Divine Mercy - Why an Indulgence?
The Divine Mercy Promises verses
The Divine Mercy Indulgence
Why has the Holy father issued an indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday and the Divine Mercy Feast? The answer to this question is two fold.
First, as the Divine Mercy Devotion and the Divine Mercy Promises are private revelations, like those of Lourdes and Fatima, they do not carry the certainty of faith of public theological statements. (For a discussion of public versus private revelations select the tabs Doctrine / Revelation.) As stated above the Divine Mercy promises are certainly worthy of belief and the faithful are encouraged to believe. The authenticity of these revelations are further certified by the sainthood of St. Faustina and the declaration of the second Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. The declaration of an indulgence furthers the approval of the Holy Church. Thus, those who want greater certainty are offered the opportunity of gaining an indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday as an indulgence does carry the certainty of faith. In addition, as an indulgence can be sought for ourselves or any deceased person, the indulgence enables the faithful to gain the benefits of an indulgence for those in Purgatory.
The second reason is an extension of Our Lord Mercy. The requirements for the Divine Mercy promises are less stringent (and more easily obtained) than those of an indulgence. "The special graces promised by our Lord for Mercy Sunday can be received by a soul in a state of grace, but with imperfect love for God, and imperfect contrition for sin—as long as the soul merely trusts in the Mercy of God, and clings to Him because of His promised benefits.4 The difficult part of a plenary indulgence is that it requires a complete detactment from sin. This means that we must detest all our sins, even venial sins. The Promises of Divine Mercy are far less stringent and thus more accessible to all those in a state of grace, especially those who may struggle with living a holy life. Jesus said, "My Mercy is greater than your sin." and "Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full."3 Jesus wants to restore everyone in His love and to pour His graces on all mankind.
"Given the extraordinary graces that the person receives from Holy Communion on Mercy Sunday namely, the complete renewal of baptismal grace the time after that Communion is an excellent time for the communicant to intercede for loved ones on earth, and to begin to undertake indulgenced works, as established by the Church, for the sake of the souls in purgatory." 5