Divine Mercy is a modern devotion, a recent addition to the Catholic tradition of prayers. Millions of people across the world look forward to the Divine Mercy Sunday. How did a private revelation become so popular?
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
The Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday on the Second Sunday of Easter. It is a particular devotion based on the private revelation to St. Faustina Kowalska in Poland.
When was it added to Church’s calendar?
Divine Mercy Sunday is 20 years old. Saint Pope Paul II canonized St. Faustina in 2000, declaring the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Who is St. Faustina?
St. Faustina was a simple, young, uneducated Polish nun who received a special calling just before World War II. Jesus appeared to St. Faustina as a King of Mercy, wearing a white garment with red and pale rays emanating from His Sacred Heart. Jesus’ apparitions to the polish nun continued for four years. St Faustina recorded Jesus’ words and vision, her thoughts, and prayers in a personal diary, leading her to become the apostle of mercy.
Why is a private revelation on the Church’s calendar?
It’s a tough one. Private revelation often springs from popular piety, which can open ways to be incorporated in the Church’s liturgy. Liturgy is an orderly expression of the faith of the whole Church based on the Gospel. There is a relationship between popular piety and liturgy. Private revelations, arising from popular piety – the faithful’s heart, remain open to the liturgy – the worship of the community and magisterium.
What does the multifaced devotion involve?
Divine Mercy devotion involves five things:
- Divinely inspired painting
- Vocal prayers (Divine Mercy Chaplet and Divine Mercy Novena)
- A book (the Diary of Faustina Kowalska)
- A Holy Hour (3 o’clock)
- A solemn feast day attached with indulgences (Divine Mercy Sunday)
How to participate in the Divine Mercy novena?
The novena to Divine Mercy begins on Good Friday. Novena is a nine-day preparation period to celebrate a feast day. Each day has an intention, as revealed to St Faustina. Devotees pray the Divine Mercy novena each day with the specific intention, leading to the Divine Mercy Sunday. You can pray the novena any time of the year to request a petition through Jesus’ mercy.
- Day 1 (Good Friday) – All humanity, especially sinners
- Day 2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious
- Day 3 ( Easter Sunday) – All devout and faithful souls
- Day 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who don’t believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
- Day 5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren
- Day 6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and souls of children
- Day 7 (Easter Thursday) – The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy
- Day 8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory
- Day 9 (Easter Saturday) The souls who have become lukewarm
How does Church encourage Divine Mercy devotion?
The Church offers plenary indulgence – either complete or partial remission for the temporal punishment of sin. A faithful under ordinary conditions receive a plenary indulgence by sacramental confession, Eucharist communion, and prayer for the pope’s intention. But a devotee who participated in prayers held in honor of Divine Mercy can obtain plenary indulgence on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday. The faithful must have a spirit of detachment from sin. The indulgence is acquired when the devotee spends time in the Blessed Sacrament’s presence exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and adding a prayer: Merciful Jesus, I trust in you.
What’s unique about the Divine Mercy image?
You must have seen a Divine Mercy image, like the one above. Jesus is raising his right hand to bless, and the left hand is pointing to the chest from which flow two translucent rays – one red and one pale white. There is a message on the image: Jesus, I trust in you.
The symbolic image referred to as the ‘Fountain of Mercy’ communicates charity, forgiveness, and love of God. The red rays are for the blood of Jesus and the pale white for water. The image is based on a vision of St Faustina in 1931.
What is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy are prayers usually said using the standard set of Rosary beads, often at 3 p.m. (the time to Jesus’s death).
How to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
- On the Rosary beads, begin
Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Creed.
- 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.
- On the Hail Mary beads, pray:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- In conclusion, prayer three times:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
What’s the link between Divine Mercy devotion and Scripture readings on the Second Sunday of Easter?
Divine Mercy’s image portrays Jesus appearing to the disciples eight days after the resurrection, empowering them to forgive or retain sins (John 20:19-31). In the scripture reading, Jesus invites Apostle Thomas to touch his wounds. Jesus breathed on the apostles the Holy Spirit. Jesus empowers them in these words: if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. It is related to our sacrament of reconciliation (confession).
Do you have a special devotion to Divine Mercy? If so, kindly share your experiences in the comments below. Your words may be the only consolation to us needing Divine Mercy.
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