Friday, March 30, 2007

What is Divine Mercy?

Divine Mercy Sunday
Divine Mercy Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Easter season. It was named by Pope John Paul II at the canonization of St. Maria Faustina on April 30, 2000, and then officially decreed by the Vatican.

Divine Mercy Sunday can be seen as the convergence of all the mysteries and graces of Holy Week and Easter Week. It is like a multi-exposure photograph of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Week. Or we can think of it as a converging lens that focuses the light of the Risen Christ into a radiant beam of merciful love and grace for the whole world.

In fact, Jesus revealed in various revelations to St. Faustina that it was His desire that we celebrate this special feast. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary, 699)

Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina His desire to literally flood us with His graces on that day. Just consider each of the promises and desires that He expressed about Mercy Sunday, which are recorded in the main passage of the Diary — passage 699 — about Mercy Sunday:

On that day the very depths of My tender Mercy are open.

I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon these souls who approach the Fount of My mercy [the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist].

The soul that will go to Confession [beforehand] and receive Holy Communion [on that day] shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.

On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.

Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.

The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness.

It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.

Forms of Devotion
The Divine Mercy Novena of Chaplets
A novena is typically nine days of prayer in preparation of a celebration of a feast day. At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena is recited perpetually at the Hour of Great Mercy — the three o'clock hour.

The Chaplet can be said anytime, but the Lord specifically asked that it be recited as a novena. He promised, "By this Novena (of Chaplets), I will grant every possible grace to souls."

For each of the nine days, our Lord gave Saint Faustina a different intention:
All mankind, especially sinners; the souls of priests and religious; all devout and faithful souls; those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus; the souls who have separated themselves from the Church; the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children; the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy; the souls detained in purgatory; and souls who have become lukewarm.

"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 have need of in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death."

First Day:
Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

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