I never really knew much about the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy though I knew about the opening and closing prayers shown on TV (or played on the radio) at 3 o’clock everyday for as long as I could remember – way back during the time when smartphones did not exist yet. I was not aware of the entire Chaplet where you use each bead of the rosary. It was only when I read St. Faustina’s diary a few years ago that I learned about the complete Chaplet and started praying it.
As a basis for reflection and meditation, I have been rereading this since Lent started because this is a wonderful guide for reflection and meditation on the Passion of our Lord. It also highlights the value of acts of charity and sufferings, humbly accepting God’s Will and God’s Great Love and Mercy for us, poor sinners that we are. Reading this will help remind us to do our best not to waste His Mercy and will inspire us to cooperate with Him and offer acts of love and mercy too. These, we can also do through our ‘daily martyrdom’ as Jesus has described it when referring to St. Faustina’s sufferings in bearing her pain during her illness, in doing her duties, in following the Rule, in her obedience to her superiors, patience with the other nuns and even to the poor who approach their convent. In whatever vocation we are, we are also called to find opportunities to offer such acts in our ordinary day-to-day activities.
Born in the 1900s, Helena Kowalska (her real name), received instructions from Jesus to spread about the Divine Mercy, to show His Unfathomable Mercy to sinners, even hardened ones. Among these instructions were the Divine Chaplet, the Feast of the Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter, the painting of the Divine Mercy and establishing a particular order for nuns who would devote themselves to this mission, among others.
It was quite interesting to note that St. Therese of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun known fondly as the Little Flower, appeared to her in a dream and confirmed to her (when asked) that she would become a saint like her. If you read St. Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, you would probably agree that there are similarities in their thoughts, actions and struggles in the convent. Both were very humble and seemed to think alike in matters of love for God and desire for suffering for the salvation of souls. Both of them died young too after accomplishing the Will of God throughout their lives.
When I read about the stories of some saints, they have been often inspired by reading a book or writing of another saint. And the cycle goes on and on. It is all but amazing to witness that it is the same Holy Spirit working through them.
St. Faustina wrote everything in her diary as instructed by Jesus through His ‘representative’, her confessor, Blessed Michael Sopocko. She did not do this because she had dreams of becoming famous or to be considered special but out of humble obedience to the Will of God and because of her ardent love for Jesus and the souls. Prior to reading this and the Story of a Soul, I always thought that life in the convent is easy, detached from the lure of the world and its temptations. I never knew and realized the difficulties and temptations that nuns encounter everyday. I learned that each person, though in a religious vocation, has her own temperament and habits and these cannot be changed overnight. Imagine having to live with different people of various backgrounds and character under the same roof, and having to follow certain rules that they have not been accustomed to, doing chores they have not been used to and eating food they do not like or those they are intolerant to.
Her diary also revealed how important it is for us to pray for priests because of their huge accountability to God and because they face a great deal of temptation, challenges and spiritual danger. We saw here, too, how a priest who is after God’s Heart is so pleasing to Him and how He softens to humble and obedient souls.
Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday, one of the things that Jesus had instructed the holy Polish nun to accomplish. The Church reminds us of this great feast that reveals to us, at least up to a degree that our human minds can conceive, how much God loves us. He gives every opportunity for us to receive His Grace and be saved. Can we ever comprehend this mystery? And how sad our Lord must be, that this opportunity gets wasted because many are not aware of it, or many are aware but do not believe or many are aware but are lukewarm about it. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we have this chance to obtain plenary indulgence if we are able to hear Mass on this day and fulfill the following: (1) go to confession 20 days before or 20 days after this feast, (2) receive Holy Communion and (3) pray for the Pope’s intentions for the Church.
We are now filled with gratitude for the trials St. Faustina, Blessed Michael Sopocko and the rest, including St. John Paul II, endured as well as the efforts they exhausted to be able to make this feast possible for us.
Let us not miss this great opportunity.
St. Faustina, pray for us.
Blessed Michael Sopocko, pray for us.
St. John Paul II, pray for us.
To God be the Glory!
(this post has been edited)
Bukuras, J. (2022, April 21). Divine mercy Sunday 2022: here’s how to obtain a plenary indulgence.
Kowalska, M. F. (2014, October 26). Diary of saint maria faustina kowalska: divine mercy in my soul
Martin, T. (1996). Story of a soul (3rd ed.). (J. Clarke, Trans.). ICS Publications. (original work