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The Easter message of the merciful Christ, General Audience
Pope John Paul II spoke about Sister Faustina, showing his great respect for her, relating her to his encyclical. Rich in Mercy, and emphasizing her role in bringing the message of mercy to the world: (L’Osservatore Romano, April 15, 1991)
1. In the name of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, in the spirit of his messianic mission, enduring in the history of humanity, we raise our voices and pray that the love which is in the Father may once again be revealed at this stage of history and that, through the work of the Son and Holy Spirit, it may be shown to be present in our modern world and to be more powerful than evil: more powerful than sin and death.
“We pray for this through the intercession of her who does not cease to proclaim ‘mercy…from generation to generation,’ and also through the intercession of those for whom there have been completely fulfilled the words of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ (Dives in Misericordia, 15).
2. Our Lady of Jasna Gora! The words of the encyclical on divine Mercy (Dives in Misericordia) are particularly close to us. They recall the figure of the Servant of God, Sister Faustina Kowalska. This simple religious woman part brought the Easter message of the merciful Christ closer to Poland and the whole world.
This happened before the Second World War and all its cruelty. In the face of all the organized contempt for the human person, the message of Christ who was tormented and rose again became for many people in Poland and beyond its borders, and even on other continents, a source of the hope and strength necessary for survival.
3. And today? Is it perhaps not necessary also “in the contemporary world” in our homeland, in society, among the people who have entered into a new phase of our history, for love to reveal that it is stronger than hatred and selfishness? Is it perhaps not necessary to translate into the language of today’s generations the words of the Gospel, “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”.
O Mother, who announces divine mercy “from generation to generation” (Lk 1:50), help our generation to rise from the moral crisis and Christ’s new commandment, “love one another: (Jn 13:34) be established ever more fully among us.
Further Reflection: Mercy is the Greatest Attribute of God
Divine Mercy is God’s love reaching down to meet the needs and overcome the miseries of His creatures. The Bible, the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, and Pope John Paul II all assure us that this is so.
Pope John Paul II wrote in Dives in Misericordia: “The Bible, Tradition, and the whole faith life of the People of God provide unique proof … that mercy is the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God” (no. 13).
The Pope was reiterating here the teaching of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. But we still may want to know how this can be true. How can any of God’s perfections be “greater” than any other? According to the Christian philosophical tradition and the definition of God given at the First Vatican Council, God is one, simple, spiritual, infinitely perfect act of Being. He does not have “parts” as bodily creatures do. Rather, each of His perfections – such as His love, His goodness, His power, and His wisdom – is just another name for what He is.
The Polish theologian Fr. Ignacy Rozycki explained it like this: In this sense, all of God’s attributes are God, one and the same. For this reason, all are absolutely equal to each other. Divine Mercy is as infinitely perfect as His Wisdom or Power, for it is likewise God, and the same God, just as Divine Wisdom and Divine Power are God (Pillars of Fire, p. 96).
In other words, God does not just do merciful things sometimes, nor does He have a merciful “side” to His character, as a human being might have. On the contrary, He is always and everywhere and at all times merciful. Everything He does is an expression of His Mercy – and of all of His other attributes too, all at once. All of His attributes are eternally in action!
The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.
1. Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. Optional Opening Prayers
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!
3. Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
4. Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
5. The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
6. The Eternal Father
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.
7. On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
8. Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.
9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
10. Optional Closing Prayer
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.