“My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying this chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one.”
Jesus to Saint Faustina
In heaven Jesus still carries the scar of that wound in His Sacred Heart, pierced by the spear of Longinus, which speaks eloquently of the greatest love the world will ever know.
Between 1930 and 1938 Christ appeared to Sister Faustina, a Sister of Mercy in Poland, to re-teach us the story of His love even unto death, and His disappointment in us because of distrust in His Mercy and goodness. Sister Faustina's life was a routine of every-day chores - tending the door, cooking, sweeping, gardening. Even the closest of her nun-companions never guessed God's predilections for her, or knew the wonderful secrets He whispered to her at prayer.
Sister Faustina received the first apparition of the Merciful Christ on the 22nd of February, 1931 in Plotzk. She describes it thus: "It happened in the evening. I was in my cell, when I saw Jesus dressed in a white garment. He held one hand raised in blessing and with the other He was touching the garment at the breast. From under the garment came two rays of light, one red the other pale. In silence I contemplated the Lord. My soul was filled with fear and, at the same time, with great joy. After a moment Jesus said to me:
'Paint a picture according to the vision you see and with the inscription: - Jesus, I Trust in Thee - I desire that the picture be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the whole world'."
"These rays (red and pale, symbolizing the Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Sacred Heart) shield the soul before the wrath of My Father. . Fortunate is he who lives in Their shelter for the just hand of God will never reach him."
Along with these instructions of Our Lord Sister Faustina notes two promises given by the Savior:
"I promise, that the soul that will venerate this picture will not perish. I further promise to that soul victory over its enemies already here on earth and especially in the hour of death. I, Myself, shall defend that soul as my own glory."
Our Lord also promised:
"When punishments for sins shall come upon the earth, and your native land shall be in extreme abasement, the only salvation will be hope in Divine Mercy. I shall preserve the cities and homes which this picture shall be found; I shall protect likewise those persons who shall venerate and have confidence in My Mercy."
Of special interest and inspiration is the fact that Wilno and Cracow, the only two cities in Poland, where the picture of Our Merciful Lord was publicly exposed before World War II, were both spared destruction, even though other cities were greatly damaged.
Confidence in God! Trust in God! - is the great appeal of Jesus in this devotion. Through the devotion to His Most Sacred Heart, the Savior desired to enkindle in the heart of man a flame of love and expiation. Through this devotion, He wishes to instill in our hearts a feeling of unbounded trust and confidence in His Mercy. "The flames of Mercy consume Me", cries Jesus, "and I desire to pour them out upon human souls." Lack of confidence pains Him immeasurably. "Distrust of souls tears at my bosom. The lack of confidence in chosen souls hurts Me most. Despite my inexhaustible love, they do not trust Me...!"
In order to console the worst of sinners He told Sister Faustina to write: "The greatest sinner has the greatest right to have hope in My Mercy. The soul which invokes My Mercy brings Me untold delight. I grant it graces beyond its expectations. I cannot punish a soul which has recourse to My pity and compassion even though it be the greatest sinner . . . In My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy, I seek to justify it."
The Savior warmly exhorts people to hasten to His Mercy before His Justice prevails: "Write that before I come as the just one, I first open wide the gates of My Mercy. He who does not want to pass through the gates of mercy, will have to pass through the gates of justice." Our Lord permitted Sister Faustina to see the enormity of man's sins. Frightened at their hideousness, she asked Him how He could suffer such gross insults. "I have eternity for the punishment of these. Now, I prolong the time of My Mercy. But, woe to him who does not recognize the time of My visitation.. Secretary of My Mercy, you are obliged not only to write and proclaim My Mercy, but also to implore graces for sinners, that they too may praise My Mercy." At another time Jesus said to her: "Write, the greater the misery, the stronger the right to mercy. Summon all souls to confidence in the incomprehensible abyss of My Mercy, for I desire to save all. The well of Mercy was opened wide with a lance on the cross for all souls. I do not exclude anyone."
Through this humble nun Our Savior also voices a warning to the world that its efforts to rise from its present material and moral degradation will be fruitless, unless it turns to His Mercy: "Mankind will not find peace, until it turns with confidence to My Mercy." But at the same time He adds a kind invitation and a hopeful promise: "Tell ailing mankind to draw close to My Merciful heart and I will fill it with Peace."
On September 13, 1935, Sister Faustina saw an angel, depicted to her as the executor of God's Wrath. In his hands were lightning bolts and thunder. She understood the angel was about to visit a certain place on earth and mete out punishment to its inhabitants. Our Divine Savior had made Sister Faustina's heart after His own merciful one, and she was sorrowful and begged the angel for mercy. But somehow she realized that her poor prayers were without power to appease the wrath of God. Then suddenly the Holy Trinity was manifested, and at the same time the sister heard these words:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy Most Beloved Son and Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world."
Wonder of wonders, as she repeated the words over and over, the angel was powerless to mete out the punishment. The next day while going into chapel she heard once again: "As many times as you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer I taught you yesterday." She recited it at once and the voice spoke again: "This prayer is given to appease the Wrath of God. You will recite it for nine days on the usual part of the Rosary (five decades) in the following manner:
First you will say the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. Then on the larger beads you will recite the prayer:
'Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy Most Beloved Son and Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world,'
and the smaller beads:
'Through His most sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.'
In conclusion you will say three times:
'Holy God, Holy Omnipotent, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us and on the world.'"
Sister received on September 14, 1935, the following beautiful promises for all who would pray this powerful chaplet.
"Unceasingly recite this chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death...Priests will recommend it to sinners as a last hope of salvation. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this chaplet even once, will receive grace from My infinite mercy (II, 129). . . Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who will recite this chaplet (II, 229). . . By means of it you can ask and obtain anything, if what you ask for will be compatible with My will (VI, 93). . . I want the whole world to know My infinite mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My mercy. (II, 129).
During His Passion Our Savior shed His Precious Blood for us. There were but a few drops left in His Dying Heart. He permits the Sacred Heart to be opened with a lance; and the blood trapped therein gushed forth and water with it. The Savior wishes that this touching manifestation of His love be venerated in a special manner in the devotion to the Mercy of God. It is for that reason that He instructed Sister Faustina to write down this short ejaculation and to use it often:
"O Blood and Water, which hath gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a font of Mercy for us, I Trust in Thee."
Let us imagine that Jesus is addressing us, when He said to Sister Faustina: "Secretary of My Mercy, I obligate you not only to write and proclaim My Mercy, but also to implore graces for them (sinners), that they may also praise My Mercy."
Our Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Faustina, too. On the Feast of the Annunciation in 1936 Mary said to her:
"I gave the world a Savior. You must proclaim His Mercy to it and prepare the world for His Second Coming. He will then come not as a Merciful Savior, but as a Just Judge. It will be a day of horror; resolved to be the day of Justice-the day of the Wrath of God. Angels tremble before it. . . Speak to souls of this great Mercy, while there is still time. If you remain silent now, you will have to account for a great number of souls on that final day. Fear nothing. Be faithful to the end."
Sister Faustina died on October 5, 1938. Her time to work for God's Mercy on earth came to an end. She may well be on her way to being canonized a saint due to her holiness of life. She has already been declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1993. Now it is up to us to tell sinners about the love and mercy of the Sacred Heart. Our Savior left us a promise, too, if we would. He said to Sister Faustina:
"I protect, as a mother does a child, the souls that promote the devotion to My Mercy during their entire lifetime; and in the hour of their death I will not be their judge, but their Savior. In that final hour the soul does not have anything in its defense save My Mercy. Fortunate is the soul that during life immersed itself in the fountain of My Mercy, for justice will not reach it there."
"Tell my priests that hardened sinners will crumble beneath their words when they will speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My heart. To priests who will proclaim and extol My mercy I will give wonderful power, and I will anoint their words and I will touch the hearts to which they will speak. "
This was designated by Our Lord as the Hour of great grace for the whole world. After Sister had said this short prayer:
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."
She also recorded the following request by Our Lord:
"At three o'clock implore My Mercy especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, steep yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great Mercy for the whole world. . . In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion."
It was about four months later when Sister wrote:
"I remind you, My daughter, that 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; for at that moment (mercy) was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world - mercy triumphed over justice."
"MY JESUS, Grant that I may have love, compassion and mercy for every soul without exception. O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life. Glorifying Your mercy is the exclusive task of my life." (1242)
"JESUS, make my heart like unto Yours, or rather transform it into Your own Heart that I may sense the needs of other hearts, especially those who are sad and suffering. May the rays of mercy rest in my heart." (514)
Prayers of St. Faustina Kowalska