Introduction to the Chaplet of Mercy
by Val Conlon
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a truly special and holy prayer because it was created by Jesus for mankind. He revealed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to a Polish nun called St. Faustina through a series of visions and inner locutions in 1935, while she was living in Vilnius, Lithuania. Between 1935-1938, Jesus demonstrated to her the unlimited power of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy through a number of extraordinary miracles and events. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is not restricted to any set of intentions or petitions. Jesus showed St.Faustina the power of the Chaplet by teaching her that the Chaplet even had the power to change the weather conditions in the area where she lived. (Diary 1197) It is reasonable to believe that He did this to demonstrate the boundless power of this new prayer. Jesus explained to her that He would grant unimaginable graces to those who prayed the Chaplet once their petition was compatible with His Divine Will. (Diary 1731)
Even though it is absolutely true that the power of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is not restricted in any way, it is also true that it does have a central purpose within the Devotion to Divine Mercy. This main purpose is to save dying sinners. In the sections of the Diary where St.Faustina records her experiences of praying the Chaplet, the vast majority of these entries reference occasions where she was requested by Jesus to pray the Chaplet for a dying sinner. Jesus revealed to her that praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for a dying soul appeases the Just Anger of God and allows Him to defend the soul against the Divine Justice of God as the soul dies. It was though this revelation which Jesus chose to make known this new prayer to the world. (Diary 811)
Jesus introduced the Chaplet of Divine Mercy through a vision granted to St. Faustina. In the vision, St. Faustina saw the Angel of Divine Wrath who was ready to send the just punishments of God to a specific country. St. Faustina deliberately does not mention this country but it is clear that she was aware of how the activities of this country incurred the Divine Justice of God. St. Faustina records that she was brought before the Holy Trinity at which time she began to plead for mercy for mankind with a prayer she heard interiorly, a prayer she had never heard before. She observed that as she was praying this special prayer, the Angel of Divine Wrath was unable to carry out his task of sending the just punishments of God to earth. The following day, as she entered the Chapel, Jesus spoke to her and explained that the main purpose of Chaplet of Divine Mercy is to appease the Just Anger of the Holy Trinity.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a fascinating prayer and how Jesus chose to reveal it to us is even more fascinating. On the one hand, Jesus shows us the terrifying power of the Just Anger of God. It is a warning to us that this aspect of God is a reality and we should never become complacent about sin or our earthly journey to Heaven. But more than that, it is a symbol of God’s inextinguishable desire to forgive us and heal us of the wounds of our sins. It is a true sign of God’s Mercy for He gives the sinner a means to disarm His Justice and seek mercy when he doesn’t deserve it. This prayer offers us an insight into the incomprehensible workings of the mercy of God. Our sins rightly deserve to be punished but God has chosen to give us a prayer which will prevent Him from punishing us and ask Him to forgive us and to heal us. In human terms, it is completely out of sync with our natural inclination towards strict justice and our unwillingness to forgive those who have offended us.
But the Chaplet shows us that this is not the case with God. It shows us that through this prayer, we can obtain mercy for ourselves, our family and friends, our communities, our country and even the whole world. It also offers us an incomparable means to pray for our personal intensions in a way which, in the past, was probably restricted to the prayers of the great saints like Padre Pio, St. Anthony and St. Theresa of Avila.
The Chaplet offers God a gift that is so holy and so sacred that no human offering could ever compare. It is an offering of the perfect love of Jesus. Some priests have even likened this prayer to Holy Mass, insofar as, at Mass, we also offer God the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus to the Father in atonement for the sins of mankind. Obviously, the fundamental difference between Mass and the Chaplet is that we don’t physically receive the Eucharist every time we pray the Chaplet, but the offering is similar, and it is a spiritual communion, as oppose to a physical communion. The paragraphs in the Diary which refer to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy clearly demonstrate that this prayer maybe the most powerful prayer that has ever existed, with the exception of the Mass and the Holy Rosary.
But there are more reasons why Jesus gave this Chaplet to mankind other than just a powerful means to seek forgiveness and seek answers to our everyday prayers. It is predominantly to be used for the salvation of souls, but it is also a symbol of the second coming of Jesus. Jesus has revealed that through the recitation of the Chaplet, we can save souls who are not even in the same country as us or whom we never met. We are simply praying for the salvation of any soul who is dying. That is why Jesus asked that a new religious order be founded who would continuously pray the Chaplet for the souls of dying sinners, because it will offer a continuous defence for any souls who might be dying unprepared in any part of the world.
This fact shows that Jesus plans, through this devotion, to save every soul. But the Chaplet is also a symbol of the second coming of Jesus. He told St. Faustina that the Chaplet was a “sign for the end times” and He also told her that “a spark” (Pope John Paul II) would come from Poland to prepare the world for the second coming of Christ, which is Judgement Day. (Diary 848, 1732) He implored St. Faustina to tell the world about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy so that they could obtain mercy before this day. But hidden in these messages is His message to us, for He knew that we would all read the Diary in the future. Jesus is revealing to us that this devotion is to prepare the world for Judgement Day and it is through the Chaplet, He wishes that an incalculable number of souls might be saved before this appointed time.
Some would have us believe that the world we live in is going through the greatest period of time in history but this is a secular view. From a Christian perspective the levels of sin in the world is incomparable with any other time. Our natural resources are depleting rapidly and most of the world don’t have access to clean water or air. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 young girls and women have been kidnapped by the world’s mafia’s for sex trafficking. The Prolife movement estimate that since the 1960s approximately 80 million babies have been aborted and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to this atrocity. Approximately 4 billion people live on less than €1 per day, with millions more dying every year due to preventable illnesses. The world’s armies continue to build and test nuclear bombs and dozens of countries have experienced the terrors of war in the past 20 years. This is the heartbreaking reality of the modern world.
Even in western society, where the Church has all but been removed from active participation, an incalculable number of people are suffering from illnesses like depression and similar problems and there is a large inequality between the rich and the poor. Added to this is the unrestricted onslaught of the world’s media to use sexuality to market products and distort the true value of human sexuality. It also raises to the throne of mankind the supremacy of celebrities which indirectly causes untold envy in the hearts of ordinary people making them feel inadequate and inferior. The relentless marketing of products and of the ‘perfect human being’ is raising people’s levels of desire to unreachable and insatiable heights which in turn leads to unnecessary levels of unhappiness both with the person, and in marriages and families.
Without doubt, Jesus revealed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to mankind to give them a means to combat these evils through prayer. He revealed the power of the Chaplet to us so that we would know every grace can be obtained providing it be in line with the Divine Will of Jesus. But very importantly it is also to save the souls of those who are unwittingly going to their own destruction. But through this prayer Jesus will’s that their souls should be saved. But Jesus wants more than anything else that we pray the Chaplet for the souls of the dying every day.
Jesus has made a number of beautiful promises to those who pray the Chaplet but we are called to make this prayer a continuous petition to God for mercy for dying souls.