Written by Katie Flodder, a Catholic wife, mother, and friend of Stella & Tide
It was past midnight as I sat in a little conference room during my church’s women’s retreat. I had small children back home and was already running razor thin on sleep reserves—so it’s completely understandable when I began to nod off as we were in for yet another late night.
“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; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
As those gorgeous lyrics floated across the room, I was suddenly wide awake. Catching my friend’s eye, I mouthed “What is this?” Definitely not the Rosary but meditative all the same. “Have mercy on us and on the whole world.” My heart swelled with love at the expansive generosity of this prayer.
It was my first introduction to the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. I earnestly wanted everyone to start praying for the world in this way. I became like a Catholic Oprah, “You get to pray the Divine Mercy AND you get to pray the Divine Mercy!”
The Origin of Divine Mercy
It turns out it was our Father’s intention for this message to go viral worldwide. The Divine Mercy was given to us by way of a humble Polish nun and mystic, Saint Faustina Kowalska. She had very little formal education, yet her diary was full of eloquently written accounts of her interactions with Jesus. He entrusted Saint Faustina to spread His message of mercy all over the world through the following devotions:
- Divine Mercy Sunday: Also known as the Feast of Mercy, Pope John Paul II instituted it in the year 2000. As commanded by Jesus, it’s celebrated on the Sunday directly after Easter Sunday.
- Divine Mercy Chaplet: Jesus gave Saint Faustina the inspired words of this prayer and instructed her that this Chaplet was not just for her but for the whole world. It’s arranged similarly to the rosary and can be chanted or sung.
- The Image of the Divine Mercy: Jesus instructed Saint Faustina to have a work of art painted according to the image he showed her and include the signature, “Jesus, I trust in you.” He informed her that the rays emitting from His chest represent blood and water.
Divine Mercy & Love
“Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.”
—Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 1695
Let’s face it, thanks to modern technology we are constantly inundated with the depravity of this world. Our world is crying out for truth and its people are yearning for love and purpose—and they’re looking in all the wrong places. As a Christian, I can get overwhelmed with despair when I see the chaos, wondering, “Has the world lost its mind?!” But we are not helpless and we are certainly not at the mercy of sin. Jesus gave us Divine Mercy as a weapon against evil and as a healing balm for the souls of our fellow man. Through the Chaplet, we get the privilege of lifting up wounds on behalf of our brothers and sisters and entrusting them to Our Father for healing.
In Divine Mercy, we see our Lord completely embody the father in the parable of the prodigal son. I have to wonder, what if more Christians lived as His mercy incarnate here on earth? What if we opened our arms wide to the broken and downtrodden? I’m tellin’ you, there’d be souls lined up for miles ready to jump back into the Father’s waiting arms. The Divine Mercy is the guiding light for our interactions with our brothers and sisters.
Divine Mercy & Healing
“Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart”
—Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 1588
Jesus did not only give us the Chaplet; He also gave us the image representing Divine Mercy to look upon anytime we need to bolster our faith. Take a look at the image—He is stepping toward us and lifting His hand in blessing while pouring His heart out for us. I imagine Jesus walking the Judean countryside and using this same posture when healing the paralytic man or restoring sight to the blind. His mercy and His healing touch go hand in hand. When we turn toward Him in trust, we allow Him to draw closer to those hurting places and bring true restoration to our souls.
Divine Mercy & Forgiveness
“Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the immeasurable depths of My mercy.”
—Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 1059
With the jagged edges and dark corners of our hearts, we all desperately need the mercy of Christ. There are those secret places we’re frantically trying to cover up and hope no one sees. He is not intimidated by our brokenness—He is drawn to it. Jesus is holding His hand out to you, ready to exchange those deep places of shame for His Divine Mercy. It’s not even a fair trade, but He can handle it. We have a God that wants to give us life abundantly, and the gateway to that life is fully embracing His gift of mercy.
There is an open invitation to hold nothing back and leave it all at His feet. He wants not only the nagging stuff at the surface, He wants the whole enchilada. The murky stuff way down deep that shrinks back at the touch of light? Yes, even that. Where are we most in need of His mercy? Can we allow His healing mercy to inspire a love for ourselves and our neighbors in the same way that He loves us? On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let’s give Him the gift of our hearts broken wide open for Him.
Visit thedivinemercy.org for more information about the Divine Mercy and Saint Faustina.