Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Devotion to
His Divine Mercy


This devotion, focused on Christ's limitless mercy and love for mankind, is a relatively new one, as such, and is and based on the 1930s-era writings of Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, canonized in 2000. The point of the devotion is mercy -- begging His mercy, trusting in His mercy, and showing mercy to those around us. In 2000, Pope John Paul II made it known that Low Sunday (the Sunday after Easter), a day when the Gospel readings concern Christ's merciful institution of the Sacrament of Penance, will also be known as "Divine Mercy Sunday" (this official designation doesn't affect the liturgy at all).

The devotion is practiced by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novenas to the Divine Mercy -- both of which may be prayed at any time, but especially at "The Hour of Great Mercy" -- 3:00 PM, the hour our Lord died, and in conjunction with Divine Mercy Sunday.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, a plenary indulgence may be gained, under the usual conditions, if one trusts in the Divine Mercy and reflects the Divine Mercy in his life, prays the Divine Mercy Novena from Good Friday to Low Sunday, goes to Confession on Low Sunday (or in the 7 days preceding), venerates the image of the Divine Mercy (see below) on Low Sunday, and attends Mass and receives Communion on Low Sunday.

The devotion to His Divine Mercy is also associated with the image at the top of this page, painted by an artist named Hyla, allegedly as Jesus wished and based on descriptions by Sister Faustina. The words that accompany the image are "Jesus, I trust in Thee" ("Jezu, Ufam Tobie" in the Polish1). The rays coming from Jesus' body represent the Blood and water that poured forth from the wound He suffered when pierced by the lance.

The devotion to the Divine Mercy is controversial -- not because of the related prayers, chaplet, or novena themselves, etc., which are fine to pray -- but because it's an unnecessary devotion given the older and richer devotion to the Sacred Heart, because it doesn't balance out the focus on His mercy with a focus on His justice, and because of the history of how it all came about. Read about that here.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet

Prayers are usually counted on a standard Rosary, but it isn't necessary -- and the most proper times to pray it are at "The Hour" (3:00 PM, the hour Our Lord died), on Divine Mercy Sunday (Low Sunday), and also at one's own hour of death or in the presence of a dying person. It can be prayed, though, at any time.

The three main prayers, the one that begins "Eternal Father," the Response that begins "For the sake of His sorrowful passion," and "Holy God" (which comes from the Good Friday liturgy's Adoration of the Cross), are often sung, as is the thrice-said concluding prayer; this isn't the original way, though it is a perfectly fine way to pray it. To hear commonly-heard melodies for the Divine Mercy prayers, watch the video below. You can also get a free CD of both the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet from the Mary Foundation (will open in a new browser window). Both the video and the version offered by the Mary Foundation use a modern wording for the prayers and a different concluding prayer entirely. On this page, I use the more traditionally-worded versions, their Latin versions, including an optional concluding prayer, as prayed by the Transalpine Redemptorists (the prayers in their original Polish are in the footnotes).

How to Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet

(the words to the prayers are below)


Kiss the Cross and make the Sign of the Cross
Say 1 Our Father
Say 1 Hail Mary
Say the Apostles' Creed


Say the Eternal Father prayer on each large bead


Say the Response on each small bead
Holy God
Say the "Holy God" prayer three times
Optional concluding prayer

The Prayers


When Making The Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (said while touching forehead, breast, left shoulder, then right shoulder)

Latin Version: Signum Crucis
In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


The Our Father
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Latin Version: Pater Noster (Oratio Dominica)
Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur Nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.


Hail Mary
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

Latin Version: Ave Maria (or Salutatio Angelica)
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.


The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Latin Version: Symbolum Apostolorum
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.


Eternal Father
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.

Latin Version: Pater aeterne
Pater aeterne, offero tibi Corpus et Sanguinem, animam et divinitatem dilectissimi Filii Tui, Domini nostri, Iesu Christi, in propitiatione pro peccatis nostris et totius mundi.


For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Latin Version:
Pro dolorosa Eius passione, miserere nobis et totius mundi.


Holy God
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us and on the whole world.

Latin version: Sanctus Deus
Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis et totius mundi.


Optional Concluding Prayer (The "Three O'Clock Prayer")
O Blood and Water, which hast gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, we trust in Thee.

O Blood and Water, which hast gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, we trust in Thee.

O Blood and Water, which hast gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, we trust in Thee.


1 The prayers in their original Polish:

Eternal Father:
Ojcze Przedwieczny, ofiaruje Ci Cialo i Krew,
Dusze i Bˇstwo najmilszego Syna Twojego,
a Pana naszego Jezusa Chrystusa,
na przeblaganie za grzechy nasze i calego swiata.

Dla Jego bolesnej Meki miej milosierdzie dla nas i calego swiata.

Holy God:
Swiety Boze, Swiety Mocny, Swiety Niesmiertelny, zmiluj sie nad nami i nad calym swiatem.

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