I know all the arguments, and I’m still not totally comfortable with St. Faustina’s diary. I’m also uneasy with the way the Divine Mercy devotion has superseded or even replaced devotion to the Sacred Heart, as if we can’t have both, and I decry the idea of mercy without repentance, which is the error currently all the rage.
But I’m going to tell you a quick story of how it came to win me over, and I am proposing to you a trial run with this devotion.
How did it win me over? At first, it was upon finding adherents among many holy priests I know, one after the other, many of them Trad. I resisted, being prideful and holding onto those reservations about the diary. It was a few years ago, upon learning that the FSSP actually celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, that I realized there had to be something I was missing.
My interaction with the devotion was increasingly accompanied by an unmistakable sign of the Holy Ghost: Sneaking up and smacking me in the head. You know what I’m talking about. It just kept happening more and more, until I finally figured out what what going on. It typically takes something like the Roadrunner dropping the anvil for me to wake up and put the pieces together, which happened about a year ago.
I found myself headed towards a Midwestern city I wasn’t very familiar with, and in need of Confession. After consulting masstimes.org to see what might work, it looked as if nothing was going to fit between planes, meetings, and required drive time. Plane landed crazy early, which gave me a chance, if I hurried, at a church named for the Divine Mercy. It was on a leafy street in a suburban neighborhood, a nice old stone church. Inside, it was beautiful, not wrecked. Side devotional altar to the Divine Mercy. Lone priest in the box.
Let’s just say it was one of those eye opening, scales falling, kind of moments. Like something that, once seen, cannot be unseen.
Since then, I’ve experienced several more encounters, many of which continue to come when I’m not expecting it. It is now to the point where I can say the devotion definitely bears fruit.
What can be most helpful is a simple meditation on the Divine Mercy itself, and how much it makes perfect sense, as it is borne of God’s perfect love for us. We don’t deserve it; we deserve so much worse, but we just can’t get our heads around how much he loves us. Infinite love, bearing infinite mercy, depending only on our repentance: Contrition and purpose of amendment.
Here is a quick way to get yourself into it. This is a prayer card I keep in my stack of daily devotions. If you pray it earnestly, you will see fruit, take it from me.