How to Celebrate The Solemnity of the Divine Mercy
By Karen Riobo
Catholics have celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday since the year 2000. However, this was already a solemnity on the Octave Day of Easter. The title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does, however, highlight the meaning of the day. This day was instituted by St. John Paul the II on April 30th, 2000, at the canonization of Saint Faustina prompted by the writings on her diary where God revealed to the mystic his wish to dedicate the Octave Day of Easter to the contemplation of His Divine Mercy.
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, 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 are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. 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 angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come 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)
Thanks to the obedience of Pope St. John Paul II, we have a day to dedicate ourselves to the contemplation of the immensity and depth of God’s love for us. It is also an opportunity to draw near His heart and ask Him for special graces for the souls in purgatory, especially our family members. It is a day where we can focus on our sinful tendencies and ask for His Mercy to transform them into virtues.
A Special Encounter With God’s Love, Mercy itself
Personally, I started consciously celebrating this solemnity three years ago when I joined the Young Adult group. I had a friend who was coming back to the faith, and the Lord had called her back home after having an abortion. She wanted to attend the hour of adoration and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 PM. I said yes, and while praying the chaplet, she collapsed. She was so immersed in the prayer, so embraced with God’s Spirit that she rested in my arms.
I continued to pray for her, but there was no doubt in my heart that she was being delivered, healed and loved as God promised to Saint Faustina: The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow.
Some of us may never experience an encounter like the one my friend had, but I witnessed God’s love through her. Just like Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons and her life was never the same. She felt so unworthy of God’s mercy and was so grateful for it That she dedicated her life to the service of her Lord, and never left his side.
My friend’s life also changed. She became an advocate for Respect for Life and every Saturday she prays the rosary at an abortion clinic. She is also a volunteer at the local office. God’s mercy turned her shame into a blessing for the Kingdom.
Her openness to God’s mercy has had an impact in her own family and friends. I personally draw inspiration from her story. She has healed through the devotion to the Divine Mercy.
How should we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday?
● Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 pm
It is appropriate to pray the Chaplet during the "Hour of Great Mercy" — three o'clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross). In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour.
Here are some of the promises revealed to Faustina about the Chaplet:
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 (687). I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731)
Many of our brothers and sisters will be praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy around the world.
● Venerate the image of the Divine Mercy
I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You (327). I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world (47).
If you have an image in your house, light up a candle, contemplate it and say a prayer. You can make a list of your deceased family members and friends and pray for their souls and your own conversion.
● Watch the movie Love and Mercy on Amazon Prime
This movie relates the life of Saint Faustina the Divine Mercy and her mission. It presents unknown facts and recently disclosed documents with scientific analyses showing all the truth about the topic in a new light.
Watching the movie is a way to promote the devotion to the Divine Mercy and fill our hearts with the hope of God’s love and providence.
However you choose to celebrate this special Sunday, do so with an open heart and with the humility and vulnerability to encounter the father’s heart in a new way this year.
Happy and Blessed Solemnity of the Divine Mercy!