By: Julie Navarro
The message of Divine Mercy was given to a young Polish nun, Helena Kowalska, known as St. Faustina. At the age of twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy where she spent thirteen years of her life performing the duties of cook, gardener, and doorkeeper. The Lord chose St. Faustina as the Apostle and Secretary of His mercy, so she would share the urgent message of Divine Mercy with the world. Her mission consisted of three main tasks:
- Reminding the world and the Church of the truth of God’s mercy for every human being, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
- Entreating Divine Mercy for the whole world, especially for poor sinners, through the practice of devotion to the Divine Mercy
- Initiating the apostolic movement of Divine Mercy, the followers of which proclaim and entreat Divine Mercy for the world and strive to practice the works of mercy following the example of St. Faustina.
St. Faustina recorded the various aspects of her mission in a diary, which she kept at the specific request of her confessor and spiritual director, Father Michael Sopocko, and later at the command of the Lord Jesus Himself. In it, she faithfully wrote down all of the Lord’s wishes and described the encounters between her soul and Him.
In 1931, Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of his Heart, from where two rays came forth, one red and the other pale. Jesus said to her: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish (Diary 47, 48)…The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross...” (Diary 299) The original image was painted in 1934 by Eugene Kazimierowski, under the guidance of Sister Faustina.
Among all of the elements of devotion to the Divine Mercy requested by our Lord through Sister Faustina, the Feast of Mercy holds first place. Our Lord’s explicit desire is that this feast is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. To fittingly observe the Feast of Mercy, we should:
- Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter
- Sincerely repent of our sins
- Place our complete trust in Jesus
- Go to confession, preferably before that Sunday
- Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast
- Venerate the Image of Divine Mercy
- Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.
Jesus said to Sister Faustina: “I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.”(Diary 742)
The Lord also instructed her in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. He said to her: “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you.”(Diary 1541) “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.”(Diary 687) “Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.”(Diary 1731)
In 2012, here at St. Louis King of France, we began our first Cenacle. A Cenacle is a small faith community that meets weekly to read excerpts from the Diary, passages from Scripture, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy we pray for the many intentions of our community, for our Priests, all religious and the intentions of our Holy Father. We are currently on our third Cenacle Formation group.
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