Carrying Out Divine Mercy (The Hour of Great Mercy, Feast, Deeds, and Chaplet)

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony.” — Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary, 1320)

WEEK 50

We have been journeying with St. Faustina all throughout our reflections and learning about the great mission of Divine Mercy entrusted to her by Jesus. This week’s spiritual exercise delves into the heart of the message of Divine Mercy and all the forms of devotion to mercy that Jesus laid out. Let’s take a closer look.

Saint Faustina was to tell the world about God’s great mercy for each and every soul. Jesus often reminded her to spread the message and devotion of Divine Mercy. He told her about the burning flames of compassion for souls that fill His Heart: “From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy” (Diary, 1190). Jesus also told her, “In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world” (Diary, 1588). Such a mammoth task would seem to surpass her capabilities as a simple, basically uneducated nun, confined to the convent, lacking opportunities to propagate the message to the outside world. Like St. Thérèse, who was confined to the cloister and yet had a huge impact on the entire world by God’s amazing grace, so the young mystic Faustina also worked tirelessly through her continual prayers, sacrifices, and obedience to carry out her mission to transmit the great message and devotion of Divine Mercy.

Jesus entrusted the forms of devotion to Divine Mercy to His little instrument, St. Faustina. Those forms of devotion consist of the Image with the signature of “Jesus, I Trust in You”; the Feast of Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter Sunday; the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy; the Novena of Chaplets; and prayer at the 3 o’clock hour of Jesus’ final agony on the Cross, referred to as “The Hour of Great Mercy.” Jesus has attached great promises to each of these forms of devotion, as well as to the spreading of the veneration of mercy. We are also to maintain an attitude of unfailing trust in God while showing mercy to others. We discussed the Image of Divine Mercy in the last chapter; in this chapter, we will go into the other forms of devotion to Divine Mercy just mentioned.

The Hour of Great Mercy

The Hour of Great Mercy is at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. In October 1937, in Krakow, Jesus recommended to St. Faustina that she honor the hour of His death:

At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in my Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).

At another time, Jesus reminded His bride of the importance of the 3 o’clock hour and what she should do:

I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice (Diary, 1572).

Jesus requested more:

My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. I claim veneration for My mercy from every creature, but above all from you, since it is you that I have given the most profound understanding of this mystery (Diary, 1572).

We, too, are called to honor this Hour as best we can each day.

The Feast of Divine Mercy

Jesus told St. Faustina several times that He desired a Feast of Divine Mercy to be instituted, and that it should take place on the Sunday following Easter Sunday. Saint John Paul II (whose second encyclical was Dives in Misericordia [Rich in Mercy] and who entrusted the world to Divine Mercy) granted this Feast to the Universal Church on April 30, 2000, the canonization of St. Faustina.

On May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments proclaimed, “[T]hroughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” Jesus stated to St. Faustina, “[W]hoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary, 300). He also said, “I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it” (Diary, 341).

Further, Jesus said, “This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of My tender mercies” (Diary, 420). Jesus went on to say:

My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. 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. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy (Diary, 699).

Another time, Jesus said, “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be 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 absolve yourself from it” (Diary, 742). Elsewhere, He said, “I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy” (Diary, 1109).

Jesus’ desire for the Divine Mercy Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as our personal acts of veneration and mercy. Jesus promised, “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary, 699).

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Jesus taught St. Faustina the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which is a special and powerful intercessory prayer that offers the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Father in atonement for the sins of the world. The Chaplet may be prayed at any time, but Jesus specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Mercy. He then added: “By this Novena [of Chaplets], I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (Diary, 796)

The Chaplet is also appropriately prayed during the “Hour of Great Mercy” — 3 o’clock each afternoon (commemorating the time of Christ’s death on the Cross). Our Lord requested from St. Faustina a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour.

Sister Faustina received a vision in 1935 in which an angel was sent by God to chastise a certain city. Sister Faustina immediately began to pray earnestly for mercy, but was powerless. The Holy Spirit appeared to her and the young nun felt Jesus’ grace within her. She began pleading with God for mercy. She then heard these words interiorly:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us (Diary, 475).

She prayed the inspired prayer over and over, and the angel became powerless, not able to carry out the punishment that the city deserved. As St. Faustina entered the chapel the following day, she heard an interior voice, explaining how to pray the prayer that our Lord later called “the Chaplet.” However, this time, after “have mercy on us” were added the words “and on the whole world” (Diary, 476). The Lord’s Secretary of Divine Mercy from then on would pray that prayer almost continually, especially for the poor dying souls. Jesus let her know that the Chaplet was for the whole world, not just her, and attached many amazing promises to its recitation.

“[E]ncourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you” (Diary, 1541). “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death” (Diary, 687). “[W]hen 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, 1541). “Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy” (Diary, 687). “I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy” (Diary, 687). “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will” (Diary, 1731).

The Three Degrees of Mercy

Jesus explained how Sr. Faustina was to show mercy, which would prove her love for Him, as well as glorify and pay reverence to Jesus’ mercy. In order to keep all of the essential information about the forms of devotion to Divine Mercy together in this week’s reflection for easy access and meditation, I will repeat an important instruction from Jesus that is quoted in St. Faustina’s Diary. He instructed:

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. 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 (Diary, 742).

Saint Faustina wrote the following beautiful prayer on being merciful:

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 (Diary, 163).

Something to Ponder

We know that God’s great mercy is not a new revelation. Yet Jesus painstakingly laid out all of the forms of mercy to His Secretary of Mercy with continual instructions to propagate the message. Take time this week to ponder the forms of mercy that Jesus has given us. Think about how you can become a more merciful person. Are there people in your past that you need to forgive? Are there people who deserve an apology from you? Are you generous with your time, talents, and treasures? God instructs us to be merciful people — always.

A Merciful Action

Through prayer, ponder ways you can lovingly impart God’s great mercy to others this week. Could you teach others about Divine Mercy? Start within your own family and share Divine Mercy. How about at your parish? How about doing your best to carry out one thing from each category — deed, word, and prayer? Ask St. Faustina to guide you!

A PRAYER OF MERCY FOR THIS WEEK

(To be prayed each day this week.)

Dear Merciful Jesus, I want to be more merciful. Please help me.
Mother Mary, guide me, please.
Saint Faustina, please pray for me.
Jesus, I trust in You!
Amen.

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here: 

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