We are into the first week of Resurrection and on this Sunday we are going to celebrate the feast of Divine Mercy. For many of us this feast is not very familiar as it was included in the Church’s calendar only recently. When we think of the feast of Divine Mercy, the first name that comes to our mind is that of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun whose memoirs are a journey into the depths of the mercy of our God.
Mercy is the face of our Father. We know that. It has been so from the moment of creation. God has never been reluctant to show His mercy to us. Then why was this feast instituted in our days? It is granted to the nation of Poland and later to Vatican City before being granted to the Universal Church on 30 April 2000 by Pope John Paul II. It was on this day that Sr Faustina was canonised. The purpose of granting this feast to the Universal Church is explicitly stated in the decree dated 23 May 2000 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which reads; ‘throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter ( ie first Sunday after Easter) wil receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come’. It was the highest approval given by the Church to a private revelation in the recent history.
St Pope John Paul II was well aware of the impending perils that are going to crush and pound the faith of every christian in the coming years. It has been 20 years since the prophetic vision of this great Vicar of Christ was revealed to us. The times prophesied by John Paul II is already upon us. We need an incessant flow of Divine Mercy in these days. It is the only way for us to ‘be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm’
(Ephe.6:13). When we say ‘on that evil day’ remember that we live in that period.
St. Faustina was instructed by Jesus about the Divine Mercy through a series of mesages which she recorded in her diary. It was later compiled into the famous book ‘Divine Mercy in My Soul’ which has been translated into different languages. Millions of copies of the book are sold and today we call St Faustina the ‘Apostle of Divine Mercy’. Jesus also requested Faustina to paint an image of himself, inscribed with the words “Jesus, I trust in You”, promising that ‘the soul that will venerate this image will not perish’.
Now let us go through some of the messages about the Feast of Divine Mercy, which Jesus gave Faustina.
Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)
I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)
This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. (Diary 420)
On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow, are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)
Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it. (Diary 742)
I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. (Diary 1109)
Faustina’s diary is an invitation to trust in Jesus and Divine Mercy; Jesus has warned that mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of his mercy.
Peace! It is the biggest gift we can ever expect on this earth which is perennially in perils. Peace is what our inner self longs for. In these days of pandemic, peace is the dearest thing and it is the most difficult thing to get. The treasures of this world cannot and will not bring us peace. It was the most precious gift Jesus guaranteed us before ascending into heaven. ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” ( John 14:27).
The only way to access the peace Jesus offered us is by taking refuge in his inconceivable mercy. This feast is the apt occasion for it. Come, let us approach the fountain of Divine Mercy with a truly contrite heart. Before approaching the Lord of Mercy, make sure that we have sufficient vessels to draw from it. The fountain of Divine Mercy is there ever flowing and overflowing. But the amount of mercy which we can draw from it depends on our will. If we need more of it, we should go there with more zeal. If you go there with a half heart, be satisfied with a drop or two.
When an ocean of Divine Mercy is before us, should we be so fooish to approach it with empty hands? Go with big vessels to draw as much as possible from it. It is totally free but comes with some conditions. They are a good Confession and receiving Communion in a state of grace. In fact, the Feast of Divine Mercy is the culmination of what we commence at Lent. We have been doing penance for our sins all these days. Many among us have had a confession in preparation to Easter. When going for Confession and Holy Mass at your will has been reduced to a mere dream, when the doors of our parishes remain locked, we need Lord’s mercy now more than ever. We know that we are destined to overcome this hurdle too. We are looking to the Lord our God in the hope that He will pour out His mercy on us. This hope will never disappoint us though we would have to wait for the Lord’s time. We can also sing with the Psalmist; ‘As the eyes of servants look to the hands of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy upon us’ ( Psalm 123:2).
This is the time to turn to Lord for mercy. Because Jesus told Faustina that he is coming as the king of mercy before his glorious appearance as the just judge. Those who are unwilling to enter through the door of mercy which is now open, will have to pass through the door of justice which is to be opened, once the door of mercy is closed. And we know, for us mortals, it is not possible to justify ourselves before God. So utilise this time when the door of God’s mercy is still open.
Let us start with the chaplet of Divine Mercy. We would suggest to pray as many number of Divine Mercy chaplets as possible. Because in these days, we need the mercy of God in abundance. Also for those who are in the immediate danger of death, offer this prayer for helping them to pass from this world in a state of grace. This prayer will bring conversion to many sinners. It is also recommended for those who are in the purgatory. In anticipation of somebody reading this article happens to be not familiar with how to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy, we are giving a brief format at the end, which they can make use of. Apart from the Chaplet, we have the Novena of Divine Mercy which can be recited any time of the year. But the Church recommends the nine days starting on Good Friday and concluding on the Satruday after Easter as preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy.
Let us go to our Lord with a contrite heart, ask him pardon, invite him to our hearts and beg for mercy at his feet. Jesus who poured out his mercy on the woman caught in adultery, and the soldier who came to arrest him, and Peter who denied him three times, and those who crucified him, and…. and ……. and…. will open the fountain of his perennial mercy to us also.
We, the VCatholic team wishes all our brothers and sisters a blissfull Feast of Divine Mercy. May the mercy of Jesus envelope us all.
How to Recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.
- Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
- Optional Opening Prayers
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!
- Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
- Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
- The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
- The Eternal Father
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
- On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.
- Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- Optional Closing Prayer
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.