Today we celebrate a feast originated in private revelations to Saint Faustyna Kowalska, which by decree of Saint John Paul II is awarded with plenary indulgence. Review of some details of this feast and how to obtain the plenary indulgence on this special day.
Saint Faustyna Kowalska, polish nun and mystic (1905-1938), received private revelations of Jesus under the invocation of Lord of Divine Mercy. In this revelations He instituted this feast for the Second Sunday of Easter, as well as the plenary indulgence for those who go to Confession on the day of the feast and receive the Holy Communion. Later, Pope John Paul II (more than 60 years after the death of the saint) canonized her, formalized the feast and the plenary indulgence by decree.
Christ, under the devotion of the Lord of Divine Mercy assured several blessings to those who accepted His Mercy.
«I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy.» (Diary 1109)
During St. Faustyna’s canonization, St. John Paul II, instituted the first Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Sunday of Divine Mercy. This sacred day, allows the faithful to obtain a Plenary indulgence by following these conditions:
1. Sacramental Confession;
2. Eucharistic Communion;
3. Prayer for the Intentions of Our Holy Father, the Pope.
To the faithful who participates in acts of mercy performed in honor of the Divine Mercy. Or at least pray, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, publicly displayed or preserved in the Tabernacle, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to the merciful Lord Jesus (for example, ‘Jesus, merciful, I trust in you’), says the text of the decree.
These must be done in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for sin, even a venial sin, and take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, OR in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you); (Note: this plenary indulgence is applicable to the souls in Purgatory).
Also those sick and the people who assist them, the navigators, those affected by war, the political vicissitudes or the inclemency of the places they live in, and all those who for a just cause can not leave their home or perform an urgent activity in benefit of the community, can achieve plenary indulgence.
This as long as, with total rejection of any sin and with the intention of fulfilling, as soon as possible, the three habitual conditions pray «in front of a pious image of our Merciful Lord Jesus, the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to the merciful Lord Jesus.
The Image of Merciful Jesus (Image of the Divine Mercy)
The saint claimed to have had a vision in which Jesus was presented to her, asking her to paint a picture with specific details:
Its pattern was revealed in the vision St. Faustina had on February 22, 1931, in her convent cell at Plock. “In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside from at breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale After a while, Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You’” (Diary, 47)
“I want this image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary, 49)
For this reason, the content of this image is closely related to the liturgy of that Sunday. On this day, the Church reads the Gospel according to St. John about the risen Christ appearing in the Upper Room and about the institution of the Sacrament of Penance (Jn 20:19-29). Consequently, this image represents the Savior risen from the dead who brings peace to people by means of the forgiveness of sins at the price of His passion and death on the cross.
The rays of blood and water that flow from the Heart that was pierced by a spear (not visible on the image) and the scars caused by the wounds of crucifixion call to mind the events of Good Friday (Jn 19:17-18; 33-37). The Image of the Merciful Savior, therefore, combines the two Gospel events that best bespeak the fullness of God’s love for mankind.
The two rays are a distinctive feature of this image of Christ. The Lord Jesus, when asked about their meaning, explained: “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. … Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter” (Diary, 299)
The veneration of this image has spread rapidly throughout the world and it is very possible that you have seen it on several occasions and places.
Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, also called the Divine Mercy Chaplet, is a Christian devotion to the Divine Mercy, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Rosary.
First opening prayer
This prayer is optional, and may be used to begin the Chaplet:
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
Second opening prayer
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, is also optional, and may be used along with the first opening prayer to begin the Chaplet:
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
This prayer opens each decade of the Chaplet:
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.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
This prayer, repeated 10 times in succession, forms the body of each decade of the Chaplet:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, concludes the Chaplet:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This prayer is optional, and may be used after the Holy God to end the Chaplet:
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
The hour of Divine Mercy (3:00 pm)
The hour of the Lord Jesus’ death, 3pm, is a privileged time as regards the devotion to the Divine Mercy. At that hour, in spirit we stand beneath Christ’s cross in order to entreat for mercy for us and the whole world for the sake of the merits of His passion. The Lord Jesus said to Sister Faustina:
«This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion«… (Diary, 1320)
«In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world -mercy triumphed over justice» (Diary, 1572)
Promises of Our Lord of the Divine Mercy
- For the veneration of the image, the soul that venerates this image will not perish;
- For the veneration of the image, the soul will be defended as the glory of Christ;
- For the veneration of the image, the soul will have a container with which it can go to the Source of Mercy to collect blessings;
- For the veneration of the image, the soul that lives in their shadow [of the rays of Mercy] will not reach the just hand of God;
- By the Hour of Divine Mercy – 3.00 pm (d. 1320), nothing will be denied to the soul that asks for it by the merits of His Passion;
- By the propagation of the Divine Mercy throughout life, the soul will be protected by Christ as a loving mother protects her newborn child and, at the time of death, will not be for him or her a Judge, but a Merciful Savior;
- By approaching the Source of Life (Jesus Christ) on the day of the Feast of Divine Mercy, the soul will receive total forgiveness of guilt and punishment (plenary indulgence see conditions above);
- By the Novena, the souls that are presented to Christ (those mentioned in the novena) will gain strength, relief and all the grace they need to face the difficulties of life and especially at the hour of death;
- For praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, they will be enveloped by His Mercy in life and especially at the time of death;
- By the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, when it is prayed together with the dying, He will be placed «between the Father and the agonizing soul, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior».
- Through the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, Christ is pleased to give everything we ask of Him;
- Through the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to the inveterate sinners (when they pray), Christ will fill their souls with peace and the hour of their death will be happy;
- With souls who appeal to His Mercy and with those who glorify it and proclaim it, at the hour of their death, Christ will behave according to His infinite Mercy.