by ROWENA OREJANA
TheCatholic Church’s credibility lies in how she shows mercy and compassion, said Suva Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.
Archbishop Chong spoke on the importance of the Year of Mercy in the world today before the Divine Mercy of Oceania Congress on February 28 held at St Mary’s College in Ponsonby.
“Mercy is the principal activity of God in Jesus and therefore the Church has to be a Church of mercy. Mercy should be the foundation of the Church. All our works in the Church should be guided by mercy,” he said.
Archbishop Chong said that at the moment, the world has become anthropocentric.
“Man has become the centre of the world, almost pushing God out of the centre. We are making ourselves into God [which is] basically what the devil is trying to do, set himself up as God,” he said.
But, the archbishop pointed out, while people strive to be powerful, God has first revealed himself to the world at the time of his people’s need.
In Exodus, Archbishop Chong said God revealed himself to Moses through the burning bush, telling Moses that he (God) has “seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7).
“God revealed himself because he has seen our misery, he has heard the cries of his people,” he said.
Archbishop Chong said Pope Francis wrote in his new book, The Name of God is Mercy, that “mercy is the identity card of God”.
“If God is mercy as revealed in the Old Testament, if God is mercy revealed in Jesus and if God is mercy as revealed to us in theology, then the Church should be a Church of mercy,” said the archbishop.
He said Sister Faustina, in her diaries, wrote that God told her that if all she had was faith but no works of mercy, that faith is not good enough.
“This is very fundamental to us. To be a true Church is to be guided by the principle of mercy,” he said.
Polish priest Msgr Jan Machniak also spoke at the congress about the Divine Mercy message in the teachings of St Pope John Paul II.
Msgr Machniak said St John Paul based much of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordiae on the diaries of Sr Faustina, who was not yet a saint then.
“Pope John Paul II started to speak about the mercy of God. When I read this, I was a little surprised and a little afraid. Did he forget about Sr Faustina?” he said.
Msgr Machniak said the pope assured him (Msgr Machniak) that he (St Pope John Paul II) had not forgotten about her. In fact, the pope made Sr Faustina a saint on April 30, 2000.
Msgr Machniak said St John Paul II taught the mercy is God is limitless and without reservations, like the love of a mother. “When I look at you, I recognise mercy even if we are born from different parts of the world,” he said.