Divine Mercy Sunday

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday.

That’s a relatively new celebration on the Catholic Church’s calendar, initiated in 2000 upon the canonization of Sr. Faustina, a Polish nun, who said Jesus Christ appeared to her in the early 1930s with a message of Mercy for the world.

Recited upon the beads of a Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet contains special prayers for nine days of intentions, beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Saturday before the second Sunday of Easter.

Among those prayed for are priests and religious, the faithful, those who don’t know God, the meek and humble, the souls in Purgatory, and those who have grown lukewarm in their faith.

Reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion on that feast day grants a plenary indulgence, complete forgiveness of sins and the punishment they deserve. You’re washed 100 percent clean — how great is that?!

Now there’s plenty of controversy over this feast. Some claim that Catholics, by honoring the image of the Risen Jesus that Sr. Faustina said she was told to prepare, are in essence idolizing a graven image.

Sure, we Catholics have statues in Church, but we don’t worship statues. They’re there merely to remind us of the people (and good deeds) they represent. Everybody knows a statue, in and of itself, can’t heal or help anybody!

Others claim that the “pyramid” on the Divine Mercy image is Satanic, likening it to Freemasonry, Scientology, and New Age occultism. Seriously?

Sr. Faustina said she asked Jesus what the pale and scarlet rays emanating from His Heart meant; He told her they signified His blood and water shed while hanging upon the Cross to His Death. Hardly sounds Satanic, does it? Nor does it look like a pyramid.

Still others claim that praying the Chaplet upon Rosary beads somehow lessens the meaning of the Rosary itself, or that it’s one more example of Catholics mindlessly repeating prayers.

Sorry, those arguments don’t fly either. Most people who have devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet don’t fail to have devotion to the Rosary; they honor both. Nor do devout Catholics “mindlessly” repeat prayers, any more than devout members of other religions “mindlessly” recite Scripture or their prayers or perform ritualistic washing.

Say what you will — an opportunity like this comes around only once a year, and everyone who can should take advantage of it.

Just think: having every sin you’ve ever committed being completely forgiven by Jesus, and every punishment deserved for those sins to be completely put aside!

12 thoughts on “Divine Mercy Sunday

  1. This is really interesting–Today and tomorrow (depends on who you ask) also make the start of Beltane.
    Organized religion is not my way all though my roots are solidly Catholic–I would look at Jesus as an inner metaphor for taking the time to really forgive myself, righting my own wrongs and forgiving others–taking this time of rebirth to do that would be perfect time and so healing.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Deb and Katybeth, I was going to jump in but Katybeth said everything I was going to say. I’m one of those “lukewarm” peeps but my Catholic roots run deep. All of the issues of Catholicism that I wrote about in my book are really my own thoughts, and based on discussion with a real priest, a very cool guy who officiated at my dad’s funeral in North Dakota. One of the things Father Keith said to me resonates as I read your post, Deb. He asked, “Lynne, tell me something: if you don’t know if there’s an afterlife, why would you choose to believe there ISN’T? I mean, where’s the payoff?” Yeah, why would I not pick the happier concept rather than the depressing one? Anyway, happy May Day, sis.

      • What a wise statement from Fr. Keith! He’s so right, you know — why would anybody take a chance there’s no afterlife? Jesus told us He was going to prepare a place for us so we could join him, and I trust in that! Happy May Day right back to ya!

  2. Hi Deb,
    Thanks for another enlightening post. All I know is that when I ws sick, I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3PM everyday,lying on my couch watching EWTN. Then I visited the shrine in nearby Stockbridge,Mass and lit two candles for special intentions. I was able to keep the candles from the chapel.When the candles burned down, each one had two protrusions on the top, like two arms raised heavenward. I used those candles at my wedding mass. I believe! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Wonderful, Kathy! I try to say the Chaplet at 3, but sometimes it’s before, sometimes later. I’m convinced it “works” whatever time you say it, and your story is just one more proof. How interesting about the candles — kind of like a sign, huh?! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Every sin ever committed now and in the future is forgiven when we believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. His sacrifce on the cross and the blood He shed was a one time deal. Go in peace and know today and forever you are forgiven if that is what you want.

    • Hi, Nancy, and thanks for visiting! I don’t want to be argumentative, but I can’t let what you’ve said go without comment. God told us, “Be holy, for I am holy.” He also, through St. Paul, told us that no one can be saved of his/her own volition. Those statements I believe. But man is an imperfect creature, even after he’s accepted Jesus’ sacrifice. Man continues to err and sin; thus, he continues to need the forgiveness of an Almighty God. If, after having accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, we rob a bank or kill someone or lie or gossip, we’ve back-slid and must come humbly before our Lord for forgiveness. If we ask in faith, we will receive. That’s the power of Confession and of Indulgences!

  4. This is so interesting, Debbie! Love being educated! I’d be a Catholic if Henry VIII and Martin Luther hadn’t had their day. “Mindlessly repeating prayers” – I’m glad you addressed that as prayer is so powerful and uttering them – anytime and anywhere- is anything but mindless. Thank you for posting this. We don’t have rosaries, but I did find the directions for knitting a prayer shawl and it’s cool – with each stitch, you repeat “Father”, next stitch “Son”, next stitch “Holy Spirt”. Have a great feast day!

    • Prayer shawls are wonderful, Izzie. Our church ladies make them and distribute them to folks who need them (cancer patients, the elderly, people with chronic illness, etc.). It’s such a wonderful way to enfold them in God’s Love! I guess we all can be accused of mindlessly repeating prayers, but it’s better than not saying prayers at all, isn’t it? Thanks for weighing in!

  5. This was new information to me – I had never heard of Sr. Faustina. Since I’m not Catholic (I was raised Baptist), many of the practices are a mystery. Thanks for the education!

    • You’re most welcome! My late father was raised Baptist, too, so I can appreciate some of your puzzlement. But we all serve the same God, and knowing a bit more about why we do the things we do only helps us understand one another better. And understanding leads to acceptance and eventually, love (which I believe is what God planned for His children all along!).

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