“I desire that the whole world know My infinite Mercy”
“Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature – Jesus, I trust in You..
By means of this Image, I shall be granting many graces, so let every soul have access to it.”
The Lord always knows our needs. And in times of need, He reminds us of the call of the Gospel, the call to penance and conversion for ourselves and for others, for our faith tells us that we do not make this journey alone. When trials are upon us, the Lord reminds us of His Mercy, which has been described as ‘the bridge between God and man’.
And in dark days, He raises up great Saints in the Church who shine like beacons, their light and example showing all of us what is expected of us in living out the Gospels. In the first half of the 20th Century, such a Saint was raised up by the Lord. Her name was Faustina Kowalska.
Essentials of the Divine Mercy Devotion
Divine Mercy is not a new idea. It is an ancient one, but one which we have perhaps forgotten in large part. But it is very much a devotion which is pertinent to our times, when evil seems to have such great power in the world.
In His revelations to St Faustina (which have received the full approval of the Church), Jesus proposed a form of devotion to Divine Mercy with particular characteristics and features.
Undertaking a scholarly and theological analysis of the writings of St Faustina and the devotion she puts forward, Father Ignacy Rozycki wrote ‘Devotion To The Divine Mercy’. Speaking of this work and quoting it, the critical edition of the Diary of St Faustina (Marian Press, 2014) lists the essentials of the Divine Mercy devotion, as revealed to St Faustina, as follows –
The Image of the Merciful Jesus – the visible reminder of the demands of the Merciful Jesus
The feast of Divine Mercy – the heart or central core of the devotion
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy – the means of entreating mercy for the whole world
The Hour of Great Mercy – the memorial of the hour of the Crucifixion
Spreading devotion to the Divine Mercy – in deed, word and prayer
To each of these essential elements, the Most Merciful Jesus attached particular demands and particular promises.
In short, the Divine Mercy devotion reminds us that God is infinitely merciful – He loves each one of us despite our human frailty and sinfulness, and He wants all of us to trust in that mercy. And in receiving His mercy, we are then obliged to be merciful to others.
To help us in this, we have the elements listed above, the greatest of which is the Feast of Divine Mercy, which the Church now celebrates as Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter.
The core concepts underpinning the devotion and providing it’s theological basis are reflected in St John Paul II’s beautiful encyclical ‘Dives In Misericordiae’ (Rich In Mercy), which complements the Diary of St Faustina very well.
“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.
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. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.
Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.
My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity.
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.”
– words of the Most Merciful Jesus from the Diary of St Faustina