Tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.
Jesus’ words to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalsa, as recorded in her diary, paragraph 699
Two Different Feelings, Same Feast Day
I remember the first Divine Mercy Sunday that I worked as an oncology nurse during the night shift. I went to Mass after a particularly trying shift feeling feeling exhausted, empty, and numb. My legs shook from overuse as I stood in the long Confession line after Mass. The only reason I knew it was Divine Mercy Sunday was because the priest mentioned it during his homily.
I didn’t plan anything for Divine Mercy Sunday other than making it through Mass awake. I didn’t feel anything, really. I didn’t feel Jesus’ Mercy, His love, nor the joy of Confession. Yet I was fully receiving Jesus’ Divine Mercy, I was deeply in love with Jesus, and I had been forgiven fully and wholly in the Sacrament of Confession.
This year I am excited, ready, and yearning to “do all the things” for Divine Mercy Sunday. My list of liturgical living ideas has been planned for weeks. I’ve been preparing my heart and eagerly awaiting this grace-filled feast day.
Love is Willing the Good
Our world tells us that feelings dictate reality. However we must remember what love truly is. It isn’t a feeling. Love is willing the good of the beloved.
What better example of this do we have than Jesus’ Divine Mercy?
Each year (especially this year), Divine Mercy Sunday looks a little different. Yet the one constant is Jesus’ love for us and our desperate need for His mercy. In fact, it is often the years when I feel prepared to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday that I need His merciful love the most.
His Mercy is Enough
The beauty and power of Jesus’ Divine Mercy is that it is a pure gift. We don’t have to do anything to obtain it, save for having a heart open and a willingness to receive the gift of His Mercy.
Whether you are exhausted from a night shift of caregiving to patients or children this Divine Mercy Sunday, or excited and fully ready to delve into the day, know that you are loved by a merciful God. His mercy is enough.
Liturgical Living Ideas for Divine Mercy Sunday
These Divine Mercy Sunday liturgical living ideas are instruments to help us grow in and reflect upon Jesus’ Divine Mercy.
Pick one or two things—or one thing from each category—to do. Know, however, that the most important thing isn’t accomplishing things on this list, it is knowing that you are loved completely by Jesus and accepting His merciful love.
(Note: This post was written prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Some of these ideas can be creatively adapted in light of what our world is experiencing right now. For example, “participate in your parish’s Divine Mercy Sunday services” can still occur virtually as many parishes are offering live-streams of their services. Please share how you plan to celebrate Divine Mercy this particular year in the comments below!)
Divine Mercy for the Soul
Set up a Divine Mercy space in your home. It could be as simple as placing the Divine Mercy image on a table and lighting a candle. Invite your family or roommates to help you come up with ideas for the space and to write down intentions and place them in front of the image.
Participate in your parish’s Divine Mercy Sunday services. Parishes often offer Confession, time to pray to Jesus in Exposition, and other devotions around 3:00 pm, the hour Jesus died, the Hour of Mercy. If you are unable to attend a Divine Mercy Sunday service, spend a few minutes in prayer and silence at 3:00 pm.
Reach out to someone you need to ask forgiveness from or feel called to forgive through a phone call, letter, text, e-mail, or by sending them red or white roses.
Receive a plenary indulgence through participating in Divine Mercy prayers and devotions, prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, reciting the Our Father and the Creed, praying a prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus, and receiving the Sacrament of Confession within 21-days of the Feast. Click here for more information about this indulgence.
Divine Mercy for the Mind
Start reading the book 33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy by Michael E. Gaitley, MIC.
Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit, open Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalsa, and read the first few paragraphs you see. Spend time in prayer with what you read.
Watch this video of Bishop Barron speaking about the power of Jesus’ Divine Mercy.
If you have children, print out a coloring sheet of Divine Mercy and sit with them to color it. Ask them what they see, describe Who is in the image, and tell them what the rays signify.
Divine Mercy for the Body
Wear red, white, or pale blue in honor of the rays depicted in the Divine Mercy image. In St. Faustina’s Diary, she writes that Jesus explained to her, “The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls” (Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalsa 299).
Go for a hike in honor of Pope St. John Paul II who enjoyed outdoor adventures with friends. Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and instituted the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies with rays of red and blue frosting.
Make Divine Mercy ice cream sundaes, using strawberries and blueberries (or whipped cream if you want a white ray!) to represent the image of Divine Mercy.Liturgical Living Ideas for Divine Mercy Sunday #BISblog // Click To Tweet