Divine Mercy Message and Devotion

From The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion, with selected Prayers from the Diary of Blessed Faustina, by Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, and Vinny Flynn, Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Association of Marian Helpers, Stockbridge, MA  01263-0004

     This Catholic devotion has spread like wildfire throughout the world during this century.  The main message:  God's infinite love, mercy, and compassion for all souls.  Many conversion of hearts and some miraculous healings have been attributed to Blessed Faustina Kowalska and to the Divine Mercy devotion. 
     The web site, www.marian.org/mercysunday/index.html , has quite a bit of information on this devotion.


THE ABC'S OF MERCY

     The message of mercy is that God loves us -- all of us, no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

Ask for His Mercy.  God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon and upon the whole world.

Be Merciful.  God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others.  He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

Completely Trust.  God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust.  The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.
 


Ask for His Mercy

     Through the passion and death of Jesus, an infinite ocean of mercy was made available for all of us.  But God, who created us free, will not force anything on us, not even His mercy.  He must wait for us to turn from our sinfulness and ask:

     Ask and it will be given to you ... for everyone who asks, receives (Mt 7:7, 8).

     The scriptures are filled with examples of how to trust in God and ask for His mercy: the psalms; the faith of Abraham and Moses who pleaded and "bargained" with God; the man who persuaded his friend to get up in the middle of the night to lend him some bread; the persistent widow who secured justice from the unjust judge; the Canaanite woman who "argued" with Jesus about her right to His mercy; and the witness of Mary, whose appeal for mercy at Cana led Jesus to perform His first public miracle, thus acknowledging that His time had indeed come. 

     Pope John Paul II echoes this scriptural message with a new urgency for our own times: 

     "At no time ... especially at a moment as critical as our own -- can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God ... The Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy 'with loud cries'" (Rich in Mercy, 15). 

     To Blessed Faustina, Jesus revealed this same message once again.  He gave her three new ways to ask for mercy on the strength of His passion:  the Chaplet, the Novena, and prayer at three o'clock; and He taught her to transform her daily life into a continuous prayer for mercy.  Through her, He calls us all to ask for His mercy: 

     Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me.  To such souls I grant even more than they ask.  I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion (1146) ... Beg for mercy for the whole 
 world (570) ... No soul that has called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed (1541). 


Be Merciful

     Mercy is love that seeks to relieve the misery of others.  It is an active love, poured out upon others to heal, to comfort, to console, to forgive, to remove pain.  It is the love that God offers us, and it is the love He demands from us for each other: 

     I give you a new commandment ... As I have loved you, so you must love one another (Jn 13:34) ... Be merciful even as your Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). 

     Repeatedly the scriptures remind us that the measure we use for others is the measure God will use for us (Lk 6:38), for He will indeed "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Mt 6:12-14).  "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5:7), but "judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy" (Jas 2:13). The parables of the 6ood Samaritan, the Rich Man and Lazarus, and the Unforgiving Servant all demonstrate this essential truth that only if we give mercy can we hope to receive it; for we will be judged on the basis of our merciful actions toward others:  "I was hungry and you gave me food ... (Mt 25:35-46).

     How strongly Our Lord speaks about this to Blessed Faustina! 

     I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for Me.  You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere.  You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it ... Even the strongest faith is of no avail without works (742) ... If a soul does not exercise mercy in some way, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment (1317).

     How do we exercise mercy?  Through our actions, our words, and our prayers, by performing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy [see the inside cover of this booklet], and by developing an attitude of mercy in our daily lives.  Every day we can choose to respond to the people and events we encounter by immersing them in the ocean of God's mercy.  Instead of "cursing the darkness" and despairing over the condition of the world, we bless the world with God's mercy, thus allowing Him to heal it. [See also pages 82-83]. 

Completely Trust 

     Trust in Jesus is the essence of the message of mercy.  When we go to a public fountain, we can draw water from it as long as we have a vessel or container of some kind to put the water in. If our vessel is small, we can only bring back a little water; if it's large, we can bring back a lot. And anyone with a vessel can draw water from the fountain.  The water is there for us, and no one is excluded.  All we need is a vessel. 

     So it is with God's mercy. In repeated revelations to Sister Faustina, Our Divine Savior makes it clear that the fountain is His Heart, the water is His mercy, and the vessel is trust. 

     I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy.  Let all souls draw life from it.  Let them approach this sea of mercy with trust (1520)  ... On the cross, the fountain of My mercy was opened wide by the lance for all souls -- no one have I excluded! (1182) ... I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy.  That vessel is this image with the signature: "Jesus, I trust in You" (327) ... The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is -- trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive (1578).

     Over and over again in the Diary of Blessed Faustina, we hear Our Lord reminding us that we can depend upon His love ... that He alone is worthy of our trust:

     I am Love and Mercy itself (1074) ... Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699) ... My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world (1485) ... I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you.  Come then with trust to draw graces from this fountain.  I never reject a contrite heart (1485) ... Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul (1777).

     But there is more to trust than just believing that God is trustworthy.  We have to act upon that belief.  Trust involves a turning back to God, a real conversion of our whole lives to God, repenting of our sins and forgiving others.  Trust is a living faith. 

     Trust means that we agree to let God be God, instead of trying to be God ourselves.  (Trust is the antidote to the first sin of Adam!)  It means that we agree that God can write the script of our lives, instead of insisting on our own script.  It means that we agree with the great pledge we make in the Our Father: "Your will [not mine] be done on earth as it is in heaven." It means that even in our moments of agony we agree with the cry of Jesus in the Garden, "Not my will, but Yours be done" (Lk 22:42). 

     The ABC's of mercy are interrelated, and trust in Jesus is the vital ingredient.  We don't simply ask for mercy, nor do we simply try to be good to other people.  We ask with complete trust, and Our Lord fills us with grace so that we can be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful. 

    I am Love and Mercy itself.  When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls (1074).  (pp. 23-28)
 


HOW TO RECITE THE CHAPLET
(On ordinary rosary beads)   (DIARY, 476)

The Our Father

     Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; They kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

The Hail Mary

    Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

The Apostles' Creed

     (Text from official approved translation.  See Holy Saturday Liturgy in the Roman Missal.)
     I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 
     I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended to the dead.  On the third day He rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 
     I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen. 
 


On the Large Bead before Each Decade:

Eternal Father, 
I offer You
the Body and Blood, 
Soul and Divinity
 of Your dearly beloved Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
in atonement of our sins
and those of the whole world.
 


On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, 
have mercy on us
and on the whole world.
 


Concluding Doxology:
(after five decades)

Holy God, 
Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us 
and on the whole world.
     (Three times)

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