7 Ways to Grow in Devotion to Divine Mercy
In the 1930s as chaos enveloped the world, as war loomed on the horizon, and as the world recovered from a devastating epidemic; a simple nun in Poland received an incredibly important message from Jesus Christ. Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Vilnius, Poland. She received a series of apparitions from Christ concerning Divine Mercy, which she chronicled in her journal. Divine Mercy refers to the outpouring of God’s loving mercy, especially towards sinners.
The two main characteristics of this devotion are a personal trust in the infinite goodness and mercy of Christ and a public action as a conduit for His mercy to the rest of the world. Pope John Paul II had a great affinity for this devotion and inserted the Feast of Divine Mercy into General Roman Calendar as the Sunday following Easter. Pope John Paul II encouraged the use of many aspects of this devotion, and because of this, they grew in popularity.
While many recently have begun sealing their doorposts with the Divine Mercy image in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there are seven more traditional ways of expressing and growing in devotion to Divine Mercy. They include:
- The exposition of the Divine Mercy image with the inscription “Jesus, I trust in you”.
The picture of Christ with the blood and water spewing forth from the side represents in whole the charity, forgiveness, and love of God (His Fountain of Mercy). There are multiple versions of this image, all of which include an image of Our Lord with two rays extending from His heart: one pale, which represents the Water which makes souls righteous, and one red, which represents the Blood which is the life of souls.
2. The commemoration of the Feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday.
In 2000, Low Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, was designated as The Feast of Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul II emphasized its context of Mercy with the Resurrection of Easter when he said in his homily during the second Divine Mercy Sunday, “Jesus said to St. Faustina one day: ‘Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy". Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity’”(Divine Mercy Sunday Homily, April 22, 2001).
These two are often combined with a recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 AM or PM, the traditional time of Christ’s death on the cross. This, too, emphasizes the close relationship between the Paschal Sacrifice of Christ as even at the moment of his death, he wishes to be shower his Divine Mercy on the world. The blood and water which flowed from His side at the time of His Passion was poured out for the sins of the whole world, making the three o’clock hour a sacred time, and particularly efficacious in imploring His Divine Mercy.
He tells her, “Bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way, you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me”(Divine Mercy in My Soul 1210-1211). Each day includes prayers for a different group of souls:
These call those devoted to the Divine Mercy to be efficacious signs of the Divine Mercy and Divine Love in the world, to not only talk but to act as the face of Christ for all to see. Fueled by prayer, these actions bring Christs’s mercy to the whole world.
This message has never been more needed across the world as war, famine, pestilence, unrest, violence, and destruction shake nations. As epidemics sweep the globe, we must place our trust in Divine Mercy, grow in our devotion to it, and share this devotion with others. The task may be daunting, but we must take courage in Christ's words to Sister Faustina, “Know, My daughter, that in one moment I can give you everything that is needed for the fulfillment of this task.”(Divine Mercy in My Soul 1153).
Another great way to cultivate your devotion to Divine Mercy is with 33 Days to Merciful Love, a 33-day preparation for consecration to Divine Mercy, written by Fr. Michael Gaitley, author of the best-selling 33 Days to Morning Glory. Journey with the beloved St. Therese of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church, on the “Little Way” that culminates in a consecration to the Divine Mercy, which St Therese calls an Offering to Merciful Love.
Understanding that the Heart of Jesus is full of mercy for sinners, but sinners often close their hearts to Our Lord’s mercy and cause Jesus profound suffering, join Therese in asking the Lord to pour into your heart the mercy rejected by others so that all you do is done for love of Jesus!
Jesus, I trust in You!