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Growing up in a Catholic home, I was familiar with the Divine Mercy Novena and had prayed it a few times, but it had been a while since I had used it and honestly the thought of praying it during one of the most difficult times of my life had not really crossed my mind, but I began praying the chaplet in August of 2016. It was just a few days after I started staying the night at my parents’ home. My husband and I were officially separated. He had just been diagnosed with PTSD days before and even after 6 months of counseling he did not show any signs of improvement. In fact, it would take 17 months before we saw any real progress. We had already walked a hard, dark road and I felt extremely lost, alone, and so incredibly tired.
I remember staying in my brother’s old room and there on the nightstand was a pamphlet with the Divine Mercy Novena. The discovery, I would say was not really a miracle of sorts. Anyone who has visited my parents’ home can fairly easily recognize that we are a Catholic family between the rosary beads and statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Theresa, as well as, the Catholic literature laid out and about, it’s not exactly a surprise to find something like a novena out on a nightstand. What was probably the most miraculous is that I picked up the pamphlet, read through it and prayed with everything that I had. I don’t remember much about that night, but I know I wrote and would continue to write in my journal many times over the words “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” From that day forward, I would pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, sometimes three to four times a day. It was not always at the 3 o’clock hour as St. Faustina noted in her diary that Jesus instructed that we are to pray the Divine Mercy “As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice” (Diary 1572). Nevertheless, I prayed. And, sometimes I would pull up a recording of it and fall asleep as I listened to it. Many times, it provided the comfort I needed to quiet my mind, so that I could truly rest.
And, I can say with all assurance that it helped me to find the words to go to God when I did not have them.
You pray the chaplet on the rosary, but it is not necessary to have a rosary when you pray. There are basically three main parts which have become almost like a recording playing in the back of my mind as I work throughout the day:
1) 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.
2) For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
3) Jesus, I trust in you.
Probably what has come to mean the most to me is how the Divine Mercy helped me to open my heart to forgiveness. Growing up in a Catholic family, I have experienced some deeply profound moments with our Lord, but none like I have experienced in saying and becoming completely devoted to His Divine Mercy. There is something incredibly powerful and healing when you turn your body, mind, heart, and soul completely over to God, which is what the Divine Mercy helped me to do. About a year into my daily prayer routine, I started praying:
Eternal Father, I offer You my Body, Blood, Heart, and Soul in atonement for my sins and those of the whole world.
And, still I prayed:
Eternal Father, I come to you heart, mind, body and soul to ask forgiveness for my sins and those of the whole world.
At about that same time, I also prayed for God to help me to forgive those who deeply wounded me:
For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on (insert the name of the person you want to forgive) and on the whole world.
I don’t pray this way every time I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, most of the time, I pray it just as it is written, but I do use this phrasing at different points. And, I am not going to lie. Initially, it took an incredible amount of discipline, heart, and every ounce of my muscle to make my pen write out the name of the person I wanted to ask God to have mercy on. And, there were times I stopped and times I would cry so hard, and get so mad, so angry and I would ask God “Why it had to be like this? And, why did I have to go through this? And, why I couldn’t let this go? And, why after all of these years was this coming up?” And, I would hear “Wait Jen or Be Still Jen.” And, I didn’t want to wait, and I didn’t want to be still, but I listened.
And, I am so incredibly grateful that I did because God is moving in our family and in our world in ways that I never imagined. And, he is moving us from a family who carried the symptoms of PTSD for so long, to a family of peace, trust, strength, and discipline. And my hope, our hope is that those of you who are visiting Get Strong with Jen looking for help, for support with PTSD, that eventually you will be able to find peace, trust, strength, and discipline in your life.
The Divine Mercy Novena was written by Sister Maria Faustina in 1935. She recorded her experiences with Jesus in her diary and noted that “he desired [the Feast of Divine Mercy] to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. On that day, He would pour out an ‘ocean of graces.’ He promised complete forgiveness of sins and of punishment to anyone who would make a good confession beforehand and receive Holy Communion on the feast.”
She would be canonized on April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II and her feast day is celebrated on October 5th.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet can be found here
The Divine Mercy App can be found here – I love the app. It has the chaplet on it with a digital rosary included. You can turn off the volume and pray it while you wait anywhere.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song can be found here – I love this version of the chaplet. I use it most frequently when I am tired and am struggling to rest. It is 21 minutes long and when I was struggling the worst, I would typically fall asleep while I listened, but I would wake up feeling incredibly refreshed. Now, most days, I can make it through the whole song without sleeping, but it is still incredibly calming.
The information about St. Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy was taken from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website at www.thedivinemercy.org
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