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Steve Schouten, with his wife Angel.
A Former Catholic Discovers the Chaplet
By Steve Schouten (Dec. 26, 2015)
I grew up Catholic, prayed with my parents and five sisters as a child, and always had faith in the Lord. But I drew away from the Church in my mid-20s when I experienced difficult times and depression. My faith was further shaken when my best friend, my sister, passed away, which drove me even further into depression.
In the last few years I felt a longing for closeness to the Lord. My wife and I have two beautiful children and have been attending a Methodist church for many years. One Sunday, in Bible study, I felt overwhelmed again by the sadness of my sister's death. An older man stayed after class and asked me if he could pray for me, so he did. His name was Bob Coil. It turned out that, years before, he had lost a daughter who was about the same age as my sister. During this time, I began praying the Rosary every day while I sat at my desk at work. It absolutely changed my soul. I prayed it because it was what I could do to show the Lord that I meant what I said about turning to Him.
As I used my tablet at work, looking up the different prayers for the different days, YouTube kept showing me "Divine Mercy Chaplet" as a related video. I had not heard of this prayer. Finally, one morning, I decided to listen to it. After only one time of praying it, my soul felt the absolute power of it. I was hooked! I prayed it every morning without fail.
I later found out that my oldest sister, a devout Catholic, also prayed the chaplet. She sent me a pamphlet, and I learned the chaplet by heart. In the meantime, I heard that Bob Coil's health was deteriorating. I spoke with him and made sure to jot down my number for him, should he need me for anything.
On May 17, 2015, I was in the choir box, and I heard Pastor John mention someone was in hospice care. I sensed that not only was it Bob, but that I had to act immediately. I remembered from the chaplet pamphlet that the Lord attached extraordinary graces to the chaplet's recitation. He told St. Faustina, "When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1541).
I drove home to get a rosary and the pamphlet. When I got to Bob's room, he was lying on the bed by himself. I sat down next to him and said, "Bob, you once prayed for me. Would you let me now pray for you?" He said that would be great, so I began to pray the chaplet for him. It was an emotional experience for me. I had never done that sort of thing before. But I made it through it. I left, feeling so happy. I had planned to go back and pray with him again.
Then, that Tuesday, I got to work at my usual time of 7:30 a.m. I had a heavy workload. I planned to pray a little later on, while on break. I began working at my desk. No else was at my end of the office yet. At about 8 a.m., a voice as clear as spring water and with absolute authority spoke in my mind, "Pray for Bob's soul," the voice said. I believe it was the Lord speaking to me. I was so stunned, and I was in the middle of a complicated process on the computer. I knew instinctively to speak in my mind, and I asked, "Can it wait?" and immediately the voice said "No, right now."
At this point, I immediately got up, closed my door, and prayed the chaplet for Bob's soul. At the end of the day on the way home, I called my wife and said, "I think I need to visit Bob today." She said, "Didn't you see the email? He passed away today." I hadn't seen the email. When I got home, I saw it had come at about 9:30 a.m., which put Bob's time of death very close to when I was summoned to pray. I eventually found out that he had passed around 7 a.m.
I don't know enough about the afterlife to guess what happened in that hour until the Lord spoke to me, but I trust Jesus. My story brought a lot of comfort to Bob's wife, Kathy.
I am now a volunteer for hospice, and I have been spreading the Divine Mercy Chaplet every opportunity I get.
I recently read every bit of the Divine Mercy pamphlet and came across a section that explained how St. Faustina was often contacted by souls for whom she prayed. If not the soul itself, then by an angel, or the Lord Himself. I can only say that a sheep knows the voice of his shepherd, and I can tell you that it was His voice I heard. My soul knows it. I am in the process of reading St. Faustina's Diary, and I hope I hear His voice again. I will continue my mission in the meantime.
I recently led a group of women at my church in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. One of the women said it was only the second time in her life that she felt the Holy Spirit in her presence. God is good. Jesus is more real to me now than ever before. I think about Him every waking moment now, and I feel His mercy working on me and others around me. I praise Him!
I told my pastor about the experience, and I think he believed me. I even offered to pray it with him. At first he didn't seem interested, but eventually, he accepted my offer. Afterward, he said he could sense the power in the chaplet. We now pray the chaplet together on a regular basis.
This whole experience has forever changed my life. I encourage everyone to pray the chaplet daily and to go out of your comfort zone to share this with others. I feel like that is our mission as followers and servants of Jesus.
Steve Schouten lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.