The Divine Mercy revelations were given to St. Faustina, a Polish sister, during one of the most gruesome times in world history, World War II. Being from Poland, St Faustina saw firsthand the devastation caused by the Nazi’s. The infamous Auschwitz concentration camp was located in Poland and was responsible for 1.1 million deaths and 1 in 6 of every Jew killed in the Holocaust was killed there. Poland had become “a land of death.” How could anyone living in Poland at this time have any hope for the future? If anyone could, it was St. Faustina after receiving a particular message from Jesus: “I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary, 1732).
What (or who) is the spark?
The Lord knew that in order for this ‘spark’ to fulfill its purpose of bringing light into a world of darkness, it needed to know just how dark the world was. The common belief as to who Jesus was referring to as the ‘spark’ is indeed Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II the Great). Born in 1920 in Poland, he grew up in Poland in this amazingly traumatic environment. During the Holocaust, Karol lost his entire family. This did not, however, deter him from the path that he had been set on. Not long after his father died, Karol began studying at an underground seminary because of the persecution of priests by the Nazi’s. Eventually, he was ordained in 1946 and continued his studies to gain two doctorates in both theology and philosophy. Wojtyla spent his first years as a priest working with young people at universities. Throughout his life Wojtyla had a special dedication to the youth of the world which led to the creation of World Youth Day in 1985. After the death of his predecessor, Karol Wojtyla was elected as pope on October 16, 1978 and chose the name of John Paul II.
How was he a light to the world?
The source of the great darkness in the world during JPII’s time was communism. Therefore, he fought extensively against the communist governments, standing up for human rights and ethical standards. He was such a powerful force against communism that he is said to be responsible for its downfall in Poland and other countries as well. His criticisms of world dictators like Alfred Stroessner in Paraguay led to opposition movements that eventually brought those governments down .In 2003 JPII was talked about in an interview with CNN: “I think he brought that empire down, but not with missiles and not even with economic sanctions, but just by being a man, a man of faith.”
How was he able to do all this?
Simple: his faith. As stated in the quote above, his faith was what guided him to bring down communism. He was an example for everyone on how to give oneself completely to God. JPII changed the world by being a humble but powerful force for human dignity, an empowerment for the youth of the world, and an enemy of communism. Looking deeper at the revelation by St. Faustina, if he truly was the spark that Jesus spoke of, then JPII was entrusted in preparing the world for the coming of the Lord and His kingdom. During his life, Karol Wojtyla was conquering the evil of the world and making it ready for the coming of the One King. John 5:1-6 “…the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” This, I would argue, is why he became St. John Paul the Great.
His lesson for us
JPII had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy. “…with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love proclaimed by St. Faustina may be made known to all the people of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world…In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness.” He established Divine Mercy Sunday on April 30, 2000 when he canonized St. Faustina. The Divine Mercy devotion is meant to remind the world of God’s unlimited and unrestricted mercy for His children, of which JPII was an advocate. Let us not forget that the revelations said that the spark was to prepare the world for the final coming of Christ. With that in mind, do not be afraid, but instead turn toward the mercy and forgiveness that is without end and with no restraints so that we like St. John Paul the Great, may be prepared to welcome our Lord with open arms.