The Book That Sparked the Divine Mercy Movement The Diary chronicles God's message given through St. Faustina to the world to turn to His mercy. In it, we are reminded to t... Read more
Photo: Courtesy of David Maroney
Joan and David Maroney, with Fr. Zachary, at the April retreat.
The Seven Aspects to The Divine Mercy Devotion
Since participating in our "Catch the Wave of Mercy" retreat held at Corpus Christi Cathedral on April 9-10, 2010, we've gotten many requests from people for a copy of the talk given by Fr. Zachary of the Mother of God, SOLT. The retreat was presented by the Diocese of Corpus Christi (Texas) Department of Evangelization in conjunction with Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
The following is the text of Fr. Zachary's talk, courtesy of Geraldine Mcgloin.
— Joan and Dave Maroney
There are seven aspects to the Divine Mercy devotion.
The devotion, focused on Christ's limitless mercy and love for mankind, is a relatively new one, as such, and is based on the 1930s writings of Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina on April 30, 2000.
The point of the devotion is mercy — begging His mercy, trusting in His mercy, and showing mercy to those around us. It's interesting to note that there are seven aspects to this devotion. The number seven has long represented "spiritual completion," so in this case these seven aspects complete the devotion to The Divine Mercy.
The first aspect of this devotion is the actual Feast of Divine Mercy, or Divine Mercy Sunday, which is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter. The Church, through Pope John Paul II, made this an official feast day at the canonization of St. Faustina. In His revelations to St. Faustina, Jesus made mention of His desires concerning Divine Mercy Sunday on 14 different occasions. The most comprehensive revelation can be found in entry 699 of the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, including:
"On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened."
God in His great mercy is giving mankind a last chance for salvation.
The second aspect of the Divine Mercy devotion is the Image of The Divine Mercy. The Lord directed Sr. Faustina to have it made. It was to be signed, "Jesus, I trust You!" and was to be venerated. There are many variations of The Divine Mercy image around the world, the most famous is known as the Vilnius image, which was painted by the Vilnius artist Eugene Kazimirowski, who was retained by Sr. Faustina's spiritual director, Fr. Michael Sopocko. The deep meaning of the image is explained through various electronic media available at the retreat. One aspect of the image focused on during the retreat was the unexplained fact that when this image is superimposed over the face of Christ visible on the famous Shroud of Turin it forms a perfect match. Comparisons of various points of facial measurements indicate, according to some scientists, it is the same person.
The third aspect is the Divine Mercy Novena. Ideally, the novena is to begin on Good Friday and completed the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday, though it can be prayed at any time. The novena divides souls into different groups, which are prayed for on a specific day. Categories of souls include souls who are "lukewarm," "priests and religious," "devout and faithful," "sinful," and the "souls of little children."
The fourth aspect is the Hour of Great Mercy, also known as the three o'clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross. Saint Faustina records in her Diary that "It is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. It is Jesus' desire that the moment of His Death on the Cross (3 p.m.) be venerated."
That brings us to the fifth aspect of the Divine Mercy devotion, which is the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Prayed on ordinary rosary beads, the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is an intercessory prayer that extends the offering of the Eucharist, so it is especially appropriate to use it after having received Holy Communion at Holy Mass. It may be said at any time, but Christ specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before Divine Mercy Sunday. It is also appropriate to pray the chaplet during the Hour of Great Mercy. The chaplet is especially recommended to be said for those who are dying.
The sixth aspect of the Divine Mercy devotion is the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion through which we meet our Lord Jesus Christ and are enveloped in oceans of His Divine Mercy.
The seventh aspect is the deeds of mercy in answer to Jesus' call to mercy. In her Diary, entry 742. St. Faustina records Christ's words, "I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it."
Christ continued, "I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
The first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy."
With that in mind, it's helpful to recall that there are seven spiritual works of mercy and seven corporal works of mercy. They are:
• Feed the hungry
• Give drink to the thirsty
• Clothe the naked
• Shelter the homeless
• Comfort the prisoners
• Visit the sick
• Bury the dead
• Teach the ignorant
• Pray for the living & dead
• Correct sinners
• Counsel those in doubt
• Console the sorrowful
• Bear wrongs patiently
• Forgive wrongs willingly
Father Zachary is well known to Corpus Christi area Catholics. He was stationed as chaplain at Our Lady of Corpus Christi College where he also taught numerous college-level courses. A former civil attorney, he was educated for the priesthood in Rome where he was ordained. He is presently the director of Lay Formation for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and travels throughout the United States to fulfill his mission for the order. His website is www.OurLadyLovesYou.org.