Divine Mercy

What is Divine Mercy?

The Old Testament speaks frequently and with great tenderness about God’s mercy. It was Jesus, who through His words and actions, revealed to us in an extraordinary way, God as a loving Father, rich in mercy and abounding in great kindness and love. In Jesus’ merciful love and care for the poor, the oppressed, the sick and the sinful, and especially in His freely choosing to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins, He manifested in a profound and radical way the greatness of God’s love and mercy for all. In his very person, Jesus both reveals and is God’s Love and Mercy. 

Divine Mercy & Sr. Faustina 

Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the 1930’s. She came from a poor family and had only three years of simple education. As a result, hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden. However, she received extraordinary revelations  from her Lord. Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled into notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.

Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr. Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement, and an important focus on the mercy of Christ. Saint John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the “first saint of the new millennium.” Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary, the Pope call her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”

The Meaning of the Day

Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast established to celebrate St. Faustina’s revelations, nor is it  primarily about St. Faustina at all. The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter; nevertheless, the title “Divine Mercy Sunday” does highlight and amplify the meaning of the day. In this way, it recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, which he called “the days of mercy and pardon,” and the Octave Day itself “the compendium of the days of mercy.” Having always been centered on the theme of Divine Mercy and forgiveness, Divine Mercy Sunday points us to the merciful love of God that lies behind the whole Paschal Mystery — the whole mystery of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ — made present for us in the Eucharist. In this way, it also sums up the whole Easter Octave. 

Devotions Associated with Divine Mercy

There are a number of devotions associated with Divine Mercy Sunday: