Today is the feast of Divine Mercy (YAY!) – a feast celebrated on the last day of the Easter Octave; otherwise known as Second Sunday of Easter. For the past 8 days, the SPES community, although on holiday, have been committed to praying the Divine Mercy Novena from wherever we are. So what’s so special about Divine Mercy? In fact, let’s ask the bigger question… what IS it?
Short History and Intro to Sr Faustina
Between 1930 and 1938, Christ appeared to Sister Faustina (birthname Helena Kawalska, until she entered the apostolic congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow Poland), to re-teach us the story of His love and mercy, and His disappointment in us because of distrust in His Mercy and goodness. Reminding us all that God chooses the weakest and simplest souls as tools for his great works, Sr Faustina lived a life of simple service – cooking, sweeping, vegetable gardening, porter… her closest companions never predicted what God had planned for her!
Jesus appeared to Sr Faustina many times. The first apparition, on 22nd February 1931, Sr Faustina records in her Diary “I saw Jesus dressed in a white garment. He held one hand raised in blessing and the other hand was touching his garment at the breast. From under the garment came two rays of light, one red the other pale”.
Image of Divine Mercy and its power
Jesus said “paint a picture according to the vision you see and with the signature, Jesus, I trust in You, I desire that this picture be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the whole world”. Later Sr Faustina’s Spiritual Director told her to ask Jesus what the rays signified and Jesus explained to her;
“The rays represent the Blood and Water which gushed forth from the depths of my Mercy when My agonising Heart was pierced on the cross. The pale rays symbolise the water, which cleanses and purifies the soul: the red rays represent the blood, which gives new life to the soul. These rays will shield the soul before the justice of My Father. Fortunate are those who live in this shelter, for the justice of God will not reach them there. Write, the greater the sinner, the greater the mercy. Summon all those to confidence in the incomprehensible depth of My Mercy for I desire to save all. The well of Mercy was opened wide with a lance on the Cross, for all souls. I do not exclude anyone. Know, my daughter, that My Heart is Mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces pour out upon the whole world. No souls that come to Me depart without being comforted. All misery vanishes in My Mercy: and every grace, redemptive and sanctifying, stems from this source. Tell ailing mankind to draw close to My Merciful Heart and I will fill them with peace. Mankind will not find solace until it turns with confidence to My Mercy and love. I promise that the soul who will venerate this image will not perish. I further promise to that soul victory over enemies here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself, shall defend that souls My own glory…”
Chaplet and Novena
On September 13 1935, when Sr Faustina was graced with the presence of an angel who executed the wrath of God, she begged the mercy of the angel, a manifestation of the Holy Trinity who gave her words to appease the wrath that the angel intended to mete out. You can find them here. “This prayer is given to appease the Wrath of God. You will recite it for nine days on the usual part of the Rosary (five decades) in the following manner. First say one ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’, ‘I believe’. Then on the large beads say the ‘Eternal Father…’. On the smaller beads you are to say ‘For the sake …’. In conclusion you are to say the ‘Holy God…’”.
Our Lord further taught Sr Fausina “During these nine days (starting on Good Friday), to “lead souls to the fount of My Mercy, in order that they may draw from it strength, refreshment, and all the graces they need in the trials of their lives, especially in the hour of death. Each day you will lead a different group of souls and immerse them in the sea of My Mercy. Each day you will beseech the Father through my bitter passion for graces for these souls.”
On this feast day, Jesus asks us to see this celebration as a refuge and a shelter for our souls. He said “The very depths of My Mercy will be opened on that day. I will pour out a sea of graces upon those souls that will approach the fount of My Mercy. Let no soul fear to come to Me, even if its sins be as scarlet. This Feast emerged from the bosom of My Mercy and is founded in the depths of My Mercies. I desire that it be celebrated with great solemnity on the first Sunday after Easter.” Our coordinator, Edna, gives testimony to Jesus’ offering of a new “baptism” and shares how the tender love and mercy of God has impacted her life.
“Jesus always mentioned to Sr Faustina “FEAR NOTHING. I AM WITH YOU”. Reading this in Sr Faustina’s diary, it spoke a lot to me about trusting in God and in listening to Him. To be open! The time I visited Poland and went to the concentration camp Auschwiz, I was speaking to Fr. Angelus who taught me how to read and understand this really big book, which was the Diary of Saint Faustina. I decided to read it because I thought it would be good for my vocation. Her relationship with Jesus and the way they speak with each other is really like spouses! It has taught me a lot about religious life, and through that, God shows me how to pray for the Holy Souls, how to pray for conversion of sinners because if I reflect on my past, my history, my life, I realise how God did exactly the same. He poured out his mercy and that’s how I learned how to love Him.
One paragraph I read the other night spoke so deeply to me: ‘I’m fulfilling your holy will and desire to fulfil it as faithfully as possible throughout my life and in my death. Jesus with You I can do all things. Do with me as you please only give me your merciful heart and that is enough for me’ (Para 650). What really makes me understand my calling, my vocation for religious life, is how Jesus asks Sr Faustina in her visions, for her obedience to spread out the message of His Mercy.
You really have a sense that God’s talking to you when you read her diary. I said to my Spiritual Director that at one stage I stopped reading for 5 days because God was speaking SO MUCH! Jesus is SO ALIVE. He’s THERE! I see Sr Faustina as very obedient and humble in the way she responds. Sometimes she is confused, but she’s never afraid to ask Jesus when she has doubts. She seeks that confirmation that a message has really come from Him.”
Many of the quotations that originate from Sr Faustina’s Diary found in this blogpost can be referenced here: http://www.divinemercy.org/introduction/main-elements-of-devotion.html And http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/image.htm
We ask that you also proclaim the message of God’s Mercy to all you encounter, and become real warriors for the most Merciful Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ!