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 instructed her to have an image painted of what she saw. 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 represents the healing waters of Baptism, and the red represents the Most Precious Blood of our Lord, which “is the life of souls.”
St. Faustina’s spiritual director instructed her to write a diary about all her visions of Jesus and everything that He revealed to her. The devotion to the Divine Mercy 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 as Divine Mercy Sunday for the Church throughout the world.
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 at any time of day, but it is recommended to pray it during the 3 o’clock hour, the hour of mercy when Jesus died on the Cross. 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 Christ 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’ve sinned, that we’ve offended Him, that we’re in need of forgiveness, and ask for it. For the novena prayers, follow the link on the parish website, under the “Resources” tab under “Resources for Prayer”: www.olol-church.com.
How to Prayer the Divine Mercy Chaplet on a Rosary:
1. Make the Sign of the Cross, then say the optional opening prayer: You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed fourth 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 our upon us. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! (say last sentence 3 times).
2. Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Apostles Creed.
3. On the Our Father beads, pray: 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.
4. On the Hail Mary beads, pray: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
5. After 5 decades, on the medallion pray 3 times: Holy God, Holy Might One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
6. Say the 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. Amen.
7. Finish with the Sign of the Cross
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.