As I was watching a live streaming mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Munster, Indiana, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the large image of Divine Mercy that hung to the left of the altar. The pale and red rays that poured out of the pierced heart of Christ seemed to extend out of my tablet screen right into my heart, and the words “Jesu Ufam Tobie” (Jesus I Trust in You in Polish) were prominently fixed before my eyes.
The world as we know it is temporarily on pause, everyone encouraged (or even mandated) to stay home, there are no public masses or services, and the fear and anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic is palpable. Yet all I could think of as mass continued, were the words I knew I needed to repeat over and over again. Jesus I trust in You, Jesus I trust in You.
For me, trust in Jesus is a concept that is easier said than done. As a type A personality, I like my life to be organized, thought out and according to plan. Yet time and time again, God has shown me that I am really not in control, and no matter how much I plan, life can change in the blink of an eye. However, I have learned through experience, that if we ask Jesus for this grace to trust Him, he will give it to us in abundance, enough to share with others. In the Diary of St. Faustina, Jesus tells St. Faustina, “When a soul approaches me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” (Dairy 1074).
The Divine Mercy Devotion has been a source of consolation and peace in my daily life, whether times were good or trying. During this difficult time, this devotion which encourages complete surrender to the will of God is more important than ever.
So how can this Devotion bring you peace during a worldwide pandemic? Here are some simple recommendations:
Place an Image of Divine Mercy in your home in a visible place.
This beautiful image is more than a picture, it is a vessel for grace for your family! Jesus directed St. Faustina to have the image of Divine Mercy painted and venerated around the world. He promised “By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls.” (Diary 570)
St. Faustina’s spiritual director, Father Sopocko, recalled that Jesus said:
Let everyone procure for their homes this Image because there will yet come trials. And those homes, and entire families, and everyone individually who will hold this image of mercy in deep reverence, I will preserve from every sort of misfortune. The time will come when all those who do so will give witness to the miraculous efficacy and to the special protection of mercy flowing from this Image.
Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, (the religious community entrusted with spreading the message and devotion of Divine Mercy) is encouraging all Catholics to “seal their door” by placing an Image of Divine Mercy on their front door. As the Isrealites sealed their doors in Exodus with the blood of the Lamb, he asked that we mark our doors with Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Fr. Chris explains “while this act of faith may not guarantee your family won’t be physically affected by the virus, it will guarantee that, by your trust in Jesus, you will obtain His promises of love and mercy, which will surround you and remain in you forever.” (Source)
Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
While St. Faustina was praying, she heard Jesus asking her to pray specific prayers on the beads of a rosary. The most repeated prayer is
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world (Diary, 476)
Jesus told St. Faustina “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My Will. (Diary 1731) and “Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet.” (Diary 848)
This simple rhythmic prayer is not only beautiful meditation on the passion of our Lord, but an opportunity to beg for “mercy on us and on the whole world.” What a powerful work of mercy we can offer all those who are suffering by praying not only for ourselves and our families, but for mercy on the entire world. Jesus specifically asks that we pause at the three o’clock hour to meditate on his passion. Many parishes are now streaming the chaplet live on their facebook page or you can pray with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy at 3 pm on the Divine Mercy (official) Facebook page. However, if three o’clock passes and you haven’t been able to say the Chaplet, pause and pray anyway, as I was once reminded by a bumper sticker that said “It’s 3 o’clock somewhere, pray the Chaplet.”
Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday
Jesus told St. Faustina, “I desire there to be a Feast of Mercy.” (Diary 699)
Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, is a Catholic dream. Jesus promised a “whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy” on this day. Jesus offers a very special grace to those who go to confession and receive Holy Communion – complete forgiveness of sins and punishment . (Diary, 699). Typically, to celebrate this great feast day is actually pretty easy, however, this year during the quarantine, what are we to do?
In speaking with Fr. Chris Alar, he assured me, “The church has made it clear, we can still receive the graces from Divine Mercy Sunday! If confession is not available, in lieu of going to confession, we can make an Act of Contrition, say we are sorry for our sins and try our best to sin no more. If mass is not available and we cannot physically receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we can make a spiritual communion and ask Him to give us the graces as if we did receive Him sacramentally.” Fr. Chris explained, “When the Church is unable to provide for us the sacraments, remember Jesus is not constrained, he continues to offer us this special grace!”
You can also participate in the Divine Mercy celebration at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy Sunday broadcast on EWTN.
Read the Diary of St. Faustina
Although this rather large tome may seem daunting, it is filled with the beautiful reflections by St. Faustina and the words Jesus spoke to her. Through her writings you will find Jesus is not only talking to her, but also wants to speak to each of us and to lead us to holiness. Millions of people have been impacted by her writings and the messages are a beacon of light, love and truth in a dark world. Here are some of my favorite consoling quotes:
If you are lonely, “Do not fear, I will not leave you alone.” (Diary 881)
If you are hurting, “Tell me all, My child, hide nothing from Me, because My loving Heart, the Heart of your Best Friend, is listening to you.” (Diary 1486)
If you are anxious, “Be at peace, My child, I am with you” (Diary 1674)
If you are suffering, “My daughter, do not be afraid of sufferings; I am with you” (Diary 151)
Jesus wants to be our best friend. He wants us to grow in prayer, love and faith so we can enter more deeply into his most precious Heart. May this difficult time teach us to trust and bring us closer to Jesus, whose mercy is endless!
This article was first run in the Columbus Catholic Times. Reprinted with permission.