Question: What is the Divine Mercy devotion? The feast of Mercy?
Answer: Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, a simple Polish nun, recently beatified by Pope John Paul II, received a series of private revelations during the 1930s which emphasize the mercy of God toward repentant sinners. Her diary, kept over a period of several years, relates the desire of our Lord to draw all souls to Himself and to grant His mercy to those who respond. The primary elements of this devotion to the divine mercy include a striking image of our Lord with rays of red and white light emanating from His Sacred Heart, a chaplet of prayers which are said on Dominican Rosary beads, a litany of prayers, and a series of meditations for Good Friday.
Blessed Faustina's most significant claim is the grant of what amounts to a plenary indulgence for celebrating Low Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) in honor of God's divine mercy; receiving the Sacraments of Confession and Communion; and practicing mercy toward others in words, deeds, and prayers. There is also a novena of prayers to be made between Good Friday and "Mercy Sunday." These various devotions, together with some brief biographical data on Blessed Faustina and excerpts from her diary are published in a booklet by the Marian Helpers of Stockbridge MA, and bearing the Imprimatur of Joseph F. Maguire, the Novus Ordo Bishop of Springfield.
While the devotion was suppressed during the reign of Pope John XXIII,
it was reintroduced by Pope John Paul II. This might arouse suspicions
among traditional Catholics, but the devotion itself seems to be in accord with
Catholic theology. However, it must be kept in mind that God's mercy does not
annul His justice; He seeks the repentance of sinners, but punishes those who do
not. Likewise, while He extends His mercy even to heretics and pagans, He
desires their conversion to the one true Faith -- the divine mercy is not an
excuse for religious indifferentism or false ecumenism. These truths are
implicit in the novena intentions printed below. Yet, given the liberalism in
these areas found in the Novus Ordo church, those interested in the devotion
ought to maintain a critical attitude in its use.
Good Friday: "Bring to Me all mankind, especially sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this day you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me."
Holy Saturday: "Bring to Me the souls of priests and religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them My mercy flows out upon mankind."
Easter Sunday: "Bring to Me all devout and faithful souls and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."
Easter Monday: "Bring to Me the pagans and those who do not know Me. I was thinking of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."
Easter Tuesday: "Bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My body and heart; that is My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate My passion."
Easter Wednesday: "Bring to Me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly "angels," who would keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace."
Easter Thursday: "Bring to Me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over My Passion and entered most deeply into My Spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart."
Easter Friday: "Bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice."
Easter Saturday: "Bring to Me the souls who are lukewarm and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls."