What is the message of Divine Mercy?

And how to pray the chaplet

Julie Filby

Throughout history, visionaries such as Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc and Bernadette of Lourdes have relayed divine messages—including the message of Divine Mercy revealed to a young peasant girl in Poland.Sister Faustina

In the 1930s Jesus appeared Helena Kowalska, the third of 10 children of Marianna and Stanislaus Kowalska, living in Glogowiec. Helena, who later became known as Sister Faustina after entering the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy convent, recorded the revelations in a diary. According to St. Faustina’s diary, Jesus said: “My daughter, know that my heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached me has ever gone away unconsoled” (“The Diary of Sister M. Faustina Kowalska,” No. 1777).

Though originally viewed with skepticism, ultimately her life and writings inspired the Divine Mercy message and devotion of the Church. Soon-to-be canonized Pope John Paul II, who was also Polish, took a personal interest in the visions of Sister Faustina. He promoted her sainthood cause and canonized her personally on April 30, 2000.

At the same time the pontiff officially designated the Second Sunday of Easter, the date revealed to St. Faustina, as the feast of Divine Mercy. The Holy Father declared, “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter”—referring to the path of mercy with God and others indicated in the liturgy’s readings.

This year Divine Mercy Sunday is April 27: the day Blessed John Paul II will be canonized. On the feast, a plenary indulgence may be granted under the usual conditions of confession, receiving Communion and praying for the intentions of the pontiff.

How to Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary and Apostles Creed.

2. Using a rosary, on the Our Father beads say: 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.

3. On the 10 Hail Mary beads say: For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades.

5. Conclude with: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world (three times).

COMING UP: Synod: Topics from the final document on young people

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After intense days of dialogue and discussion among bishops and invited young people, the Synod on young people, the faith and vocational discernment came to a close in Rome on Oct. 28.

Here we offer a brief summary of the document which was approved a few days before the closing. It contains 167 points and proposals which seek to transmit the Word of God and address the needs of young people throughout the world.

The citations provided are not approved English translations of the document. The document has only been released in Italian.

Sexuality

The document states that the Church works “to communicate the beauty of the Christian vision of corporeality and sexuality.” It asks for more adequate methods to communicate it. “An anthropology of affectivity and sexuality, capable of also giving a fair value to chastity, must be proposed to young people.” To do so, “it is necessary to tend to the formation of pastoral workers, so that they may be credible [witnesses], beginning with the maturity of their own affective and sexual dimensions.”

Accompaniment

Another recommendation asks for better accompaniment to help young people “read their own story” and live out their baptismal call “freely” and “responsibly.” The document also asks for better accompaniment of people with same-sex attraction, reaffirming the “decisive anthropological relevance of the difference and reciprocity between man and woman,” and considering it “reductive” to define a person’s identity based on his or her sexual orientation.

Women

The difference between men and women can be a realm “in which many forms of dominion, inclusion and discrimination can emerge,” elements the Church must free itself from, the document says. It says that among the youth, there is a desire for a “greater acknowledgment and valuing” of women in the Church and society. Furthermore, it says that the absence of the feminine voice and outlook “impoverishes” debate and the path of the Church, robbing it of a “beautiful contribution.”

Vocation

The final synodal document calls for a “true and specific vocational culture” and a “constant prayer commitment” for vocations. It affirms that the mission of many consecrated men and women who give of themselves to those in the peripheries of the world “manifests concretely the dedication of an outward Church.”

It highlights that the Church has always had a particular care for vocations to the priestly order, knowing that it is a “constituent element of her identity and necessary for the Christian life.” Moreover, the Synod acknowledges the condition of the single life, which, assumed with a logic of faith and self-gift, can lead to paths through which “the grace of baptism acts and directs toward that holiness we are all called to.”

“The Eucharistic celebration generates the communal life of the Church. It is the place for transmission of the faith and formation for mission,” the document states. Young people have shown “to appreciate and live with intensity authentic celebrations in which the beauty of the signs, the care for preaching and the communal involvement truly speak of God.”

It encourages that young people discover “the value of Eucharistic adoration as an extension of the celebration, in which contemplation and silent prayer can be lived out.”

Migration

The document expresses the Church’s preoccupation regarding those who “escape war, violence, political and religious persecutions, natural disasters … and extreme poverty.” In general, immigrants leave their countries in search of “opportunities for themselves and for their families” and are exposed to violence on their journey. Many leave with an idealized version of Western culture, “at times feeding it with unrealistic expectations that expose them to hard disappointments.”

The synodal fathers highlight the particular vulnerability of “unaccompanied migrant minors” and see that “it is necessary to decisively reject” a xenophobic mentality regarding migration events “frequently promoted and exploited for political ends.”

Featured image by L’Osservatore Romano