What is Divine Mercy?
History of the Message and Devotion to Divine Mercy
The Message of the Divine Mercy that Sr. Faustina received from the Lord was not only directed toward her personal growth in faith but also toward the good of the people. With the command of our Lord to paint an image according to the pattern that Sr. Faustina had seen, came also a request to have this image venerated, first in the Sisters' chapel, and then throughout the world. The same is true with the revelations of the Chaplet. The Lord requested that this Chaplet be said not only by Sr. Faustina, but by others: "Encourage souls to say the Chaplet that I have given you."
The same is true of the revelation of the Feast of Mercy. "The Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnly be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy."
These requests of the Lord given to Sr. Faustina between 1931 and 1938 can be considered the beginning of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion in the new forms.
Through the efforts of Sr. Faustina’s spiritual directors, Fr. Michael Sopocko, and Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ, and others — including the Marians of the Immaculate Conception — this message began to spread throughout the world.
However, it is important to remember that this message of The Divine Mercy, revealed to St. Faustina and to our present generation is not new. It is a powerful reminder of who God is and has been from the very beginning. This truth that God is in His very nature Love and Mercy Itself, is given to us by our Judeo-Christian faith and God’s self-revelation. The veil that has hidden the mystery of God from eternity was lifted by God Himself. In His goodness and love God chose to reveal Himself to us, His creatures, and to make known His eternal plan of salvation. This He had done partly through the Old Testament Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets, and fully through His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the person of Jesus Christ, conceived through power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, the unseen God was made visible.
Jesus reveals God as Merciful Father
The Old Testament speaks frequently and with great tenderness about God’s mercy. Yet, 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 (a truly horrible suffering and death on the Cross), so that all may be freed from destructive consequences and death, He manifested in a superabundant and radical way the greatness of God’s love and mercy for humanity. In His person as God-Man, one in being with the Father, Jesus both reveals and is God’s Love and Mercy Itself.
The message of God’s Love and Mercy is especially made known by the Gospels
The good news revealed through Jesus Christ is that God’s love for each person knows no bounds, and no sin or infidelity, no matter how horrible, will separate us from God and His love when we turn to Him in confidence, and seek his mercy. God’s will is our salvation. He has done all on our behalf, but since He made us free, He invites us to choose Him and partake of His divine life. We become partakers of His divine life when we believe in His revealed truth and trust Him, when we love Him and remain true to His word, when we honor Him and seek His Kingdom, when we receive Him in Communion and turn away from sin; when we are mutually caring and forgiving.