By: Sarah Streitwieser
There is one thing that I don’t particularly like about Divine Mercy Sunday. Before registering a complaint — hang with me for one second! While I love that our Church dedicates one Sunday every year to celebrating God’s merciful love, I do not particularly like our tendency to put Divine Mercy away — back on its storage shelf — after the feast day. Like taking down Christmas decorations on December 26th — there is so much more to celebrate! What follows is a simple tutorial for “planting” Divine Mercy that can grow all season!
Step 1: Gather your supplies
This project is extremely flexible — so be creative and use what you have! We chose to use leftover supplies that we had around the house. You can make this project as elaborate or as simple as you would like. We stuck to simplicity — but if you are crafty and creative, then this can easily be enhanced!
- A flower pot (large, small, stone, terracotta, or plastic — virtually anything will work!)
- Potting soil
- Red or pink flowers (enough to fill half of your pot)
- white, bluish, or light green flowers/plants (enough to fill half of your pot)
- Permanent markers, paint pens, or non-washable craft paint
- Wood or sticks to construct a cross from — we used paint stirs
- Optional: small rocks or tiles — 1 for each member of your family.
- Optional: spray paint or exterior house paint
Step 2: The Words of Divine Mercy
Ask one of your children to write the words of Divine Mercy around the top rim of your flower pot, using non-washable craft paint, a permanent marker, or a paint pen. For younger children, you may wish to write with pencil first, allowing them to trace the letters with marker/paint. Possible scripts:
- Have mercy on us and on the whole world
- Have mercy on the [Your Last Name]’s and on the whole world
- Jesus, we trust in you!
- Jesus, the [Your Last Name]’s trust in you
Faith connection: we are creating a Divine Mercy flower pot. What does Divine Mercy mean? How is mercy different from justice? How do flowers and plants reflect God’s merciful love?
Step 3: Fill your pot with soil
This job is particularly well suited for a younger child, if you have one! Simply ask you child to fill the pot with potting soil.
Faith Connection: Discuss the dark color of the potting soil. Observe that soil is dark because it is full of nutrients that will help the flowers grow. Review what is needed for plants to grow (water, sun, soil, appropriate climate and placement). What does God give us to help us grow? How does God continue to extend His mercy and provide for our necessities during this unique time? You may wish to reference the “seed” parables in Matthew 13.
Step 4: Planting
Ask/help your child to plant your flowers, placing the red/pink flowers on one side of your pot and the pale/white flowers on the other side of the pot. Be certain to leave a space in the middle of your pot for a cross.
Faith Connection: Review the Divine Mercy Image. Note the red and white rays coming from Jesus’s heart (this is what you are creating with flowers!) The red ray represents the blood that poured from Jesus’s heart. It reminds us of his sacrifice and of the Sacrament of Communion. The white/pale ray represents the water that flowed from Jesus’s pierced heart. It reminds us of Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God extends mercy to us in many ways — most notably through the Sacraments. How does God extend mercy toward us now, while the sacraments are not readily available to us?
Step 5: Creating your Cross
Create a cross out of existing materials that you have around your home/yard. We used paint stirs and spray-painted them with leftover spray paint. You could use scrap wood, a yard stick, or natural sticks from your yard. Keep it simple! Insert the completed cross into the middle of your flower pot.
Faith Connection: One of the most central themes of our faith is the mystery of life through death. Why do we celebrate the cross of Christ? How are we called to die to ourselves? You may wish to review the grain of wheat parable in John 12:24
Step 6: Placing Your Family Under His Mercy
Using small rocks, stones or tiles, write the names of your family members, one on each stone. We used leftover penny tiles from a bathroom tiling project. Place the rocks/tiles beneath the cross.
Faith Connection: Pray the Divine Mercy prayer for each of your family members, with their first name inserted into the prayer.
“For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on [Timothy] and on the whole world. “
Step 7: Finishing up
Your final product should look something like (or maybe not at all like!) this:
Place your Divine Mercy flower pot in a prominent place, perhaps on your front porch or on an outdoor table where your family eats.
Faith Connection: Discuss the need for plants to be watered and invite participation in the task of daily watering. How does God continue to extend mercy toward us on a daily basis? (Note: do not “over-spiritualize” responses. After all, God does extend mercy through ice cream and sidewalk chalk!) You may wish to read Isaiah 55: 10-11
Divine Mercy Flowerpot kits (with real supplies, not leftover paint sticks!) will be available soon — for a purchase price that helps cover our costs. Keep your eye on the weekly email blast for details!