The human race needs to realize that God loves everyone and no sin, however great it may be, can ever prevent anyone to come back to the Lord, because He is always waiting for the return of the sinner. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk.19,10). The prophet Joel experienced the tender love and mercy of God; he proclaimed: “God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment”(2.13). We can always rely on the Mercy of God, no matter how sinful we are. All that we have to do is to turn to Him asking for His Mercy. His Mercy is greater than all our sins. St. Paul says: “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom. 5,20). So great is the mercy of our God that He is inviting us to embrace His Merciful love: “Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword” (Is.1,18-19).
God Almighty has revealed His tender love and mercy to the human race through His various chosen ones all throughout the salvation history. In the 20th century, He chose Sr.Faustina, a simple, uneducated Polish nun to remind the humankind about His Mercy. She was in her convent in Krakow, when she started getting visions of Jesus with the message of Mercy. In 1953, while she was praying for the Lord’s mercy on a certain city which the Lord was about to chastice, suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. And she found herself pleading with God for mercy with the words she heard interiorly:
“Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. “ (Diary of St.Faustina, 475)
The next day, as she was entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord called “the Chaplet”. This time, after “have mercy on us” were added the words “and on the whole world”. From then on, she recited this wording of the prayer almost constantly. (Diary, 476).
In subsequent revelations, the Lord asked her to encourage people to say the Chaplet (1541) and He revealed to her that those who pray this Chaplet with faith would receive extraordinary promises:
“Whoever will recite it, will receive great mercy at the hour of death”(687)
“When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying individual, not as the just judge but as the Merciful Saviour” (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” (687).
“Through this Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will” (1731)
Thus from the Dairy of St. Faustina the special devotion of the Chaplet of Divine mercy began to spread throughout the world. Though this Chaplet may be prayed at any time, it is appropriate to pray it during the “Hour of Great Mercy”- three o’clock each afternoon, recalling the Passion of the Lord on the Cross at that time. It was on the Cross, the fountain of His Mercy was wide opened for all the souls when a centurion by name Longinus pierced His side by a lance, as the legend says.
Jesus revealed His wish to St.Faustina: “It is my desire that the Feast of Mercy be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy.” The Lord also told her to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Divine Mercy, as a Novena. “By this Novena of the Chaplet, I will grant every possible grace to the souls” (796).
The Feast of Divine Mercy has been made an official feast of the Church by Pope John Paul II at the Canonisation of St.Faustina on April 30th in the Jubilee year 2000. “It is important that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which, from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’ (First Sunday after Easter)
We need to go to the Sacrament of Confession and receive The Holy Communion on the Feast of Divine Mercy for the fulfilment of the promises. Jesus said, “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (699).”When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the Priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy. Tell souls that from this Fount of Mercy, souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity” (1602).
Jesus has said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt.5, 7); “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk. 6, 36). “Judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement” (Jas.2.13). As the Lord gave this Chaplet He also reminded us of our duty to be merciful to one another.
“I demand from you, deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to your neighbours always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it” (742)
The loving God wanted the human race to know about His Mercy before He returns to judge the world. Since ‘He desires everyone to be saved’ (1 Tim.2,4), He deigned to give this devotion as “vessel of Mercy”, through which God’s Mercy can be poured upon the world. It is quite apt that the celebration of the Divine Mercy is kept on the first Sunday after Easter (Second Sunday of Easter). During the Holy Week the Church reflects on the Great Mercy of God the Father in sacrificing His Beloved Son for us. Father loves everyone as He loves Jesus (cfr. Jn 17,23). And therefore each one of us is so precious for the Father who willed that His Son Jesus atones for my sin by His Passion and death on the Cross; Jesus, because of His love for me, was ready to die for me. Do I become conscious of my dignity and seek His Mercy for my sins?