The Meaning of Divine Mercy
The message of Divine Mercy is simple, and yet it takes an entire lifetime to explore. Divine Mercy simply (and extraordinarily!) means that God’s love is greater than our sin and weakness. As we trust in Jesus and rely on God’s merciful love, we become more joyful and more able to share His mercy with others. Praying for Divine Mercy is particularly important in our current context, when socio-political divisions cut deep and the global pandemic threatens many people’s health and livelihood. In the prayer of Divine Mercy, we trust God’s love above our difficulties, praying — not just for ourselves — for everyone throughout the whole world.
Divine Mercy is something that God has already given to us (through Christ’s saving death, communicated to us through the sacrament of Baptism), and it is something that God continues to give to us (through prayer and the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion). Divine Mercy has been poured forth abundantly, and it continues to pour forth! God communicates His mercy to each of us personally and to all of us collectively. His mercy flows through the atoning death of His Son, but it can also flow through each of us. We have the opportunity to “add to” and amplify Divine Mercy through our actions and prayers.
Praying The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet is s beautiful way to share, spread, and amplify God’s loving mercy. If this is a devotion that you already practice, then great work! Stick with it! If you would like to learn the full prayer practice and learn more about its origin an purpose, go to thedivinemercy.org.
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (Light)
A simplified version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet can be prayed on you Rosary, without the introductory or concluding prayers. On the “Our Father beads” pray:
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.
On the “Hail Mary beads” pray:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Conclude your chaplet by praying:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (Personally)
You may wish to personalize your chaplet by inserting the names of your family members into the words of the Divine Mercy prayer:
For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on [Timothy] and on the whole world.
You can pray an entire decade of the chaplet, one for each of your immediate family members, or you can pray for a different friend , acquaintance, government leader, or family member with each individual prayer. If you pray the chaplet with your children, invite them to take turns adding a different person into each prayer. This practice teaches your children to pray for others and keeps them engaged in the prayer practice.
Praying for Divine Mercy (Extra Light!)
If praying a Divine Mercy chaplet with your family feels cumbersome or not particularly realistic, then consider simplifying the chaplet into prayer mantras. If you are a parent of a young child, prayer mantras (spoken spontaneously, not only during “prayer time”), are a great way to infuse faith in everyday life. Teach your children to declaratively pray:
Jesus I trust in You.
Pray the phrase aloud in all circumstances — in moments of felt blessing and of great difficulty. Show your children that trust in Jesus is not dependent on circumstances.
If you are the parent of an older child, try praying for mercy for your child in moments when (s)he is struggling or testing your patience:
Have mercy on [Timothy] and on the whole world.
Have mercy on [Timothy] and on his friends.
If you are a parent of a teen or tween and find that you sometimes lose your temper, try this practice as a private prayer mantra, a way to internally “count to 10” and orient yourself to Christ before reacting in anger.
During your personal or family prayer time, ask God to continue showing His Love and mercy to your family and to the whole world. Ask for Him to show you how you might be an instrument of His mercy. Give thanksgiving to God for all of the ways that He has already shown mercy to you and your family.