Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
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St. Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata
by Domenico Beccafumi, c. 1513-15.
The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, also called the Divine Mercy Chaplet, is a Christian devotion to the Divine Mercy, based on the Christological apparitions of Jesus reported by Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938), known as "the Apostle of Mercy." She was a Polish religious sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000.
Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations.
As a Roman Catholic devotion, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds. As an Anglican devotion, the Divine Mercy Society of the Anglican Church states that the chaplet can also be recited on Anglican prayer beads. The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.
On September 13, 1935, while Faustina was in Vilnius, she wrote of a vision of Jesus about the chaplet in her diary (Notebook 1 item 476). Faustina stated that Jesus asked her to pray the chaplet and instruct others to do so. Although the chaplet is said on beads like the Rosary, it is about a third of the length of the Rosary, and unlike the Rosary that has evolved over the years, the form and structure of the chaplet has remained unchanged since Faustina attributed it to a message from Jesus.
According to Faustina's visions, written in her diary, the chaplet's prayers for mercy are threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ's mercy, and to show mercy to others. Faustina wrote that Jesus promised that all who recite this chaplet at the hour of death or in the presence of the dying will receive great mercy. She wrote that Jesus said:
"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior."
Faustina stated that Jesus also promised that anything can be obtained with this prayer if it is compatible with His will. In her diary Faustina recounted a vision on September 13, 1935 in which she saw an angel sent to a city to destroy it. Faustina began to pray for God's mercy on the city and felt the strong presence of the Holy Trinity. After she prayed the internally instructed prayers, the angel was powerless to harm the city. In subsequent visions, Faustina learned that the prayers she spoke were to be taught to all the people of the world.
According to Roman Catholic tradition, the chaplet may be said at any time, but it is said especially on Divine Mercy Sunday and Fridays at 3:00 PM. The Chaplet is prayed daily at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong the "3 o'clock Prayer" is broadcast on radio and television stations daily at 3:00 p.m. In 2000, Pope John Paul II ordained the Sunday after Easter Divine Mercy Sunday, where Roman Catholics remember the institution of the Sacrament of Penance. The hour Jesus died by crucifixion, 3:00 PM (15:00), is called the Hour of Mercy. In a novena, the chaplet is usually said each of the nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday.
Pope John Paul II was instrumental in the formal establishment of the Divine Mercy devotion and acknowledged the efforts of the Marian Fathers in its promotion in a Papal Blessing in 2001, the 70th anniversary of the revelation of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion. Although the prayers said on the beads of the rosary chain share specific similarities between the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Chaplet of Holy Wounds, these are distinct chaplets and were introduced over 20 years apart, one in Poland, the other in France.
The Chaplet contains several unique prayers.
First opening prayer
This prayer is optional, and may be used to begin the Chaplet:
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.
Second opening prayer
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, is also optional, and may be used along with the first opening prayer to begin the Chaplet:
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
This prayer opens each decade of the Chaplet:
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.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
This prayer, repeated 10 times in succession, forms the body of each decade of the Chaplet:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, concludes the Chaplet:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This prayer is optional, and may be used after the Holy God to end the Chaplet:
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.
The Chaplet is begun on the short strand of the rosary beads:
- The sign of the cross on the Crucifix;
- The optional first opening prayer on the first large bead;
- The optional second opening prayer, repeated three times, still on the first large bead;
- The Lord's Prayer on the first small bead;
- The Hail Mary on the second small bead; and
- The Apostles' Creed on the third small bead.
The praying of the decades then follows, repeating this cycle for each:
- The Eternal Father on the large bead, with a specific offering each decade; and
- The For the sake of His sorrowful Passion on each of the ten adjacent small beads, with other petitions for mercy, emphasizing the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ.
- The Holy God on the medallion;
- The optional closing prayer, still on the medallion;
- Any further intentions; and
- The sign of the cross.
The chaplet may be repeated over a period of nine days as part of a novena. According to Faustina's Diary, Jesus himself in a vision asked that the Divine Mercy Novena be prayed as a preparation for the Feast of the Divine Mercy, celebrated each year on first Sunday after Easter. The novena should begin on Good Friday. There is a prayer intention for specific group of people on each of the nine days. The last day intention, according to Jesus' message to St. Faustina, is the most difficult of all: to pray for the people who are lukewarm and indifferent. Jesus described those people as follows:
These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by." The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
The novena intentions for each day are:
- All mankind, in particular all sinners.
- The souls of priests and the religious.
- The souls of the devout and faithful people.
- For the non-believers and those who do not yet know Jesus.
- The souls of heretics and schismatics.
- The souls of "the meek and humble" and for little children.
- The souls of people who especially glorify Christ's mercy.
- The souls in Purgatory.
- Souls who have become lukewarm and indifferent.
- Divine Mercy Sunday
- Congregation of Marian Fathers
- St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, the home of the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
- Marians of the Immaculate Conception
- Knights of Divine Mercy (Catholic men's group)
- Rosary based prayers
- Chaplet of Holy Wounds
- Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Faustina Kowalska 2003 ISBN 1-59614-110-7
- Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate by David Came 2009 ISBN 978-1-59614-203-9
- Roesch, Joe (2014). "Is Divine Mercy for All Christians?". Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
However, all Christians can agree that we are redeemed through the death of Christ on the cross. There is no reason, therefore, why all Christians could not pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, since it focuses on our redemption in Christ.
- Ann Ball, 2003 "Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices." ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 174
- Pope John Paul II. "Homily for Faustina at Vatican website".
- Vatican Biography of Faustina Kowalska
- "The Chaplet". The Divine Mercy Society of the Anglican Church. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
The Chaplet below is the Universal Anglican Church version and may be recited using either the Universal Anglican Church prayer beads or the Roman Catholic rosary.
- Tim Drake, 2002, Saints of the Jubilee, Authorhouse ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 85-95
- Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons 2008 by D. Todd Williamson 2007 ISBN 1-56854-617-3 page 195
- Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 63-79
- Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-923-2
- EWTN description of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- Alan Butler and Paul Burns, 2005, Butler's Lives of the Saints, Burns and Oats ISBN 0-86012-383-9 page 251
- G. P. Geoghegan, 2006, "A Collection of My Favorite Prayers." ISBN 978-1-4116-9457-6
- Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. (2012). Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet. Stockbridge, Massachusetts: Marian Press. ISBN 978-1-59614-036-3.
- Divine Mercy Novena
- EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
- The decree of Roman Curia about the devotions in honour of Divine Mercy
- Chaplet of The Divine Mercy - TheDivineMercy.org
- Chaplet of Divine Mercy Online
- Audio of the Chaplet
- John Paul II; George W. Kosicki, C.S.B. (retranslation) (Nov 30, 1980). "Encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia)". Retrieved 2011-11-03.