Divine Mercy

Stained Glass window depicting the Divine Mercy at St. Bede the Venerable Church, Holland, PA.

What is Divine Mercy?
Divine Mercy is the name of the devotion to the greatest attribute of God, His infinite Love and Mercy. Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets and kings extolled God’s Mercy, “His Mercy endures forever.” Our time in history especially requires this extraordinary devotion. Pope John Paul II said, “Humanity will not find peace until it turns faithfully to Divine Mercy.”
Devotion to the Divine Mercy is celebrated in our parish every week at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings.

The Fascinating Story
In February, 1931, Our Lord Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina Kowalska in her convent in Poland. Over the next few years, Jesus explained to her His wonderful message of Mercy for the entire world. Jesus’ love for each and every person is so infinite and profound that it surpasses any of our offenses and sins. Jesus told Sister Faustina, “Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My Mercy…Souls that make an appeal to My Mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. [1146]”

On February 22, 1931, Jesus gave to Saint Faustina the Divine Mercy image, shown here. The red and white rays streaming from Jesus’ Sacred Heart represent the Blood and Water which gushed forth from Our Crucified Lord’s Heart. At that same time, Jesus called for the Holy Church to celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Second Sunday of Easter. Our Lord said that this is the infinite fountain of Mercy for all of mankind. Of this image, Jesus said, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.” [48]

Sister Faustina faithfully recorded everything that Jesus told her. Even though she was a humble nun in a quiet convent, her writings have reached millions after her death. You can read them in the book Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska.

A Powerful Prayer
On September 14, 1935, Jesus taught Sister Faustina a new prayer that carries with it very special graces and promises. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy only takes five minutes to say on your rosary beads. Jesus promised, “Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death, ” and “Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet.” [848].

A Spectacular Promise
As a further sign of His Infinite Love for us, Our Lord offered a wonderful gift, the complete remission of sin and punishment, to all those who would celebrate this feast of His Mercy. Jesus explains to Saint Faustina, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. [On that day] The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which all graces flow. 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. [699]”

To obtain the graces of this promise, one must go to confession, receive Holy Communion worthily, say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the Pope’s intentions, and perform an act of mercy. The act of mercy can be any one of the “spiritual works of mercy” or the “corporal works of mercy.” Jesus instructed Saint Faustina, “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first by deed, the second by word, and the third by prayer.” [742]

Saint Faustina often prayed for the ability to perform many acts of mercy and thus she would become a reflection of Jesus’ mercy to others. [163] Devotion to the Divine Mercy calls us to be merciful to our family and neighbor. One group for which we can perform prayers of mercy are the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

The Humble Nun Becomes a Saint
On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina. On this same day he declared that the Universal Church shall celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. This fulfilled the request that Jesus made to Sister Faustina on February 22, 1931.

The Pope on Divine Mercy
Pope John Paul II stated at the canonization of Saint Faustina, “Thus the message of Divine Mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God’s eyes.”

Saint Bede the Venerable Parish - 1071 Holland Road - Holland, PA 18966 - 215-357-5720
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