The Divine Mercy vs. The Sacred Heart?
A little while ago, I wrote about the evangelization newsletter that my parish started sending to every registered parishioner home. We just completed our third edition of the newsletter. Included in each newsletter is a brief survey. There are specific questions and then always a request for topics for future newsletters. Here is the question and reply to one such topic:
Living Waters: Divine Mercy vs. The Sacred Heart
A question received in a survey return for the last Living Waters was, “what makes Divine Mercy different from the devotion to the Sacred Heart and His promises to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque?” Firstly, thank you for your continued responses to the surveys and know that your questions help us all to grow in our faith! Just as we are all gifted in different ways by the Holy Spirit to help share the faith, so too does Our Lord gift us with different but similar devotions. The purpose of any devotion is to bring us closer to Jesus Christ. He is our God, and He thirsts for us to turn to Him, to depend on Him, to love Him. And so He continually inspires saints and holy ones through visions and other means to create “new” devotions that will inspire us and get our attention.
There are very few new devotions, rather they are resurrected by the Lord Himself, time and again as we humans fall away from them. Both the Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart are two such resurrected devotions. Most recently, in the 1930’s, St. Faustina wrote a diary of her visions of Jesus, who told her of His mercy for the whole world, and that He desires the world to be healed and not punished. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who lived in the 1600’s, also received visions from our Lord, hers were about Jesus’ Sacred Heart which is a symbol of His redemptive love. Both of these devotions didn’t begin with these saints, rather Jesus resurrected them in a time of human need.
Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., wrote about the two devotions in his blog Offer It Up:
“Are devotion to the Sacred Heart and devotion to Divine Mercy in competition? Has Divine Mercy replaced the Sacred Heart? No. Dr. Robert Stackpole, director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA, in his book Jesus, Mercy Incarnate, states that the Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart are ‘so closely bound up with each other as to be absolutely inseparable.’ The reason is simple: ‘Jesus has only one Heart! His Sacred Heart is His Merciful Heart–they are one and the same.’ These devotions are not in competition. Dr. Stackpole writes: ‘In short, the differences between these two devotions are best described as differences of emphasis, for both spring from a common source: devotion to the same Heart of Jesus, overflowing with merciful love for us.’
“Anyone who reads the Diary of St. Faustina will see that Divine Mercy was revealed to her in the context of her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to Divine Mercy is a further development of devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist.”