See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him- so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of men – so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it (Isaiah 52:13- 15 from the First Reading, Good Friday Liturgy).
The Sacred Paschal Triduum commemorates the holiest days of the Church year. Last night the Triduum commenced with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. At this Holy Mass we celebrated both the institution of the Holy Eucharist and commissioning of the sacred priesthood, while contemplating the night on which our Lord was betrayed.
Today, on Good Friday, we gaze upon the suffering face of our Lord as we accompany Him along the, Via Crucis; the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross. Around the world many of us walked (literally and figuratively) with our fellow Christians, and commemorated the Sacred Passion of Our Lord by praying the fourteen Stations of the Cross.
These photos are from the annual Stations of the Cross with the Milwaukee Archbishop, His Excellency Jerome Listecki, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill.
Throughout the afternoon, hundreds of pilgrims climbed the steep hill praying the words penned by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and echoing the strains of the Stabat Mater.
Later, we gathered in the Basilica for the traditional Good Friday Liturgy, at which the Passion of Our Lord (The Gospel of St. John 18:1- 19:42) was read aloud, and the faithful venerated the Holy Cross before partaking in Holy Communion. Tomorrow a new day dawns, and by evening time the Sacred Triduum will crescendo into a triumphant culmination with the Vigil Mass of Our Lord’s Resurrection.
Through the celebration of the Good Friday Liturgy, we recall the most pivotal event in the history of human kind: the day on which Our Lord suffered, was crucified, and died to pay the penalty of our sin. On this day we pause and recall our own sins, and the burden our actions have added to Our Lord’s sacred shoulders. While this is a solemn, somber celebration of our Lord’s passion and death, there is also a glimmer of joy; for in His passion and death is the ultimate expression of merciful love. It is no coincidence that today we also begin to prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy. That preparation begins with the novena of Mercy.
For the next nine days, I will post a brief reflection, a reminder to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the novena requested by our Lord, and the link to the novena which our Lord dictated on Good Friday 1937 to St. Maria Faustina for her private use in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy.
In Her Diary, St. Maria Faustina relates that our Lord Himself requested the Chaplet of Mercy be recited, beginning on Good Friday, for nine days before the Feast of Divine Mercy. He stated: “By this novena I will grant every possible grace to souls (796, p.316 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is to be recited on ordinary Rosary Beads. After making the Sign of the Cross, one then recites an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed.
On the single bead prior to each decade, one prays:
“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 for the sins of the whole world (475, p.207 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
On the ten beads of the decade, one prays:
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world (476, p.208 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
After all five decades have been prayed, one prays the concluding Doxology:
There is an optional closing prayer:
“Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly on us, and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy Itself (796, p.370 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
While Our Lord requested this novena of Chaplets not only for St. Maria Faustina, but the whole world, He also gave her a private novena. In this novena, Our Lord invites Sr. Faustina to immerse a particular group of souls into the abyss of His mercy each day, so that in turn He may bring these souls to the Heavenly Father. Over the years, I have found this novena tremendously fruitful.
Our Lord stated to St. Faustina:
“I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the font of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom enough strength and refreshment and whatever graces they need . . . . On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them into this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father (1209, p. 435, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
Our Lord Jesus loves each of us immeasurably. He came into the world to testify to the truth of that love, and to lay down His life in reparation for our sins. It is for sinners that He came into this world, and for sinners that He died and rose again victorious. Therefore, it is fitting that this first day of the novena be dedicated to sinners.
Jesus requested of St. Faustina on Day 1:
“Today, bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them into the ocean of My Mercy. In this way, you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me (1210, p. 436, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
For the text of the entire first day of the novena, please visit go to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website at http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/firstday.php.
In this first day, St. Faustina immerses each of us into the abyss of God’s mercy, an abyss so deep that even death could not fill it. As we journey from the Cross to the Resurrection, let us join St. Maria Faustina in immersing all of humankind, but most especially all sinners, in Christ’s Mercy, with the hope that He will in turn eventually bring them home to His Father’s House.
Ad Jesum per Mariam
** Divine Mercy Celebrations will be held at churches world-wide in accordance with Our Lord’s directive to St. Maria Faustina. Confessions, Holy Mass (often at 3 p.m.) and the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy usually occur at these events. There is a true outpouring of grace at these events.
Contact your local Archdiocesan Office for details and locations of hosting churches.
The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill hosts a beautiful celebration. For more information regarding that celebration visit the site: https://www.holyhill.com/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=741&Itemid=50&year=2013&month=04&day=07&title=sunday-of-divine-mercy-&uid=dfc595f576ed1845fa495278cafe52ea&catids=6|3
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse also will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. For More information visit their site at: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/events/divine-mercy-sunday