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Divine Mercy heals, saves and protects

WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 12, 2016 - 12:00am


The Sunday following Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday. Back in the year 2000, then Pope John Paul II
canonized Sr. Faustina Kowalska, “the great apostle of Divine Mercy,” as the first saint of the Great Jubilee
Year. He also “canonized” that day The Divine Mercy message and devotion by declaring the Second Sunday
of Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Five years later, on April 2, 2005, St. John Paul II died at the end of the vigil Mass of Divine Mercy
Sunday. Proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI in December 2009, John Paul II was
beatified on May 1, 2011 (a Divine Mercy Sunday) after one miracle was attributed to his intercession, the
healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession
was approved on July 2, 2013. John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014 (again a Divine Mercy Sunday).

Sister Faustina (Helen Kowalska), of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland,
came from a very poor family that had struggled hard during World War I. She had only three years of very
simple education.

On Feb. 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun, bringing with Him a
wonderful message of mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary:
“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand
was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at
the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence, I gazed intently at the Lord;
my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image
according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”

She wrote in her diary a further message from the Lord:

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“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the
life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.... Fortunate is the one who will dwell
in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”

The Divine Mercy Devotion

After the death of Faustina at the young age of 33, the devotion to The Divine Mercy began to spread. The
message and devotion had spread across Poland. In 1959, the Holy See prohibited further spread of the
message and devotion pending further study. The ban lasted almost 20 years. The Vatican Congregation
formally lifted the ban in 1978.

The influence of St. Faustina on Pope John Paul II began in the early 1940s when he was in a seminary in
Krakow, Poland. His classmate, who became Cardinal Andrew Deskur, told him about the mystic Sr. Faustina
Kowalska and the message of Divine Mercy that she had received from the Lord. Karol Wojtyla worked as a
forced laborer in the Solvay plant then, which could be seen from the convent cemetery where Faustina was
buried. He reportedly would visit the grave of Sister Faustina on his way home from work at the Solvay plant.

During his years in Krakow, first as a priest and then as a bishop, archbishop, and cardinal, he made use of the
convent as a place of retreat and gave retreats there as well. Parishioners of Poland told Archbishop Karol
Wojtyla of their desire to have Sr. Faustina raised to sainthood. He delegated his auxiliary bishop, Julian
Groblicki, to begin the Informative Process of the life and virtues of Sr. Faustina. In late 1967, the process was
completed, and in January 1968, the Process of Beatification began.

Six months after the Vatican lifted the ban on the Divine Mercy devotion, Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope
John Paul II. This papacy seems to have fulfilled part of St. Faustina’s prophecy about what would happen after
the ban was lifted: “And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of (the message and
devotion’s) authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church” (Diary, 378).

Divine Mercy was clearly on the mind of John Paul II early in his papacy. In his second encyclical letter, “Rich
in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia),” he described the mercy of God as the presence of love that is greater than
evil, greater than sin, and greater than death. John Paul II, admitted that he felt spiritually “very near” Sr.
Faustina and had been “thinking about her for a long time” when he began Dives in Misericordia.

When Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Poland in 1997,
he prayed at the tomb of Faustina. He also addressed the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, reflecting on Divine
Mercy and the influence of then Blessed Faustina and her message:
“I have come here to this shrine as a pilgrim to take part in the unending hymn in honor of Divine Mercy. The
psalmist of the Lord had intoned it (in Psalm 89:2), expressing what every generation preserved and will
continue to preserve as a most precious fruit of faith.”

“There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy — that love which is benevolent, which is
compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God.

“And if this person responds with a sincere heart: ‘Jesus, I trust in You,’ he will find comfort in all his anxieties
and fears... The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me. It is as if history had inscribed
it in the tragic experience of the Second World War. In those difficult years, it was a particular support and an
inexhaustible source of hope, not only for the people of Krakow but for the entire nation.

“This was also my personal experience, which I took with me to the See of Peter and which in a sense forms
the image of this Pontificate... ”

He was able to write his message for the Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005 before he died:

“As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness,
and fear, the Risen Lord offers His love that pardons, reconciles, and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that
converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!

“Lord, who reveals the Father’s love by Your death and Resurrection, we believe in You and confidently repeat
to You today: Jesus, I trust in You, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. Amen.”

Divine Mercy Miracles

Apart from the great miracle narrated above, many have testified how devotion to the Divine Mercy heals,
saves, and protects lives. One of the most well-known miracles is the US Airways flight in 2009 which landed
in the Hudson River shortly after it left New York’s La Guardia airport. No one got hurt or died. The accident
happened at 3 p.m. A devotee, remembering the promise that whatever you ask during this great time of mercy
will be granted, prayed for the miracle that everyone would be safe.

There was also the story of a man named Rene who was a victim of a car theft. Things happened very fast.
The armed men pushed him inside his own car, blindfolded and bound him. He kept on praying all throughout
the four-hour ordeal. At a certain point, he was pulled out of the car, still bound and blindfolded. He was told to
run. He was warned that he would be shot. He ran and ran, but no bullet came. When he felt he was far and
alone, he removed his blindfold and saw he was in Batangas. He heard God clearly in his head: “My servants
have suffered so much in the hands of evil ones, but this is my promise to you through the Divine Mercy: I will
be with you in time of danger and I will rescue you.”

Then there was Dona who suffered ulcerations in the mouth, tongue, throat, and esophagus. In 2000, when St.
Faustina was canonized, her doctor found a massive lump in her breast. She prayed to the Divine Mercy and
asked for St. Faustina’s intercession. When she received her biopsy report, it was benign. She made three
promises to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy. She fulfilled all except visiting the National Shrine. Her
ulcerations became worse. Finally, in 2007, she had a great desire to visit the National Shrine of Divine Mercy
in the US. On the drive back to her home, she suddenly felt that the top and sides of her mouth were smooth.
The ulcerations had completely vanished.
There is also the story of a Divine Mercy devotee. In July 2000, she received a call from her sister-in-law that
her brother had had an attack the previous day. He was comatose and his condition very critical. She called
other Divine Mercy devotees to pray together on the phone for her brother. She waited for her son to get off
work before they could drive to the hospital. On the way, she kept praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, God the
Father rosary, and Mother Mary rosary repeatedly.

She recalled, “Upon reaching his hospital room, I immediately showered it with Holy Water and I anointed my
brother with Holy Oil, prayed over him and whispered to him that I brought with me the Divine Mercy and it was
beside his bed and the miracle prayers — though he was comatose, I knew deep in my heart he was listening.
Then the nurse spoke to me and asked me if I needed a priest and I said yes. My niece who is a nurse, told me
that his father was very critical, his heart was enlarged, his kidney was 50 percent functioning, his lungs filled
with water, etc. I was crying and crying but very determined to pray. I gave my nieces the novena of the Divine
Mercy and instructed them to pray with me and we started the first day and the chaplet. The priest arrived and
anointed him again and prayed for him and said to just leave everything to the Lord and he left. Meantime, we
continued to pray and pray, and at 1 p.m., my niece went to his room and talked to the nurse, who said that my
brother was breathing freely now and they would remove the oxygen when he woke up. Praise the Lord! So my
niece immediately told us about it and I told my niece to continue to finish the Novena for nine days and so on.
At 1 p.m., his doctor arrived and he asked my brother if he could hold his hand, and my brother took his hand.
We were very amazed with the power of prayer. So after a week, we went back to visit my brother, and he was
already home. He is still alive up to the present time.”