What is Divine Mercy?
Asking for His Mercy
Through the passion and death of Jesus, an infinite ocean of mercy was made available for all of us. But God, who created us free, will not force anything on us, not even His mercy. He must wait for us to turn from our sinfulness and ask: "Ask and it will be given to you … for everyone who asks receives" (Mt 7:7, 8).
The Scriptures are filled with examples of how to trust in God and ask for His mercy: the psalms; the faith of Abraham and Moses who pleaded and "bargained" with God; the man who persuaded his friend to get up in the middle of the night to lend him some bread; the persistent widow who secured justice from the unjust judge; the Canaanite woman who "argued" with Jesus about her right to His mercy; and the witness of Mary, whose appeal for mercy at Cana led Jesus to perform His first public miracle, thus acknowledging that His time had indeed come.
Pope John Paul II echoes this scriptural message with a new urgency for our own times: "At no time… especially at a moment as critical as our own — can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God… The Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy 'with loud cries' " (Rich in Mercy, 15).
To St. Faustina, Jesus revealed this same message once again. He gave her three new ways to ask for mercy on the strength of His passion: the Chaplet, the Novena, and prayer at three o'clock; and He taught her to transform her daily life into a continuous prayer for mercy. Through her, He calls us all to ask for His mercy:
Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion (Diary, 1146). Beg for mercy for the whole world (570). No soul that has called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed (1541).
Prayer to be Merciful to Others
This prayer gives us a true measure of our mercy, a mirror in which we observe ourselves as merciful Christs. We can make it our morning invocation and our evening examination of conscience.
O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, as many times as my heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.
I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.
You Yourself command me to exercise the three degrees of mercy. The first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy — if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The third: prayer — if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach out physically.
O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself, for You can do all things (163).