Photo: Felix Carroll
Never Despair of God's Divine Mercy
By Jay Hastings (Dec 1, 2006)
It was Saturday, and the Vigil Mass was to begin shortly. My wife and I usually go to Mass on Sunday, but on this day we decided to go to Mass in our parish's small chapel. When we got there we found the place was almost full. The usher waved to us to indicate open seats. We had the choice of two spots. We chose seats next to a couple.
The new deacon was preaching at our Mass. He gave a very moving homily during which he introduced the couple sitting next to us.
My wife and I have come to see the hand of God in so many facets of our lives. We felt our seating choice was not just a coincidence, but movement from God. So after Mass, we thought it would be nice to meet the new deacon and perhaps tell him about our prayer group — the 24-Hour Chaplet of The Divine Mercy prayer group in which pray-ers pray continuously every hour every day for those in need.
As everyone was leaving, we ran into a couple we know and talked with them for a little bit. Soon, we found ourselves one of the last to leave. We figured that surely the deacon and priest had already left. We decided we would have to meet him another day.
But then, suddenly, while we were in the parking lot, we noticed our deacon coming out of the main church and heading for his car. We thought this was most unusual since it seemed everyone was gone. We waved to him so as to talk to him, and he came over. We introduced ourselves and told him how much we enjoyed his homily. We then told him about our prayer group and how we pray for the sick and the dying, and how we have more than 500 people praying through all 24 hours of the day.
He told us that he was a chaplain at a hospital, and he called on the sick and dying. He said that he thought we were an answer to his prayers. We were amazed! (In fact, he has since joined our prayer group.)
Then he continued to tell us how he had prayed to God for help with a woman who was dying. She had hardened her heart to God. She didn't want to hear of God, yet she needed His help badly. Our prayer group seemed to be that help. The woman was of another faith and did not have long to live.
This situation made me think of a particular passage in the Diary of St. Faustina. She writes:
"When I entered the chapel for a moment, the Lord said to me, My daughter, help Me to save a certain dying sinner. Say the chaplet that I have taught you for him. When I began to say the chaplet, I saw the man dying in the midst of terrible torment and struggle. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was, as it were, powerless against the enormity of the soul's misery. A multitude of devils was waiting for the soul. But while I was saying the chaplet, I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the image. The rays which issued from Jesus' Heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully breathed his last. When I came to myself, I understood how very important the chaplet was for the dying. It appeases the anger of God (1565).
We told the deacon that we would immediately pray for this woman, and so our many pray-ers did just that, as they continuously pray for souls in most need of God's mercy (we also have people who fast and suffering souls who offer their sufferings for this devotion).
When I saw the deacon again a couple weeks later, I asked him about the lady we were praying for. His first remarks were that she died and she had a peaceful death.
In my past experience with our Lord, I have found that this is a way God lets us know when a person dies in His mercy. Somehow, in the free will of a person who has hardened her heart to God, God's graces reached in and touched her soul. We don't have to understand when or how, we just know His mercy is unfathomable and He saved her life.
Saint Faustina writes: "I often communicate with persons who are dying and obtain the divine mercy for them. Oh, how great is the goodness of God, greater than we can understand. There are moments and there are mysteries of the divine mercy over which the heavens are astounded. Let our judgment of souls cease, for God's mercy upon them is extraordinary" (1684).
In the combination of events that happened, which are all orchestrated by God in the free will of people, people prayed and sacrificed humbly and obediently as He told us to do. Then, the grace of God flooded this woman's soul with such love and mercy that it melted away her stone heart.
We have yet to understand the depths of His love and mercy. As we strive to, we live in hope and eternally praise God's goodness.
Our Lord told St. Faustina: "Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of Angels nor of man. ... Get to know God by contemplating His attributes." She writes: "A moment later He traced the sign of the cross with His hand and vanished" (30).
Jay Hastings, of Bartlett, Tenn., is the founder of a growing group of Divine Mercy devotees who ensure that the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is being prayed every hour of the day. The 24-Hour Chaplet members now consist of more than 500 people from across the United States, as well as from Mexico, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Belize, India, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Iraq, who are assigned an hour each day in which to pray. They pray for three things: the promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion; the sick and dying in the hour that you pray; and people about to commit mortal sin. To join the 24-Hour Chaplet, contact Jay via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone, 901-438-7772.