The Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday. Among the most important highlights in the Pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II was the end of April in the year 2000. This great modern saint accomplished two extraordinary feats on that same day. He carried out the first canonization of the new millennium, raising to the altar of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)—known as the Secretary of Divine Mercy. Then the Holy Pontiff proclaimed the Second Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday. According to inner sources, this was the happiest day in the life of Saint Pope John Paul II. He felt that one of his primary missions entering into the new millennium was the indispensable need to promote the message of Divine Mercy. Now it was done.
Therefore, let us present a succinct summary of some of the most salient points of the Doctrine of Divine Mercy promoted by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and officially proclaimed by His Holiness, Saint Pope John Paul II.
1. Be Merciful As Your Heavenly Father Is Merciful
When somebody offends you, the natural reaction is to get even or to get revenge. But this is not the Heart of Jesus. As He hung on the cross, Jesus’ first word was that of mercy: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:34)
Let us try to forgive immediately; this is most pleasing to the Heart of Jesus and a sure means to attain God’s mercy for us. The key to victory is to forgive right away. The Bible teaches us to not allow the sun to go down on our anger.
2. Honor and Venerate the Image of Divine Mercy
Jesus told Saint Faustina Kowalska that He wanted an image of Divine Mercy to be painted. Then He told the saint that He wanted this image to be venerated in the entire world. See if you can purchase an attractive image of Divine Mercy. Have it blessed by a priest and then enthroned in your home.
Make sure the image is enthroned in a prominent place. This is very pleasing to the Heart of Jesus. By doing so, you are saying implicitly to all who enter your home that Jesus is the King of your home, your family, and your heart.
3. Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Get in the habit of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Short and easy to memorize, this Chaplet can be prayed in any time and any place. Jesus told Saint Faustina to pray it frequently. If done, this will result in a constant raining down from Heaven of God’s infinite mercy upon the world at large. You can pray the Chaplet by yourself, with others, in the family, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, in the car, even while waiting in line in the Supermarket.
4. Hour of Mercy
Call to mind, if possible, the Mercy Hour. This is 3:00 p.m. This was the Hour when Jesus from the altar of the cross breathed forth His spirit into the hands of His Heavenly Father. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Lk. 23: 46) At this Hour, Jesus told Saint Faustina to make the Stations of the Cross or to visit the Blessed Sacrament. If, due to occupation, this was impossible, then Jesus told the Saint—as well as us—to call to mind the passion and suffering of Jesus and be united to Jesus’ last agony and moments.
If done, through union with Jesus’ suffering, whatever we ask of the Father, if it is His will, it will be granted. Some wise individuals set an alarm on their watches or phones as a reminder—not a bad idea!
5. Pray for the Dying
The most important moment in our life is the moment that we are dying. How we die, meaning the state of our soul, will determine our destiny for all eternity. Therefore, we should pray constantly for the dying throughout the world. However, if you have a chance to be present when somebody is dying, then pray for them very fervently. Most especially pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for them, so that they will die in God’s grace and be saved for all eternity. Jesus promised Saint Faustina that if a person is dying, and another person prays the Chaplet for them at that time, then that dying person will attain salvation.
6. Confession and God’s Mercy
God’s mercy emanates most fully and efficaciously through the Mystical Body of Christ and through the Sacraments. Each Sacrament communicates a specific grace. The Sacrament of Confession communicates God’s infinite mercy. In every Sacramental Confession, the Precious Blood of Jesus shed on Calvary descends into the soul of the penitent and washes them clean. The better the preparation for Confession, the more abundant the graces of healing and mercy! Get into the habit of frequent Confession.
7. Get To Know the Message of Divine Mercy—The Diary!
Without doubt, one of the best ways in which we can become familiar with the message of Divine Mercy would be to purchase the Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Then get in the habit of reading and meditating on at least one number daily (there are 1828 numbers or entries). The Diary is a gold-mine of spiritual riches and treasures. Then share what you have read with others.
A sure way to grow in our faith is to share our faith with others.
8. Holy Mass & Divine Mercy
The two rays that emanate from the Divine Mercy image have a deep symbolic meaning and interpretation. When the Sacred Heart of Jesus was pierced with the lance on the cross, Blood and Water gushed forth. The light colored ray symbolizes the two Sacraments of purification and healing: Baptism and Confession. The red ray emanating from the Heart of Jesus symbolizes the most Holy Eucharist.
May we all have an ardent yearning to receive the most Holy Eucharist frequently and with fervor! May these words of the Psalmist characterize our own yearning: “As the deer yearns for the running streams, so my soul yearns for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1).
9. Divine Mercy Sunday and the Promises of Divine Mercy
Jesus promised that those who attend Holy Mass on the Sunday after Easter, which is Divine Mercy Sunday, and receive the Holy Eucharist with a good disposition—meaning they are not in the state of mortal sin, can receive the extraordinary grace of forgiveness for all their sins, as well as remission from all temporal punishment due to their sins, including past sins. This is an extraordinary grace and gift and we should take advantage of this free gift.
This also means we should make a sincere Sacramental Confession close to the Solemnity of Divine Mercy Sunday. If we were to die that day, we would go straight to Heaven. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (Ps. 136:1) And even if we don’t die, we only accrue punishment for sins committed from that day forward. An extraordinary grace and gift!
10. Our Lady of Mercy
One of Our Lady’s many titles is that of “Our Lady of Mercy.” Actually, in the prayer that we say at the end of the most Holy Rosary, the Hail Holy Queen, we cry out to Mary in these words: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope….” In our moments of trial, let us lift our gaze to Mary. When we fall, let us cry out to her and she will help to lift us up.
May the words of Saint Bernard in the Memorare inspire us to place our trust in Our Lady of Mercy: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.”
Let us all meditate upon, pray over, cherish and love the greatest of all of the attributes of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus—His Divine Mercy. Let us not only understand in our mind Divine Mercy, but also live it in our lives. One more important step: let us make the decision, in imitation of Saint Faustina Kowalska, to become true Apostles of Divine Mercy.
When all is said and done, the eternal salvation of our immortal soul, and the souls of all, depend upon relying on and trusting in Divine Mercy. Let these words echo day and night in our minds, hearts and souls: Jesus, I Trust in You! Jesus, I Trust in You! Jesus, I Trust in You!