This Sunday, the Sunday of the Easter Octave, is Divine Mercy Sunday. It will also be the day that Bl. John XXIII and Bl. John Paul II are canonized as saints. Bl. John Paul II, being from Poland, had a special devotion to St. Faustina and to the Divine Mercy, was the one who formally designated the Sunday after Easter Divine as Divine Mercy Sunday, and died on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
This devotion to the Divine Mercy is based upon the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun (1905-38) who experienced private revelations from Our Lord asking her to spread this message of the merciful love of God. There is also the famous image based upon St. Faustina’s visions that show the blood (red) and water (blue/white) flowing from the pierced side of Christ that is the source of mercy with the phrase “Jesus, I trust in you” written at the bottom.
A simple acroymn of ABC is sometimes used to remember the essential message of Divine Mercy:
A — Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach
Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and
asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon
the whole world.
B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will
There is a plenary indulgence attached to the Divine Mercy devotion. Here is a good, quick introduction on “What is an Indulgence?”
In order to receive a plenary indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday, these conditions must be fulfilled (if these conditions are not met, the indulgence becomes partial):
1. Be in a state of grace at the time of performing the devotion, have the intention of receive the indulgence, and have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin.
2. Have gone to Confession within 20 days before/after this Sunday.
3. Receive Holy Communion, on the same day preferably, but up to several days before or after is ok.
4. Pray for the intentions of the Pope (no specific prayers are specified, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary would suffice).
5. (a) In any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy OR (b) in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”)
For more information on this devotion click here.