Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Blessings of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy Sunday, which is celebrated the second Sunday of Easter, this year on May 1, has an even richer significance as today also marks the beatification of Pope John Paul II. St. Maria Faustina Kowalska of Poland was canonized by Pope John Paul II, who established the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
St. Faustina received from Jesus the message of Divine Mercy which He asked her to share with the world. In addition to the prayers of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina was shown an image that she was instructed to have painted of the Blood and Water flowing out from Christ’s side and the words, “Jesus, I trust in You” underneath. The many messages she received from the Lord about His Divine Mercy, His love for us, and desire that sinners turn back to Him are included in The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in my Soul.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a very powerful prayer said on ordinary Rosary beads. The first and second times I ever heard this prayer sung were incredibly moving prayer sessions you can read about here.
Back in October of 2008 when I served on my first Cursillo team, I explained The Divine Mercy message and we sang the prayer on the weekend. In August of last year, I served on a Christ Renews His Parish Women’s retreat team and again had the privilege of introducing to the team and candidates The Divine Mercy Chaplet through song.
One time when I met with a friend from VCU and her roommate to pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil this Spring, I suggested that we sing The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Only one of the women had ever heard it sung before, but they both agreed to try it if I’d lead. Standing on the corner singing the Chaplet with two strong women of faith was a very powerful experience. Interestingly enough, this friend has a well-worn copy of The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in my Soul which she refers to daily.
Last year, our dear brother in Christ’s birthday happened to fall on Divine Mercy Sunday. In order to celebrate his birthday and the feast, he had a Divine Mercy party. Family and friends were invited to meet at his parents’ house to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy together. It was a very special occasion and a great way to promote this devotion among loved ones.
To observe Divine Mercy Sunday today, I met up our brother John and one of the high school students he’s sponsoring for Confirmation, and we sang the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at our parish, then we prayed the Stations of the Cross together.
I am grateful for the Lord's Divine Mercy, for the many women and men in my life who have shown me the love and mercy of God. Thank you for being vessels for the Lord!
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