A plea for mercy

God has given us through St. Faustina a most powerful weapon—the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

By Bishop Richard F. Stika

“O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”  — Psalm 136:1

Twenty-two years ago, on April 30, 2000, St. John Paul II canonized the first saint of the third millennium—Sister Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938). In his homily for her canonization, he emphasized the words of Jesus recorded in her Diary: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to Divine Mercy” (n. 300).

With all that is happening in the world, with evil seemingly growing more and more powerful every day, God has given us through St. Faustina a most powerful weapon: the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Next to the rosary, no other devotion is more needed and helpful in combatting evil.

Of all the prayers we can offer God, none is greater nor more powerful than that of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Though Christ’s sacrifice upon Calvary was offered once in time, His sacrifice is eternally offered to the Father in the heavenly liturgy of which our early Mass is a participation.

And by virtue of our baptism, and the offering we make of ourselves in the Mass, we are united to His most perfect offering to the Father—a sacrifice of adoration, thanksgiving, atonement for sin, and petition (the four ends of the Mass).

What makes the Chaplet of Divine Mercy so unique and powerful, then, is that it echoes the “Great Doxology” of the Mass—that most sacred moment that concludes the Eucharistic Prayer when the priest lifts up the paten and chalice with Christ’s sacrificial offering and prays,

Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever!”

When we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with its two main prayers, we extend, in a certain sense, the sacred action of the Doxology beyond the Mass and into our day and week:

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 (prayed on the “Our Father” bead of the rosary).

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world (repeated 10 times on the “Hail Mary” beads).

Just as our participation in Mass calls for the exercise of our “baptismal” priesthood, which enables us to participate in the sacred Liturgy as members of Christ’s Mystical Body, so, too, we further exercise our “common” priesthood when we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

When we pray the chaplet, we are essentially uniting ourselves to all the Masses celebrated throughout the world and bring the fruit of Christ’s sacrificial offering—divine mercy—into our day and week, for our good, for the blessing and benefit of the Church, for the souls in purgatory, for the conversion of sinners and of the whole world. This is why the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is so powerful. This is how we live our Mass beyond its Sunday celebration.

And as powerful as this prayer is, it is especially so for the dying, for the heavenly Father told St. Faustina that,

When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person… unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son (Diary, 811).

Additionally, Jesus tells St. Faustina that when the following prayer, which forms part of the chaplet’s introduction, is prayed “with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner,” He will bless them with the grace of conversion:

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in you (Diary, 186-187).

The chaplet also encourages us to receive God’s mercy into our own heart in a deeper way so we can in turn better extend His love and mercy to others in our corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Our plea for God’s mercy must always translate into deeds of mercy.

Finally, Jesus promised St. Faustina that, “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.”

We all long for peace in our hearts, in our marriages, in our families, in our society, and in our world. We all need God’s mercy and to be the instruments of His mercy to others. How I hope you will daily pray this most powerful Chaplet of Divine Mercy and exercise in a far greater way your baptismal priesthood and become more and more the face, the hands, and the heart of Jesus to others.

What greater antidote do we have in these times of turmoil and fear than divine mercy? To learn more about divine mercy, visit www.thedivinemercy.org.

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