The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Immediately after the ban on the Divine Mercy devotions was lifted in 1979, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, began to write about the message and devotions received by St. Faustina for the instruction of the clergy and lay-faithful. Here is his article on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as it appeared in our Fall 1980 Marian Helpers Bulletin.

In the history of the devotion to the Divine Mercy, Friday, September 13, 1935 - the eve of the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross - proved to be a very significant date. On that occasion another important element of the devotion was revealed to the world through Sr. Faustina. In her Diary, Sister recorded this information about the event:

"In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw an Angel, the Executor of God's wrath. He was clothed in a bright garment; his face was radiant; a cloud under his feet; out of the cloud came thunderbolts and flashes of lightning into his hands, and from his hand they went forth and only then struck the earth. When I caught sight of this sign of God's anger that was about to strike the earth, especially a certain place, which I cannot name for legitimate reasons, I began to beg the Angel to hold back a few moments, and the world will do penance. But my plea was nothing in the face of God's anger. Just then I beheld the Most Holy Trinity. The greatness of His Majesty cut me to the heart and I didn't dare repeat my entreaty. At that same instant I felt in my soul the power of Jesus' grace that abides in my soul. When I became aware of this grace, in that same instant I was carried away before God's throne. Oh, how great is our Lord and God and inconceivable is His holiness! I shall not attempt to describe that greatness, for before long we shall all see Him as He is. I began to earnestly beg God for the world with words [which I] heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the angel's helplessness and he could not carry out the just punishment that was deserved for sins. With such inner power I have never yet prayed as then. The words, with which I was earnestly begging God, are the following: 'Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and the whole world's; for the sake of his sorrowful Passion have mercy on us.'

"The following day in the morning, when I entered our chapel, I heard these words interiorly: 'As often as you enter the chapel - immediately recite this prayer, which I taught you yesterday.' When I recited this prayer, I heard in [my] soul these words: 'This prayer is for the mitigating of my anger. You will recite it for nine days on the ordinary part of the rosary in the following manner: first of all you will say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and I believe in God. Next, on the "Our Father" beads, you will say the following words: "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 you will recite the following words: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." As a conclusion you will recite thrice these words: "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One - have mercy on us and on the whole world."'"

This was how Sr. Faustina recalled the origin of what later on our Lord called "the Chaplet." The word chaplet means "a wreath" - in this case a circlet of certain prayers aimed at asking God to act with mercy toward ourselves and the whole world.

This Chaplet must be an important part of the Divine Mercy Devotion, since 14 revelations concerning it were recorded by the Sister. That is only one less than the number of revelations dictated to the Feast of Mercy, to which our Lord appears to have given most of His attention.

The next significant message on the Chaplet was recorded by Sr. Faustina as having been given a year later. She wrote: "Once, as I was going through the corridor to the kitchen, I heard in [my] soul these words: 'Recite this Chaplet, which I taught you, incessantly. Whoever will keep on reciting it will obtain great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as a last hope of salvation. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My infinite mercy. I want the whole world to know My infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy.'"

Under the date December 8, 1936, Sister made this notation in her Diary : "The Lord told me to recite this Chaplet for nine days before the Feast of Mercy. It is to begin on Good Friday." The very next sentence she quotes a promise that evidently must be attributed to Jesus: "In this novena I will grant souls whatever graces [they ask]."

Two days later Sister made the following entry in her Diary : "When I entered my cubicle (in the ward of the clinic where she was being treated for pulmonary disease) I heard these words: 'At the hour of death I defend as My glory every soul that will recite this Chaplet, or which others will recite near a dying person; yet they obtain that same indulgence. When they recite the Chaplet near a dying person, divine wrath is mitigated, and fathomless Mercy encompasses the soul, and My most tender compassion will be stirred for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of my Son.'" She continues: "O, that all would realize how great is the Lord's Mercy; but how greatly we all need this Mercy, especially at that final hour. Today I waged battle with the spirits of darkness for a soul; how terribly Satan detests God's Mercy; I see how he opposes this whole work [of Mercy]."

Having gone to confession on December 26, 1936, Sr. Faustina was given the Chaplet to recite as her penance by her confessor, who knew of her revelations. While she was saying her penance, she suddenly heard a voice: "O what great graces I will grant to souls who will recite this Chaplet. My most tender mercy is stirred up for those who recite this Chaplet. Record those words, My daughter; speak to the world about My Mercy. Let all mankind recognize My unfathomed Mercy. It is a sign for the end times. After it (i.e., the sign that mercy is close) will follow the Just Day. While there is time let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy; let them avail themselves of the Blood and Water that gush forth for them."

Two days later, Sister made the following note in her Diary : "Today I began a novena to the Divine Mercy. That is, in spirit I place myself before that image [of the Divine Mercy] and I recite this Chaplet, which the Lord taught." Then she adds: "On the second day of the novena I beheld this image as though [it were] alive, hung about with countless ex votos and I saw great crowds of people who were coming here (evidently where the image of Christ was venerated - ed. note). I saw many of them happy..."

The Diary entry under the date of February 9, 1937 tells of Sr. Faustina pouring out her heart to the Lord while He earnestly listened to her as though with great interest, thus making it easier for her to speak. She expressed a great desire that all mankind would turn with confidence to the Lord's Mercy, for then her heart would be lightened at the sight of the glory given to His Name. These words of the Lord are then recorded: "My daughter, your heart's discourse pleases Me, and by reciting this Chaplet you bring mankind near to Me."

Again, on Monday of Holy Week, 1937, Sister wrote: "I am getting to know better and better how very much every soul needs God's Mercy all lifelong, but especially at the hour of death. This Chaplet is for the reducing of the harshness of God's wrath, as He told me."

The next entry in the Diary dealing with the Chaplet is indicated as having been written on January 28, 1938. Jesus is quoted therein as saying: "My daughter, encourage souls to recite this Chaplet I gave you. I am pleased to grant everything they will ask Me for by reciting this Chaplet. When hardened sinners recite it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be happy ... Write [that] when they recite this Chaplet near a dying person I shall stand between My Father and the soul in agony not as the Just Judge, but as the merciful Savior."

As though to give us proof of the truth of His promises, Jesus had Sr. Faustina experience the following episode, which she described in the Diary under the date of February 3, 1938, thus: "When I entered the chapel for a moment the Lord said to me: 'My daughter, help Me save a certain dying sinner; recite that Chaplet I taught you for him.'"

"When I began to recite this Chaplet, I beheld that dying man in terrible anguish and struggles. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was as though helpless in the face of the immensity of that soul's misery. A whole crowd of devils was waiting for that soul, but during the recitation of this Chaplet I saw Jesus in such a form as He is depicted in this image. Those rays which came forth from the heart of Jesus surrounded the sick man, and the forces of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully yielded up his last breath. When I came round I understood how important this Chaplet is [when recited] near the dying; it mitigates divine wrath."

A similar scene is described by Sr. Faustina in her Diary a few months later, illustrating our Lord's desire to impress upon us the importance of intercession for the dying, especially by praying the Chaplet of mercy:

"Today the Lord came to me (it was in her cubicle in the clinic) and said: 'My daughter, help Me save souls. You will go to a dying sinner and you will recite this little Chaplet, and thereby you will obtain confidence in My Mercy for him, since he is already in despair.'- All of a sudden I found myself in an unknown cottage where an aged man was dying amid terrible agony. Around his bed there was a multitude of devils and the weeping family. When I began to pray, the spirits of darkness scattered with hissing and threats aimed at me this. This soul calmed down and reposed in the Lord full of trust. At that same instant I noticed I was in my room. How that happens - I don't know."

A few incidents showing the effect of this Chaplet's prayer on nature are also recorded in Sr. Faustina's Diary. On May 22, 1937, she noted: "Today there's such a heat wave, that it is difficult to bear. We're longing for rain, and yet it doesn't come down. For a few days now the sky gets cloudy, yet the rain can't fall. When I looked on those plants thirsting after rain, I was overcome with compassion and I resolved to pray this Chaplet so long until God would send rain. Following the afternoon tea, the sky became covered with clouds and heavy rain fell onto the earth. I kept reciting this prayer without a stop for three hours. The Lord gave me to understand, that by means of this prayer everything can be asked for and obtained."

One night a great storm awoke the Sister. It seemed as though it were a cloudburst; winds roared; thunderbolts crashed. Sister Faustina began to pray that the storm might not cause any damage, when suddenly she heard these words: "Recite the Chaplet that I taught you, and the storm will cease." She immediately began to recite the Chaplet, and she didn't even finish it when the storm suddenly stopped and she heard the words: "By means of [this Chaplet] you can ask and obtain whatsoever, if what you ask for will be compatible with My will."

The last such incident Sr. Faustina mentioned in the summer of 1938: "As a great storm was approaching, I began to recite this Chaplet. Suddenly I heard the voice of an angel: 'I can't come close in the storm because a brightness coming from her lips drives me and the storm back,' complained the Angel to God. Suddenly I understood what great devastation he was to have brought about by that storm; but I likewise learned, that this prayer was pleasing to God and how great is the power of this little Chaplet."


Pray the Chaplet with us from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, recorded on Sept. 13, 2017, the 82nd Anniversary of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.


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