Holding the Whole World in Our Hands
As we come to the Octave Day of Easter, we are invited to a uniquely Polish devotion which has become a global one: Divine Mercy. John Paul II mainstreamed and ‘universalized’ the message of a somewhat peripheral figure of the twentieth century, St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938). St. Faustina was the first saint canonized by St. John Paul II in the new millennium on April 30, 2000. Her feast day is observed each year on October 5. She was invited by Christ to intercede in reparation for sinful humanity—beginning with herself—and for mercy upon the whole world. In other words, she prayed knowing that the work of redemption in Christ was no trivial matter, but a matter of spiritual life and death.
St. Faustina prayed with conviction and hope for the conversion of sinners: both those known to her and those unknown. The power of the praying Christian is real. When we intercede for our needs and those of the whole world, there is real efficacy to our prayers. This is especially true when we pray for softening and conversion of hearts and mercy upon ourselves and the whole world. Today we are invited to join our fervent prayers to hers, in the simple prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet which we will offer communally after each of our weekend Masses.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Mercy can be recited using an ordinary five-decade rosary. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.
1. Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. Opening Prayers (optional)
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.
(repeat three times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!
3. Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
4. Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
5. The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
6. The Eternal Father
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.
7. On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
8. Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the "Eternal Father" (6) on the "Our Father" bead and then 10 "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion" (7) on the following "Hail Mary" beads.
9. Conclude with Holy God (repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
10. Closing Prayer (optional)
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
This Sunday afternoon, April 28th, there are numerous Divine Mercy celebrations in parishes around the Archdiocese and the globe. One of our neighboring parishes, St. Charles Borromeo is offering confessions at 2 pm and devotions at 3 pm. I will be assisting with confessions as part of their services. All are invited to attend to gain a Plenary Indulgence attached to this Second Sunday of Easter: by taking part in prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for sin, even venial sin. The usual conditions apply: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.
It is amazing how holding simple beads in our hands can be a real means to taking the whole world in our hands and by placing the world into the Lord’s hands in prayer. In a particular way we pray this week for our young people who will receive their First Holy Communion next Sunday at the 9:30 and 11:30 am Masses at Holy Cross.
The Lord is Risen, Alleluia! Truly He is Risen, Alleluia!
Easter has just begun! I share “Ten Ways to Celebrate Easter” lightly modified from Fr. Joseph Johnson, Pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Louis Park.
How do we keep the whole 50 days of Easter as a celebration? If we do penance for the 40 days of Lent, then it would be lopsided to not celebrate at least as much! Beyond the obvious candy and other treats, check out a few spiritual ways to celebrate!
1.Greet each other every morning with the traditional Easter salutation: "The Lord is Risen, Alleluia!" "Truly He is Risen, Alleluia!"
2. Learn the "Regina Coeli" prayer which replaces the daily Angelus during Easter. Hint, it is on the back cover of the Pew Missal. (You can even search it on YouTube and learn the short Latin chant version!)
3. Attend daily Mass at least once per week or stop by the adoration chapel on your way to or from work. Adore the Risen Lord Jesus in our midst!
4. Hopefully you have a crucifix prominently displayed somewhere in your house--kiss it every day to say thank you to the Lord for His Merciful Love! "By His stripes, we are healed!"
5. Light a candle each evening and pray the first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, "The Resurrection," asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist you to be a witness of the Risen Lord to those around you.
6. Visit a cemetery once per week and pray that those buried there will share in the glory of the Resurrection! The souls in Purgatory will be most grateful and assist you in your needs in return. Alternatively, at home you can make a list of deceased family and friends and say a "Hail Mary" for each one of them or dedicate the prayers of each day of the Easter season to one of them.
7. The 50 days of Easter culminate in the Pentecost celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Find a favorite prayer to the Holy Spirit and pray it each day as a family.
8. Allow the Lord to draw you together with other disciples to study your faith together. Stay tuned for opportunities to do this.
9. Write an old-fashioned note each day to someone to whom you feel called to be the light of Christ. Maybe it is someone who is suffering and needs cheering up, or someone whom you haven't seen in a long time but cherish, or someone with you all the time to show that you don't take him/her for granted. Bring the light of Christ to others!
10. Make time for discipleship! Discern one way to contribute to the life of our parish community through your service. It doesn't have to take a lot of time but shows our unity as a spiritual family and assumes responsibility for our shared mission as the Lord's disciples. This could mean volunteering for Art-A-Whirl, or as an usher or lector at Mass.