by Jill Ragar Esfeld
The merciful love of God is beautifully proclaimed in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
It is a healing love that many people in the midst of this global pandemic need right now.
That’s why it’s important to remember the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of the Divine Mercy.
By practicing the devotions attached to that feast day, we can allow God’s merciful love to flow through us and into the world.
In the words of Pope John Paul II, who established Divine Mercy Sunday: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
The devotions began with St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, who claimed to have visions of Jesus beginning in 1924 and continuing for years.
Saint Faustina kept a 600-page diary of the apparitions. Her entries focused on God’s mercy, the need for conversion, and the call to trust in Jesus.
Jesus asked Saint Faustina to paint the vision of his merciful divinity being poured from his sacred heart, with the words “Jesus, I trust in you.” He also asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the last day of the Easter octave.
St. Faustina died on October 5, 1995. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000; and the Sunday after Easter was officially designated as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy.
Jesus instructed Saint Faustina that the feast day be preceded by a Divine Mercy novena which would begin on Good Friday.
It is a powerful novena that can flood the world with God’s healing mercy.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the apostolic penitentiary issued an official decree that included the chaplet of Divine Mercy in a list of devotions for which faithful could receive a plenary, or full, indulgence if practiced for an end to the pandemic:
“Offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.”
Those praying The Divine Mercy novena between Good Friday and the Sunday of Divine Mercy are to pray for the special intentions of each day, followed by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
- Day 1 (Good Friday) – All mankind, especially sinners
- Day 2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious
- Day 3 (Easter Sunday) – All devout and faithful souls
- Day 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know him
- Day 5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren
- Day 6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
- Day 7 (Easter Thursday) – The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy
- Day 8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory
- Day 9 (Easter Saturday) – The souls who have become lukewarm.
For the Divine Mercy Novena prayers in their entirety, click here.