April 28, 2019 - Pastor Message05/20/2019
THE YEAR OF PRAYER PART 13: THE DIVINE MERCY CHAPLET
“Encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given you...Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death...Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy” (Words of Jesus to St. Maria Faustina, recorded in her diary, 687, 1541, 1731).
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a meditation on God’s amazing mercy for us poured out through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It comes to us from St. Maria Faustina, who was born in Poland in 1905 and later became a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Sister Faustina was a humble, prayerful nun who recorded in her diary a series of visions that she had of Jesus while in prayer. In one of those visions, Jesus explained the Divine Mercy Chaplet to her and urged her to encourage people to pray it. After her death in 1938, the reputation of her holiness of life began to spread, as did devotion to the chaplet, especially with the publication of her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. Her cause for sainthood was taken up in 1965, and she was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. John Paul II had a particular devotion to Divine Mercy, and, on the same day he canonized St. Faustina, he established Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, as a feast day for the universal Church.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed on a standard set of Dominican Rosary beads, with five decades of beads, each preceded by a separate bead. After making the Sign of the Cross, pray an Our father, a Hail Mary, and the Apostles’ Creed. Then, beginning on the bead preceding the first decade, which would normally be an Our Father, pray “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.” On each bead of the decade, which would normally be a Hail Mary, pray “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” Repeat this for all five decades, at the end of which, pray three times “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
That’s it, a simple prayer that can be completed in just a few minutes, but one that, if we truly raise our hearts and minds to God by reflecting deeply on God’s mercy while praying it, can have a profound effect on our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters. God’s mercy for us will increase our own love and gratitude for him and overflow in works of mercy for our brothers and sisters. So consider including the Divine Mercy Chaplet in your own prayer life, especially today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and let God’s mercy change your life and that of the whole world.
Fr. Marc Stockton