Blessed are those who learn and put into practice these ten Beatitudes—blessings—that flow from living out the greatest virtue in the Sacred Heart of Jesus—His infinite mercy! Saint Pope John Paul II was one of the greatest promoters of the message of Divine Mercy with Saint Faustina Kowalska. How providential that this great and saintly pontiff, John Paul II actually died on April 2, 2005 which was the Vigil of Divine Mercy, and received Holy Communion shortly before he passed from this life to eternal life. May we all learn these ten Beatitudes of Divine Mercy and may they be a compass to orient and guide our entire lives to our eternal reward—Heaven!
1. LEARN SOME KEY BIBLICAL PASSAGES ON GOD’S MERCY: HERE ARE A FEW.
Jesus from the cross: Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing. In the Lord’s prayer, the Our Father: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. A command from the Heart of Jesus: Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful. Jesus to Peter: Peter, forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven times. When you are about to present your gift with a heart tainted with resentment: Leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled; then return to offer your gift. To the repentant thief on the cross: Amen I say to you: today you will be with me in Paradise. Of course, the Parable par excellence expressing God’s merciful love is that of The Prodigal Son, of if you like, The Parable of the Merciful Father. (Lk. 15) Learn by heart these key passages and try to live them out!
2. DIARY OF DIVINE MERCY IN MY SOUL.
Read and meditate upon the Diary of Divine Mercy in My Soul of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Most certainly, this spiritual masterpiece is one of the greatest works ever composed on the topic of God’s mercy. Jesus actually called this humble Polish nun (1905-1938) The Secretary of Divine Mercy. This literary masterpiece is divided into six books with 1828 entries. Each entry is a spiritual golden nugget that you can meditate upon and derive fathomless treasures! You might even call it that Pearl of infinite price!
3. HONOR THE IMAGE OF DIVINE MERCY.
Jesus promises most signal graces for those who honor this image. It is an image of the Risen Lord Jesus with His wounds. He is dressed in a white tunic, symbolic of purity. His Head is surrounded by a halo highlighting His holiness. From His Heart emanates two rays: red and white. The white symbolizes the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confession, the Sacrament of God’s mercy; the red, the Sacrament of the Eucharist. His wounds can clearly be seen—symbols of His great love for us. Jesus said to Faustina that love is measured by the willingness to suffer for the one you love. One foot is in front of the other as if Jesus were walking toward you. He desires to come to you, to engulf you in His infinite mercy. Finally, at the bottom of the painting are the words: JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!!! Honor this image and if possible have it enthroned in your home. Jesus promises very special blessings upon you, as well as those who enter into your home.
4. CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY.
Get into the habit of praying that beautiful prayer, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Jesus encouraged Saint Faustina to pray it as often as possible! Indeed, it is a short prayer that can be recited in less than ten minutes. It is easy to memorize; even little children can pray it and should pray it. It is a Eucharistic prayer: Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a prayer of reparation: In atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Therefore, find some time to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day, and teach and invite others to do the same!
5. MERCY HOUR.
Every day remember the Mercy Hour! This is 3:00 p.m. The reason? This was the hour that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross for the salvation of the whole world, and that means for you and for me. Jesus asked Saint Faustina to make the Way of the Cross at this hour, or to at least visit the Blessed Sacrament, where the Lord Jesus is anxiously waiting for visitors to accompany Him. The Way of the Cross can be done in church, or in any quiet place with a Stations of the Cross booklet such as the classic by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. However, it is possible that our responsibilities at that hour prevent this. Also, many of us who do not live in close contact with a Chapel or Church cannot visit the Blessed Sacrament. For that reason, Jesus said at 3:00 p.m., the mercy hour, to at least briefly reflect upon His agony, passion and death on the cross. Jesus promises most special graces to those who unite themselves with His bitter passion at the mercy hour. For my part, I beg the Lord most humbly and fervently, that all those who are dying then or during the rest of that day will be converted and saved. You might do the same!
6. THE DYING AND MERCY.
The moment that we die is the most important moment in our lives. It will determine our eternal destiny, either salvation or damnation, either heaven or hell! For that reason, we should constantly be preparing for this all-important moment in our lives. But above and beyond our own mortality, death and ensuing judgment, we should do all within our power to help other souls to get to heaven. The Letter of Saint James points out that if we bring a wandering soul back to God, then we save our own soul and expiate a multitude of sins. (James 5) How then can we help the dying? We should pray frequently for the dying. However, if we have the opportunity to be at the bedside of some person—relative, friend, or stranger, or even an enemy—we should pray for their conversion and salvation, that they would die in the state of sanctifying grace. A most powerful prayer is that of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Another of the extraordinary promises of Jesus is that He promises if anyone is praying the Chaplet for the dying, that person who is dying will be saved for all eternity! Despite the state of that person, the Divine Mercy flowing from the Wounds of Jesus in His Passion, suffering, and death moves the Heart of the Eternal Father to open up His loving arms in mercy, even to the most hardened sinner. Therefore, let us do all we can to open up the gates of heaven for a multitude of sinners!
7. NOVENA OF DIVINE MERCY.
Pray the Novena of Divine Mercy. It starts on Good Friday and terminates nine days later, on the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. It can be prayed in Church or in your family, with others or in private, but you should try to pray it. The intentions are a model for prayer of intercession. Jesus asks us to bring to Him a wide variety of individuals and intentions. They are the following: 1) Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy; 2) Today bring to Me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy; 3) Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy; 4) Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Me; 5) Today bring to Me the souls of those who have separated themselves from the Church; 6) Today bring to Me the meek and humble souls of little children, and immerse them in My mercy; 7) Today bring to Me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy, and immerse them in My mercy; 8) Today bring to Me the souls who are detained in purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy; 9) Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy.
8. DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY.
Celebrate with immense joy and active participation, the Liturgical Solemnity of Divine Mercy Sunday on the Sunday that follows Easter Sunday—the apex, the zenith, the crowning moment of Easter. Historically this Solemnity was declared in the Pontificate of Saint Pope John Paul II, entering into the new Millennium in the year 2000, on April 30th as the day of Divine Mercy Sunday. On the same occasion this great Pope canonized the first saint in the new millennium. Can you guess who that saint may have been? Right! Saint Faustina Kowalska, the Secretary of Divine Mercy. After instituting this great Solemnity of Divine Mercy and canonizing Saint Faustina, Pope John Paul II commented that it was the happiest day of his life; he had carried out one of his most important missions—to preach far and wide the enormous importance of trusting totally in Divine Mercy!
9. ACCEPT THE GREAT GIFT OF DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY.
Among the many promises and gifts of Divine Mercy is that related to the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus promised that those who make a good Sacramental Confession (anytime in Lent all the way up to Mercy Sunday), and attend Holy Mass on Mercy Sunday, and receive Holy Communion with fervor and love, then all of their sins are forgiven and all temporal punishment is totally expiated. In concrete this means that your soul becomes white as the snow, as it was on the day of your Baptism! If you were to die at that moment, your soul would skyrocket through the clouds into heaven for all eternity. Everybody should take advantage of this extraordinary gift that Jesus through His Church, His Mystical Body, offers us freely!
10. OUR LADY OF MERCY AND PURITY OF HEART. Finally, our essay would be incomplete on the Ten Beatitudes of God’s Mercy if we did not welcome Our Lady of Mercy into this wonderful topic. One of the Beatitudes most poignant to Our Lady of Mercy and purity is the following: Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God. (Mt. 5:8) On one occasion, as related in the Diary, Jesus appeared to Saint Faustina, dazzling white in beauty! He drew close to Faustina and fastened around her waist a golden sash. With this gesture Saint Faustina was granted an extraordinary grace and gift: the gift of perfect chastity in body, mind, heart, and soul! Faustina commented that she had been begging the Blessed Virgin Mary for that most treasured and cherished grace for a long time, and finally it was granted. In a world in which we are bombarded with so many images, ideas, shows, depictions against the holy virtue of purity, let us turn to Our Lady of Mercy and find refuge in her most tender and pure heart, so that we also will be able to live out that very challenging but necessary Beatitude: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God. (Mt. 5:8)
In conclusion, we hope and pray that you will learn these Ten Beatitudes of God’s Mercy. We hope that you will strive to live them out to the full. We hope and pray that one day you will be united with God forever in heaven to sing His praises with the angels and saints and Mary, the Queen of angels and saints, and the Queen of Mercy!