St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a religious sister known as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” wrote this story about a priest in her spiritual diary:
On one occasion I saw a servant of God (a priest) in the immediate danger of committing a mortal sin. I started to beg God to deign to send down upon me all the torments of hell and all the sufferings He wished if only this priest would be set free and snatched from the occasion of committing a sin. Jesus heard my prayer and, that very instant, I felt a crown of thorns on my head. The thorns penetrated my head with great force right into my brain. This lasted for three hours; the servant of God was set free from this sin, and his soul was strengthened by a special grace of God. (63) Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 1987), no. 41.
God so loved this priest who was going to fall into sin that He inspired a humble nun to make an offering of herself on behalf of this shepherd! The measure of St. Faustina’s charity for priests seemed boundless, but it was costly. On another occasion, a priest (her spiritual director), asked her to pray for him. She replied that she would pray and asked a mortification. When she received permission for a certain mortification, she wrote:
I felt a great desire to give up all the graces that God’s goodness intended for me that day in favor of that priest, and I asked the Lord Jesus to deign to bestow upon me, all the sufferings and afflictions, both interior and exterior, that the priest would have to suffer that day. God partially answered my request and, at once, all sorts of difficulties and adversities sprang up out of nowhere. But that was not all: I began to experience interior sufferings. First, I was seized by depression and aversion towards the sisters, then a kind of uncertainty began to trouble me. I could not recollect myself during prayer, and various things would take hold of my mind. Then I heard in my soul a voice, saying, “My daughter, why are you weeping? After all, you yourself offered to undertake these sufferings. Know that what you have taken upon yourself for that soul is only a small portion. He is suffering much more.” And I asked the Lord, “Why are You treating him like that?” The Lord answered me that it was for the triple crown meant for him: that of virginity, the priesthood and martyrdom. At that moment, a great joy flooded my soul at the sight of the great glory that is going to be his in heaven. I said the “Te Deum” for this special grace of God: namely, of learning how God treats those He intends to have close to himself. (Diary, no. 596) (St. Faustina quoted by Kathleen Beckman, Praying for Priests: An Urgent Call for the Salvation of Souls, Sophia Institute Press, 2018)
In 1935, the Lord Jesus revealed to Sr. Faustina the efficacy of the chaplet of Divine Mercy:
Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541). Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687). 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 (1541). 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 (687). I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731)
Prayed on ordinary rosary beads, The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is an intercessory prayer that extends the offering of the Eucharist, so it is especially appropriate to use it after having received Holy Communion at Holy Mass. It may be said at any time, but our Lord specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Mercy (the first Sunday after Easter). He then added: “By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (796)
It is likewise appropriate to pray the Chaplet during the “Hour of Great Mercy” — three o’clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross). In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour. (www.thedivinemercy.org)
As co-founder and president of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests, I’m witnessing the Holy Spirit raising an army of intercessors for priests who are on the frontlines of today’s spiritual battle. Members of the apostolate (spiritual mothers, fathers, families, parishes) pray the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy for priests as a daily commitment to spiritually edify the clergy. (www.foundationforpriests.org)
Here I present specific intentions for priests to be offered as part of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
The Prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for Priests
(The chaplet of divine mercy is prayed on the rosary beads.)
1. The Sign of the Cross
2. Opening Prayers (optional)
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. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! (three times, Diary 84).
3. The Our Father
4. The Hail Mary
5. The Apostle’s Creed
6. Before Each Decade
On the “Our Father” bead before each decade: “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 the those of the whole world.”
7. Prayers for the Decades
When praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for priests, the following intentions would be prayed on the “Our Father” bead, after the above prayer.
First decade: Eternal Father, we bring to You the souls of priests and religious. Immerse them in Your unfathomable mercy that they will be clean, healed, free and holy. Keep them in the embrace of Your merciful love and truth.
Second decade: Eternal Father, we bring to You the souls of priests and religious who are struggling with themselves and others. Immerse them in Your unfathomable mercy that they will be clean, healed, free and holy. Renew them in their identity, mission and relationship.
Third decade: Eternal Father, we bring to You the souls of cardinals and bishops, the clergy in leadership of the Church, who have weighty responsibility. Immerse them in Your unfathomable mercy that they will be clean, healed, free, and holy. May the Sanctifier grant them wisdom and courage.
Fourth decade: Eternal Father, we bring to You the souls of clergy who have grown lukewarm, discouraged, or duplicitous. Immerse them in Your unfathomable mercy that they will be clean, healed free, and holy. May the power of the Cross transfigure and raise them up.
Fifth decade: Eternal Father, we bring to You the souls of priests who wholeheartedly strive to fulfill their vocation to radiate the love of the heart of Jesus. Immerse them in Your unfathomable mercy that they will be clean, healed, free, and holy. Keep them safe from the enemies of the priesthood and Church.
After 5 decades, the concluding doxology (three times): “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
10. Closing Prayer
Closing prayers (optional): “Eternal Father, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion exhaustible, 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.” (950).
This article contains excerpts from Praying for Priests: An Urgent Call for the Salvation of Souls, Sophia Institute Press, 2018.