part (among several) in the journal of St. Faustina which has made me reconsider my support of the devotion; as Faustina is in the hospital there is a dying Jewish woman in the room, who is not conscious, who she herself baptises once she's alone with her. Something about this seems a little off to me, along with other thoughts and actions of the saint.

Apart from my criticisms of the diary, as I've learned more about the Sacred Heart devotion I kind of don't see the necessity of the Divine Mercy devotion. I mean, God's infinite mercy can be found in the Sacred Heart since it's main aim is reparation anyway.

I myself enjoy the Divine Mercy Chaplet however I am just getting to reading about St. Faustina's Life. This is interesting and caught my attention. They actually have somewhat of an answer/interpretation/speculation regarding the contents of these particular statements in her diary.

From the little bit I've read on her there is definitely something different that strikes me as very good and someone Jesus would want spreading his message.


Switching gears to the article: What I'm getting from OP's story is that GOD gave this woman a second chance for conversion back to the faith along with some tough love by the experiences the woman described while in a coma. While I think the anointing should not have been done I think her friends prayer caught god's attention and allowed for a second chance. Whether she takes it is another story.

God Bless


From Divine Mercy Website LINK:


Quote:Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Sep 1, 2014)

Readers of St. Faustina's Diary sometimes come across passages that do not seem to put her in a very good light. For example, one of our readers, a man named Francis, noted Diary passage 916-917 — a passage in which she arranges to have a Jewish woman surreptitiously baptized at the time of the woman's death. Francis sent me this critique of St. Faustina's actions:

Quote:What did Faustina mean when she said that the Jewish lady's soul needed to be "cleansed" by baptism? What right did she have to pass judgment on the soul of a dying woman whom she did not know, or what kind of life she had led, or what trials she had experienced? The lady was Jewish, she was outside the Christian Faith: Did she express a wish to be baptized as she was dying? Was she asked for, or even able to give, her consent?

What right did Faustina or the other nun have to wait until "they" (the lady's Jewish family) had left the room, and then baptize her behind their back, without first having discussed it with them, and obtained, as a most basic courtesy, their views and consent?


It is very hard to answer such questions, Francis, because we do not really have access to all the facts.

According to entry 916, St. Faustina had visited this woman quite often in the days prior to her death. Perhaps the woman had actually expressed a wish to be baptized, but was hesitant, for fear of offending her Jewish relatives who always seemed to be visiting her. We just don't know.

One thing we do know is that in entry 917, St. Faustina saw this woman's soul (that is, after her baptism, and at the moment of death) "ascending to heaven in wondrous beauty," filled to overflowing with sanctifying grace. There is no way that the Sacrament of Holy Baptism could have such an effect on an adult unless that adult had already attained a disposition of genuine repentance and faith, such that all obstacles to the work of baptismal grace within her soul had been removed. Thus, what evidence we have suggests that the woman's soul was indeed fully ready for baptism by the time it was administered, and that St. Faustina was not imposing a sacrament on her that she did not desire to receive.

As for St. Faustina passing "judgment" on the soul of a woman she did not know — well, again, given her frequent visits to this sick lady, perhaps she got to know her rather well, and in any case, in general St. Faustina knew that every soul has need of baptismal grace: either poured out for the first time in baptism, or renewed and strengthened later by sacramental confession. Saint Faustina does not say that this Jewish woman necessarily would have ended up in hell without baptism; there may indeed have been extenuating circumstances that might have prevented her from ever receiving the sacrament. But St. Faustina was at least operating under the principle that more sacramental grace is always better medicine for the soul than less. Seen in that light, her actions in this case may well have been both prudent and charitable.

A reader named Barbara sent me another question about St. Faustina's behavior, this one from accounts of her childhood:

Quote:With regard to St. Faustina's actions as a child, recorded in EADM manual 1 [Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy Cenacle Manual #1], page 60, paragraph 2: St. Faustina is said to have hidden in the garden with her father's prayer book on days when she could not go to church and "would not come out until the service was over." This took place even when her mother called her to help her. The question raised by one EADM member was: Shouldn't St. Faustina have obeyed the fourth commandment and gone to help her mother? Was this a sin?


Here again, we probably do not have enough information about these Sunday incidents to be able to say for sure. It is certainly not wrong to make a firm commitment to keep the Lord's Day holy through private prayer when one is unable to attend Mass. Indeed, Jesus told us that the "first and great commandment" is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12:30), while loving our neighbors as ourselves is merely the "second" great commandment. Arguably, what this incident shows us is that little Helena Kowalska had her priorities straight, even as a child!

However, let's take the "worst case" scenario here. Suppose that on some of those Sundays, her mother really did have urgent need of her daughter's help, and yet little Helena stubbornly stuck to her prayers anyway. In that case she might have been guilty of a sin against charity, since she could have postponed her prayers until a later time in order to lend her mother a hand.

So, was little Helena Kowalska a sinner?

Of course she was! The saints are not necessarily fully sanctified in their childhood years. The process of sanctification usually takes an entire lifetime. Like all of us, Helena in her youth, was a sinner-not-yet-fully-cured. Maybe, in this case, in her youthful religious zeal she did not yet understand that the virtue of religious piety must sometimes take a back seat to the virtue of charity.

In other words, saints are not perfect people. Rather, they are people who, more than the rest of us (and often faster than the rest of us!) learn with the help of grace to overcome their sins through repentance, faith, and love. One of the reasons St. Faustina is rightfully called the great "Apostle of Divine Mercy" in our time is that in her own life she personally experienced God's merciful love for sinful souls like her own (see, for example, Diary, entry 1485, "Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul"; and entry 1488, "Conversation of the Merciful God with a Soul Striving for Perfection." Surely these conversations are based on her own, personal experience!).

In fact, even as an adult in the religious life, St. Faustina probably, very occasionally, committed venial sins. I remember reading in the records of the testimonies of those who knew her (from interviews that formed part of the investigative process for her beatification) that one of the girls at her convent once claimed: "Sister Faustina could not be a saint because one time she slapped me!" But the girl went on to admit that she had provoked this slap by her own outrageous, blasphemous swearing, and that Sister Faustina had actually apologized to her later.

Again, saints (other than Our Lady) are not perfectly sinless people. But with the help of grace, they become more and more perfectly repentant people, and as a result, they end up sinning less and less. And that is actually good news, isn't it? It comforts me to know that someone can sometimes let their temper get the better of them (as St. Faustina did in this case), or chicken out (as St. Peter did on the night of Jesus' arrest, denying three times that he even knew Jesus), or struggle with doubt (as apostle St. Thomas did about the Resurrection of our Lord), and still, ultimately, become a saint. It gives me hope that I just might be able to be one, too!

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at questions@thedivinemercy.org.
Once, a priest I know who was totally enthralled by the Divine Mercy devotion promoted it by quoting the devotional literature, saying “God’s greatest attribute is mercy.”  The alarm bells sure went off in me upon hearing that, and ever since then I’ve put as much distance between myself and that devotion as possible. I was taught well according to the Baltimore Catechism that God is a spirit, infinitely perfect. I’ve studied enough theology and philosophy to know 1.) this makes sense, and 2.) it is an incredibly beautiful concept, and making overly-sentimental statements like this which are incompatible with this does not glorify God, but rather attempt to restrict Him.
(04-23-2019, 01:26 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]Once, a priest I know who was totally enthralled by the Divine Mercy devotion promoted it by quoting the devotional literature, saying “God’s greatest attribute is mercy.”  The alarm bells sure went off in me upon hearing that, and ever since then I’ve put as much distance between myself and that devotion as possible. I was taught well according to the Baltimore Catechism that God is a spirit, infinitely perfect. I’ve studied enough theology and philosophy to know 1.) this makes sense, and 2.) it is an incredibly beautiful concept, and making overly-sentimental statements like this which are incompatible with this does not glorify God, but rather attempt to restrict Him.

I find this article from the divine mercy website particularly interesting as well especially the last paragraph. God Bless

Link to article

Quote:St. Thomas Aquinas on the Virtue of Mercy
DM 101: Week 18
By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Nov 4, 2005)
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) defined the virtue of "mercy" in his great Summa Theologiae (ST II-II.30.1) as "the compassion in our hearts for another person's misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help him." For St. Thomas this virtue has two aspects: "affective" mercy and "effective" mercy. 

Affective mercy is an emotion: the pity we feel for the plight of another. In this respect, St. Thomas says, human mercy is grounded in a "defect" in our nature: the defect of human vulnerability to suffering. We feel pity for those who suffer because we too are subject to such miseries. Thus, our affective sympathy for others arises from our capacity for empathy. St. Thomas notes: "Those who reckon themselves happy and so powerful that no ill may befall them are not so compassionate" (II-II.30.2). To some extent, however, the intensity of our affective mercy for the plight of another also depends upon how closely we are united to others in friendship (II-II.30.2): "The person who loves regards his friend as another self, and so he counts his friend's troubles as his own, and grieves over them as if they were his own." An affective bond, we might say, easily forms between friends, and this renders good friends all the more capable of sympathy for each other's plight.

Effective mercy, on the other hand, is something that we do, a positive action for the good of another, taking steps to relieve the miseries or meet the needs of others. According to St. Thomas, the Latin word "misericordia" literally means "having a miserable heart"—both affectively and effectively—for another person's misery. 

St. Thomas observes that there are three kinds of "misery" in this life. First, there is the suffering that goes against our natural appetite for existence and life, such as the misery of a sick man. Secondly, there is suffering that strikes us suddenly and unexpectedly, such as sufferings arising from accidents. The third kind of suffering, however, is the worst of all: suffering that strikes a person when he consistently pursues the good, yet he meets only overpowering evil. St. Thomas here has in mind those sufferings and misfortunes that strike those who in no way deserve them, the undeserved miseries of the innocent and the virtuous.

St. Thomas argues that the human virtue of mercy necessarily will be both affective and effective. However, to be the authentic virtue of "mercy," it must manifest two additional characteristics. First, it must be rooted in "right reason"—that is, in the truth about the sufferings of others, and what is in fact the objective "good" for the other whom we seek to help. Secondly, the virtue of mercy is proven in effective action for the good of others, as circumstances permit. If we merely "sympathize" with the plight of another and "share their pain" without making the best of the opportunities we have to help them, then virtue of mercy does not abide in us in any significant degree.

St. Thomas asks two related questions. First, is mercy the greatest of the human virtues? It certainly implies a measure of grandeur and nobility, insofar as effective mercy is the generous relief of the needs and miseries of others out of one's own abundance. We help others out of our store of wealth, or knowledge or skill or strength, when we see others in need of such help. In that sense, mercy is an act of condescension from one person who has a greater abundance of some good to another person lacking in some good. If the merciful person has a superior (that is, someone with an even greater abundance of goods to share) then his chief virtue will be what unites him with his superior. In the case of human beings, the virtue of "charity" is what unites him to God (since God is not in need of our mercy!): "Since man, therefore, has God above him, charity which unites him to God is greater than mercy, which relieves the wants of others" (II-II.30.4). On the other hand, when we consider which of the virtues should govern our relationships with other human beings, then it is clear that mercy directed to our neighbors in need is the supreme virtue in man (II-II.30.4).

Secondly, St. Thomas asks: Is mercy the greatest attribute of God? Since God is the absolute superior, the perfect and self-existent creator, St. Thomas says, He is never self-seeking, but acts only and always with selfless generosity, pouring out good gifts out of His abundance on his creatures. Showing mercy is therefore proper to God in a special way, for it manifests His infinite perfection, and His infinite abundance and generosity. St. Thomas writes (II-II.30.4): "If we consider a virtue in terms of its possessor, however, we can say that mercy is the greatest of the virtues only if its possessor is himself the greatest of all beings, with no one above him and everyone beneath him." This, of course, is properly true only of God Himself. Thus, mercy is, in that sense, the greatest attribute of God.
(04-23-2019, 09:19 AM)SeeTheLight Wrote: [ -> ]Switching gears to the article: What I'm getting from OP's story is that GOD gave this woman a second chance for conversion back to the faith along with some tough love by the experiences the woman described while in a coma. While I think the anointing should not have been done I think her friends prayer caught god's attention and allowed for a second chance. Whether she takes it is another story.

God's "attention" need not be caught. It is not as if he ever forgets a soul, in fact if this were possible it would simply vanish, since God's action keeps it in existence, and we know he even has this "attention" for souls in Hell, since he keeps them in existence.

I get what you're trying to say—God gave a particular grace because of the woman's prayer—but this is a very poor way of saying it, given it seems to undermine what God is.

The problem is that if we put the emotional baggage aside from the story, it is difficult to say that there is a miracle in any proper sense here, because it would suggest God gave by some miraculous intervention a second chance that was going to be fruitless. If one is saved from death by a seeming miracle, and as a result comes face-to-face with a unique love of God for them, but then neglects to convert afterward it suggest that the seeming miracle was not, else we would begin to doubt God's wisdom and power.
(04-23-2019, 04:37 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-23-2019, 09:19 AM)SeeTheLight Wrote: [ -> ]Switching gears to the article: What I'm getting from OP's story is that GOD gave this woman a second chance for conversion back to the faith along with some tough love by the experiences the woman described while in a coma. While I think the anointing should not have been done I think her friends prayer caught god's attention and allowed for a second chance. Whether she takes it is another story.

God's "attention" need not be caught. It is not as if he ever forgets a soul, in fact if this were possible it would simply vanish, since God's action keeps it in existence, and we know he even has this "attention" for souls in Hell, since he keeps them in existence.

I get what you're trying to say—God gave a particular grace because of the woman's prayer—but this is a very poor way of saying it, given it seems to undermine what God is.

The problem is that if we put the emotional baggage aside from the story, it is difficult to say that there is a miracle in any proper sense here, because it would suggest God gave by some miraculous intervention a second chance that was going to be fruitless. If one is saved from death by a seeming miracle, and as a result comes face-to-face with a unique love of God for them, but then neglects to convert afterward it suggest that the seeming miracle was not, else we would begin to doubt God's wisdom and power.

Yes, I admit that was a poor way of getting my point across.

 I wasn't implying that God forgot about her but that God listened to her friends prayers for her (which you pointed out).

She may not be converted back right away and this story may not be over regarding her return to the church.

I would also agree that we don't know if there was divine intervention due to her friends prayers; I think the possibility of divine intervention would be more agreeable if she does in fact return to the church.
Quote:... St. Thomas asks: Is mercy the greatest attribute of God? Since God is the absolute superior, the perfect and self-existent creator, St. Thomas says, He is never self-seeking, but acts only and always with selfless generosity, pouring out good gifts out of His abundance on his creatures. Showing mercy is therefore proper to God in a special way, for it manifests His infinite perfection, and His infinite abundance and generosity. St. Thomas writes (II-II.30.4): "If we consider a virtue in terms of its possessor, however, we can say that mercy is the greatest of the virtues only if its possessor is himself the greatest of all beings, with no one above him and everyone beneath him." This, of course, is properly true only of God Himself. Thus, mercy is, in that sense, the greatest attribute of God.

The problem here is that's not what St Thomas says, but a heavily interpreted paraphrase, and it confuses the essential difference between the Moral Virtue of Mercy and God's Mercy. What is addressed in the Secunda Secundæ (and quoted above) regards the moral virtue of Mercy, not God's Mercy. The latter is addressed in the Prima Pars, question 20, articles 3-4.

Let's look at ST II:II q.30, a.2, which defines the Virtue of Mercy (with my comments in red):

Quote:Mercy signifies grief for another's distress. Now this grief may denote, in one way, a movement of the sensitive appetite, in which case mercy is not a virtue but a passion; [but in God there are no passions or sensitive appetites, so this kind of Mercy is impossible in God] whereas, in another way, it may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one person's evil is displeasing to another [God has an intellect so this seems possible at first] . This movement may be ruled in accordance with reason, and in accordance with this movement regulated by reason, the movement of the lower appetite may be regulated [but God has no lower appetites to regulate, so this is impossible in God]. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "this movement of the mind" (viz. mercy) "obeys the reason, when mercy is vouchsafed in such a way that justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the repentant." And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (I-II:59:4 and I-II:59:5), it follows that mercy is a virtue.

So, the application of what is spoken of in q.30 to God is impossible. This is not the Mercy of God, but a human virtue.

The Mercy of God seems similar because it has a similar definition, but as can be seen from St Thomas' discussion in ST I q.20, a.3, it is a very different thing :

Quote:Mercy is especially to be attributed to God, as seen in its effect, but not as an affection of passion [Thus, we're not speaking of the same thing as in the Secunda Secundæ]. In proof of which it must be considered that a person is said to be merciful, as being, so to speak, sorrowful at heart; being affected with sorrow at the misery of another as though it were his own [And there cannot be sorrow in God, so this passionate mercy is excluded]. Hence it follows that he endeavors to dispel the misery of this other, as if it were his; and this is the effect of mercy. To sorrow, therefore, over the misery of others belongs not to God; but it does most properly belong to Him to dispel that misery, whatever be the defect we call by that name [Thus, Mercy in God is not about a sorrow for sinners, but about removing sin from them]. Now defects are not removed, except by the perfection of some kind of goodness [Thus, God's Mercy is chiefly shown by the remission of sin, and the giving of grace to help remedy the defects, especially by encouraging penance for sin to satisfy Justice]; and the primary source of goodness is God, as shown above (I:6:4). It must, however, be considered that to bestow perfections appertains not only to the divine goodness, but also to His justice, liberality, and mercy; yet under different aspects. The communicating of perfections, absolutely considered, appertains to goodness, as shown above (I:6:1 and I:6:4); in so far as perfections are given to things in proportion, the bestowal of them belongs to justice, as has been already said (Article 1); in so far as God does not bestow them for His own use, but only on account of His goodness, it belongs to liberality; in so far as perfections given to things by God expel defects, it belongs to mercy.

In fact, St Thomas already predicted an objection that can be applied to many who in the context of the Divine Mercy devotions confuse God's Mercy and the human mode of the virtue of mercy, by suggesting that God's Mercy is shown when he does not demand Justice (very much like the lady in the Original article seems to suggest). In the same question he proposes Objection 2 and replies : 

Quote:Objection 2. Further, mercy is a relaxation of justice. But God cannot remit what appertains to His justice. For it is said (2 Timothy 2:13): "If we believe not, He continueth faithful: He cannot deny Himself." But He would deny Himself, as a gloss says, if He should deny His words. Therefore mercy is not becoming to God.

Reply to Objection 2. God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more than justice; thus a man who pays another two hundred pieces of money, though owing him only one hundred, does nothing against justice, but acts liberally or mercifully. The case is the same with one who pardons an offence committed against him, for in remitting it he may be said to bestow a gift. Hence the Apostle calls remission a forgiving: "Forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). Hence it is clear that mercy does not destroy justice, but in a sense is the fulness thereof. And thus it is said: "Mercy exalteth itself above judgment" (James 2:13).

What St Thomas is saying is that God's Mercy is not a relaxation of God's Justice, but His satisfying Justice by exceeding it. He offers a means to fulful justice (forgiveness of the eternal punishment due to sin), and then to go beyond this by grace which is meant to perfect the soul in a certain way, so as to help repair for the temporal punishment and to begin to act well by Virtue.

In fact, to properly understand the Divine Mercy and Justice, one needs to read Article 4, which is a beautiful treatise on God and food for a great deal of contemplation (emphasis is mine):

Quote:Mercy and truth are necessarily found in all God's works, if mercy be taken to mean the removal of any kind of defect. Not every defect, however, can properly be called a misery; but only defect in a rational nature whose lot is to be happy; for misery is opposed to happiness. For this necessity there is a reason, because since a debt paid according to the divine justice is one due either to God, or to some creature, neither the one nor the other can be lacking in any work of God: because God can do nothing that is not in accord with His wisdom and goodness; and it is in this sense, as we have said, that anything is due to God. Likewise, whatever is done by Him in created things, is done according to proper order and proportion wherein consists the idea of justice. Thus justice must exist in all God's works. Now the work of divine justice always presupposes the work of mercy; and is founded thereupon. For nothing is due to creatures, except for something pre-existing in them, or foreknown. Again, if this is due to a creature, it must be due on account of something that precedes. And since we cannot go on to infinity, we must come to something that depends only on the goodness of the divine will—which is the ultimate end. We may say, for instance, that to possess hands is due to man on account of his rational soul; and his rational soul is due to him that he may be man; and his being man is on account of the divine goodness. So in every work of God, viewed at its primary source, there appears mercy. In all that follows, the power of mercy remains, and works indeed with even greater force; as the influence of the first cause is more intense than that of second causes. For this reason does God out of abundance of His goodness bestow upon creatures what is due to them more bountifully than is proportionate to their deserts: since less would suffice for preserving the order of justice than what the divine goodness confers; because between creatures and God's goodness there can be no proportion.

And thus can St Thomas say in the reply to the first Objection :

Quote:Even in the damnation of the reprobate mercy is seen, which, though it does not totally remit, yet somewhat alleviates, in punishing short of what is deserved.

That's God's Mercy, and while the Divine Mercy devotion is not, in my understanding of it, opposed to this, certainly most people who promote it, even priests, are horrifically confused as to what precisely the Divine Mercy is.

I really doubt that the woman described in the original story would say, if he friend were to die and would be damned on account of her lack of conversion, that God was exercising His Mercy, and that this was an effect of the Divine Mercy. I think she would probably say that this was the Divine Justice and was absent mercy, because she probably would understand "mercy" in too human a way, just as the layman who wrote that article does. Just goes to show that letters behind a name don't guarantee anything.
Thanks MM I'll probably need to re-read your response a couple of times but it is very thorough and I appreciate your input.

I've picked up the Summa recently I'll have to go through it thoroughly on this particular subject.

Robert Stackpole seemed like a good source since he has a master's in theology from Oxford and a doctorate in theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Just read an interesting passage on a book I'm reading on St. Faustina.

During a vision she had her guardian angel took her to purgatory and Jesus said to her: "My mercy does not want this but justice demands it."

Is this basically saying that purgatory is mercy fulfilling justice as justice and mercy are the same thing?
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