Pope Francis has declared this liturgical year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy in which we are to reflect on the great mercy God extends to us and to perform appropriate acts of mercy whether they be in deed, word, or prayer. I’m sure we are all familiar with the opening words of the 118th Psalm: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.” God’s mercy is beyond measure and we must have trust in it.
Near the middle of the Jubilee Year is Divine Mercy Sunday. It is celebrated on the first Sunday af- ter Easter – this year falling on April 3rd. This feast has its origins in the visions and writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) who was beatified in the year 1993 and canonized in the year 2000. She is sometimes referred to as the Apostle or Secretary of Divine Mercy. Living her adult life as a sister in a con- vent, she was chosen by Our Lord to reveal great mysteries to us through the writings she kept in her diary published as . This 700 page book can be ordered through many internet re- sources. It is in this diary that the saint recorded her own spiritual reflections as well as instructions and consolations given to her by Our Lord.
Two aspects of the various revelations have special importance. The first is the special image of Our Lord which was painted in accordance with His wishes and which He asked to be venerated. The im- age shows both red and pale colored rays flowing out to us from His Heart and represent what occurred when Our Lord was pierced by a lance while He was on The Cross. The words “Jesus, I trust in You” are associated with this image.
The second aspect of importance is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which can be said with an ordinary set of rosary beads. It is through this chaplet, given to us by Our Lord, that great graces can be received for the living and especially for those who are nearing the end of their mortal life. For those who are unfamiliar with the chaplet, the primary words are included here.
The chaplet begins with the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and The Apostle’s Creed. Then, on the “Our Father” beads are said the words “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 “Hail Mary” beads, the following words are said: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”. In conclusion, the following phrase it to be recited three times: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
The chaplet is said at St. Jerome after the 9 AM Masses. If the chaplet is said as a novena for the nine days from Good Friday through the Divine Mercy Sunday and combined with the Sacraments of Rec- onciliation and Communion, then special graces are promised to those who participate.
Many more details about Saint Faustina and the religious aspects of her Divine Mercy mission can be found on the internet from a wide variety of sources. Why not spend a few moments in this Lenten sea- son and find out about God’s great mercy? Personally, I was greatly moved by some of the writings in her diary especially those attributed to Our Lord.