During the 1930s a young girl joined the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland. The uneducated nun, named Sister Faustina, was unaware of the life the Lord was about to ask her to live.
Sister Faustina had the smallest and most humble of jobs in the convent since she only had three years of education because of her family’s poverty and inability to provide more education for her. It is often the case that the Lord Jesus Christ chooses the most humble and unlikely individuals for extraordinary purposes. Think of the apostles he chose. Jesus could have chosen anyone with influence, power, and financial means but yet he walked along the seashore and chose simple fishermen struggling daily to make ends meet. He has done the same throughout history and Sister Faustina is no exception.
Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina and requested that she write down her experiences and encounters with the Lord. She obeyed Christ and made journals that later became known as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. The revelations and messages contained within her writings were those of God’s loving message of Divine Mercy. They were nothing new to the Church since the Church had been teaching about God’s mercy since its inception. The diary, however, caused a great movement and passion for God’s message of mercy.
Sister Faustina was canonized by Saint John Paul II in 2000. He referred to the young nun as “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.” It was during her revelations of Christ that she obtained the image of the Divine Mercy of Christ we see today. It was also during these revelations she was warned about the reality of hell, the tortures of souls without Christ, and the urging of individuals to surrender to the mercy of Christ.
“Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:
The First Torture that constitutes hell is – the loss of God.
The Second is – Perpetual remorse of conscience.
The Third is – That one’s condition will never change.
The Fourth is – The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger.
The Fifth is – Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own.
The Sixth Torture is – The constant company of Satan.
The Seventh Torture is – Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses, and blasphemies.
These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.
There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.
Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made us of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like…how terribly souls suffer there!” – Sister Faustina, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
She was also given the Divine Mercy Chaplet to pray and promulgate. Therefore, she became the “apostle” of Divine Mercy as Pope John Paul II called her. Here is how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet:
1.) Using the rosary beads - Make the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
2.) Optional Opening Prayer: “You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat the following 3 times) – O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you!”
3.) Recite the “Our Father” prayer
4.) Continue with “Hail Mary”
5.) Recite the “Apostles Creed”
6.) On the large bead before each decade say: “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.”
7.) On the ten small beads of each decade say: “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
8.) After the last decade, recite the following prayer three times: “Holy God, Holy Mighty one, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Divine mercy from the Lord is our only hope of salvation. It is our pathway to eternal life and avoidance of the tortures of hell which Sister Faustina described.
“Without Divine Grace, could you have been victorious in all the crisis and all the spiritual battles which you have had to face? Well, then, open your soul more and more to Divine Hope, have more trust in the Divine Mercy, which is the only refuge of the soul exposed to a stormy sea.” – St. Padre Pio
Let us pray for divine mercy from the living, loving, forgiving, and all compassionate God who desires to have a relationship with us and to spend eternity with us.
Lord Jesus, I trust in you.