Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Sunday). It celebrates the Divine Mercy of Christ as revealed to St Maria Faustina Kowalsa, who was canonised by Pope John Paul II. Mike Murphy, of our Diocese, relates his experience of Divine Mercy Sunday.
“I have to say that the significance of Divine Mercy Sunday (the Second Sunday of Easter) had completely passed me by. I still thought of it as Low Sunday, whatever that meant. “Although I think that I had heard of St Faustina, it was not until I went to Mass at a church in Southern Spain that was dedicated to the Divine Mercy that I learned of how Jesus had appeared to Faustina and chose her as the “Secretary” of his Mercy so that she could tell the world about his great message. It was during these apparitions in the 1930s that Jesus asked that the Second Sunday of Easter should be dedicated to his Divine Mercy. By virtue of a Decree issued on 5 May 2000 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Holy See proclaimed the Second Sunday of Easter also as Divine Mercy Sunday.
“The Image of Divine Mercy – Jesus appeared to Faustina many times during the 1930’s and on his instruction she recorded the details of these apparitions in her diary. Jesus showed her an image of himself with two rays of light emanating from his heart. The pale ray stands for water which makes souls righteous and the red ray stands for…. his blood that issued forth from the very depths of my tender mercy when my agonised heart was opened by a lance on the cross. Jesus asked that the image should be painted with the words ‘Jesus, I trust in you’.
“Feast of the Divine Mercy – So what is the significance of Divine Mercy Sunday? Well, according to the diaries of St Faustina, Jesus said 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 an 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…
“The Chaplet – In a vision to St Faustina Jesus revealed a powerful prayer that he wanted everyone to say (see below). Prayed on rosary beads it may be said at any time but particularly at 3pm on Fridays (the hour of great mercy for the whole world) whilst contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries.
“The Novena – Jesus specifically requested that the chaplet be said as a novena on the nine days before the Feast of Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday with the following petitions for each day; Day 1 for all sinners; Day 2 for priests and religious; Day 3 for the souls of the devout and the faithful; Day 4 for non-believers and those who do not know; Day 5 for heretics and schismatics; Day 6 for the meek and humble and for children; Day 7 for the souls of those who glorify Christ’s Mercy; Day 8 for the souls in purgatory; Day 9 for the souls of those who have become lukewarm or indifferent in their faith.
“It can be prayed at any time but praying the novena as a conclusion to Lenten preparation seems to be completely fitting.
“The Chaplet: First say: O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You. Then say the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Apostles Creed. Then on the Our Father bead say “Eternal Father I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the world.” On the Hail Mary beads say “For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion have mercy on us, have mercy on us and on the whole world”. Conclude each ‘decade’ with the words “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One have mercy on us and on the whole world. The closing prayer after the five decades, “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.” When the prayers have been memorised the Chaplet could be said whilst meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries.
“*Words in italic are the words of Jesus as recorded in St Faustina’s diaries.”