We are Called to Receive His Mercy and Share it with Others
The Catholic Faith is rich and deep in love for our God in His three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such, it is misunderstood by adherents and critics alike. Many of the worst critics of Catholicism are our fellow Christians, who while attempting to live a biblical Christianity, omit much of biblical tradition in favour of a simplistic faith. But, we Catholics bring a lot of this on ourselves by our own ignorance of what we believe as Catholics.
We are all called, not just those who confess Christianity, to enter into Jesus Christ, to receive his Merciful love and to share that love with our brothers and sisters, who share life on this planet with us.
It was to draw us closer to God and His Mercy that Jesus spoke to St. Faustina Kowalska, a simple Polish nun, in the 1930's, which resulted in her writing diary notes of her encounters with the Risen Lord, and in communicating the content of her diaries, which in turn have been adopted by the Church, as a call from Jesus to us all.
One of the fruits of her simple devotion to Jesus was hearing Him and seeing Him urge her to pray in a special way for His mercy, what we now call the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Here is what EWTN has on a special part of their web site about the institution of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
In 1933, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy, Sister tells us:
"I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord's wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus."
Of another vision on Sept. 13, 1935, she writes:
"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment...."
The following day an inner voice taught her to say this prayer on ordinary rosary beads:
"First say one 'Our Father', 'Hail Mary', and 'I believe'.
Then on the large beads say the following words:
'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.'
On the smaller beads you are to say the following words:
'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.'
In conclusion you are to say these words three times:
'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world'.
Jesus said later to Sister Faustina:
"Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy...."
"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior".
I was only slightly aware of this devotion, and paid it no heed for the longest time. But, a couple of years ago, when I was in Tucson in the Fall, I was assisting the Pro Life group there by praying near an abortion mill with a small group of faith filled Catholics. One prayer warrior, Terry Bueno, led us in the Divine Mercy Chaplet on a number of Saturday mornings. I did not think much of this at the time, though I found it an interesting prayer that touched me somehow.
This past winter, we grew in friendship with Fernando and Virginia Cuevas, who attend Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson. As we were departing on our final morning there, they assisted us with putting our motor home in storage and we had breakfast together, after morning mass. Virginia gave us a set of beads that she had made from stones she found at the Gem show that comes to Tucson each winter, that followed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. As such, they are slightly different from rosary beads, which will also work just fine. But, for us, it was a most beautiful gift.
It served as my formal introduction to Divine Mercy, and has taken me on the beginnings of a journey into the Heart of Christ, where His Mercy is found. I confess to being a neophyte as it relates to comprehending His Mercy.
What I know thus far is that I am in serious need of His Mercy, to overcome my own sinfulness, and to be a better husband, father, friend, and fellow journeyer on this road of life.
It is one thing to know that Christ died to free me from my sin and sickness and disease. It is another completely to let that merciful act of His passion wash over me, and enter into the recesses of my life, where I hide my sins, thinking that He cannot see them. God wants all of us, not just parts of us. Entering into His Divine Mercy for us as His own Body allows us to come to a deeper relationship with Him.
And having entered into deeper love for Him, we can then share that love that we possess with others we encounter on our daily path of life.
More to come, Brothers and Sisters.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for Fernando and Virginia Cuevas, and Terry Bueno.