“I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy. Even a sinner most hardened, if only once recite the Chaplet, he will obtain grace from My infinite mercy.” The Diary of Sister Mary Faustina
The Sunday after Easter has been designated Divine Mercy Sunday, a devotion actively promoted by Pope John Paul II before his death and instituted edictally by him in 2000 when he Canonized Sister Mary Faustina a Saint. In fact it was Pope John Paul II, when being Archbishop of Krakow in 1965 began the informative process to certify the testaments of Sister Faustina.
Born in 1905 Maria Faustina Kowalska, became a nun at the young age of 20 after relating her many visions of a suffering Christ she had through her childhood and adolescents. So passionate were her claims that, even without much formal education, she so moved superiors to admit her to the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. There in 1931, after having been diagnosed the year before with tuberculosis, she records in her spiritual diary of having mystic visitations from Jesus; who she described as appearing to her as the “King of Divine Mercy.”
In her diary, Sister Faustina details how Christ delegated to her a sacred mission to have people implore His Divine Mercy. Jesus commanded her to have painted His image, as it appears in Divine Mercy representations. Jesus told her to accompany the image with the prayerful words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Lastly Jesus inspired Sister Faustina to compose a simple prayer that He begged people recite- The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. When prayed in the presence of a dying person, truly I shall stand between them and My Father not as a judge, but as the Merciful Savior. Even a sinner most hardened, if only once recite the Chaplet, he will obtain grace from My infinite mercy. Truly I tell you, the greater the sin- the greater claim they have to My mercy and justice.”
This final thoughts are the ones that strike me as the most profound. No matter what transgressions, how far removed we might feel from the promise of salvation because of our own failings- through His Divine Mercy and the Chaplet to pray, Christ assures us of His infinite mercy. This is key.
Without doubt many of us- dare I say all of us, fall short in our desire to be a good Christian. We may pray, attend church and even do good works- but the road is narrow and difficult. Our tempers get the best of us. Pressed for time, our religious responsibilities become moved to “the back burner”. We procrastinate ( I know I do, often ) and waste away time on things that seem important at the moment and then, truly are not at all.
But through Sister Faustina, Christ tells us He knows this. He understands this. “Tell them to surrender to My mercy and to call upon Me. To trust in Me and My infinite mercy.” Almost knowing there would be many who will not even find the time or ability to recite the prayerful Chaplet, Jesus inspired Sister Faustina to record the one sentence summation- “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Furthermore, I am struck by the investigation of then Archbishop Wojtyla ( Pope John Paul II ) where he considers the writings of Sister Faustina and her claims of mystical visitation. “I feel obliged to believe. For one so simple, so inwardly reflective- ( Sister Faustina ) possessed a great knowledge. She knew of the Trisagion without any formal exposure. Indeed, Our Lord has spoken to her.” The Trisagion ( Holy Three Times ) is an introductory prayer of sorts used in the Divine Liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzatine Rite Churches. It are these words, “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One” that were written by Sister Faustina to conclude the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Archbishop Wojityla discovered that these words dismayed Sister Faustina as she found them obscure, thought this evidence that Jesus desired to unify the many Christians religions unto himself. ( We ourselves should take example from the devotion of Pope John Paul II to Sister Faustina and The Divine Mercy Chaplet, as he himself today is to be Canonized Saint by Pope Francis.)
Sister Faustina died from her illness at the young age of 33, the same age as our Savior. She left us a beautiful prayer and legacy to impart Christ’s mercy upon even the most stubborn of us. In all the hectic moments of our day- in the constant whirlwind of unimportant things that seem to demand our attention, we are offered a moment of pause and reflection. A sublime prayer that offers up the Divine Mercy of Christ himself, as King of Divine Mercy, to stand- not before us, but with us- at our hour of greatest need.
“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. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” ( The basic foundation of The Divine Mercy Chaplet, though structure and recited to accord with Rosary beads. )
“Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasure of compassion inexhaustible, 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. Amen.”