We pray for ourselves. We pray for each other. We pray for the whole world.
Today I arrived at church a little before 3pm to get ready to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with whoever would show up. I set up a small table with the Divine Mercy image, prayer cards, and flyers. I light a candle and turn on two lights in the church.
The regulars arrived right on time. We wait a bit to see if anyone else will show up. Then I say a few words before we begin. This time I told them that as I was making up more Divine Mercy flyers, I read the flyers as they were printing. Jesus tells us to show mercy to others. I said I wonder, “How do I show mercy to others? How do we show mercy to others?” I told them that when we come to church at 3pm on Fridays to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet together we are showing mercy to others by praying for them. I reminded them that even though we don’t say our personal prayer intentions out loud all of our prayers are being combined for these intentions. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a saving prayer, a healing prayer, a thanksgiving prayer, a loving prayer, a powerful prayer of mercy given to us by Jesus. I felt moved by this thought. Then I knelt down and started leading the chaplet.
We only said the Our Father and Hail Mary together when parishioners Sam and Sally came in the side door of the church and knelt down at the side pews away from us. I stopped leading the chaplet and said “I wonder if they want to join us.” I decided to go ask them.
When I got close, I felt like I was intruding. I could see Sally had been crying and Sam had a serious sad look on his face. I asked if they wanted to join us to pray the chaplet. Sally frowned. I was about to leave them alone when she said, “we got some really bad news today.” I sympathized with them. Then I shared what I told the others about how we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for all of our personal intentions, not just our own, uniting our prayers. I added “you don’t have to say it with us if you aren’t up to it, you’re intentions will be included with ours.” Still kneeling in the pew Sam looked at Sally and she looked at him, then wordlessly they got out their rosaries, walked over and joined us.
I reminded everyone again to remember their personal intentions and I began the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. A few tears fell from my eyes as we pray the chaplet together. When we were finished praying I asked Sam and Sally if they knew we were praying the chaplet today. They said they hadn’t thought about it but now believe they were meant to be here with us.
How my heart warms for these who give up a little of their Friday afternoon each week to pray together. As we pray for ourselves, pray for each other, pray for the personal intentions of everyone in the parish, and as we pray for the whole world, we beg, we plead, we cry out to our God, “FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SORROWFUL PASSION, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD.”