The Chaplet of Mercy 80th Anniversary – History Speaks Loudly
It is with great joy and excitement that we remind everyone that on September 14th, in the Year of Our Lord 2015, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we will be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the gift and graces of the Chaplet of Mercy. That’s right. For 80 years, two 40 year periods, the Lord has blessed the entire world with incredible graces and promises that have touched millions of lives. We also strongly believe that these graces and promises have greatly impacted history and we have great hope that they will continue to impact our future. How much however, depends on how much we all respond to these words of Jesus to Saint Faustina Kowalska:
What an awesome, truly awesome promise, don’t you think? Do you trust the Lord at His word? Do you believe that more souls praying the Chaplet the better? Well we do! So, we are doing as Jesus asked, encouraging one and all to respond to this plea and to place greater trust in all of the Lord’s promises so that we may amplify all the graces we have reaped over the last 80 years and magnify them over the next 80 years.
So, what can we do to celebrate this special anniversary? What can we do to share this truly God-given prayer with others? Perhaps one way to begin is by becoming informed, or reminded, of how and why it was given to St. Faustina Kowalska in the first place. Perhaps it would also be a good idea to review and become more familiar with the myriad of promises attached to its prayerful recitation. And what about having some promotional help, would that be helpful? Well then, you are in luck, because this is what we have in store for you in a three part series.
This is Part 1. We have chosen the title History Speaks Loudly for this part as we will be exploring the circumstances in which St. Faustina received the Chaplet, the significance of the timing, and the powerful impact The Divine Mercy has had upon Poland, each speaking loudly of hope for our country and indeed the entire world. In Part 2, we share all the Diary excepts we could find relating to the Promises of the Chaplet. You may be surprised at how many there are. Part 3 presents practical ideas, materials and promotional aides created to help you spread the good news of the power of the Chaplet of Mercy and celebrate the 80th Anniversary with your family, friends and parish. We hope you will find each part of great benefit and that you will ponder the history, trust in the promises, spread the word, and put the Chaplet to work, because the Lord promised:
By saying the chaplet you are bringing humankind closer to Me.
Part 1 – History Speaks Loudly
Many are unaware that the Lord originally requested this prayer, in which we offer the Heavenly Father the Body and Blood of Jesus, be recited to appease God’s wrath due especially for the sacrifice of the body and blood of the unborn child in the womb. With the recent news and videos of the activities at Planned Parenthood, we should pay close attention to learn from this history lesson, and to find hope in God’s mercy.
Early in the Diary of St. Faustina we read that the Lord instructed her to unite herself with Him during the Mass using words similar to those He would later dictate and become known as the Chaplet of Mercy. This was to be done to atone for sins being committed in “the most beautiful city” in Poland and to avert a chastisement due there for these sins. Diary entry 39 reads as follows:
One day Jesus told me that He would cause a chastisement to fall upon the most beautiful city in our country. This chastisement would be that with which God had punished Sodom and Gomorrah. I saw the great wrath of God and a shudder pierced my heart. I prayed in silence. After a moment Jesus said to me, My child, unite yourself closely to Me during the Sacrifice and offer My Blood and My Wounds to My Father in expiation for the sins of that city. Repeat this without interruption throughout the entire Holy Mass. Do this for seven days. (Bold indicates the words of Jesus)
Upon obediently fulfilling this request, Jesus appeared again, and in response to St. Faustina’s entreaties He blessed the entire country. Here we find hope in our prayers and entreaties for our countries today, especially as we strive for holiness as did St. Faustina. The Diary entry continues:
On the seventh day I saw Jesus in a bright cloud and began to beg Him to look upon the city and upon our whole country. Jesus looked down graciously. When I saw the kindness of Jesus, I began to beg His blessing. Immediately Jesus said, For your sake I bless the entire country. And He made a big sign of the cross over our country. Seeing the goodness of God, a great joy filled my soul.
ST. FAUSTINA RECEIVES THE CHAPLET OF MERCY
Friday, September 13, 1935
About one quarter of the way in her diary, St. Faustina recorded another harrowing experience and a vision of destruction that was about to strike the world, and in particular a certain place. Her prayers were powerless until she heard and prayed the words we now recite as the Chaplet of Mercy:
In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw an Angel, the executor of divine wrath. He was clothed in a dazzling robe, his face gloriously bright, a cloud beneath his feet. From the cloud, bolts of thunder and flashes of lightning were springing into his hands; and from his hand they were going forth, and only then were they striking the earth. When I saw this sign of divine wrath which was about to strike the earth, and in particular a certain place, which for good reasons I cannot name, I began to implore the Angel to hold off for a few moments, and the world would do penance. But my plea was a mere nothing in the face of the divine anger. (474)
It was at this time that St. Faustina encountered the Holy Trinity and the “greatness of Its majesty.” She began to plead with God in words heard interiorly. The saint continued:
As I was praying in this manner, I saw the Angel’s helplessness: he could not carry out the just punishment which was rightly due for sins. Never before had I prayed with such inner power as I did then. The words with which I entreated God are these: 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 those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. (475)
If you are familiar with the Chaplet, you may be wondering why the words “and on the whole world” are missing. Well, they were added the next morning along with the opening and closing prayers and how to say them on the beads of a rosary. It happened to be September 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Notice how precise Jesus was in dictating this prayer:
The next morning, when I entered chapel, I heard these words interiorly: Every time you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer which I taught you yesterday. When I had said the prayer, in my soul I heard these words: This prayer will serve to appease My wrath.
You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one OUR FATHER and HAIL MARY and the I BELIEVE IN GOD. Then 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 say the following words: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.” In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (476)
How fittingly that the Lord taught us a prayer offering the Eternal Heavenly Father the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of His Son poured out upon the Holy Cross, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. What a tremendous gift – for due to this prayer, the executor of divine wrath that was ready to strike the world for its sinfulness became completely powerless.
Prophesy of a chastisement likened to Sodom and Gomorrah caught the attention of St. Faustina’s spiritual director, Blessed Father Michael Sopocko. He questioned St. Faustina carefully about it and recorded her response in his Summarium:
She wrote in her diary that Jesus Himself said that He was about to destroy one of the most beautiful cities of our country like Sodom was destroyed on account of the crimes perpetrated there. Having read about these things in the Diary I asked her what does the prophecy mean? She answered confirming what she wrote and replying to a further question of mine, on account of what kind of sins God was going to inflict these punishments. She answered: especially for the killing of infants not yet born, the most grievous crime of all. (Bold and italics added for emphasis)
LEGALIZATION OF THE MOST GRIEVOUS CRIME OF ALL
Already this crime against unborn children and women was growing, seeping in from the Soviet Union, which in 1920 became the first country in the world to legalize abortion. Available upon request and often for no cost, hospitals by the mid-1920s were so severely congested by abortion procedures that special clinics had to be opened to free up beds and many doctors began to become concerned. Restrictions began to be tightened in the early 1930s and in 1936 the Soviet Union made abortion illegal again, for the time being, stemming largely from Joseph Stalin’s worries about population growth.
Poland, situated on the western border of the Soviet Union, had a ban against abortion without exceptions until 1932. In that year restrictions were loosened and the new Penal Code legalized abortion for medical reasons and, for the first time in Europe, when the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act. Warsaw, the cosmopolitan capital of Poland now came to be known as “the place to go” if one “needed” an abortion. As the abortion capital of eastern Europe between the two world wars, it is reported that as much as one out of every three pregnancies was terminated there. A Polish priest recently confirmed this sad fact, saying an estimated one million babies were killed in the womb in Poland between 1932 and 1939.
THIS PRAYER WILL SERVE TO APPEASE MY WRATH – THE GOOD NEWS
Toward the end of 1937, less than 12 months before her death, St. Faustina makes us aware of how serious the situation in Poland was, but also the importance of “chosen souls.” Diary entry 1533:
I saw the anger of God hanging heavy over Poland. And now I see that if God were to visit our country with the greatest chastisements, that would still be great mercy because, for such grave transgressions, He could punish us with eternal annihilation. I was paralyzed with fear when the Lord lifted the veil a little for me. Now I see clearly that chosen souls keep the world in existence to fulfill the measure of justice.
Although St. Faustina speaks of God’s anger, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, whom we believe to be the world’s leading authority on The Divine Mercy message and devotion, has asked us to explain that God’s temperament never changes. He remains constant. He is Love and Mercy. Anger is used to describe the situation we find ourselves in when we reject His love, mercy and protection. Wrath is simply the result of leaving ourselves to our own defenses. We have free will. If we cling to sin, we open ourselves up to the wickedness and snares of the devil, to the devices of evil men.
By means of the Chaplet of Mercy however, we offer up to God the sacrifice of Jesus. We cover ourselves with His Precious Blood and in turn we receive mercy. That is why this prayer is so very important. Under the direction of Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko, instructions on how to pray the Chaplet were included on the back of Divine Mercy holy cards and they began to be distributed to the delight of the young nun. She had been given to know the power of this prayer and even of future devotion to The Divine Mercy, as she stated in entry 848:
While I was saying the chaplet, I heard a voice which said, Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet. O what a great multitude of souls I see! They worshiped the Divine Mercy and will be singing the hymn of praise for all eternity.
THE IMPACT OF CHOSEN SOULS AND DEVOTION TO THE DIVINE MERCY – OUR HOPE
Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska died at the young age of 33 on October 5, 1938. Within one year Poland was invaded and divided down the middle between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Toward the end of the war, her prophesy about the destruction of Warsaw is fulfilled. The beautiful capital city of Poland, filled with architectural splendors from the late 17th and 18th centuries, was systematically destroyed by Nazi bomb crews, leveling 85% of all buildings including 90% of its monuments.
After the war, gripped in Communism, Poland’s abortion regulations continued to be liberalized until the procedure was available on request in the 1960s and 1970s during which time over 200,000 abortions were performed each year. Remarkably, beloved homeland son Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is elected pope in 1978. During his visit to Poland for nine days in 1979, Pope John Paul II lit a spark on fire, and remarkable changes began to occur.
In 1980 the abortion rate dropped nearly in half and continued to rapidly decline for the next several years. In 1981 the Solidarity Movement began to rise fueled by the spirituality of the people. In 1989, Poland became the first Warsaw Pact country to break free of Soviet domination and from there communism began to fall along with the Berlin Wall. In 1993, the year Sr. Faustina was beatified, abortion on demand in Poland became outlawed by a peoples referendum. Abortion rates continued to tumble. In 2000, the year Sr. Faustina was declared a saint, only 138 abortions were performed and Poland is now considered to be one of the most pro-life countries in the world.
Very near the end of her life St. Faustina wrote:
As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming. (1732)
In light of all this information we can now gain a better understanding of why St. Faustina was so often told to pray for her country, and for the whole world. We can gain a better understanding of why Jesus came to St. Faustina in Poland beginning in 1931 with a message of love and mercy. He responds to our sinfulness and the most grievous crime of all with MERCY. He comes to us with the promise of His grace.
My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? . . . I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace. (1485)
Let’s take full advantage of this time of mercy. Let us celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Chaplet of Mercy and share the good news of all the promises of Jesus, The Divine Mercy for our families, our country and the entire world today and in the future.
Read more about the Promises in Part 2 and Ways to Celebrate and Share in Part 3 of this series.
Side Note: Please note that the Lord was very specific on exactly how to pray the Chaplet of Mercy. From time to time we will hear people say, “We offer you” instead of “I offer you” or they will add other words in some places, or say “Thee” instead of “You”. We have been asked by the Marian Fathers who worked so diligently to accurately translate and convey the words written by St. Faustina to point out that we are to keep to the accuracy of this prayer, particularly when prayed in public or in a group. If you find it necessary to correct someone, please seek the help of the Holy Spirit and do so with love and tenderness. Most likely they are unaware of the error.
Follow this link for Part 2, The Promises of the Chaplet of Mercy
Follow this link for Part 3, Ways to Celebrate and Share
All references to Diary: Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All rights reserved. www.marian.org
Bolding indicates words of Jesus. Numbers in parenthesis after passages indicates Diary entry.
Divine Mercy for America
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