“I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to your neighbours always and everywhere” (from the Diary of St Faustina).
Alongside this demand that we show mercy, inspired by love of God and exercised through our actions, words and prayers, Jesus makes a solemn promise that we will be forgiven if we trust in Him. The floodgates of His mercy are open: if we only approach the fount of His Mercy, firmly trusting in His unfathomable love for every single human being, we will be forgiven, whatever the nature of our past sins.
In the year 2000, the Holy See formally affirmed Jesus’ demand that the Sunday after Easter should be marked as Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus has promised that “whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment”.
To obtain the Church’s related indulgence, we must go to confession (within two or three weeks on either side) and receive Holy Communion on or very close to Divine Mercy Sunday. We are also to say a prayer (such as an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory be) for the Pope’s intentions. Finally, we must detach ourselves completely from all sin, even venial sin.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus instructs that “priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy”. Indeed, we are all called to tell others about God’s Divine Mercy, with a wonderful promise for those who do so: “Souls who spread the honour of My mercy I shield through their entire lives as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Saviour”.
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy as well as the novena intentions Jesus gave Saint Faustina, are a good way to prepare for this great Feast. Jesus said to the Saint: “On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”
(See here for more information about the background to the Divine Mercy devotion)