Devotion to the Divine Mercy involves a total commitment to God as Mercy. It is a decision to trust completely in him, to accept his mercy with thanksgiving, and to be merciful as he is merciful. The devotional practices proposed in the diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in here are completely in accordance with the teachings of the Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Saviour. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.
THE FIRST PILLAR – THE FEAST OF MERCY
“I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary, 49).
“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners” (Diary, 699).
“Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, recourse to My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity” (cf. Diary, 965, 998).
The choice of the first Sunday after Easter for the Feast of Mercy has a very deep theological significance, which points to the close relationship between the Paschal Mystery of the Redemption and the mystery of The Divine Mercy. This integral relationship is further emphasized by the Novena of Chaplets to The Divine Mercy which begins on Good Friday as a preparation for the Feast. This feast is not only for worshipping God in His mystery of mercy, but also a time of grace for all people.
Jesus, delight of my soul, Bread of Angels, My whole being is plunged in You, And I live Your divine life as do the elect in heaven, And the reality of this life will not cease, though I be laid in the grave. (Diary 1393).
THE SECOND PILLAR – THE IMAGE OF THE MERCIFUL JESUS
“Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You’”
“I want this image … to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary 49)
Its pattern was revealed in the vision St. Faustina had on February 22, 1931, in her convent cell at Plock. She says, “In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside from at breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale………”.
“By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it” (Diary 570).
The picture of the Merciful Jesus is one of the most well-known images of the crucified and risen Christ in the history of the Church and in the contemporary world. This is an unusual picture not only because of the fact that it is the most popular one but, above all, because Jesus Himself had desired that. The picture is both a sign and a visual synthesis of the whole Divine Mercy message, which He conveyed by Sister Faustina: on the one hand it reminds us of the mystery of God’s merciful love for man revealed in the Holy Scriptures, it exhorts us to form the Christian attitude of trust towards Him and mercy towards neighbour and, on the other hand, it is a vessel for drawing graces to which He attached many promises..
Oh, how ardently I desire that every soul would praise Your mercy. Happy is the soul that calls upon the mercy of the Lord. It will see that the Lord will defend it as His glory, as He said. And who would dare fight against God? All you souls, praise the Lord’s mercy by trusting in His mercy all your life and especially at the hour of your death. And fear nothing, dear soul, whoever you are, the greater the sinner, the greater his right to Your mercy, O Lord. O Incomprehensible Goodness! God is the first to stoop to the sinner. O Jesus, I wish to glorify Your mercy on behalf of thousands of
souls. I know very well, O my Jesus, that I am to keep telling souls about Your goodness, about Your incomprehensible mercy (Diary 598).
THE THIRD PILLAR – THE HOUR OF MERCY
The Hour of Mercy.
In October 1937, the Lord Jesus recommended that St Faustina honour the hour of His death: “… as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul” (Diary, 1572).
The Lord Jesus also determined the prayers that are appropriate for this form of the Divine Mercy devotion: “…try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, then immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant” (Diary, 1572).
There are three conditions for prayers offered in this hour to be granted:
1. They are to be addressed to Jesus.
2. They are to be prayed at three o’clock in the afternoon.
3. They are to appeal to the value and merits of Christ’s Passion.
The Lord Jesus promised: “In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice” (Diary, 1572).
It is clear that Our Lord wants us to turn our attention to His Passion at the three o’clock hour to whatever degree our duties allow, and He wants us to ask for His mercy. In Genesis 18:16-32, Abraham begged God to reduce the conditions necessary for Him to be merciful to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here, Christ Himself offers a reduction of conditions because of the varied demands of our life’s duties, and He begs us to ask, even in the smallest way, for His mercy, so that He will be able to pour His mercy upon us all. We may not all be able to make the Stations or adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but we can all mentally think of His total abandonment at the hour of agony, and say a short prayer such as “Jesus, Mercy,” or “Jesus, for the sake of Your Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
O good Jesus, thank You for the great grace of making known to me what I am of myself: misery and sin, and nothing more. I can do only one thing of myself, and that is to offend You, O my God, because misery can do no more of itself than offend You, O infinite Goodness! 66 O inexhaustible treasure of purity of intention which makes all our actions perfect and so pleasing to God! O Jesus, You know how weak I am; be then ever with me; guide my actions and my whole being, You who are my very best Teacher! Truly, Jesus, I become frightened when I look at my own misery, but at the same time I am reassured by Your unfathomable mercy, which exceeds my misery by the measure of all eternity. This disposition of soul clothes me in Your power. O joy that flows from the knowledge of one’s self! O unchanging Truth, Your constancy is everlasting!
THE FOURTH PILLAR – NOVENA TO DIVINE MERCY
Jesus is commanding me to make a novena before the Feast of Mercy, and today I am to begin it for the conversion of the whole world and for the recognition of The Divine Mercy… so that every soul will praise My goodness. I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy. (Diary 1059)
It begins on Good Friday. I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death. On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father. You will do this in this life and in the next. I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls. (Diary 197) By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.
When you make this novena, to this fountain of mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul…In the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation] …the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated…Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy.. Come with faith to the feet of My representative…I myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest… I Myself act in your soul… Make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill
it with My light… Were a soul like a decaying corpse, so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full… From this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely worth the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. Our Lord has made the reception of the Eucharist and Reconciliation necessary for obtaining His promise of complete forgiveness of sins and punishment for those observing the Feast of Mercy. And Pope John Paul II, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of God’s message of mercy, has exhorted us that, “The Church of the new Advent…must be the Church of the Eucharist and of Penance” (Redemptor Hominis).
O good Jesus, thank You for the great grace of making known to me what I am of myself: misery and sin, and nothing more. I can do only one thing of myself, and that is to offend You, O my God, because misery can do no more of itself than offend You, O infinite Goodness!
THE FIFTH PILLAR – THE CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY
The Lord told me to say this chaplet for nine days before the Feast of Mercy. It is to begin on Good.
Friday. By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.
This Chaplet was dictated to Sr. Faustina by the Lord Jesus Himself in Vilnius on September 13-14, 1935, as a prayer of atonement and for the appeasement of God’s wrath (Diary 474-476). Those who recite this Chaplet offer to God the Father “the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity,” of Jesus Christ in atonement for their sins, the sins of their loved ones, and those of the entire world. By uniting themselves with the sacrifice of Jesus, they appeal to the great love that our Heavenly Father has for His Son and, in Him, for all humanity. By means of this prayer, the petitioners request “mercy on us and on the whole world,” and by so doing, they perform a work of mercy. If the faithful add to this the foundation of trust and fulfil the conditions regarding every good prayer: humility, perseverance, matters in conformity with God’s will, they can expect the fulfilment of Christ’s promises which are particularly related to the hour of death: the grace of conversion and a peaceful death. Not only will the people who say the Chaplet receive these graces, but also the dying at whose side others will recite this prayer. The Lord said: “When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul” (Diary, 811). On one occasion, Jesus said: “… by saying the Chaplet you are bringing humankind closer to Me” (Diary, 929). and again: “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death” (Diary, 754).
The words with which I entreated God are these: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. 476 The next morning, when I entered chapel, I heard these words interiorly: Every time you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer which I taught you yesterday. When I had said the prayer, in my soul I heard these words: This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one OUR FATHER and HAIL MARY and the I BELIEVE IN GOD. Then on the OUR FATHER beads you will say the following 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 you will say the following words: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.” In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
O my Jesus, You know, You alone know well that my heart knows no other love but You! All my virginal love is drowned eternally in You, O Jesus! I sense keenly how Your divine Blood is circulating in my heart; I have not the least doubt that Your most pure love has entered my heart with Your most sacred Blood. I am aware that You are dwelling in me, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, or rather I am aware that it is I who am living in You, O incomprehensible God! I am aware that I am dissolving in You like a drop in an ocean. I am aware that You are within me and all about me, that You are in all things that surround me, in all that happens to me. O my God, I have come to know You within my heart, and I have loved You above all things that exist on earth or in heaven. Our hearts have a mutual understanding, and no one of humankind will comprehend this.
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus; He came to love, heal and forgive; He lived and died to buy my pardon, An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives! How sweet to hold a new-born baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives; But greater still the calm assurance: This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!
And then one day, I’ll cross the river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then, as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know.