The Divine Mercy devotion was revealed by God to a young nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, Poland, St. Faustina Kowalska. In 1931, the Lord Jesus appeared to St. Faustina and instructed her to have an image painted of what she saw, that image is what we know as the Divine Mercy image. He would speak to her a lot about His desire to pour out His mercy upon the world, if only we would ask for His mercy and show mercy to others. In the image Jesus has one hand raised in blessing and the other is pointing at His heart. There are two rays of light coming from His heart, representing the blood and water that flowed from His side when He was pierced by the soldier’s lance as He hung upon the Cross. The light ray is the water, representing the healing waters of Baptism, and the red is the blood, which “is the life of souls,” and represents the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.
St. Faustina’s spiritual director instructed her to write a diary about all of her visions of Jesus and everything that He revealed to her. The devotion to the Divine Mercy had began to spread in the 1930’s, even before her death in 1938. On April 30, 2000, Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina, and declared the Second Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday for the Church throughout the world. The devotion had begun to spread throughout the world in the 80’s and 90’s, but now it would really take off.
There are three parts of the devotion. The first part is the image, which is meant to help us to meditate on the mercy of God, and on our need for His mercy. The second is the novena, which is prayed from Good Friday through Easter Saturday. The Divine Mercy chaplet can be prayed throughout the year, but it is recommended to pray it during the 3 o’clock hour, the hour of mercy. Jesus told St. Faustina, “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.”
This devotion reminds us of the great mercy of God and that God is always ready to forgive the sins of those who ask. No sin is greater than God’s mercy. We may think that our sins are too great or that we aren’t worthy of forgiveness, but remember that Jesus even forgave the very people who put Him on the Cross, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Being reminded of the mercy of God also reminds us that we do, in fact, need mercy and forgiveness. God won’t force anything on us, even forgiveness. We have to recognize that we have sinned, that we have offended Him, and that we are in need of forgiveness, and ask for it. If you want to learn more, click on the "News" tab on the sidebar.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.