Amid our busy workdays and weekends, it is not unusual for most of us to let the 3 pm hour pass by as any other hour in the day. Yet after reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, the 3 pm hour has become a deeply significant time for me. We know 3 pm is significant for us on Good Friday as the hour when Christ breathed his last and died on the cross for our sins and those of the whole world. We also know it is the hour when his side was pierced with a lance; and whereupon blood and water gushed forth as a fount of mercy for all souls. But what about all the other days of the year when the 3 pm hour strikes? According to the revelations recorded in Saint Faustina’s Diary, it is during this time each day that Christ calls us to something quite extraordinary.
In 1937, Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy began receiving divine revelations from Our Lord Jesus Christ. In these revelations, Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences which she compiled into six notebooks, now widely known as Divine Mercy in My Soul. Contained within the diaries are messages directly from Christ regarding his unfathomable and endless mercy toward all humanity. Among Christ’s central message to Saint Faustina was his extraordinary invitation to each of us to daily immerse ourselves in his passion during the 3 pm hour while also imploring his mercy for ourselves and for the whole world. Here are the exact words of Christ to Saint Faustina stating his specific call:
“At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. 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)
“As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. 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)
“My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and 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 Most 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 very brief instant.” (Diary, 1572)
In this powerful hour, mercy and love itself opens wide his heart to every soul by inviting us to recall and encounter his passion – most particularly his “abandonment at the moment of agony”. St. Faustina also recorded Christ’s words emphasizing that no one need be afraid to approach his mercy no matter how extensive or grave their sins might be, “Let no soul fear to draw near to me, even though its sins be as scarlet,” (Diary, 699) and “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world.” (Diary, 1485). Here Christ invites the greatest sinners (in union with the sacrament of confession) to be embraced by his merciful love in a special way to find redemption, rest and renewal in him. Like a good physician wishing to spare his patients sufferings bring him also your guilt, your sorrow, your difficulties, your addictions, your physical illness and unite them with his wounds, for as Christ stated to Faustina, “no soul that has called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed or brought to shame.” (Diary, 1541)
Once you begin the practice of Christ’s powerful 3 pm daily call for prayer, you will find it will eventually become second nature to you. Like anything you wish to do regularly, it will take some time to develop. You may find it helpful to set your wrist watch or place a reminder on your daily calendar, until it becomes a regular habit for you. In his messages to Saint Faustina, Jesus also recognizes it might not be possible for us to make the daily stations of the cross or visit an adoration chapel at 3 pm, hence his words, “immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a brief instant.” So even if we are in a business meeting, on the freeway, in a plane, a classroom, or wherever “we happen to be” we can certainly if only for a brief moment call to mind his passion and invoke his mercy. Short prayers associated with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy such as: Oh blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a font of mercy toward us, I trust in you or, For the sake of Your Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world, will allow us to mentally pause and meet Christ at the foot of his cross to implore his mercy if we should be unable to pray the stations or visit a chapel.
So, this Easter as we prepare to celebrate the Risen Christ, let us also resurrect Jesus’ 3 pm call to invoke his divine mercy for the whole world and the conversion of all hearts! And with all that is occurring in the world at present, is it not crucial to implore his mercy now more than ever?
End Note: In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina, calling her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time,” thereby establishing Divine Mercy Sunday as an official Catholic Feast Day occurring the Sunday after Easter. On this Feast Day Our Lord grants that souls who go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. The exact words from Christ regarding the Feast Day are recorded in St. Faustina’s Diary: “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” (Diary 699).