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Divine Mercy
Knights of Columbus ^ | 04.25.03

Posted on 04/24/2003 10:32:48 PM PDT by Coleus

MID RUMORS THAT HE WOULD announce his retirement due to failing health, Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland last summer and proclaimed a message far different to the expectant world. During a dedication Mass in the shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow Aug. 17, the pope announced: “Today, therefore, in this shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy.” The Divine Mercy devotion, though humble in origin, offers nothing less than the promise of salvation and peace to all mankind. Efforts on many different fronts are furthering the hope that Catholics everywhere will soon know of the extraordinary graces promised by Our Lord to those who follow his simple call to mercy and trust.

(Above) A potrait of Sister Faustina Kowalska and the Divine Mercy image of Christ hangs from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome during her canonization in 2000. (Right) Fourth Degree Knights at 2002 Mercy Sunday observances in Stockbridge, Mass.

ST. FAUSTINA:
THE MESSENGER

Helena Kowalska was born in Glogowiec, Poland, on Aug. 25, 1905. The third of 10 children born to poor, devout parents, she exhibited an early love of prayer, work, obedience and sensitivity to the poor. At age 7, she felt the first stirrings of a vocation in her heart, and before turning 20 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where she received her religious name Sister Maria Faustina. Sister Faustina’s religious life seemed unremarkable to most observers. She spent her days attending to kitchen and garden tasks, or acting as the doorkeeper in various convents. But she experienced an extraordinary interior communion with God, the extent of which was known only to her superiors. Her supernatural gifts included revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, bilocation, prophecy and the reading of souls.

In 1934, at the urging of her spiritual director and, later, of Jesus himself, Sister Faustina began keeping a diary of her revelations from Jesus and mystical experiences. The result is the 600-page spiritual classic, Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul, which continues to astound scholars with its depth of spiritual and theological insight. She recorded this diary over the span of four years, ending it shortly before her death from tuberculosis in 1938.

DIVINE MERCY: THE MESSAGE “Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all will be drowned in the immeasurable depths of My mercy” (Diary, 1059).

Jesus’ message of mercy to St. Faustina was not a new revelation, but a reminder of those timeless truths of our faith about God’s merciful love for all mankind and his desire for us to turn to him with trust. What was new were the forms of devotion that Jesus requested, and the powerful promises attached to them. There are generally considered to be four basic elements of the Divine Mercy devotion: the image, the feast, the chaplet and the Hour of Mercy.

THE IMAGE
“I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening in the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red, and the other pale. … After a while Jesus said to me: paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: ‘Jesus, I trust in You’” (Diary, 47).

This image of the risen Christ reminds us of all Jesus did for us through his passion, death and resurrection. The two rays represent the blood and water that flowed from his heart when it was pierced by a lance. The hand raised in blessing recalls the scene of Easter Sunday eve and the institution of the sacrament of penance. St. Faustina further noted two promises given by Our Lord: “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory” (Diary, 48).

THE FEAST
Jesus specifically requested that the Sunday after Easter be designated as the feast of Mercy. In all, he made 14 requests for the feast in revelations to St. Faustina and attached a promise of mercy to those who observe it devoutly.

“Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment. ... On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 300 and 699).


Pope John Paul II prays in the God’s Mercy Basilica in Krakow during his August 2002 visit to Poland. The pope consecrated the basilica at a shrine where he used to pray on his way to forced labor in a salt quarry under the Nazis.

To observe the feast of Mercy properly, and to receive the great gift of forgiveness and remission of all temporal punishment — a new beginning such as conferred at baptism — we should sincerely repent of all our sins, place our trust in Jesus, go to confession within a reasonable time before the feast, receive holy Communion, venerate an image of Divine Mercy and practice acts of mercy. THE CHAPLET
Dictated to St. Faustina by Our Lord himself, the chaplet is to be prayed on ordinary rosary beads. Jesus instructed her to pray it “unceasingly,” and promised to souls who recited it devoutly great graces throughout life and particularly at the hour of death. To pray the chaplet, begin by saying the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Apostles’ Creed. Then on the large beads, pray:

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.

On the small beads, pray:

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

In conclusion, pray three times:

Holy God, holy Mighty One, holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.


Father Frank Gluhosky blesses a copy of the image of Divine Mercy surrounded by members of Father Michael J. McGivney Assembly in Stuart, Fla. Robert Allard, a member of the assembly, promotes devotion to Divine Mercy through various programs, including one expressly for Knights.

THE HOUR OF MERCY
In a revelation to St. Faustina in October 1937, Jesus requested daily prayer at 3 p.m. to honor the hour of his death and to implore mercy for sinners.

“If only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. … In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion” (Diary, 1320).

Jesus said that praying the Stations of the Cross at this hour would be beneficial, or, if that couldn’t be done, he asked for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in adoration of the merciful heart of Jesus.

MERCY FOR OUR TIMES
Preparing the world for Our Lord’s return by spreading the message of Divine Mercy is a task that many in the Church have taken on. The Congregation of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception administer a National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., and sponsor the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, which trains clergy, religious and laity in living and spreading the message. The Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy, a lay organization associated with the religious congregation, starts prayer cenacles in parishes that promote eucharistic adoration and perform works of mercy.

Knight Robert Allard, a member of Father McGivney Assembly in Stuart, Fla., is a prominent member of the organization.

Father Seraphim S. Michalenko, of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and director emeritus of the Institute of Divine Mercy, says the popularity of the devotion is growing. “It’s individual lay people who are doing the most.

All of this is by word of mouth, people telling others about the graces they’ve received and then inviting them to the services, like to a chaplet that is said before Mass.”

Plowing the way for these seeds of evangelization is the world’s foremost champion of Divine Mercy, Pope John Paul II.

Dedicated to spreading the message since his days as a young priest, he has played what can only be described as a providential role in this mission.

In 1965, as archbishop of Krakow, he initiated the process by which, 35 years later as pope, he would declare Sister Faustina the first saint of the Jubilee Year 2000. At the canonization ceremony, on April 30, 2000, John Paul also announced that the Second Sunday of Easter would be henceforth known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

He marked his pontificate early with the theme of mercy by issuing in 1980 the encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), and more recently, on Aug. 4, 2002, authorized a plenary indulgence for Catholics who observe the precepts on Divine Mercy Sunday. Given John Paul’s historic actions, the life and mission of St. Faustina, and the vitality and faith of the Polish people who have spread the message of mercy beyond their homeland, one is struck by Our Lord’s prophetic words to St. Faustina: “I bear a special love for Poland. ... From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary, 1732).

Melaine Ryther is a freelance writer whose work appears regularly in Catholic periodicals. She writes from Kennewick, Wash., where she is a wife and a mother.

 
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21 posted on 03/20/2008 9:31:36 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion and Physician-assisted Murder (aka-Euthanasia), Don't Democrats just kill ya?)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Coleus

BTTT for Sunday, March 30, 2008!


23 posted on 03/20/2008 11:34:29 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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24 posted on 04/22/2011 10:46:27 PM PDT by Coleus (Adult Stem Cells Work, there is NO Need to Harvest Babies for Their Body Parts!)
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