By Judy Keane from Catholic Exchange:
It is available in abundance to everyone if only we would embrace it. It is an endless and unfathomable gift that flows most profusely on the Sunday after Easter. It is the devotion of the Divine Mercy and it offers each of us a wonderful chance to begin anew through the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena. Begun on Good Friday and completed on Divine Mercy Sunday, this powerful novena offers us a chance to change our lives forever! It is also a powerful way to intercede for our loved ones and the entire world by bringing all before the merciful gaze of Christ.
In 1931, a young Polish nun named Sister Faustina Kowalska, saw a vision of Jesus who, with rays of mercy in the form of blood and water streaming forth from His Heart, told her to paint an image of him and sign it, “Jesus, I Trust in You!” Calling her the Secretary of His mercy, He ordered her to also begin writing a diary so others would come to know of his unfathomable mercy. In a series of revelations that followed from 1931 through 1938, Jesus taught her about His unlimited ocean of mercy available to even the most hardened of sinners, saying “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet” (Diary 699).
In her Diary, Jesus told Sr. Faustina, “I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that from there they may draw strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death” (Diary, 1209). While the Chaplet can be said anytime, the Lord specifically asked that it be recited as a novena, promising that “By this Novena (of Chaplets), I will grant every possible grace to souls” (Diary 796).
During each day of the Novena, which is prayed on Rosary beads, Jesus asked that souls be brought to his merciful heart to be immersed in his “ocean of mercy” for each of the nine days, “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 graces for these souls” (Diary 1209). Specific intentions include 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; meek and humble souls and the souls of little children; the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy; souls detained in purgatory; and souls who have become lukewarm. It is interesting to note that Jesus saves the ninth day of the novena for “lukewarm” souls saying, “These souls wound my heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out – ‘Father, take this cup away from me if it be your will.’ For them the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy (Diary 1228).
This year’s Divine Mercy Novena is going to be even more meaningful than usual. Two great servants of mercy, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, will be canonized saints on Divine Mercy Sunday. In 1966, through the diligent efforts of then Karol Cardinal Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), the informative process for beatification of Sr. Faustina was begun. The message of mercy is now being spread throughout the world. On the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that “from now on throughout the Church” this Sunday will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” In speaking of Divine Mercy Sunday in Faustina’s Diary, Jesus said, “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy” (Diary 699). Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy” (Diary 965).
It is important to note that there are three places in St. Faustina’s Diary that record promises from our Lord of the extraordinary graces He will make available through the devout reception of Holy Communion on this Feast Day:
– I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy(1109).
– Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment (300).
– The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment (699).
The powerful Divine Mercy Novena as ordered above by Jesus gives us the tremendous opportunity to begin again – a fresh start of “complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” that may have otherwise have been due to us in life up to that point. So powerful is the Chaplet that Christ said, “Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy” (Diary, 687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will” (Diary 1731)
Jesus in his unfathomable mercy gives us this grace to begin anew through his passion and death on the cross where blood and water gushed forth from His heart. This Good Friday then, let us take advantage of this powerful novena while there is still time – for the sake of our souls, the souls of our loved ones and a world deeply and desperately in need of Divine Mercy.
Novena prayers and information about the Divine Mercy Sunday Indulgence: