The Divine Merciful Love of Jesus Christ By Deborah Ann Keefe
Does Jesus love us? He continues to seek and find us in every way possible!
In our time, humanity needs a strong proclamation and witness of God’s mercy. Beloved Pope St. John Paul II, a great apostle of Divine Mercy, prepared us for this urgent pastoral need. He dedicated his second Encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (The Father of All Mercies and God of All Comfort 11/30/80), to it and made himself a missionary of God’s love to all peoples.
Jesus reached down to us again and shared his message of Divine Mercy with St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy. St. Faustina was born on August 25, 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor and religious family. St. Faustina was a Polish nun and mystic who received extraordinary experiences of the Lord Jesus in prayer. Jesus appeared to her and even spoke with her. She died on October 5, 1938, a year before the start of World War II.
St. Faustina’s message was to remind us of the heart of Sacred Scripture, His mercy for sinners. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God’s mercy to sinners.” (1) Jesus is saying, “Now is the time of mercy. Now is a time of extraordinary mercy! Now is a time when I want to give especially great grace to the human race.” (2) Why is there so much mercy available to us now? St. John Paul II noted that in the midst of the advances in technology that evil has a reach and power in our day like never before. He would then remind us to “Be not afraid.” St. Paul writes in Romans, “Where sin increases, grace abounded all the more.”(3) God wants to give us oceans of mercy to face the storms of sin that we are facing in our world today. Remember, Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water.
So how do we tap into the extraordinary graces being offered to us by God during this time of unprecedented evil in the world?
As Father Michael E. Gaitley notes in “Divine Mercy Explained,” all that you need to know to receive these graces is in one word, F-I-N-C-H. As the dove represents the holiness and innocence of the graces received through the Holy Spirit, F-I-N-C-H teaches us the prayers and devotions to connect with the Holy Spirit to receive these graces. Let’s look at each opportunity to be blessed by the Divine Mercy Devotion.
The FEAST of Divine Mercy falls on the second Sunday of Easter. It is the climax of the entire Easter celebration. Jesus told St. Faustina: “On that day, (Divine Mercy Sunday), the very depths of My tender mercy are opened. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy…On that day, all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.” Jesus noted that, “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (4) The grace of Divine Mercy Sunday is likened to the grace of a second Baptism!
The IMAGE of Divine Mercy was given to St. Faustina, who commissioned a Polish artist, Eugene Kazimirowski to paint with the words, “Jesus, I trust in You.” This image is known to heal the way people often mistakenly view God. Jesus stated, “I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces…that vessel is this image with the signature, ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’” St. Faustina writes that Jesus told her that, “By means of this image, I shall be granting many graces to souls.” (5)
The NOVENA to Divine Mercy consists of nine days of preparation for all souls to accept the boundless love and infinite mercy of God on Divine Mercy Sunday. It can be prayed at any time, but is most effective when started on Good Friday to be completed on Divine Mercy Sunday. Each day of the novena focuses on a specific group:
- Day 1 pray for all mankind, especially sinners.
- Day 2 pray for the souls of Priests and Religious.
- Day 3 pray for all the devout and faithful souls.
- Day 4 pray for those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus.
- Day 5 pray for the souls of those who have separated themselves from the Church.
- Day 6 pray for the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children.
- Day 7 pray for the souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy.
- Day 8 pray for the souls who are detained in purgatory.
- Day 9 pray for the souls who have become lukewarm.
Jesus promised that through this Novena he would, “Grant every possible grace to souls.” (6)
The CHAPLET of Divine Mercy is a powerful prayer that can be said every day to receive extraordinary graces. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads and it is an intercessory prayer that extends the offering of the love of God in the Eucharist through His mercy. Love and mercy walk hand in hand with God.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is an act of devotion and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In this chaplet, we pray, “Eternal Father, we offer the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” Let’s take a look for a moment at what it means to say that we are offering the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus. We understand that Jesus suffered the greatest agonies to his body during His Passion. He was betrayed by His friends, condemned by those He had tried to help, scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, and carried a 100 lb. wooden cross for 650 yards up Calvary Hill to Golgotha, and then hung on the cross for 3 hours during His crucifixion. To foreshadow the Feast of Divine Mercy, a soldier speared the heart of Jesus to ensure he was dead, and blood and water poured out for all to see.
The HOUR of Divine Mercy is to remember the time of the death of Christ on the Cross for us at 3 pm. Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray the Stations of the Cross, provided her duties permitted it. He also noted, “If you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony.” (7) Jesus wants us to remember his sacrifice of love for us. This is a time of unfathomable grace. “This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world…I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (8)
Trust in Jesus
Jesus, the son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity was both divine and human. To conceive of the soul of God being immersed in the torture of the Passion and then descending into Hell on Holy Saturday brings me to tears. Jesus was not “like God,” Jesus is God. Jesus gave up His Divinity to rescue all the souls of the righteous from Hell. Why did He do it? Could someone really love us this much? How high, how wide, how long, how deep is God’s love for us? Can it be measured? After meditating on the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I have found His love to be immeasurable and his mercy unending.
God loves us so very much that He sent His Divine Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and rise again for our new life in Him! When we live in God’s love and mercy we learn each day to ask for mercy, be merciful, and completely trust in the love of God to take care of us.
Be not afraid. God has not abandoned us. He has come to us with His boundless love and mercy through the Holy Spirit guided by Our Blessed Mother, Mediatrix of All Graces. May we consecrate ourselves and our families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Trust me, when you surrender to the love and mercy of God through His Blessed Mother Mary and the power of the Holy Spirit, the floodgates of heaven will open and you will receive oceans of mercy!
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1846.
- Message from Pope Francis, Jubilee Year of Mercy, April 11, 2015
- The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, Romans 5:20 - 21, p. 256.
- Faustina, . (1987). Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of the Servant of God, Sister M., p 699.
- Ibid, 327, 742.
- Ibid, 1572, 1320
- Ibid, 1320