In a series of revelations to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, our Lord called for a special feast day to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Today, we know that feast as Divine Mercy Sunday, named by St. John Paul II at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000. This Feast came about through the observance of the Divine Mercy Novena, which the Lord, in a vision according to St. Faustina, asked to pray for nine days, beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Saturday after Easter — the eve of the Octave of Easter.
The Lord expressed His will with regard to this feast in His very first revelation to St. Faustina. The most comprehensive revelation can be found in her Diary entry 699:
"My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a 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 are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. 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 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."
Nevertheless, Divine Mercy Sunday is NOT a feast based solely on St. Faustina's revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina — nor is it altogether a new feast. The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter. The title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does, however, highlight the meaning of the day.
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The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a truly special and holy prayer because it was created by Jesus for mankind. He revealed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to a Polish nun called St. Faustina through a series of visions and inner locutions in 1935, while she was living in Vilnius, Lithuania. Between 1935-1938, Jesus demonstrated to her the unlimited power of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy through a number of extraordinary miracles and events. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is not restricted to any set of intentions or petitions. Jesus showed St.Faustina the power of the Chaplet by teaching her that the Chaplet even had the power to change the weather conditions in the area where she lived. (Diary 1197) It is reasonable to believe that He did this to demonstrate the boundless power of this new prayer. Jesus explained to her that He would grant unimaginable graces to those who prayed the Chaplet once their petition was compatible with His Divine Will. (Diary 1731)
Even though it is absolutely true that the power of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is not restricted in any way, it is also true that it does have a central purpose within the Devotion to Divine Mercy. This main purpose is to save dying sinners. In the sections of the Diary where St.Faustina records her experiences of praying the Chaplet, the vast majority of these entries reference occasions where she was requested by Jesus to pray the Chaplet for a dying sinner. Jesus revealed to her that praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for a dying soul appeases the Just Anger of God and allows Him to defend the soul against the Divine Justice of God as the soul dies. It was though this revelation which Jesus chose to make known this new prayer to the world. (Diary 811).
(Ref. University of Glasgow)
Do you understand the Passion of our Lord? Do you perceive His sufferings in your soul? This may, at first, seem undesirable. But perceiving the sufferings and Passion of our Lord is a great grace. As we perceive His suffering we must then encounter it and embrace it as our own. We must live His sufferings. In doing so, we begin to discover that His suffering is nothing other than divine love and Mercy. And we find that the love in His soul which endured all sufferings enables us to endure all things in love. Love endures everything and conquers everything. Let this holy and purified love consume you so that you can endure, in love, whatever you encounter in life (See Diary #46).
Gaze upon the crucifix this day. Gaze upon the perfect Sacrifice of Love. Gaze upon our God who willingly endured all things out of love for you. Ponder this great mystery of love in suffering and love in sacrifice. Understand it, accept it, love it and live it.
Lord, Your Cross is the perfect example of sacrificial love. It’s the purest and highest form of love ever known. Help me to understand this love and to accept it into my heart. And as I accept Your perfect Sacrifice of Love, help me to live that love in all that I do and in all that I am. Jesus, I trust in You.
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet
11 April 2021, Divine Mercy Sunday
Reflection 35: Perceiving the Passion of the Lord