April 11, 2017
Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles on Divine Mercy running in the April issues of The West Texas Catholic.
The Association of Marian Helpers of Stockbridge, Mass., promoters of St. Faustina’s Message of Divine Mercy, simplified the message and devotion through the acronyms A.B.C. and F.I.N.C.H. In the April 2 issue, the acronym A.B.C. was simplified. In this issue, the simplification of the acronym F.I.N.C.H.
The Devotion as F.I.N.C.H: Feast, Image, Novena, Chaplet, Hour
Feast of Divine Mercy. Easter, the most important feast of the liturgical year is celebrated over eight full days: it is called the Octave of Easter. The last day is the greatest day of the feast and is now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus told St. Faustina, On that day, (Divine Mercy Sunday) the very depths of My tender mercy are opened. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy… On that day, all the Divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment, (Diary 699). In a nutshell, what is promised here is the grace of being rebaptised. If we confess our sins sometime during Lent, receive Eucharist worthily, fully trusting in Jesus, we are recreated anew!
I: Image. Veneration of the Divine Mercy Image, patterned after Jesus’ instruction to St. Faustina, is central to the devotion, especially on the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus said, I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as my own glory. I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces… That vessel is this image with the signature, ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’…. By means of this image, I shall grant many graces to souls, (Diary 48, 372, 742).
“Especially important is Jesus’ Sacred Heart. From it emanates the Blood (red ray) and water (pale ray). These two rays defeat Satan’s only two weapons: sin and death. Sin is wiped away by the cleansing waters of Baptism and the healing words of Confession. Death is wiped away by life—Life to the Jews was blood. Blood provides us life in Holy Communion. These rays represent what Christ asks us to do on the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday: Go to confession and receive Holy Communion.
The left foot stepping forward is symbolic of Christ coming to us, searching for the lost sheep and His return at the end of time.” Father Jeffrey Kirby.
Novena. The nine days of prayer in this Novena begin on Good Friday and end on the Saturday prior to Divine Mercy Sunday. In this Novena, Jesus asks us to bring a different group of people that we are to immerse in the ocean of mercy. Praying the Novena is not essential to receiving the graces associated with the Feast of Divine Mercy, however, Jesus promised, By this Novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls. (Diary 796).
Chaplet. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is prayed on ordinary rosary beads. Here are a number of promises Jesus made to those who pray the chaplet: Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death…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.
The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by my Mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death… I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the pardon is the same … 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 Savior. (Diary 687, 1541, 811,754).
Hour. Because Jesus died for us on the cross at 3:00pm, every day between 3:00pm and 4:00pm is considered the hour of mercy. At this time Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray the stations of the cross if time allowed, but He went on to tell her, As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world… I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My passion. (Diary 1572, 1320).
Jesus told St. Faustina, Today I am sending you with My mercy to the whole world. I do not wish to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful heart. (Diary 1588); Jesus tells her that before He returns as the Just Judge, He wishes to stand before us as the Merciful Savior, Divine Mercy itself. In the Diary the Lord told St. Faustina: You will prepare the world for my final coming. (Diary 429).
Now is the time for Mercy!
St. Mary’s Cathedral will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday with a number of events:
The praying of the Novena and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in song will begin on Good Friday in the Divine Mercy Chapel and continue daily at 3:00pm through Saturday, April 22.
On April 22, there will be extended hours to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The confessional will be open from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.
On Sunday, April 23, Divine Mercy Sunday, there will be Holy Hour at 3:00pm, which will include Veneration of the Image and the Divine Mercy Chaplet in song.