Divine Mercy

The Second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of the Divine Mercy. Through a series of profound private revelations given to the mystic and Saint Faustina, whom our Lord referred to as His “Secretary of Mercy,” there arose, in the twentieth century, a new emphasis on age-old truths of the faith regarding the depths of Christ’s Divine Mercy for the whole world, particularly for these, our troubled times.

What follows is a re-print of the time-line of pivotal events leading up to the beatification and canonization of St. Faustina, and the key role played by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) in the institution of this great Feast of Divine Mercy. The time-line, in it’s entirety, can be found on the following Divine Mercy URL:

http://thedivinemercy.org/message/history/timeline.php

 

October 21, 1965

Informative Process of Sr. Faustina’s life and virtues is opened by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow, encouraged by Cardinal Ottaviani, the Prefect of the Holy Office.

September 1967

Informative Process closes; Cardinal Wojtyla sends acts to Rome, January 31, 1968. The process of Beatification of Sr. Faustina is inaugurated.

April 15, 1978

Prefect of Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declares the Notification ban no longer binding.

October 16, 1978

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II.

July 12, 1979

Marians receive an authoritative explanation of the Notification issued by the Prefect for the Doctrine of Faith stating that no impediments exist in the spread of the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sr. Faustina.

May 1980

Marians publish critical edition of Sr. Faustina’s Diary in Polish.

November 30, 1980

Pope John Paul II issues encyclical on the Divine Mercy.

November 22, 1981

Pope John Paul II visits the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza near Todi, Italy, stating that, “Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I considered this message (of Divine Mercy) my special task.”

1986

Marians publish critical edition of Sr. Faustina’s Diary in English.

April 10, 1991

Pope John Paul II links the encyclical’s message to Sr. Faustina.

March 7, 1992

Decree of Heroic Virtues of Sr. Faustina is promulgated.

December 1992

Miracle through intercession of Sr. Faustina is accepted.

April 18, 1993

Sr. Faustina beatified in Rome on Second Sunday of Easter.

January 2000

Second miracle through Bl. Faustina intercession is accepted.

April 30, 2000

Bl. Faustina is canonized in Rome on Divine Mercy Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday is proclaimed.

May 5, 2000

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issues a Decree proclaiming the Second Sunday of Easter also as Divine Mercy Sunday.

December 2000

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments listed the Devotion to the Divine Mercy in its Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines.

April 22, 2001

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated officially for the first time by the universal Church.

May 13, 2001

Congregation For The Clergy issues a document: “Priest of God, you embody the Mystery of Mercy.”

August 18, 2002

John Paul II consecrates the whole world to the Divine Mercy from The Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Krakow-Lagiewniki, the site of St. Faustina’s tomb.

What is more, God, in His Divine Providence, brought it about that Blessed John Paul II, the “Mercy Pope,” would enter into his eternal reward on the vigil of this great feast which he had been so instrumental in establishing, thereby providing a heavenly “confirmation” that these events were, indeed, guided by the very hand of God Himself.

Clearly, the message of mercy dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina  had a profound impact on Blessed John Paul, both as a cardinal and later as pope, as among the first of many landmark encyclical letters was the inspired Dives et Misericordia, or, Rich in Mercy, issued November 30, 1980, which the Holy Father publicly stated had been largely inspired by the Diary of St. Faustina and the messages given by Our Lord to His “Secretary of Mercy.”  This rich and compelling document should be read by all, and can be accessed from the Vatican website simply by clicking here.

Regarding the Second Sunday of Easter, the day that would become the great Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus stated to St. Faustina the following: “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” (699, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina).

Listed below are selected passages from St. Faustina’s Diary, which include Jesus’ words to St. Faustina:

I demand from you 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 excuse yourself from it (742).

“When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (1074).

“The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy” (723).

“Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion” (1146)…“Beg for mercy for the whole world” (570)…“No soul that has ever called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed” (1541).

“I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with trust” (1520)…On the cross, the fountain of My mercy was opened wide by the lance for all souls – no one have I excluded! (1182)…I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: “Jesus, I trust in You” (327)…“The graces of My mercy are drawn by one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive” (1578).

“I am Love and Mercy itself (1074)…Let no soul fear to draw near to me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699)…My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world (1485)…I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart (1485)…Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul” (1777).

The Corporal Works of Mercy*

1. Feed the hungry. 2. Give drink to the thirsty. 3. Clothe the naked. 4. Shelter the homeless. 5. Comfort the imprisoned. 6. Visit the sick. 7. Bury the dead.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy*

1. Admonish sinners. 2. Instruct the uninformed. 3. Counsel the doubtful. 4. Comfort the sorrowful. 5. Be patient with those in error. 6. Forgive offenses. 7. Pray for the living and the dead.

*Jesus admonishes us through Faustina that in order to receive His infinite Mercy, we must show mercy to others. Jesus explicitly states that he demands deeds of mercy to be done for others out of love for Him. Further, He states that even the greatest faith, without works, is dead.

Essentially, the devotion consists of four significant elements: 1. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 2. The three o’clock hour of devotion to the Divine Mercy and the remembrance of His most sorrowful passion, 3. The Novena of Mercy leading up to its conclusion on Divine Mercy Sunday, which falls on the Sunday after Easter, and 4. Veneration of the Sacred Image of Divine Mercy with its inscription, “Jesus, I Trust in You.”

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

St. Faustina experienced a supernatural image or vision of an Angel sent to destroy a certain city due to its tremendous sinfulness. She began imploring God’s mercy for the town, but it was to no avail. Suddenly, she found herself immersed in the presence of the Holy Trinity, and she could feel the presence of Jesus within her soul. At the same time, she heard an interior voice reciting the following prayer: “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; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world” (476). As she continued to recite this prayer, the Angel became powerless and weakened, and could not mete out the punishment that the city deserved. The following day, while in the chapel, she again heard an interior voice reciting these words which would constitute the essence of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, and she was inspired to recite this chaplet as often as possible for sinners and for the dying. Our Lord made it clear to her that this devotion of “The Chaplet,” as Jesus referred to it, was not simply for Faustina to recite, but would become a marvelous devotion that would spread throughout the world through St. Faustina’s writings.

What is more, Our Lord revealed tremendous promises associated with the prayer and recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Our Lord stated, “Encourage souls to say the chaplet I have given you (1541)…Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687) … When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541) … Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (687) … I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687) … Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will” (1731).

How to Pray the Chaplet

(To be prayed on ordinary Rosary Beads)

1. Opening Prayer: 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.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You. (Repeat three times)

2. Pray the “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 the evil one. Amen.

3. Pray the “Hail Mary:” Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4. Pray the “Apostles’ Creed:” I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end. 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.

5. On the large bead before each decade: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ / In atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

6. On each of the 10 small beads of each decade: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion / Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

7. Concluding doxology (after five decades): Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (Three times)

8. 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. Amen.

9. Repeat Three Times: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU.

10. A Final Prayer Invoking God’s Divine Mercy (Optional): O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out.  Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles!  O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through, and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You: anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death’s hour.  Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your final coming – that day known to You alone.  And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all our wretchedness.  For Jesus is our Hope: Through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven.  Amen.  (1570)

The Three O’clock Hour of Mercy

At three o’clock implore My mercy especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in my Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into my mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion” (1320).

Recitation of the Chaplet during Eucharistic Adoration

On the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, by a personally signed parchment, imparted a special Apostolic Blessing “to all the faithful, who during adoration of Our Most Merciful Savior in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar will be praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sick and for those throughout the world who will be dying in that hour.” The Apostolic Blessing extends indefinitely for all who participate.

Nihil Obastat: George H. Pearce, S.M., Archbishop of Suva, Fiji.

Imprimatur: Joseph F. Maguire, Bishop, Springfield, MA, March 16, 1987

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