In the 1930s, when Jesus appeared to a young Polish nun, Sr Faustina, he required of her the institution of the Divine Mercy Feast on the Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II has done this and officially declared the young nun a saint.
The Divine Mercy Devotion incorporates the image of the Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, the 3 o’clock prayer to the Divine Mercy, the prayer for the conversion of sinners, and the great gift of the feast day itself for those who go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on this day.
I hope you don’t mind if I simply go on quoting from St Faustina’s diary which is called Divine Mercy in my Soul.
Jesus told St Faustina: Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.
… I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.
During prayer, says St Faustina, I heard these words within me: The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls... These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him…
Jesus went on to say: I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me - clamouring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.
Once, Jesus said to St Faustina: My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross.
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."
Sr Faustina says: When I asked the Lord Jesus for a sign as a proof "that You are truly my God and Lord and that this request comes from You," I heard this interior voice, I will make this all clear to the Superior by means of the graces which I will grant through this image.
In other words, the proof of authenticity will come when we do as Jesus asks and begin to recognise the graces he has given.
When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You."
Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.
Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.
Once, as I was going down the hall to the kitchen, I heard these words in my soul: Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. 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. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy.
On one occasion, I heard these words: 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 grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet … Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.
The Lord's Promise: The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.
Souls who spread the honour of My mercy I shield through their entire lives as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Saviour. At that last hour, a soul has nothing with which to defend itself except My mercy. Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.
He spoke these words to me: I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy.
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice...
… I am more generous toward sinners than toward the just.
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....
Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation] There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one's misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God's mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.
Write that 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 Saviour.
The diary of St Faustina is full of gems and it was very difficult for me to make selections from it. I really encourage each of you to buy it and read it and to reflect on your own life in the light of Jesus' words and St Faustina's insights.