September 27, 2012

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song

The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy
The History of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

In 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel sent by God to chastise a certain city. She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless. Suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. At the same time she found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard interiorly: 

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. (Diary, 475) 

As she continued saying this inspired prayer, the angel became helpless and could not carry out the deserved punishment (see 474). The next day, as she was entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called "the Chaplet." This time, after "have mercy on us" were added the words "and on the whole world" (476). From then on, she recited this form of prayer almost constantly, offering it especially for the dying. 

In subsequent revelations, the Lord made it clear that the Chaplet was not just for her, but for the whole world. He also attached extraordinary promises to its recitation. 

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. 

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
The Humble Instrument

Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated, nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland during the 1930's. She came from a very poor family that struggled on their little farm during the years of World War I. She had only three years of very simple education, so hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden. However, she received extraordinary revelations or messages from Our Lord Jesus. Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled in notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and the words contained within are God's loving message of Divine Mercy.

Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr. Faustina's Diarysparked a great movement, and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ. Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the "first saint of the new millennium." Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary, the Pope call her "the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time."

Today, we continue to rely of Saint Faustina as a constant reminder of the message to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others. We also turn to her in prayer and request her intercession to our merciful Savior on our behalf. At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, we include the following in our 3 o'clock prayers:

Saint Faustina,
You told us that your mission would continue after your death and that you would not forget us. Our Lord also granted you a great privilege, telling you to "distribute graces as you will, to who you will, and when you will." Relying on this, we ask your intercession for the graces we need, especially for the intentions just mentioned. Help us, above all, to trust in Jesus as you did and thus to glorify His mercy every moment of our lives. Amen

Works of Mercy
Be Merciful as Your Father is Merciful

We are not only to receive the mercy of God, but to use it by being merciful to others through our actions, our words, and our prayers; in other words, we are to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works (Acts) of Mercy.

The Lord wants us to do these works of mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no use without works.
What are the Works of Mercy?

Corporal Works
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Comfort the prisoners
Visit the sick
Bury the dead 
Spiritual Works
Teach the ignorant
Pray for the living & dead
Correct sinners
Counsel those in doubt
Console the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive wrongs willingly

Jesus' Call to Mercy

"I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.

Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul.

If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (1317). 

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