See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Novena

"By this novena I will grant every possible grace to souls." - Words of Our Lord
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I haven't noticed any Catholic blogs posting on the Novena to the Divine Mercy, which began on Good Friday and ends on the Feast of Mercy, the Second Sunday of Easter.  Of course I don't read that many blogs, so maybe it's just me, or maybe everyone knows enough about it already.  That can't be of course, since the Divine Mercy is inexhaustible - right?  :)
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No doubt about it, the Divine Mercy is a very important devotion for our times.  As I mentioned, the novena began on Good Friday.  Most people use the prayers Jesus dictated to St. Faustina combined with the chaplet.  The novena of chaplets is the one by which Jesus promises his greatest graces to "anyone who prays it", while the prayers of Faustina may be substituted with our own.  Jesus told the Saint:
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"On each day you will bring to my Heart a different group of souls; you will immerse them in this ocean of my Mercy; on each day you will beg my Father on the strength of my bitter Passion for graces for these souls."  Words of Our Lord
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If you haven't started the novena, begin now, having confidence in the Divine Mercy.  Remember the parable of the laborers in the vineyard [Matt. 20:1-16]; those who were hired late received the same compensation as those who were hired early in the day.  Confidence - trust - is the essence of this devotion.
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And most especially, go to confession, and on the Feast of Divine Mercy receive Holy Communion since the Lord promises:
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"The soul that will go to confession, and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment... Let no soul fear to draw near to me, even though its sins be as scarlet." - Words of Our Lord
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Links:
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The Divine Mercy - Marians of the Immaculate Conception
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Divine Mercy Devotion - EWTN
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Cathedral of St. Paul, Minnesota:  Continue your Easter celebration by participating in the Cathedral’s Divine Mercy Sunday activities. Following the noon Mass on Sunday, April 11, we will have Eucharistic Adoration with music, meditations from Pope John Paul II & Saint Faustina, the Rosary, and confessions. At 3 p.m., the hour of Divine Mercy, we will sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet and have Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

40 comments:

  1. Sigh. If you go to Confession, your sins are forgiven, anyway. Sigh.

    Why do devotions always have to have a reward attached to them? Let it be what it is: a meditation on God's inexhaustible mercy.

    sigh.

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  2. +JMJ+

    Thom, are you saying it's a lesser devotion because Jesus attached a promise to it?

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  3. No. I'm saying the most popular ones usually do. I just find that interesting. As if that mercy weren't available without a novena.

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  4. Thom,

    It's more than that. The Divine Mercy promise is essentially a second Baptism. It's true that our sins are forgiven through Confession, but the grace given this Sunday is for the forgiveness of all sins and the punishment we're due because of those sins.

    Outside of that, the entire Divine Mercy message is a school of spirituality. It's to affect one's entire life, urging one to trust, as Terry points out. It's much more than a meditation on God's inexhaustible mercy, though it is that indeed.

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  5. +JMJ+

    Thom, I guess your comment just confused me because it was as if you were were saying we shouldn't bother with certain devotions if all we want from them are the results.

    For instance, what is to stop someone from asking, "Why do I need to pray a novena to St. Philomena (or whoever)? She'll hear me if I ask once."

    Also, I respectfully think you have the wrong idea about the Divine Mercy. Jesus was very specific about having a chaplet and an image--the former to be prayed at a certain hour and the latter to be painted in a certain way. While it's true that His mercy has always been available, we haven't always had this chaplet, this image, this feast, and this particular devotion. It's certainly possible to meditate on Divine Mercy without these things, but they're valuable, wonderful and a way for the whole Church to pray together as one, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss them because some people seem to be clinging to them only for the reward.

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  6. Fr. Cozzens will be at the Cathedral!

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  7. If I might add just this one thing:
    a plenary indulgence (which is what Divine Mercy Sunday/devotion is all about) requires that one go to confession, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, receive Communion, and perform the particular prayer/devotion.
    That's all it is.
    If someone has been to confession within the time-frame (two weeks?), goes to Holy Communion and prays for the Pope, while doing the devotion, that fulfills the requirements.
    The particular aspect of this devotion, as Patrick D., has stated, has to do with the promise of our Lord that one's temporal punishment due to sin is remitted with the fulfillment of these acts of love and devotion to our Lord, the Divine Mercy.
    Please pray for me, everyone, I beg; I'm giving two talks at a Divine Mercy afternoon and I want to say what the Lord would have me say. Thank you.

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  8. I forgot to add "freedom of attachment to venial sin", which, if one receives Holy Communion, is sorry for ALL sins, makes a firm purpose of amendment, is then free.
    Sometimes people think they have to go to confession on Divine Mercy Sunday, and from the literature I have read, this, in itself, is not necessary...if one has made a good confession during Holy Week, that suffices; but the firm purpose of amendment is absolutely essential.
    Correct me if I'm wrong!

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  9. +JMJ+

    Thom, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm sorry.

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  10. np, people may think that confession on Divine Mercy Sunday is necessary because it's offered as part of the program. At least at my Cathedral.

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  11. Nan: I am aware of this...I'm not discouraging people from going to confession, esp. if they need to confess mortal sins; I would never do that.
    But, from my experience on DM Sunday, folks who had been to confession just several days prior seemed to think they needed to come again to confession again.
    It's my understanding (and I could be wrong; I often am...I try to be up on these things!) that a good confession two weeks prior to Divine Mercy Sunday, with the other requirements (Holy Communion, prayer for the Pope, doing the devotion, freedom from attachment to venial sin) fulfills this request of our Lord.
    This is the 'area' that Thom alludes to: if someone is not conscious of mortal sin, a good act of contrition, receiving Holy Communion (which forgives venial sin) and doing the other requirements suffices...we have to be careful about becoming scrupulous, magical, or obsessive/compulsive about this. Jesus is Divine Mercy.
    He knows. He always knows:<)!

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  12. +JMJ+

    Thanks, Thom. But I have been behaving badly up and down the internet for the past couple of days, and thought I'd play it safe now.

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  13. I haven't posted on DM this year because I've been writing an article about it for our diocesan rag.

    I sure hope those polyester pantsuit wearing "nones" at the diocesan center that practice "healing touch" read it....

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  14. Austringer3:21 PM

    Padre, my understanding was more along the lines of what Patrick Dunn had to say: that it was, in effect, like a second Baptism. Yes, I know that any plenary indulgence does this, but one of the requirements is that, as you have noted, one is free from attachment to venial sin. This is a requirement that few of us can probably meet. I was told that this particular plenary indulgence forgave the punishment due all sins even if one is still not perfectly free from the attachment to sin.

    Is that information correct?

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  15. Austringer: From my understanding, from the Vatican information regarding this particular plenary indulgence, I can only refer to this explanation:
    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/summary.htm
    What our Lord said to St. Faustina, with regards to this particular grace, I can only surmise...if a soul desires to reject ALL sin, he/she receives this particular indulgence, by the merits of the Divine Mercy.
    Hope this helps.

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  16. Father is absolutely right - a person does not need to make their confession on the feast day - it can be made before that day or after - I have heard it can be any time during Lent or Eastertide. I think the requirements for a plenary indulgence are best followed - 8 days before or after, if one is in doubt.

    Neither is it required that devotions take place in a church - many parishes do not celebrate the feast day other than Mass for the Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday Mass is an obligation. One may practice the devotion privately if desired.

    The 'promises' of Our Lord existed before the Church 'codified' the requirements for the feast - so I wouldn't get all scrupulous about it. One does not have to do the novena to receive the graces either.

    Attached to every pleneary indulgence is some work - so in this case it is honoring the Divine Mercy by some prayer and/or some period of adoration in a church if possible, or before some image of the Divine Mercy; Confession before or after the feast day, and Holy Communion. The minimum prayer required to gain a plenary indulgence is usually the Creed and a Pater and Ave for the Pope, and as mentioned in this case, a prayer to the Divine Mercy.

    It's not a big deal to accomplish - nor is it a new requirement - essentially it fulfills one's Easter Duty - which has always been required by Church Law.

    The 'pardon' is not unlike the Porziuncula Indulgence or any other 'toties quoties' such as a Holy Year Indulgence.

    The extraordinary thing about this devotion is that numerous graces are poured out for even the most hardened sinners and non-believers, as well as those who have lost hope - the chaplet is extremely powerful. I wish I could tell you in more detail, but Our Lord has freed many souls from the worst addictions and slavery to sin through this devotion.

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  17. I ignore people who always put up that road block as to the condition of detachment from even the least venial sin being required to gain a plenary indulgence - Be that as it may, confidence is key in this particular devotion - complete trust. In this devotion, Jesus himself frees us from our attachment to sin. Trust is needed.
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    One can also make an act of the will such as, "Lord, I am bound by the chains of many affections and attachments to creatures and sin, even though I want to be free of these, and even though I will to break free, I cannot accomplish it on my own... Therefore I trust in you and your power to free me from these shakles which bind me. I appeal to your Divine Mercy! Blood and water flowing forth from the side of mercy, I trust in you!"

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  18. Nan: I know Fr. Cozzens...he is wonderful. Glad to hear he will be at the Cathedral!

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  19. Terry: Great spiritual direction here.
    People can get all wrapped up into this and that...just reject Satan, all his works, all his pomps, all his lies!
    Say you're sorry for EVERYTHING! and mean it!
    Jesus knows...and don't be bound by the temptations and lies of the Evil One.
    This is a Feast of Peace...look at the Gospel for this Sunday...Thomas puts his hands into the wounds of our Lord...and believes.
    Just do that. And be at peace,yeah?

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  20. You are right Father - thanks.

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  21. I think we should distinguish between the promise attached to Divine Mercy Sunday itself, which comes directly from our Lord and indulgences. The promise for this Sunday is straight from Our Lord to St. Faustina: "The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened."

    There are no conditions for the Divine Mercy promise (forgiveness of sins and all punishment due to sin) outside of those that our Lord gave. What we have this coming Sunday is an astonishing gift that far outweighs the graces we can gain through indulgences, good as they are, for, as someone else here pointed out, the normal detachment from all sin required for a plenary indulgence does not come into play for the graces given by Our Lord on Divine Mercy Sunday itself.

    It is a special day, a very special day.

    more info. here:
    http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=2618

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  22. Patrick D: I believe the page to which you referred also indicates that confession within even 20 days prior to Divine Mercy Sunday (which is a bit more extensive that what I referred to:<)!) as long as one is not conscious of mortal sin, suffices, along with the perfect act of contrition, Holy Communion, prayer for the pontiff, the act of devotion...the Church's plenary indulgence is a 'recongitio', if you will, of the promises of our Lord to St. Faustina; there may be the additional graces given, which the Lord can do, but to fulfill these requirements, the Church is being very careful in order not to become, like I said before, scrupulous, magical, etc.
    What our Lord promises, He will fulfill in the soul that is receptive and open to Him,...I agree.

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  23. Austringer5:42 PM

    Terry, thanks for your insights here...they are very, very helpful. I have to admit, I have always been a bit daunted by the condition of detachment. Trust no doubt is, as you point out, the avenue to mercy.

    Rats, I'm not so good at trust either!

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  24. Actually, nazareth priest, it's even simpler than that. If you follow the link and read what the priest explaining the conditions says, it's simply a matter of "receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace on Divine Mercy Sunday, with trust in our Lord's great mercy". The other stipluations that usually apply for indulgences do not apply for the Divine Mercy promise of "the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment"; indulgences are entirely separate from the promise itself.

    In terms of confession, Father covers that in the article too:

    "Whether your last confession was 10, 20, 30, or even more days before Divine Mercy Sunday, as long as you do not have the stain of unconfessed mortal sin on your soul, then you are spiritually alive in Christ and able to receive His special grace from Holy Communion on that great feast day!"

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  25. Aceman6:03 PM

    Terry--while I am sure that there have been good fruits from these prayers, I find it quite disconcerting that a para-liturgical devotion so over-shadows the Triduum and Easter week and takes over and displaces Thomas (Low) Sunday. It just doesn't seem right to me, no matter how well meaning it is.

    I stopped in a church to visit the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday one year as part of the 7 churches, and they were praying the chaplet as a body. I am sure that it was well intentioned, but very out of touch with the spirit that should pervade that evening.

    I see God's mercy everytime I look at the Cross and at every Mass, that's enough for me.

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  26. I am very much a promoter of the Divine Mercy--I have personally received a great many graces from the chaplet, and having the image in my surroundings at work and at hope has blessed me tremendously..however I do agree that starting the novena on Good Friday "detracts" at least for me, the sorrow or emptiness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Too bad it can't start the next
    week....but then it throws off Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Sara

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  27. Patrick and Father - thank you both for really good advice and for making the message very clear (Patrick).

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  28. Thom and Ace - you're both on the way of perdition anyway so don't worry about it.

    I'M JUST KIDDING!

    I know a bishop and several priests who think the same way as you do - no one is obliged to the devotion - as you well know. Personally it has helped me very much and I've never had a problem with its timing or scheduling.

    And just look how normal I am! LOL!

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  29. Sorry - "way to perdition" - I'm still kidding however.

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  30. Terry: Youse normal; ain't youse normal? What is I then?:<)!

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  31. You might be the other pea in the pod.

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  32. Thank you for posting this. I was trying to find a way to get others to "join the Novena" mid-stream.

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  33. You're welcome, Terry. For anyone interested in how the Divine Mercy message can unfold as an entire school of spirituality, this book is for you:

    http://www.amazon.com/Consoling-Heart-Jesus-Michael-Gaitley/dp/1596142227/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270633725&sr=8-1

    It's phenomenal. The writer also brings in elements from St. Louis de Montfort (Marian consecration), the Little Way of the Little Flower and Igantian Spirituality. It's set up as a kind of mini-retreat.

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  34. You're welcome, Terry. For anyone interested in how the Divine Mercy message can unfold as an entire school of spirituality, this book is for you:

    http://www.amazon.com/Consoling-Heart-Jesus-Michael-Gaitley/dp/1596142227/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270633725&sr=8-1

    It's phenomenal. The writer also brings in elements from St. Louis de Montfort (Marian consecration), the Little Way of the Little Flower and Igantian Spirituality. It's set up as a kind of mini-retreat.

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  35. Aceman9:30 AM

    T-man, I might be on the way to perdition, don't want to speak for Thom, but remember what St. John Chrysostom says about the way to hell:

    "it's paved with the skulls of bishops." :-)

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  36. Ace - and Thom too - I really was just kidding.

    I like that saying BTW - skulls get slippery when wet.

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  37. Aceman2:01 PM

    I know you were kidding T-man. Somehow I don't think that John Chrysostom was though... ;-)

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  38. Maria5:51 PM

    Thanks to all for thoughts and direction about DM. Padre--I will certainly pray that your talk foes well.

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