Main Elements of Devotion
Between 1928 – 1938, Jesus revealed to St. Faustina the new Devotion to Divine Mercy. He desired that there be a new Feast in honour of His Divine Mercy within the Church. He told her that, “This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of My tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it” (Diary 420). The Feast of Mercy is the primary reason for this new devotion but there are other elements to this devotion which are part of the Feast of Mercy but are also important as individual elements of this devotion. Each element has specific benefits for our souls and particular promises made by Jesus. This new devotion to Divine Mercy was completely created by Jesus which makes the various aspects of this devotion so exceptionally holy. It is a perfect devotion and everyone who walks towards Jesus through this devotion will experience that the promises made by Jesus are authentic.
The Feast of Divine Mercy
The Feast of Divine Mercy is the main reason Jesus created this new devotion. He desired that the second Sunday after Easter be consecrated as the ‘Feast of Mercy’ and on this day everyone has the opportunity to avail of the promise which Jesus has made to completely cleanse the soul of all sin and cancel all punishment which that soul had incurred as a result of sin. It is a tribunal of mercy with a King. We go to the Feast of Mercy as beggars and we receive the ultimate pardon from the King. But not only are our sins forgiven and the punishment cancelled, but He also offers us the opportunity to bring our petitions to Him on this special holy day. Jesus told St. Faustina that on the Feast of Mercy “All the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened” (Diary 699). On this day we can pray for the souls of those who are far from the mercy of God and God has promised that He will grant unimaginable graces to those who trust in Him. The Feast of Divine Mercy is a window through which we can see into the soul of God and understand His merciful spirit. It is a perfect example of mercy. We insult him and reject Him by our selfishness and weaknesses throughout the year. We incur His anger, but on the Feast of Mercy we can go to His house to a Feast He has prepared for us and He will pardon us completely and grant us many graces. Jesus immensely desires to forgive us and heal us of the wounds of sin so that we may dwell in the shelter of His Divine Mercy. It is for this purpose that Jesus created the Feast of Mercy.
The Image of Divine Mercy
The Image of Divine Mercy is one of the holiest icons in the Catholic Church. It is an essential element of the new Devotion to Divine Mercy. The Image of Divine Mercy is a painting of a vision which St. Faustina had of Jesus on 22nd February 1931. On this evening, Jesus said, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world” (Diary 47). Along with this request, Jesus made a specific promise regarding this Image. He told St. Faustina, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over it’s enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory” (Diary 48). Throughout her Diary, St. Faustina records seeing visions of Jesus as He is painted in the Image of Divine Mercy. Jesus told St. Faustina, “I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy” (Diary 327). This is why this sacred Image is regarded as a living image. Jesus told St. Faustina, “My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross” (Diary 326). This Image is also an essential part of the Feast of Mercy. Jesus requested, “I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary 49). During every celebration of the Feast of Mercy this holy Image of Jesus is displayed and blessed by the priest and publically honoured by those present. This sacred Image is a true blessing for those who have devotion to Divine Mercy. It is like having a piece of Heaven in our homes. This sacred image symbolises the constant presence of Jesus in our lives, watching over us and granting us unimaginable graces. It is truly an immense grace to even know about this holy and living Image of Jesus.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a prayer which Jesus taught St. Faustina. He explained to St. Faustina that, “This prayer will serve to appease My wrath” (Diary 476). He made specific promises regarding this Chaplet also. He told St. Faustina, “Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy” (Diary 687). Jesus also told St. Faustina, “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one” (Diary 1541). The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is one of the most powerful prayers in the world. Millions of people have experienced the extraordinary power of this simple prayer in their lives. It is a special prayer because it was not created by the Church but given to us by Jesus through His revelations to St. Faustina. This prayer maybe short, but it is deeply profound. When you contemplate the words of this prayer, you will realise the enormity of the prayer being offered. This prayer is often likened to the Holy Mass because like Mass it is a special offering of the most sacred emblems of Jesus to His Father asking for His Mercy for us and the whole world. It is a petition to the First Person of the Holy Trinity for mercy, where it is right to be just. In the Diary of St. Faustina, she records her many fascinating experiences of praying this Chaplet. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a sacred and holy prayer which offers us a special means to pray for mercy for ourselves and the whole world. It also offers us the opportunity to ask for special graces which we might need during our life. It is an opportunity for us to grow in holiness and partake in the mystery of this new devotion. Every time we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy we become part of the community of prayer who on a daily basis appeal to the Father for mercy for the whole world.
The Novena to Divine Mercy
It is important to realise that it is the novena of Chaplets that Our Lord attached such importance too in preparation for the Feast, therefore a novena of Chaplets must be said in preparation for the Feast of Mercy.
Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary: “The Lord told me to recite the chaplet for the nine days before the Feast of Mercy. It is to begin on Good Friday. Then he told me: "By this novena (of Chaplets) I will grant every possible grace to souls". (Diary 197) From this and other passages in the Diary it appears that the Lord wants us to make novenas of the Chaplet for whatever need, but especially in preparation for the Feast of Mercy.
Jesus also gave her a novena for her personal use. In 1937, Jesus gave St. Faustina a novena and explained it to her.
“On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father. You will do this in this life and in the next. I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls” (Diary 1207).