The Feast of Divine Mercy is celebrated in the Catholic Church on the 2nd Sunday of Easter and its name is Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a feast when we worship God in the mystery of His incomprehensible mercy.
Jesus himself desired this Feast to be instituted, as He said to Saint Faustina: “I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy.” (Diary, 299) “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.” (Diary, 699)
A Day of Great Mercy
Divine Mercy Sunday is a day of great mercy. Jesus said to Saint Faustina: “The Feast of My Mercy has issued forth from My very depths for the consolation of the whole world.” (Diary 1517) “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.” (Diary, 699)
The greatest mercy of this day is Jesus´ promise of complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. Jesus promised: “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.” (Diary, 699)
Through Saint Faustina Jesus told us what is necessary to do to receive the great mercy that He wants to give souls on that day:
Preparatory Novena before the Feast of Mercy
Jesus desired that we prepare for this Feast with a novena – the prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy over nine days. It starts on Good Friday. “By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (Diary 796)
Confession and Holy Communion
Confession does not have to be done only on the Day of Divine Mercy but can be beforehand. The most important thing is that the soul is pure on the day and without any attachment to sin, and receives Holy Communion.
The Lord Jesus said: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.” (Diary, 1602)
He invites every soul to approach Him with sincere trust and points out that Divine Mercy has no limits: “On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” (Diary, 699)
“Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” (Diary, 1146)
Jesus revealed to us where the greatest miracles of Divine Mercy take place – in the confessional. “Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy. There the greatest miracles take place, and are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. Oh, miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy!” (Diary, 1448)
Trust in God and Mercy towards neighbours
Through Saint Faustina Jesus wanted to send the message of Divine Mercy to the entire world: He said: “I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.” (Diary, 1588) “Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself.” (Diary, 1074)
This message tells us about the merciful and immense love of God for man and invites us to try to live with trust in God, whilst being merciful towards others.
The Lord Jesus taught Saint Faustina not only to meditate and speak to the world about the limitless Divine Mercy, but also to follow God’s example in our own life, carrying out deeds of mercy towards our neighbours. “Daughter, look into My Merciful Heart and reflect its compassion in your own heart and in your deeds…” (Diary, 1688)
The Diary of Saint Faustina tells us precisely in what ways we can do this in everyday life. Jesus said: “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbour: the first – by deed, the second – by word, the third – by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.” (Diary, 742) Saint Faustina herself wrote about the three degrees of mercy: “The first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy – if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The third: prayer – if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach out physically.” (Diary 163)
This year we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy on 3rd April. Let this Feast be a day of mercy and of God’s love for us in this Jubilee Year of Mercy!