In connection with Divine Mercy Sunday, use the opportunity to explain the meaning and effects of indulgences.
An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment still due to sin that has already been forgiven. Temporal punishment refers to punishment that takes places in time on earth or in Purgatory and that has an end when the soul is purified and permitted into heaven. Oppositely, eternal punishment is due to unrepentant mortal sin. If a person does not repent before death of the mortal sin he has cut himself off from God’s grace for eternity. The two types of punishment are not a kind of vengeance from God, but are related to the very nature of sin. A conversion is necessary to remove the punishments due to sin.
There are two types of indulgences. Plenary indulgences remove all punishment for sin. Partial indulgences remove some of the punishment. Indulgences can be applied to the living and the dead; for example, you can pray and do penance for souls in Purgatory to help to lessen their suffering.
Divine Mercy Sunday is an opportunity for plenary indulgence. The usual conditions are as follows:
- sacramental confession [according to previously issued norms, within about 20 days before or after]
- Eucharistic communion [according to previously issued norms, preferably on the day, or the days before or after]
- prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff [certain prayers are not specified]
The specific conditions for this indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday are:
- in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy
- or, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”)
Here is a video to share on Divine Mercy Sunday.