Divine Mercy Novena
In the Jubilee Year, Pope John Paul II established the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. Popularised by twentieth century Polish nun, St Faustina, devotion to the Divine Mercy is gaining momentum. In a world where so many struggle to live faithful lives, the promises of Divine Mercy are truly a beacon of hope. Officially established as a permanent feast on April 30, 2000, the Feast of Divine Mercy is relatively unknown among Christians.
The feast was brought to prominence by the writings of St Faustina who in the 1930's recorded a diary that documented the words and instructions she received from a series of visions of Christ. Her diary is full of Jesus' urgent desire to communicate the depths of his mercy for humankind: "Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins".
Why the Second Sunday of Easter?
On the evening of his resurrection, we read in the scriptures that Jesus appeared to his disciples and commissioned them to forgive sins. The following week, Thomas was with them, and though he had doubted, he received Christ’s forgiveness (John 20:19-31). The power to forgive sins was given to the apostles through the Holy Spirit and has been passed down through the ages to the priests who administer Reconciliation to us today. Reconciliation is so much more than a merely human experience of unburdening the soul… any good barman, counsellor or hairdresser can listen to a confession! Rather, it is a powerful, grace-filled encounter with the mercy of Jesus, who is present in the person of the priest.
Sacrament of Mercy
The feast of Divine Mercy calls Christians to seek forgiveness through Reconciliation. Many people are anxious and fearful about going to confession. Some have negative memories of past experiences; others have misunderstood the need for the Sacrament, believing that it is sufficient to simply be sorry in their hearts for their sins. Others resist the Sacrament knowing that Christ’s representative, the priest, is himself a human being in need of God’s mercy. Others believe that their sins are simply too dreadful to be forgiven.
St Faustina records in her diary the words of Jesus for each of us as we approach Reconciliation:
"When you approach the confessional, know this: I myself am waiting there for you....If your trust is great, there is no limit to my generosity."
"Come with faith to the feet of my representative…and make your confession before me. The person of the priest is, for me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to me, and I will fill it with my light."
"The miracle of Divine Mercy restores your soul in full. In the Tribunal of Mercy (the Sacrament of Confession) …the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated…There is no misery that could be a match for my mercy."
The Divine Mercy Image
In 1931, Jesus appeared to St Faustina in a vision. He was clothed in a white garment, one hand raised in blessing, the other touching his heart from which came a white and a red ray. The rays represent water (new birth, purity) and blood (the life of souls) and symbolise the depths of Jesus’ tender mercy as his heart was pierced by a lance on the cross.
Jesus instructed her:
"Paint an image according to what you see with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You ... I promise that anyone who venerates this image will not perish"
In the Novena to The Divine Mercy which Our Lord gave to Saint Maria Faustina for her own personal use, He revealed to her a powerful prayer that He wanted everyone to say - the Chaplet of Mercy. Saint Faustina prayed the Chaplet almost constantly, especially for the dying, and the Lord urged her to encourage others to say it, too, promising extraordinary graces to those who would recite this special prayer.
The Chaplet can be said anytime, but the Lord specifically asked that it be recited as a novena, especially on the nine days before the Feast of Mercy, starting on Good Friday. And He promised, "By this Novena (of Chaplets) I will grant every possible grace to souls" (Diary 796)
We can pray this Novena of Chaplets for our own personal intentions, or we can offer it together with the Novena to The Divine Mercy for the daily intentions dictated by Our Lord to Saint Faustina. Our Lord Said to Saint Faustina:
"Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you. ... Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. ... When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior. ... Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My Mercy... Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will"
"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."
- 1st day - All mankind, especially sinners
- 2nd day - The souls of priests and religious
- 3rd day - All devout and faithful souls
- 4th day - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
- 5th day - The souls of separated brethren
- 6th day - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
- 7th day - The souls who especially venerated and glorify Jesus' mercy
- 8th day - The souls who are detained in purgatory
- 9th day - The souls who have become lukewarm
The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.
- 1. Make the Sign of the Cross
- In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
- 2. Optional Opening Prayers
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the
ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable
Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
- 3. Our Father
- Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy 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.
- 4. Hail Mary
- Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
- 5. The Apostle's Creed
- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come 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.
- 6. The Eternal Father
- Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
- 7. On the Ten Small Beads of Each Decade
- For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- 8. Repeat for the remaining decades
- Saying the "Eternal Father" (6) on the "Our Father" bead and then 10 "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion" (7) on the following "Hail Mary" beads.
- 9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
- Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- 10. Optional Closing Prayer
- Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.