History of Mercy Sunday
On February 22nd, 1931 Jesus appeared to a young Polish nun. He was dressed in a white garment and had one hand raised in blessing and the other at His breast. From His chest flowed rays, one in red and the others in light shades. He asked Sr. Faustina to reproduce the image of Him just as she saw it with the words “Jesus I Trust in You” to be written below His feet. He asked her to display the image in her own convent chapel and then throughout the whole world. Sr. Faustina's Spiritual Director told her to ask Jesus the significance of the two rays and Jesus explained:
“The rays represent the Blood and Water that gushed forth from the depths of my Mercy when my Agonizing Heart was pierced on the cross. The pale rays symbolize the water, which cleanses and purifies the soul. These rays will shield the soul before the justice of My Father. Fortunate are those who live in this shelter, for the justice of God will not reach them there.”
Saint Faustina kept over 600 pages of records about her visions and messages. These records have been turned in to a book simply called Diary. In 1959 the devotion and information about the Divine Mercy was suppressed by the Church and would remain so for nearly twenty years. On the 15th of April, 1978, the Holy See removed the ban on the Divine Mercy, mostly through the efforts of the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla.
On the first Sunday after Easter, April 18, 1993, Pope John Paul, the former archbishop who had championed the reinstatement of the Divine Mercy before he was pope, declared Sr. Faustina “blessed”. Pope John Paul II canonized heron the first Sunday after Easter, April 30, 2000.
The decree establishing Divine Mercy Sunday was issued by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on May 5th, 2000.
More Divine Mercy gifts and resources
Divine Mercy Articles
The Divine Mercy Message
The message of mercy is that God loves us “all of us” no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.
A — Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.
(Taken from Divine Mercy, Message and Devotion)
Divine Mercy Devotions
Divine Mercy Novena
On Good Friday, 1937, Jesus requested that St. Faustina make a special novena before the Feast of Mercy, from Good Friday through the next Saturday, and dictated the intentions for each day:
First day – all mankind, especially sinners;
Second day – the souls of priests and religious;
Third day – all devout and faithful souls;
Fourth day – those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus;
Fifth day – the souls who have separated themselves from the Church;
Sixth day – the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children;
Seventh day – the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy;
Eighth day – the souls detained in purgatory; and
Ninth day – souls who have become lukewarm.
Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart, You are my haven. You are my peace. You are my salvation.
You are my serenity in moments of struggle and amidst an ocean of doubts.
1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
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.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Indulgences for practicing the Divine Mercy Devotion on Divine Mercy Sunday
There is a plenary indulgence for taking part in the devotions for Divine Mercy Sunday.
To get the indulgence you must:
- Go to confession
- Pray for the pope
- Receive Holy Communion
- Take part in the prayers and devotions being offered at a church for Divine Mercy Sunday.
If you can't find a church doing Divine Mercy devotions, you can also go to a church that has Eucharistic adoration and pray the Our Father, the Creed and a prayer asking Jesus for mercy.