Divine Mercy Prayer League
Blessed John Paul II and Divine Mercy
The goal of the Divine Mercy Prayer League is not specifically or primarily to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy. Rather, it is to plead for the unity of church leaders with the Holy Father.
Although we could have chosen other prayers, it would have been difficult to find one more appropriate than the Divine Mercy chaplet when praying for the Holy Father. We were inspired by our great Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II (1920 to 2005) and by his strong devotion to Divine Mercy. A tribute to John Paul's devotion, the Holy Father Benedict XVI chose Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, as the day on which to beatify John Paul II.
No one among the leaders of the church has done more to promote devotion to Divine Mercy. As Bishop of Krakow, he initiated the cause for the beatification of Sister Faustina. He gained ecclesiastical approval for the Divine Mercy devotion in 1978. During his pontificate, Sister Faustina was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday in 1993 and canonized in 2000 on Divine Mercy Sunday. In his homily at the canonization, Blessed John Paul II announced that Divine Mercy Sunday was to be celebrated throughout the church.
Along with these well-known official acts, Blessed John Paul II wrote and spoke often on Divine Mercy, making it a major theme during his pontificate from 1978 to 2005. His encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, provides a rich biblical and theological context for the devotion. In other addresses and homilies, he spoke specifically of the Divine Mercy devotion that originates with Saint Faustina.
We include here a few excerpts from the Holy Father's numerous statements about Divine Mercy. Full texts are available on the Vatican web site.
"Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sister Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.
"Jesus told Sister Faustina: 'Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.' Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked forever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time. "What will the years ahead bring us? What will man's future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sister Faustina's charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium….
" Sister Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary: 'I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbors. All my neighbors' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbor.' This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure!
"It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.
"This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer 'Jesus, I trust in you', which Providence intimated through Sister Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. Jezu, ufam tobie.
"Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps 88 : 2). Let us too, the pilgrim Church, join our voice to the voice of Mary most holy, 'Mother of Mercy,' to the voice of this new saint who sings of mercy with all God's friends in the heavenly Jerusalem.
"And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!"
"…With Saint Paul, I ask you, brothers and sisters: take as your model the sound principles, in faith and love in Jesus Christ. Safeguard the deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you (cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14). Carry it into the third Christian millennium with the pride and humility of witnesses. Transmit to future generations the message of divine Mercy, which in this city was made manifest to the world. At the end of the twentieth century the world appears more than ever to be in need of such a message. Bring it into the new times as a promise of hope and pledge of salvation."
"At no time and in no historical period-especially at a moment as critical as our own-can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it. Precisely this is the fundamental right and duty of the Church in Christ Jesus, her right and duty towards God and towards humanity."
"1. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps 89:1) Here I have come to this shrine as a pilgrim to take part in the unending hymn in honor of Divine Mercy. The Psalmist of the Lord had intoned it, expressing what every generation preserved and will continue to preserve as a most precious fruit of faith. There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy—that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God. In this place we become particularly aware of this. From here, in fact, went out the Message of Divine Mercy that Christ himself chose to pass on to our generation through Blessed Faustina. And it is a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this picture of the Merciful Jesus, his Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: 'Fear nothing. I am with you always' (Diary, q. II). And if this person responds with a sincere heart: 'Jesus, I trust in you!', he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears. In this dialogue of abandonment, there is established between man and Christ a special bond that sets love free. And 'there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear' (1 Jn 4:18).
"The Church re-reads the Message of Mercy in order to bring with greater effectiveness to this generation at the end of the Millennium and to future generations the light of hope. Unceasingly the Church implores from God mercy for everyone. 'At no time and in no historical period-especially at a moment as critical as our own-can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it . . . The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word mercy, moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy with loud cries' (Dives in Misericordia, 15). Precisely for this reason this shrine too has found a place on my pilgrim itinerary. I come here to commend the concerns of the Church and of humanity to the merciful Christ. On the threshold of the Third Millennium I come to entrust to him once more my Petrine ministry - 'Jesus, I trust in you'!
"The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me. It is as if history had inscribed it in the tragic experience of the Second World War. In those difficult years it was a particular support and an inexhaustible source of hope, not only for the people of Krakow but for the entire nation. This was also my personal experience, which I took with me to the See of Peter and which in a sense forms the image of this Pontificate. I give thanks to Divine Providence that I have been enabled to contribute personally to the fulfillment of Christ's will, through the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy. Here, near the relics of Blessed Faustina Kowalska, I give thanks also for the gift of her beatification. I pray unceasingly that God will have 'mercy on us and the whole world.'
"2. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5:7). Dear Sisters! An extraordinary vocation is yours. Choosing from among you Blessed Faustina, Christ has made your Congregation the guardian of this place, and at the same time he has called you to a particular apostolate, that of his Mercy. I ask you: accept this responsibility! The people of today need your proclamation of mercy: they need your works of mercy and they need your prayer to obtain mercy. Do not neglect any of these dimensions of the apostolate. Fulfill it in union with the Archbishop of Krakow, to whose heart is so dear the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and in union with the whole ecclesial community over which he presides. May this shared work bear much fruit! May the Divine Mercy transform people's hearts! May this Shrine, known already in many parts of the world, become a center of worship of the Divine Mercy which shines on the whole Church!…
"I cordially bless all who are present here and all those devoted to the Divine Mercy."
"O inconceivable and unfathomable Mercy of God,
"Dear Brothers and Sisters!
"This proclamation, this confession of trust in the all-powerful love of God, is especially needed in our own time, when mankind is experiencing bewilderment in the face of many manifestations of evil. The invocation of God's mercy needs to rise up from the depth of hearts filled with suffering, apprehension and uncertainty, and at the same time yearning for an infallible source of hope. That is why we have come here today, to this Shrine of Lagiewniki, in order to glimpse once more in Christ the face of the Father: 'the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation' (2 Cor 1:3). With the eyes of our soul, we long to look into the eyes of the merciful Jesus, in order to find deep within his gaze the reflection of his inner life, as well as the light of grace which we have already received so often, and which God holds out to us anew each day and on the last day….
"3. Brothers and Sisters! As we dedicate this new church, we too can ask the question which troubled King Solomon when he consecrated the Temple of Jerusalem as the house of God: 'But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house which I have built!' (1 Kg 8:27). Yes, at first glance, to bind certain 'places' to God's presence might seem inappropriate. We can never forget that time and space belong to God in their entirety. Yet even though time and the entire world may be considered his 'temple,' God has chosen certain times and places to enable people to experience in a special way his presence and his grace. Impelled by their sense of faith, people journey to these places, confident that there they will truly find themselves in the presence of God.
"In this same spirit of faith I have come to Lagiewniki to dedicate this new church. I am convinced that this is the special place chosen by God to sow the grace of his mercy. I pray that this church will always be a place where the message of God's merciful love is proclaimed; a place of conversion and repentance; a place for the celebration of the Eucharist; a fountain of mercy; a place of prayer and of constant appeals for mercy for ourselves and for the whole world. I pray in the words of Solomon:
'Have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before you this day; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house.… Hearken to the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray in this place. Hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive' (1 Kg 8:28-30).
"4. 'But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him' (Jn 4:23). When we read these words of the Lord Jesus here in the Shrine of Divine Mercy, we are particularly aware that no one can come here except in Spirit and truth. It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and the Spirit of Truth, who guides us along the ways of Divine Mercy. By convincing the world 'concerning sin and righteousness and judgment' (Jn 16:8), he also makes known the fullness of salvation in Christ. This 'convincing' concerning sin is doubly related to the Cross of Christ. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit enables us, through Christ's Cross, to acknowledge sin, every sin, in the full dimension of evil which it contains and inwardly conceals. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit permits us, again through the Christ's Cross, to see sin in the light of the mysterium pietatis, that is, of the merciful and forgiving love of God (cf. Dominum et vivificantem, 32).
"Consequently, this 'convincing concerning sin' also becomes a conviction that sin can be laid aside and that man can be restored to his dignity as a son beloved of God. Indeed, the Cross 'is the most profound condescension of God to man.... The Cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man's earthly existence' (Dives in Misericordia, 8). The cornerstone of this Shrine will always be a reminder of this truth, for it was brought here from Mount Calvary, as if from beneath the Cross on which Jesus Christ triumphed over sin and death. "I firmly believe that this new church will always be a place where people will come before God in Spirit and truth. They will come with the trust which accompanies all those who humbly open their hearts to the working of God's merciful love, to that love which is stronger than even the greatest sin. Here, in the fire of divine love, human hearts will burn with desire for conversion, and whoever looks for hope will find comfort.
"5. 'Eternal Father, I offer to you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; by the sufferings of his Passion, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world' (Diary, 476). Upon us and upon the whole world ... How greatly today's world needs God's mercy! In every continent, from the depth of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise up. Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace. Wherever respect for life and human dignity are lacking, there is need of God's merciful love, in whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed in order to ensure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in the splendor of truth.
"Today, therefore, in this Shine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God's merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth 'the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming' (cf. Diary, 1732).
This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to the Church in Kraków and Poland, and to all the votaries of Divine Mercy who will come here from Poland and from throughout the world. May you be witnesses to mercy!
"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"This mystery of love is at the heart of the liturgy today, the Second Sunday of Easter, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy.
"2. As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
"Lord, who reveal the Father's love by your death and Resurrection, we believe in you and confidently repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.
"3. The liturgical solemnity of the Annunciation that we will be celebrating tomorrow urges us to contemplate with Mary's eyes the immense mystery of this merciful love that flows from the Heart of Christ. With her help, we will be able to understand the true meaning of Easter joy that is based on this certainty: the One whom the Virgin bore in her womb, who suffered and died for us, is truly risen. Alleluia!"Top