I’m cool about a certain popular devotion. Wherein Fr Z goes all ‘RAH!’

UPDATE: 22 June

I was alerted to nastygram at Path…eos by a, presumably young, lady whose name was unfamiliar to me – Rebecca Bratten Weiss. Rebecca took exception to what I posted, below, although I’m not convinced that she read it.  Or perhaps read it without reading into it what isn’t there.   Good luck to her.  I hope she gets over her anti-clericalism.  o{];¬)
Originally Published on: Jun 19, 2017

__

divine_mercyThe often inflammatory Maureen Mullarkey has written several posts about her discomfort with the Divine Mercy devotion and chaplet.

She makes the point that I would make: I LONG for Divine Mercy.  I would add that I long for it probably not knowing how much I truly need it and, were I to truly understand my need, I might quite simply die.  So, praying for it can’t be bad.  As a matter of fact, it is a sine qua non of my life.

That said: I can’t warm up to this devotion.  I’m a convert and I took to the Rosary as if I had said it all my life.  But this one… nope.  And I have asked myself why for years.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you readers are asking along with the spittle-flecked nutty libs, “If you are Catholic you HAVE TO love this!  It’s just… the BEST!  I mean mercy is so… soooo…. Don’t you understand how wonderful it is?  It’s on EWTN!!! Do you really HATE VATICAN II?!? (‘YES! He DOES!’, shout the libs.)”

Sorry, I just can’t warm up to it.  And I prefer the Sunday after Easter to be Dominica in albis, just as it has always been.  Quasimodo Sunday.  Does that exclude “Divine Mercy” as a focus?  No, of course it doesn’t.  Don’t have a spittle-flecked nutty.

What is it that puts me off this devotion?  Perhaps it is that saccharin soul-annihilating chant with which the chaplet sung.  Please JUST KILL ME! Perhaps it is the dreadful art that goes with it. Alas, I can’t un-see it… with it’s pastels.  Perhaps it is the invasion of that dreadful art into sanctuaries, HUGE cheesy prints among the potted plants propped up near altars as if it were some equal fixture that I don’t care for.

And I even like some of that old fashioned, even sugary devotional art because – yes, it’s kinda corny – but it stems from true love.   I don’t mind the sweet stuff about Our Lady of Fatima or our Guardian Angels (though I picture them as something quite different).

To obtain mercy is there something lacking in the recitation of the Rosary?  Is there something missing in the devotion to the Sacred Heart?   They work for me, thank you very much.  They’ve worked for a loooong time.

Maureen has some choice quotes from her musings which, in part, give voice to some aspects of my lack of enthusiasm for the Divine Mercy chaplet (especially).  HERE and HERE and HERE

Namely…

  • As anecdotal evidence goes, there seem to be more Catholics uneasy with the Faustina engine—fueled as it is on syrup—than I had expected.
  • My essay said nothing about feminized priests. It mentioned only the painting of a feminized Jesus, cloaked in a gauzy haze and drained of virility.
  • Faustina’s visions conjure a feminized Jesus—a kitchen table Jesus drained of masculinity; one who feels, who talks about his feelings as a woman would. Worse, He Who spoke the universe into existence speaks to Faustina in the phrasings of a dime novel.
  • Ignatius of Loyola advised his followers to steer clear of women: “All familiarity with women was to be avoided, and not less with those who are spiritual, or wish to appear so.” The militant Ignatius, a “new soldier for Christ,” grasped something that we moderns in the West dislike admitting: A feminized Church is a weak institution. It puts soft devotions ahead of the Cross.
  • The words of Domenico Bartolucci (d. 2013), the last great Chapel Master of the Sistine Chapel Choir, resound more compellingly with each passing year:
    Gregorian chant was born in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day. 
    What Cardinal Bartolucci said of chant and polyphony applies as well to our devotions. The Jesus of our devotional life should also be manly and strong. The grand nature of the Christian claim diminishes in any devotion—however popular—that depicts a plaintive Jesus who drops by with a fail-proof recipe for redemption. And who dramatizes his feelings the way a woman might.

Mind you, I have not made a detailed study of the writings of St. Faustina, but what I have read did not keep me reading eagerly.  I’m sure that there are some bits that are great and others that are not so great.

Perhaps the chaplet is more of a female thing than a male thing, I don’t know.  Maureen seems to think so, and, from what I gather from her tone, she doesn’t think that that’s good for the Church as a whole.   If I read her right, she thinks its popularity is a symptom of a feminized Church.

Is she right?

All I know is that I don’t care to use that particular devotion.  If other people want to, hey, great.   I know that men seem to like reciting the Rosary with other men.

And the “Combat Rosary” is sure a hit.

I wonder if my coolness is influenced by my old pastor and mentor the late and famed Msgr. Schuler.  Maybe he steered me away from this devotion.  He was right about the NeoCats and the Legion and several other things that have, over time, proven to be a bust.  Schuler didn’t have time for the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  The Rosary was good enough for him, as he would say.  I must say, if it was good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me.

“… then it’s good enough for me”, which reminds me of something.

We of the Church Militant could use a good march cadence, or better yet, a run to cadence chant.  Here’s an impromptu run to cadence chant for those of us sticking with the good old Rosary (the … stands for the gentle way that drill instructors have of suggesting, that, after they sing the verse, then, “If you don’t mind, would you please repeat it after me – if it isn’t too much trouble?”).  Imagine a drill instructor with a really good chant doing this…

DOUBLE TIMERAH!
HHHU!CATH’LIC!

Left right lay o…
A lo right a lay o…
A lefty right a lay o…
O YAH!…
OORAH!..
ROS’RY!…
Good for you…
Good for me…

Gimme that ol’ time Holy Ros’ry…
Gimme that ol’ time Holy Ros’ry…
Gimme that ol’ time Holy Ros’ry…
‘Cause it’s good enough for me.

It was good for Saint Dominic…
It was good for Louis de Montfort…
It was good for PADRE PIO…
And it’s good enough for ME!

REFRAIN: Gimme that ol’ time Holy Ros’ry…

It was good at the Battle of Vienna…
It was good at Muret…
It was good at Lepanto…
And it’s good enough for ME!

OORAH!…
O YAH!…
HOLY!…
ROS’RY!……

R!  [R!]- Roman prayers!…
O! [O!]- Out loud!…
S!  [S!] – Say it proud!…
A!  [A!] – Always clear!…
R!  [R!] – Recite it now!…
Y!  [Y!] – You should too!…

A left right left…
A lefty right a lay-eft…

OORAH!…
O YAH!….

The TEE.EL.EM.’s a rolling down the strip…
[Saint Ipsidipsy]’s gonna take a little trip…
Kneel down, face East, and bow your head…
Best thing you’ll ever do until your DEAD…
OORAH!…
O YAH!….
Cath’lic Cath’lic have you heard?…
We’re storming heaven ’til we get the word…
Up in the mornin’ in the drizzilin’ rain…
We’re saying the Rosary again and again….
TEE EL EM and Rosary to boot…
We’re squarin’ our pack and we’re loadin’ our shoot…
If I don’t do it like they do in Rome…
Then box me up and SEND ME HOME…
OORAH!…
O YAH!….

A lo right – a lo right a lay o…
Lo right – a lefty right a lo…
A  Lo right – a lo right a lay o…
Combat Rosary is ALL I KNOW…

OORAH!…
O YAH!…
HOLY!…
RO-SA-RY!…
COMBAT!…
RO-SA-RY!…

Every where we go-o…
People want to know-o…
How we pray-ay…
So, we tell them…
We’re the one’s with Rosaries you’ve heard so much about!…
We’re motivated, dedicated whenever we go out!…
People say we’re crazy for the Rosaries we use!…
We use Combat Rosaries so WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?…

Etc.

At least that’s how I hear it in my head.

I carry one of these super-strong Rosaries in my spare mag pouch! The Swiss Guards have them too!  For the story click HERE and HERE (esp. 18:00)

16_05_07_Combat_Rosary_ad

(It might be fun to do that run with the Swiss… I’m just sayin’ – ‘rah.)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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84 Responses to I’m cool about a certain popular devotion. Wherein Fr Z goes all ‘RAH!’

  1. Dialogos says:

    I agree with what you’ve written, Father, and have had almost the same experience with this devotion. I too am a convert, and I cannot overstate the importance of and solace in the Rosary; the Divine Mercy devotions? Not so much. I don’t feel about Divine Mercy the way I do about Medjugorje (fraud!), but it has never captured either my mind or my heart. I am not sure why Divine Mercy has become presented the way it is, because in her writings St. Faustina certainly writes in depth about sin. I have tried to get in the habit of saying the chaplet several times, but it never seems to “stick.” Perhaps I’m just too rigid…

    [Many find great solace in this devotion. I’m happy for them.]

  2. Dad of Six says:

    I’m thinking of the “Jody Cadence” from Battleground”.

  3. Toan says:

    While I’ve never been much for the Divine Mercy chaplet or its accompanying artwork and music, the people I’ve known who like it have been quite devout and respectable Catholics. The ones I’ve known seem to really appreciate humanity’s sinfulness, God’s goodness, the sacrament of confession, and our need for God’s grace.

    They are decidedly NOT the same folks “liberal lower-c catholic” crowd that pines for Marty Haugen’s music and that lobbies for liturgical dancing wherever possible. That’s a totally different subculture.

    [Dead on right! That’s for sure.]

  4. J Kusske says:

    I have wondered about the Divine Mercy devotion for quite a while, and what kind of influence Eastern Christian practice with all its repetitions of “Lord, have mercy” might have had in inspiring it. [Interesting. Gospodi, pomiluj.] I’ve tried praying it in a mixture of Greek, Slavonic, English, Latin, and Chinese, and I like it, but it feels a bit like instant coffee as opposed to Mystic Monk, you might say. (It only takes 10 minutes, at most.) And as for the associated artwork, yes Fr., you speak for me too! A good icon of the Resurrected Lord is vastly better!

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Nathan says:

    “One, two, three and a quarter,
    Gotta bless salt for the holy water.
    Sing Dominus Vobiscum,
    Swing the aspergilium!

    If I die at the Confiteor,
    Tell Father I can’t do no more.
    Pray ‘Miserere’ for me well,
    Bury me with a sanctus bell.

    Ain’t no use in looking back,
    Kasper’s done a Synod hack.
    Divorcees on the Communion list,
    Watch out for that Modernist!”

    Sorry, it’s late.

    In Christ,

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. JARay says:

    I am ambivalent about “The Chaplet” but what caught my eye above is the comment about a feminized Church. So often one looks at pictures of The Sacred Heart and sees a female face, even though it has a beard!
    I don’t like it. Jesus was a man (is a man) and when he died he was in the full flower of his manhood. I want my pictures of the Sacred Heart to convey my kind of picture of him.

  7. Michael says:

    One beauty of our Catholic faith is the multitude of approved, orthodox, holy devotions. Each man and each woman has their own tastes and preferences, their own dreams and goals. So long as they are pious practices – and, being approved by legitimate authority, we can be certain the Divine Mercy devotion is a pious practice – people are free to choose it or not choose it as they like.

  8. rbbadger says:

    I am a convert as well. I sort of take a middle ground as to this devotion. I can see the reasons why some would have problems with it and also see how some have found great solace in it. I have to confess, though, that the Rosary was exceedingly difficult for me to get used to. I did not have then and certainly as a priest now don’t have objections to the Rosary or devotions to Our Lady. But I have to admit that it was very hard to focus on the mysteries in the beginning and it was very easy to give it up.

    It has taken years to get to a point to where I feel that I am doing better with meditating on the mysteries and am not plagued by distractions as much. But it was really hard in the beginning not to get bored and let my mind wander. I took to everything else in Catholicism very easily, but the Rosary was hard. Maybe if I had a better RCIA programme where they taught us how to pray. I found myself having to teach myself and unlearn a great deal. They did not even teach us how to go to confession. I cannot tell you how difficult it was to go that first time.

    I agree with you about the chants for the Divine Mercy chaplet. I am not a fan of those.

  9. Mike says:

    My parish is fairly feminized when it comes to music but the Divine Mercy chant didn’t flow that way…it seemed fairly strong, actually. But different renderings may account for this. Thanks Father for this fair take on this recent controversy.

  10. danhorse says:

    Hello Father!

    I am a huge fan of this devotion. I don’t like the phony-baloney art either (although I am quite drawn to the original Image of Divine Mercy) and, like you, I hate the placements in most churches and the cheesy and cheapo gold frames that contain the romanticized Divine Mercy image. I also go into zone-out mode when the Chaplet is sung. It’s pretty mind numbing and not my favorite way to recite it. I like my mind to be engaged when I am asking for Mercy from Jesus!

    For me, I received a huge favor from Jesus, through the Divine Mercy Novena, when I returned to the Church after a 25 year absence, and said the Novena approaching Divine Mercy Sunday. I really had no clue about it but with the fervor of returning to the Church, I went for it all, and the merciful favor I received makes me know the reality of The Divine Mercy for the rest of my life. I have no doubts about it, and it is intense in the Mercy it opens up when we ask in hope and confidence. That’s not to say that God doesn’t bestow His Great Mercy through other methods but for me, it really made an impression. It is NOT some of the saccharin things it has been portrayed as though. Bleech! I also love the Rosary. It’s a powerful combo. I hope for both on my deathbed.

    We all have the devotions that really do it for us. Personally, I think that’s why God has given us such a variety, because none of us are the same (thank goodness!). Makes sense to me!

    [Thanks for that. I wonder how I would feel were it … “packaged”?… differently.]

  11. jarocookies says:

    The Divine Mercy Chaplet was my first step from being a Calvinist to becoming a Catholic. I heard a sung version (Donna Cori Gibson’s, in a minor key which had a haunting quality to it) on the local Catholic radio station. In it I found truth, goodness, and beauty: and could a Church which produced such things really be the Whore of Babylon which I’d always supposed it to be? Clearly not. I had to find out more…and I was reeled in hook, line, and sinker (although it took time.) The chaplet was the bait, I guess!
    The rosary was harder because my biggest hurdle in coming into the Church was Marian devotion. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a gracious entrance for many who feel similarly. I understand that Rick Warren, a non-denominational megachurch pastor, has taken to praying it. Hopefully he, too, will find in it a path into the fullness of truth.
    I appreciate what Michael commented above: there’s no shortage of pious devotions which call out to us. God is quite generous and creative with His array of graces.

    [An interesting experience and perspective. Thanks for that.]

  12. mamajen says:

    FWIW, the “Divine Mercy” images most widely associated with this devotion are NOT the original. The original painting is much more masculine. I’ve seen some interesting reports about it matching the Shroud of Turin quite closely. Apparently St. Faustina was never quite satisfied with the artist’s rendition. I imagine she’d have disliked the feminized images as much as others do. I have not used the chaplet, but found her diary quite interesting.

  13. Rich says:

    My wife and I like the chaplet and occasionally pray it with our two boys. The melody by which the chaplet is chanted, however, drives my wife cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and so my sons and I have fun chanting it in the car on long trips when my wife’s only chance of escape is to jump out of a moving vehicle onto the 101 freeway.

    And, though I agree that the diary has much of Jesus talking about how things make him feel, and does read like dime store novel, this style which may be more accessible to some lends itself to more easily communicating to the reader content for reflection; take, for example, this excerpt from no. 445 of the diary:

    “When I came for adoration, an inner recollection took hold of me immediately, and I saw the Lord Jesus tied to a pillar, stripped of His clothes, and the scourging began immediately. I saw four men who took turns at striking the Lord with scourges. My heart almost stopped at the sight of these tortures. The Lord said to me, I suffer even greater pain than that which you see. And Jesus gave me to know for what sins He subjected Himself to the scourging: these are sins of impurity. Oh, how dreadful was Jesus’ moral suffering during the scourging! Then Jesus said to me, Look and see the human race in its present condition. In an instant, I saw horrible things: the executioners left Jesus, and other people started scourging Him; they seized the scourges and struck the Lord Mercilessly. These were priests, religious men and women, and high dignitaries of the Church, which surprised me greatly. There were lay people of all ages and walks of life. All vented their malice on the innocent Jesus. Seeing this, my heart fell as if into a mortal agony. And while the executioners had been scourging Him, Jesus had been silent and looking into the distance; but when those other souls I mentioned scourged Him, Jesus closed His eyes, and a soft but most painful moan escaped from His Heart. And Jesus gave me to know in detail the gravity of the malice of the ungrateful souls: You see, this is a torture greater than My death.”

  14. GM Thobe says:

    Perhaps not the main point of the post, but I have to wholeheartedly agree with the notion that chant should have a strong and manly character (perhaps the same applies to polyphony, allowing for the differences resulting from multiple voices at once?). I often listen to the monks at Silos and think of the unified, strong,regimented voices as being something one might sing prior to a battle. Enough to inspire one with sublime and transcendent thoughts in a way that “Eagles Wings” just doesn’t.

  15. KateD says:

    Someone already mentioned that Saint Faustina was never satisfied nor approved the images. We chose to go with the one she at least had some input in…I have difficulty with it too, especially the offering to a Father His Son’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity….but then again I eat the Flesh and Blood at Mass…It may be mercifully hidden in the appearance of Bread and Wine….

    It is the Father’s will to provide a time of Mercy for those who otherwise would not make it through the pearly gates….I am thankful for this time of His Mercy, because what follows is His Justice….so don’t poo-poo, it too much. There are a lot of us who desperately need it.

  16. Philmont237 says:

    Last summer I was fortunate enough to visit the original Divine Mercy image in Vilnius, Lithuania. It is a much more masculine image, and I could see the in Face of Christ almost a pleading of “please come back to Me!” It made me realize how much we truly need Confession and the Mercy of Jesus Christ. The Chaplet, to me, is something that you can knock out when you have a few minutes of downtime to turn your heart and mind to Christ, almost like a prolonged ejaculation or a structured way of praying ejaculations.
    The original image was hid in various churches around Lithuania during the occupation of that noble, Catholic country by the Soviet Union. Yet it remained a symbol of hope to the people of Lithuania (and Poland) during that time. If that isn´t masculine, then I don´t know what is.

  17. Southern Rose says:

    Interesting discussion from all. Personally, I grew up with the Rosary, but never experienced it as more than a series of vocal repetitions. Divine Mercy, on the other hand, directly addressed a personal anxiety about lost souls that nothing else in my catechesis would touch. I do my best to avoid the art and music (I agree, they’re terrible) and I pray the novena when I can. I do try to pray a daily Rosary, though it still feels dry to me, because of Our Lady’s requests. I am a wretched sinner and “Lord, have mercy” is often the only thing I feel worthy to say. I have to keep working on that confidence to approach the throne of grace.

    This may be a rabbit-hole, but among my acquaintances, Marian devotion in general seems to be stronger among men. I’ve wondered if it’s because they naturally seek the feminine, just as most women I know have had a “Jesus is my boyfriend” phase. Mary, as the perfect woman, can also be more distant and intimidating to a woman than to a man. I’ve certainly had to do a lot of warming up to her.

  18. mo7 says:

    Father, you’ve hit on something that I’ve been mulling for a long time, but never put together with my indifference to the DM chaplet. I think Our Lord Jesus must’ve been quite the physically powerful guy to be a carpenter. A son of a semitic girl. Someone likely to be olive skinned, dark featured. The images we see with a slight figure and the silky long blond or brown hair and blue eyes have always made me cringe as if He needed His image cleaned up or something. The chaplet prayers would be far more powerful for me if the associated image conveyed a masculine man taking on the sins of the world on broad shoulders.

  19. Philmont237 says:

    Also with the way Russia is eyeing the Baltic States and Poland again, the fields of Lithuania might become the battlefields of World War III. The original image of Divine Mercy might become a banner for the armies of the West to rally behind.

    [Interesting.]

  20. RememberLepanto says:

    As a convert, I love the Rosary, but I also do the Divine Mercy. I learned about it when I was on retreat due to stress and chronic pain. The chronic pain has been with me for many years. Crying out for mercy is how some of us with never ending, severe pain spend a chunk of our time. I was made more powerfully aware of that when St. Faustina describes her own pain and the lessons from it in her journal. That said, the painting isn’t the most attractive.

  21. AMTFisher says:

    As a convert, Fatima, Divine Mercy, and St. Therese of Lisieux often left a bad taste in my mouth-the pastels, the prophetic conspiracies, the “magic” promises. While I would still pray the Rosary (the way my Episcopal minister had taught me) and the Mercy Chaplet (that was actually the penance I received for my first confession), I kept them at arms’ length-avoiding what I dismissed as superstitious obsession. “Sure, the Mercy Chaplet has some nice prayers, but all that stuff about 3:00, some ‘magic’ day which God is more merciful than others?” “If I pray the Rosary everyday, I somehow will automatically achieve salvation? I don’t seem to remember that in the Catechism…”

    But, over these past few years, slowly coming into contact with the actual sources-reading the actual accounts of what happened at Fatima (and not the conspiracy theories) and the Diary of St. Faustina, I have been able to find a new appreciation for them. From all the pamphlets on the Mercy devotion I had read, I assumed that the only thing Faustina ever did or talked about were these crazy promises-I assumed that it was going to be all, “Say these prayers at this time on this day, and POOF! Your sins are no more!” But, reading through her Diary, I can definitely say that she “gets” the Christian life-she knows a life of prayer, of offering up our sufferings-she is so much more than the promoter of a “magic time” to pray. Same with the Fatima children-cut through all the flowery pious language people use about them and the superstitious conspiracies derived from their stories, and you find “real” living, breathing saints who had to learn and grow. This all has definitely changed the way I have prayed. While the Rosary and the Chaplet are not daily anymore (Byzantine style morning prayers, Scripture reading, and Latin Rite Compline are the regular parts of the day), when I do have time, I always try to pray with them.

  22. Speravi says:

    I have recently finished reading St. Faustina’s diary. There were statements that if they were not made out of obedience would make me rather uncomfortable. However, given her canonization, it seems impious to declare them to be the fruit of pride. It is the personal diary of a female interacting with her Creator and Savior, so it doesn’t surprise me if the categories are expressed in such a way as would appeal to a female. However, I must say that the overall sense that I got from this reading was not effeminate at all. St. Faustina was called to suffer, suffer and suffer more (again, given her canonization, it seems impious to interpret this suffering as if it were merely the whining of a weak soul). It contained many ideas that made me consider the communion of saints in a new light as well as many other ideas that were not at all effeminate. Examples include: the conversion of a sinner requires sacrifice (implied: on the part of someone else in the mystical body); God’s mercy is open to everyone in a superabundant way, but if refused, we get divine justice; hell is very real and a very real danger; fallen angels are real and very active; the priesthood and obedience to confessors as a profound instrument of Christ, etc. It seems that the main thrust of the devotion is this: Trust Jesus and he will save you (and this implies obeying him), choose not to trust him and you will face the severity of divine justice. There were apocalyptic elements as well. My struggles with its content is stabilized by the canonization. What I struggled with were things that seemed arrogant or the mere fruit of delusions fueled by a great familiarity with the writings of other saints (I noticed parallels in her own spirituality to ideas expressed by St. Therese, parallels in her growth in the mystical life to those of St. Teresa of Avila et. al., and parallels in the devotions and promises she conveyed to those expressed by St. Gertrude). The other thing I struggled with was some of the details of visions of the infant Jesus in the Mass and the fractio panis and the eating of the sacred species by the priest. HOWEVER, I would hope that if this was just the fruit of a mentally ill nun familiar with the writings of a lot of saints and full of good will that this would have been sifted out in the canonization process!

  23. roseannesullivan says:

    I was initially rather put off by the Divine Mercy chaplet by the singing of it at EWTN. Then a over-zealous advocate for the novena who never talked with me otherwise interrupted my praying of Morning Prayer after Mass one Sunday by shoving a Divine Mercy novena pamphlet at me and looking aggrieved when I showed my resentment at the interruption and her attempt to badger me about it in church. And I heartily loathe the version of the painting that is displayed in most places, although, as it turns out, the original one that was painted under Sister Faustina’s direction is not quite so bad. One commentator says the proportions of Our Lord’s face in the original image match those of the Shroud of Turin. See: http://tinyurl.com/divinemercyOriginalImage

    I also agree with the point about not liking to start the novena on Good Friday. But I am encouraged by the promises made to St. Faustina concerning the benefits for a dying person if you recite it for them, and also the promise of the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin on Divine Mercy Sunday with the normal conditions. Since it is a Church-approved revelation, I believe the promises are real and obtainable. So it’s a good thing to pray it, even if you don’t do the novena. But it’s optional, of course.

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  25. KateD says:

    And I’ll just say this…Divine Mercy is about the Blood and Water pouring out from Christ’s side, washing away the effects of sin…

    Don’t let the hoakie music distract you from it’s indulgenced purpose.

  26. Geoffrey says:

    I have had a devotion to the Divine Mercy… devotion… for many years. I suggest going straight to the source and reading the diary of Saint Faustina. Either our Blessed Lord spoke to her, or He didn’t.

    I’ve never seen the devotion, nor the image, as “feminine”.

    I avoid the sung versions of the chaplet like the plague, and usually pray it in Latin. I admit I have gotten a bit lax lately, but it’s never too late. We all need mercy, and we need to pray for it, for ourselves and for others. It is not guaranteed as some in the Church today seem to think!

  27. Maximillian says:

    Ignatius of Loyola advised his followers to steer clear of women: “All familiarity with women was to be avoided, and not less with those who are spiritual, or wish to appear so.”

    And this is where I and St Ignatius part company. What an appalling view to hold! There are some priests who go along with this view unfortunately – ironically (or maybe not) they tend to be effeminate priests.

    And on the topic: I have always felt uneasy about the St Faustina Divine Mercy devotion. However, in my experience, those Catholics who are involved in this are often very fine and devout people.

  28. asburyfox says:

    The image above is the Divine Mercy image that most Catholics are familiar with. It is called the Hyla image. Fr. Sopocko, the spritual director of Sr. Faustina thought the image was blatant Feminism. He favored the original image of Divine Mercy, which is the Kazimirowski image, to be the correct one.
    http://www.divinemercysundayusa.com/onetrue.shtml

  29. Potato2 says:

    Father, I too am a convert. And I also appreciate the idea that not everyone has to like all devotions!

    But this is one I love.
    We live in a time where hell and the devil is termed a “construct” the divine mercy blows that out of the water. We live in a time when the very word “mercy” has been hijacked to mean “go ahead and sin”. St Faustina never was exposed to the false Mercy narratives of our time.
    To me it’s a devotion to a Church that needs baby steps to get back on track.

    But most importantly for me, it is so helpful to pray when friends or family members who are not Catholic are dying, facing death, or are losing someone. It’s almost evangelical.
    So for 9 nights a year, we replace the rosary with a novena in our family.

    The art though. Ugh. It’s like Mormon Jesus has a ray gun….

  30. Grant M says:

    If Podles is right then the problem of an overly feminine church goes back a long way. So now we have a resurgent religion, masculinized to the point of being violent and brutal, face to face with a religion femininized to the point of being effete and sentimental. [I am not sure why “masculinized” is automatically “brutal”.]

  31. The Drifter says:

    As combat rosaries go, when in a scrape nothing beats the ol’ “Popish Knuckleduster”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary#/media/File:Ringrosary.JPG

  32. DeGaulle says:

    I read Mullarkey’s article and brought it up in another orthodox Catholic blog. I was very impressed with the witness of another poster who was adamant that this devotion and prayers to St. Faustina saved his marriage, only for him to discover post facto that his wedding date fell on the same day as the feast day of St. Faustina.

    The art that is common with this devotion about which I know little yet would not be to my taste, but I am about to read this diary.

  33. iamlucky13 says:

    I wouldn’t say I have any personal attachment to the devotion, but a big part of the reason I pray it is, to be quite honest, because it’s short. When I’m making excuses to myself for why I can’t pray the Rosary, they almost never apply to the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

    In particular, I find praying it helps me examine my conscience particularly for the sake of understanding why I give in to specific temptations and how to respond to them, and to meditate on the link between my sin and Christ’s suffering.

    As to which I see more spiritual value in, I’d definitely say the rosary, but my prayer life being as imperfect as it is, I struggle with the motivation to say the rosary nearly as often as I should.

    Also, I don’t see what is saccharin about the “For the sake of His sorrowful passion…” or “I offer You the Body and Blood…” These are not phrases the resurrexifix and “ministers of the cup” crowd seem to like to dwell on.

  34. GAK says:

    I’m split on this one. I love the chaplet itself. It’s simple to pray in those busy moments of the day, at the copier, in line at the cafeteria — moments where it’s a bit harder to keep a rosary/mystery meditation in mind (a meatier prayer, for sure). I don’t mind the saccharine of the sung version of the chaplet.

    I can’t stand the diary. I can’t stand it more than I can’t stand the image. (I’m a tough customer & do not at all like any saccharine devotional images. With them, I just can’t get past the bad art. With the sung chaplet, I can get past the bad art & move past it into contemplating Christ’s sacrifice. That’s just how it is for me.)

    The diary goes on & on & on and there are many, many points where Our Lord tells Sr. Faustina she is better than sliced bread. It’s weird and off putting.

    I’ve wondered if the chaplet prayers are some good that Our Lord brought out of a mess (maybe a nun who was devout & also conceited & determined to put her “visions” forth). I don’t know.

    When I pray the chaplet, I focus on the cleansing & saving Blood of Christ to free us from our sins. And, I find the chaplet MOST efficacious when I tie it to sacrifice. Praying it while exercising, cleaning, shoveling snow, trying to keep my temper in a meeting, etc.

  35. ksking says:

    Just try not to swerve to much into “women are bad” territory: not everything feminine is bad, and not everything masculine is good. The Church has a long history of male intellectuals dismissing outright anything feminine, but God created both male and female, and they are good. Just as I don’t prefer the more emotional, charismatic expressions of the faith, some don’t prefer the intellectual, philosophical mode. I don’t really like St. Louis de Montfort’s stuff, so I don’t read it. It’s not for me, but it might be for someone else. God loves all kinds and made all kinds, and it’s a good thing.

  36. JonPatrick says:

    When I read Grant M’s post I assumed “a resurgent religion, masculinized to the point of being violent and brutal” referred to Islam, which is now opposed by a feminized Catholicism, most of whose leaders (and lay members) seem to be oblivious to what is going on, or that there is even a battle brewing.

  37. JonPatrick says:

    I meant to add, regarding the DM chants, the older one they used to use on EWTN on weekdays is OK, but the newer “Marty Haugenized” version drives me up the wall.

  38. Joe in Canada says:

    I have never understood starting a novena on Good Friday that is focused on the second Sunday. I know many people who find it very useful, especially I guess its brevity, but some are rather exclusive – “you have to!”
    Maximillian, St Ignatius did not dislike or fear women. He was talking about 2 things: having women in the Society, and being spiritual director to women. One woman entered the Society of Jesus and she tried to take over. Ignatian obedience would work in a group of men, and it would work (differently) in a group of women, but it would not work in a mixed group. In terms of spiritual direction, his experience of spiritual conversation (he was not a priest at the time) with local women at Salamanca got him arrested by the Inquisition. His view was not about women, it was about involvement with women, and how to keep it holy.

  39. PA mom says:

    I have never experienced this devotion sung and my preference of images is absolutely the oldest one, which had been in hiding.

    It is the prayer intentions of the novena which drew me deeply in.

    As the priest scandals were hitting PA, it felt especially purposeful to be praying for priests and religious to be placed in the ocean of Christ’s mercy. It helped give it perspective, also.

    The day praying with the intention of souls who have separated themselves from the Church… I am surrounded by such souls. Whom I love deeply and worry about. When I found out it would help a person at the time of their death, I knew I had to memorize it and be at the ready.

  40. rbbadger says:

    I am not a member of Opus Dei. I do have friends who are members. I do like many of the things which St. Josemaría Escrivá has written. While this isn’t about the Divine Mercy image, St. Josemaría was no friend to saccharine-sweet religious art. Here’s a quote from The Way: “Don’t buy those ‘mass-produced’ statues. I prefer a rough wrought-iron figure of Christ to those coloured plaster Crucifixes that look as if they were made of sugar candy (The Way, 542).”

    Then there’s this other quote from him: “Be firm. Be virile. Be a man. And then… be a saint (The Way, 22).”

    Clearly, St. Josemaría Escrivá would not approve of today’s feminised Church.

  41. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear AMTFischer,

    You wrote:

    “As a convert, Fatima, Divine Mercy, and St. Therese of Lisieux often left a bad taste in my mouth-the pastels, the prophetic conspiracies, the “magic” promises.”

    St. Therese is often, improperly, presented as a saccharine saint in the early translations of her writings, but she was anything but that. In fact, she was one if the strongest saints of modern times. I recommend reading her, Last Conversations, to see what she went through.

    As for Chant being born in violent times – well, that is a great simplification of things. It sounds masculine because it was written in a declamatory, modal style (florid Chant was a much later development) exclusively by men and mostly by men who could not read music, but were familiar with both the Jewish synagogue music and the Middle Eastern melodic snippets that were used to form longer melodies (until at least the 11th-century and the development of one, then two, then four line staves). We do not have accurate records of the development of Chant before the Carolingian Renaissance of the early 800’s, partially because there was no notational system to record it. We have the texts, but not the music. Given the syllabic nature of Latin, it was natural that Chant would almost always have sounded declamatory in its original enception. Yes, it was born in violent times, but so was, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Again, and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. The first is a rousing plea for a safe return from battle and the second is, essentially, a drinking song. Chant sounds masculine because of the original language (if Chant had started with French, it would have sounded much more feminine), the original composers, and the original musical traditions. If the Church had wanted its music to sound like a battle cry, they would have, probably, based it on Greek examples, since they, often, sang while going into battle.

    The Chicken

  42. Cafea Fruor says:

    [I am not sure why “masculinized” is automatically “brutal”.]

    And I’m not sure why “feminized” is automatically “weak”. I’m far from a feminist, but I’m getting really tired of hearing (I seem to hear it a lot lately in a lot of quarters) that feminized means something is weak. Real women are strong, just in a different way than men are. I’m so tired of hearing “but it’s feminine!” thrown around like an insult.

    I surely don’t like a feminized Jesus or feminized men, but if the Church is, after all, a bride (and we refer to her with feminine pronouns), what’s so very wrong with one devotion being slightly more feminine than you prefer?

  43. tominrichmond says:

    Each to his own. There are those who derive much benefit from this devotion; there are those who derive much benefit from the rosary; there are those who derive much benefit from devotion to the Sacred Heart; the Church imposes none of it on us, and one may pick and choose among the devotions approved and embrace some, all, or none and still be good Catholics. It’s OK *not* to be devoted to a certain practice, and doesn’t make one a lesser Catholic.

  44. Ellen says:

    I like the original image of the Divine Mercy so much better than the doe-eyed girly man image in the picture. I say the chaplet, but not all that often. I do find myself saying the prayer – For the sake of your sorrowful Passion have mercy on us, quite often though.

    I have always struggled with the rosary (and I’m 66) but I found a scriptural rosary app that I use daily.
    I just put on my earphones and play and pray it while I take my daily walk.

  45. Legisperitus says:

    Link to larger image of original Divine Mercy picture: https://tinyurl.com/yam3svna

  46. mharden says:

    To me, one problematic aspect of the Divine Mercy devotion is the claim that the plenary indulgence does not require the usual condition of “complete detachment from all sin, even venial sin.” While the conditions set for Divine Mercy Sunday (by the Church) include this condition, some DM adherents go so far as to say that the Divine Mercy is even better than a plenary indulgence, SPECIFICALLY because this difficult condition is not imposed (see, for example http://taylormarshall.com/2012/04/divine-mercy-sunday-is-better.html)

    I spoke to a Mother Superior at a Divine Mercy based Mission and she confirmed their belief that detachment from sin was not a condition for the Divine Mercy.

    Sorry, with all due respect for the Divine Mercy, I cannot reconcile that with the Gospel. It sounds too close to the repentance-free mercy espoused by the current occupant of the See of Peter.

  47. Ocampa says:

    It is well known that Sr. Faustina’s diary was condemned by Pius XII and John XXIII. Paul VI never mentioned it, but perhaps didn’t need to; the ban and condemnation still stood. To my knowledge, it was lifted by John Paul II.

    Yet, I remember reading in John Paul’s own words about how the devotion strengthened the people of Krakow during his time as archbishop.

    So it seems that he was promoting, or tolerating (happily, it seems), a devotion forbidden to him by his boss. His disobeyed his rightful authority. Then he promoted the devotion, and for many families it has replaced the Rosary (primarily because it’s shorter and can still be said on Rosary beads). And he’s a Saint. None of this settles well with me.

  48. roma247 says:

    “All familiarity with women was to be avoided, and not less with those who are spiritual, or wish to appear so.”

    Thus spake the battle-hardened soldier of Loyola. There is much validity to his point. Women are far more prone to believe a lot of sentimental hogwash. However, a rigid adherence to this advice would rob us of the following:

    The Miraculous Medal
    The Devotion to the Sacred Heart
    The Order of Poor Clares
    The Discalced Carmelites
    The Ursulines
    The Papacy’s restoration to Rome from Avignon
    The Waters of Lourdes
    The Message of Fatima (of the three, it was the boy who had to say many Rosaries before he could go to heaven…)

    In fairness, on St. Ignatius’ side, you have things like the apparitions at LaSalette…

    All of that being said, I can’t help agreeing with your take on the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It feels soft like felt banners and rings hollow like earthenware chalices. But I think we have a chicken and egg thing going on with this devotion and the feminization of the Church. Is the Divine Mercy Chaplet a victim or a cause? I would guess it is more the latter…but who knows…

    (And I agree wholeheartedly with those who rightly point out that the original image of Divine Mercy is sadly neglected in favor of the more ubiquitous and saccharine ones…the original image is breathtakingly beautiful.)

  49. Nan says:

    By now you surely know that the day and hour are when He died? And that He showed mercy to St Dismas, the Good Thief, who recognized Him as the Messiah and was promised paradise? And that He went to the place of the dead to retrieve the souls of the righteous who had died before Him, to bring them to heaven, which He opened to us with His death.

  50. Well, what the heck, as many nice people whom I know who like the DMC, I am constantly turned off by it. And as for the novena, jammed into Holy/Easter week, I think it a liturgical disaster.

  51. Mary Jane says:

    My husband and children and I pray the rosary every day. I have never heard the Divine Mercy chaplet sung…only recited. I prefer the rosary, but I don’t dislike the chaplet. There is something beautifully simple about repeatedly crying out for mercy, especially in these times. I wish the artwork was a bit different; but one doesn’t have to see the art to pray the chaplet. FWIW I know someone who was experiencing a severe medical issue and a friend of hers prayed the chaplet for her (others prayed as well but not everyone prayed the chaplet). God worked a miracle for her, and the severe medical issue became a non-issue. I spoke to the doctor and nurse myself and they said in all their years of practice they had never seen anything like the miracle she was given. Deo Gratias!

  52. Matt R says:

    Medieval Christians would ask why the Five Wounds were not good enough when confronted with St. Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart. All of those devotions and that of the Divine Mercy are an extension of eucharistic devotion.

    As to the then–archbishop of Krakow tolerating the devotion, he was reviewing everything personally for the cause of beatification. The process of the Ordinary concluded in 1965. Also, I’m not sure that everything was entirely proscribed…

  53. chantgirl says:

    I agree that the original image is much more masculine. I also agree that there are certain statements in the diary that made me uncomfortable, but I am not a theologian, and Faustina did not have an extensive education, so I am inclined to go easy on those.

    I do find that it can be easier to meditate on the scenes of the Lord’s Passion during the spoken chaplet because the phrases are so simple. I have a few times said the chaplet in the presence of the dying, and can only hope that Jesus’ promises to her are true. I dislike the sung chaplet on EWTN.

    As romantic as her diary can be at times, St. Faustina truly suffered like a man during her final illness. Her tuberculosis eventually spread to her intestinal tract and caused her agony, which Christ told her to offer up for wicked mothers who aborted their children.

    Finally, I think we are all a little “mercy-shy” during this pontificate, which is understandable, but sad. I admit that hearing many prelates mention mercy today gives me a visceral shudder because of the cheap grace that seems to be so popular. However, Jesus specifically told Faustina that her requests for mercy for sinners had to be accompanied by prayer and suffering, so I don’t believe her to peddle cheap grace. Also, if we think about the statement of Christ that He wanted to use Divine Mercy to prepare the world for His second coming, perhaps He was giving us an antidote to the false mercy so fashionable right now. And if some of the mystics and saints are right that at the end of the world the Mass and the Eucharist will be unavailable to the people, offering God the Father the “body, blood, soul, and divinity of our your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world”, may be the only way that the faithful can offer God anything close to the sacrifice of the Eucharist, albeit in a spiritual and not physical form. Who knows, but in a world where the faithful can’t find a priest, this may be the closest thing they would have to the sacrifice of the Mass. I can imagine Catholics in a concentration camp setting praying this chaplet if they can’t access Mass.

    None of this is to denigrate the rosary, which is THE WEAPON, according to Padre Pio.

  54. Geoffrey says:

    I forgot to mention something rather important. Within the past three years, two “fallen away” Catholics I know were on their deathbeds. I recalled the Lord’s promise to St Faustina regarding praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for those in danger of death. I did so. In Latin.

    These two “fallen away” Catholics were visited by a priest shortly before their death who gave them the Anointing of the Sick, which Holy Mother Church teaches can forgive sins if the recipient is unable to confess but “wills” to, etc. (all I can think of in these moments is “Brideshead Revisited”).

    These two “fallen away” Catholics were both completely unconscious when anointed, and I can only pray that their wills were repentant. I do trust in the Lord’s promise, and take the visit of a priest as a little “sign” of its fulfillment.

  55. Joy65 says:

    I pray the Rosary daily (just recently in the last couple of years or so). As has been said elsewhere , it is the Bible on a string. I have come to (still struggling) pray it putting myself into each of the mysteries. I try to pray the mysteries as if I were standing there witnessing each of them. As I said , still struggling, because I do get distracted, but I pray it. I may add that VERY recently I’ve added a prayer that I saw online that with the Rosary I say I bind our children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for her protection and guidance. This has given me great peace because after all She is their Blessed Mother. She knew them before I did.

    I only recently came to know about and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet mainly at weekly Adoration. It can be a rattling if one doesn’t actually slow down & concentrate on what one is asking for. Like one poster said here Jesus granted Dismas Mercy while they were both hanging on crosses. Dismas was granted Mercy because he asked Our Lord for it. Many today because of pride or even despair don’t repent or ask for mercy because they feel that their sin is bigger than God’s mercy. “He could never forgive what I’ve done”. Well the Divine Mercy Chaplet is letting all know that YES he can forgive whatever we’ve done, no matter what, if we only repent, ask forgiveness and go on to do what He wills. His mercy is endless, immeasurable and filled with His unconditional love.

    Now about the images—I’ve rarely seen the original one. I have MANY of the more modern version in various sizes all around our home. While it is definitely a “clean/sanitized” version of Our Lord, I don’t see it as feminine . I see a calm, caring, kind, peaceful, gentle, loving, FORGIVING Jesus. Of course it is just an artist’s rendition. No rendition of Jesus is 100% accurate because none of the artists who have portrayed Jesus have seen Him. My daily prayer is that I do get to see Him one day, it’s what my whole life is about and what I’m working for. I personally like the newer versions that are based on the Holy Shroud of Turin because I personally feel that these are closer to what Our Lord really and truly might have looked like.

    Now having said all of this my own personal opinion is that if we are going to pray any prayer, have any holy images in our homes, or do anything in relation to Our Catholic faith we should never forget the fact of WHO we are praying to/about and WHO the images are representing. We sometimes forget the WHO it’s all about for the WHAT we are doing. Our tastes, our preferences, our “favorites” are more about us and not Him. What we do we do for Him. That’s what matters. All of our little offerings to Him pale in comparison to all His generous blessings and graces to us.

  56. MarylandBill says:

    I like the chaplet. I think its simplicity and focus on God’s mercy and sacrifice make it a very worthy Catholic prayer. I can’t stand the popular image… but there are some icon versions I do like. In fact, in general, I prefer icons as religious art to more realistic styles. The latter in the hands of a master, like Leonardo or Michaelangelo can be incredibly powerful and moving but unfortunately, most painters of such art are not masters, and therefore tend to personalize the art in the wrong way. Icons, I find, tend to be better at conveying the message without coating it in sentiment.

    Just a point on the femininzation of the Church. There is nothing wrong, and indeed everything right about the feminine in the Church. The problem is that increasingly in Western Worship (and not just Catholic, but also Protestant), the feminine has driven out the masculine, the result being that Catholic and Protestant men tend to be less religious than women. In contrast, this has not been a problem in the Eastern Churches, nor Judaism nor for that matter Islam. Since the best predictor of kids keeping their faith is if their fathers are faithful, we need to make Church someplace that draws them. Praying for God’s mercy is wonderful and all of us should do it… but men need to be challenged. Where are the devotions challenging us to embrace our sufferings and asking Jesus to unite them to his own? I have no doubt that the popularity of the Rosary among some men has a lot to do with language describing it as a potent weapon against the Devil. Men need to not just feel saved, but that they are out their as agents of God’s grace in the world. For lack of a better term, members of the Church Militant.

  57. LarryW2LJ says:

    I pray both, daily.

  58. The reason I cannot connect with the Divine Mercy Chaplet is that what are you supposed to do while you are saying it? What I mean is that while I say the Rosary (a prayer that I love and say mostly every day), I meditate on the mysteries while I say the Hail Marys. But the Divine Mercy Chaplet has no mysteries “behind” it (to my best knowledge), so it amounts to repeating the words “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world” a set number of times. It is an important petition; and I recognise that repeating it may bear a relation to the Eastern Jesus-prayer (although in that case, if I understand it well, the prayer becomes something that eventually “your heart prays”, and so there is no set amount and counting involved), but I just miss the depth of the Rosary that is the mysteries.

  59. Joy65 says:

    “The reason I cannot connect with the Divine Mercy Chaplet is that what are you supposed to do while you are saying it?”

    Maybe His Passion: ALL of it from His agony in the Garden to Him being betrayed by Judas to His very last breath on the cross. I am mainly at Adoration when I say the Divine Mercy so I look at the crucifix and also at the Tabernacle and say it to Him. I have a niece who is a Passionist Nun and I know that is their whole order’s focus, Our Lord’s Passion. I like to also remember what Jesus Himself said that He would remain with us until the end of time. THANK YOU JESUS!

  60. Grant M says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that “masculine” must equal brutal, and “feminine” must equal sentimental. Inasmuch as Islam and Catholicism are afflicted with brutality and sentimentality respectively, these are parodies of true masculinity and true femininity.

  61. Tara Tremuit says:

    Maybe we get the devotions we deserve. Maybe it’s for babies. In this age of near-universal anti-intellectualism, the shoe fits. My two and three-year-olds pray it with great delight. The older ones and Dad, not so much. It’s private revelation, take it, leave it. I don’t care.
    Is this post intended to dispense people from a non-obligation? Is the intent here to affirm our collective squeaming or to cast aspersions?
    There is virtue-signaling going on here – how virile we all are who eschew the Chaplet. Say it, reject it, or leave it alone. It’s effeminate to share why it doesn’t ‘feel’ right.

  62. VexillaRegis says:

    I don’t like the D M chaplet at all and I think Sr Faustina is suspect.
    Why?

    First thing: Maureen Mullarkey puts this very well: “Faustina’s Diary constructs a Jesus looking for payback. Recompense. (“My daughter, your love compensates me for the coldness of many.”)  Is this how the Word wishes to be known by us?” No, Jesus wouldn’t try to manipulate anyone and a real saint would not even listen to such talk.

    Second: I can’t utter the lines ‘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.’ – because the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior aren’t at my disposal! I feel very ill at ease at these words. Maybe I’m wrong – I’m no theologian.

    To me the chaplet lacks true humility, depth, warmth, artistic taste and coherency.

  63. tradition4all says:

    “Faustina’s visions conjure a feminized Jesus—a kitchen table Jesus drained of masculinity; one who feels, who talks about his feelings as a woman would. Worse, He Who spoke the universe into existence speaks to Faustina in the phrasings of a dime novel.”

    Many images of the Sacred Heart show a more feminized, technicolor Christ than the standard Divine Mercy image does. Many Sacred Heart depictions include a blue mantle stolen directly from the iconography *of Our Lady.*

    In contrast, where in the Divine Mercy chaplet is there anything that sounds “feminized,” unless the appeal to mercy itself is deemed feminine? It ends, “Holy God, Holy Might One, Holy Immortal One.”

  64. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    In regard to the Divine Mercy Chaplet,

    1) The swill which (accompanying it) is called music must be replaced, for the sake of an authentic understanding of Mercy. It reminds me – in cloyingness, not in melodic structure – of the usual crop of hymns for a May crowning.

    2) Taking Dr. Peters into account, I rather like the link between the Hagios o Theos of Good Friday, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the sacrament of Confession, which I associate with Dominica in Albis. It reminds me of the suffering Christ endured and the great generosity of his mercy.

    3) We pray it as a family, sometimes, and I include it (along with Holy Hours, Rosaries, parts of the Office and Litanies of Humility, inter alia) in Spiritual Bouquets I pray for friends and relations. NEVER do I sing that wretched melody.

    4) I sometimes pray it in Latin.

    5) As with the rosary, I try to picture specific images as I pray the Chaplet: the Agony in the garden, the Healing of the ear of Malchus, the Cock crowing, the Donation/Reception of Our Lady (at the foot of the Cross) and the Institution and repeated use of the Sacrament of Penance. (In the case of this last, I sometimes contemplate the Requiem, and sometimes Confessionals on a battle field.

    Did I mention that I think the music to which it is often sung saps it of its power to convey virtue and manliness?

  65. tradition4all says:

    “To obtain mercy is there something lacking in the recitation of the Rosary? Is there something missing in the devotion to the Sacred Heart? They work for me, thank you very much. They’ve worked for a loooong time.”

    I imagine that one could say the same thing in the 1200s upon learning about the Rosary: “The 150 psalms work very well for me without this. Is there anything missing the recitation of the Psalter?” Or, one could object to the Sacred Heart devotion in the 1600s in the same way, as I think the Jansenists did. “Do we really need the Sacred Heart devotion when we already know that Jesus is Our Lord and Savior?” These sorts of rhetorical questions don’t get us very far.

    It seems to me that the Divine Mercy chaplet has a different focus than either the Rosary or the Sacred Heart devotion; not simply mercy, but the Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord. If you want to bring the divine mercy and the Sorrowful Passion into sharper relief, the Divine Mercy chaplet lets you do that.

    Yes, you can pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, but then there’s a certain gap between the words of the Hail Mary (none of which reference the Passion) and the subject of the meditation. That’s okay; those words need to work for all of the mysteries. But the words of the Divine Mercy Chaplet focus explicitly on the Sorrowful Passion. So I submit.

  66. tradition4all says:

    “It puts soft devotions ahead of the Cross.”

    And yet Ms. Mullarkey (an ironic name) is describing a devotion focused on . . . the Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord.

    I initially was skeptical, but I have grown closer to the devotion the more faulty counter-arguments I hear. “Jesus, I trust in you,” is what I need to say when my own (effeminate?) scruples begin to take over.

    If there are two things that turn me off, they are the writings of St. Therese and meta-masculinism (Catholics harping about feminization instead of just speaking/writing/acting in a masculine way). I wish I could trade in every moment I’ve complained about the feminization of the Church for one corporal or spiritual work of mercy.

  67. comedyeye says:

    I LOVE the Divine Mercy Chaplet! It, along with the Diary, brought me into full intentional
    discipleship. There are many devotions for someone to pray- the Holy Spirit gives us the one (s)
    that will be most efficacious for our work on earth. The combat Rosarys are also quite useful in praying the chaplet!

  68. GregB says:

    I recently came across an entry in St. Faustina’s Diary that speaks to the current problems in the Church, Diary 445 and 446:
    *******
    445 When I came for adoration, an inner recollection took hold of me immediately, and I saw the Lord Jesus tied to a pillar, stripped of His clothes, and the scourging began immediately. I saw four men who took turns at striking the Lord with scourges. My heart almost stopped at the sight of these tortures. The Lord said to me, I suffer even greater pain than that which you see. And Jesus gave me to know for what sins He subjected Himself to the scourging: these are sins of impurity. Oh, how dreadful was Jesus? moral suffering during the scourging! Then Jesus said to me, Look and see the human race in its present condition. In an instant, I saw horrible things: the executioners left Jesus, and other people started scourging Him; they seized the scourges and struck the Lord Mercilessly. These were priests, religious men and women, and high dignitaries of the Church, which surprised me greatly. There were lay people of all ages and walks of life. All vented their malice on the innocent Jesus. Seeing this, my heart fell as if into a mortal agony. And while the executioners had been scourging Him, Jesus had been silent and looking into the distance; but when those other souls I mentioned scourged Him, Jesus closed His eyes, and a soft but most painful moan escaped from His Heart. And Jesus gave me to know in detail the gravity of the malice of the ungrateful souls: You see, this is a torture greater than My death. Then my lips too fell silent, and I began to experience (186) the agony of death, and I felt that no one would comfort me or snatch me from that state but the One who had put me into it. Then the Lord said to me, I see the sincere pain of your heart which brought great solace to My Heart. See and take comfort.
    *
    446 Then I saw the Lord Jesus nailed to the cross. When He had hung on it for a while, I saw a multitude of souls crucified like Him. Then I saw a second multitude of souls, and a third. The second multitude was not nailed to [their] crosses, but were holding them firmly in their hands. The third were neither nailed to [their] crosses nor holding them firmly in their hands, but were dragging [their]crosses behind them and were discontent. Jesus then said to me. Do you see these souls? Those who are like Me in the pain and contempt they suffer will be like Me also in glory. And those who resemble Me less in paid and contempt will also bear less resemblance to Me in glory.
    *
    Among the crucified souls, the most numerous were those of the clergy. I also saw some crucified souls whom I knew, and this gave me great joy. Then Jesus said to me, In your meditation tomorrow, you shall think about what you have seen today. And immediately Jesus disappeared on me.
    *******
    From what I’ve read about St. Faustina she sounded very level headed, and obedient. In these readings it is my understanding that the suppression of Divine Mercy took place because of bad translations of her writings. East Europe was behind the Iron Curtain, so this made Church communications to clear this up very difficult to carry out.

  69. Sue in soCal says:

    First, I would recommend reading a good biography of St. Faustina. HERE
    She only finished the 3rd grade, and worked as a cook and porter in the order she joined, yet wrote profound insights into the faith. A biography will help clear up some of the writings in the diary. (Fr. Sopocko’s writings might also help. Here are some excerpts: http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/sopocko/excerpts.php)
    Where did she get this from? Christ Himself. It was under His direction that the chaplet and its prayers were given to us. It was His request that Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted as the Sunday after Easter along with receiving the Eucharist in a state of grace to receive the special graces Christ promised. The plenary indulgence is given by the Church.
    http://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/Mercy-Sundays-Special-Graces-Plenary-Indulgence-Are-They-the-Same-2485
    You meditate on the Passion of our Lord. I usually use the Five Sorrowful Mysteries.
    The novena can be said anytime and is, in fact, preferred to be said with the Chaplet. Christ himself asked that a novena be said starting on Good Friday.
    https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/novena.htm
    Christ also told St. Faustina that now was the time of His mercy but the time of His justice was coming. Some of the things he told her would happen have already come to pass. He gave her this chaplet to help save souls. What is wrong with that?
    If it’s not to your taste, fine, but I can’t see objecting to an approved devotion. Many devotions are not to my taste but I cannot see belittling them or diminishing their efficacy on those who use them. Someone pointed out to me that there are three instituted universal devotions in the Church: the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and the Divine Mercy. Perhaps we should take better advantage of all of them. Just my two cents.

  70. J.M.C. says:

    Different devotions speak to different people, but I would hesitate to label weak or sappy devotional sentimentalism as “feminine.” Arguably the most “feminine” spirituality in the Church today is that of consecrated virgins (i.e., the only vocation in the Church exclusively for women), and that is ultimately the spirituality of the virgin-martyrs. And the virgin-martyrs were indeed martyrs, with all the toughness and fortitude that implies. Their witness was serious and non-sappy enough to convert the likes of Tertullian!

  71. Speravi says:

    In response to the comment from Vexilla Regis, I would point out that there are many devotions wherein lay Catholics offer to God the Body of Christ in atonement. These are seen the writings of St. Gertrude and many other saints. The prayer that the angel taught to the children at Fatima included the words “I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity…in reparation for…” This seems a natural outflow to the spirituality of “actuosa participatio,” in the Mass: uniting ourself to the offering of Christ, offering it to God through the hands of the priest and ourselves along with it; like Our Lady consenting at the foot of the Cross.

  72. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. My understanding is that initially local Polish bishops approved and promulgated the Divine Mercy prayers (as is their right as bishops – just like Archbishop Binz did with that vocation prayer Dr. Z has showed us). When the diary was condemned, promulgation of the devotion outside of Poland basically stopped, and public recitation too; but the previously approved prayer stuff was still approved in those places. Private recitation of an approved devotion is not disobedient, although g h it may be impolitic or inconvenient.

    2. Actually, we are supposed to be co-offering Jesus to the Father at every Mass. That is part of our duties as priestly people.

    3. Sermon 15 of St. Albert the Great’s De Sacrosancto Sacramento talks about God’s mercy as one of the two millstones used to soften and grind up (contrita) our hard, sinning souls. If mercy does not manage it, we go down to the next level. And the next millstone down is God’s justice….

  73. Ave Crux says:

    I also abhor the feminized depictions of Christ. The Shroud shows us a Christ Who is fully masculine and virile. We have images of the Face on the Shroud in virtually every room in our home.

    As for the Divine Mercy devotion, I have received more than once an extraordinary interior experience of being cleansed from all sin upon leaving the Confessional on Divine Mercy Sunday..it is an experience than cannot be put into words….it is akin to an interior restoration, “re-Baptism” (yes, I know each confession is a type of Baptism, but the experience of restoration which I have experienced a few times on Divine Mercy Sunday upon leaving the Confessional was something truly substantial and unlike any other Confessions I have made).

    I look forward each year to that Feast without worrying about how “authentic” its origins are because…..once the devotion and its promises are approved by the Church, then Heaven will bind and loose in Heaven what the Church has bound and loosed on earth! So, you can be sure I will take full advantage of Christ’s assurance to His first Apostles that this is so!

    I have not read the Diary much, so can’t say whether I found Christ to be “visioned” in there in a feminized way – HOWEVER, the fact that the devotion suggests that we stop each day at 3 PM to immerse ourselves with Christ in His Crucifixion, can be a source of enormous signal graces.

    Think about that….what other devotions (the Mass being excluded as a mere “devotion”) prompts us to stop during the day to establish an intimate remembrance of Christ in His Passion and to offer gratitude for it? Even the Rosary only recalls the Sorrowful Mysteries 2 days a week, unless you pray more than one Rosary a day.

    Furthermore, I also hate…HATE!…the sung chaplet. It’s sing-song and infantile. HOWEVER, when praying the chaplet in the same manner as one normally prays the Rosary, one can meditate on the 5 Sorrowful Mysteries with each decade of the Chaplet, begging…BEGGING….God to have mercy on us through the Blood and merits of Christ….

    This is also extremely powerful, and can bring many signal graces. God knows how much we need to pour the Blood of Christ of fallen humanity today, and to beg graces for the human race through the merits of Christ.

    The chaplet is short and can be like an arrow shot to the Heart of God with our pleas of mercy and the offering of the Blood of Christ shed for us.

    All this being said, I believe this can be a powerful devotion when approached in this manner.

  74. Ave Crux says:

    P.S. Many men have found the Autobiography of Saint Therese to be “saccharine” — however, when read with a more spiritual, tolerant gaze, her autobiography reveals a soul of incredible genius and evangelical prowess…..a soul of steel who hid in the humanity of a young woman an intrepid spirit which stopped at nothing in her seraphic response to the Love of God….crowning her at last with the title “Doctor of the Church…..”…and she did this all with extraordinary simplicity.

    I am fully convinced that we will be astounded in Heaven when we see the glory and exaltation of of Saint Therese….

  75. YellowRoses says:

    Whenever I pray the chaplet (almost daily) I use it at 3pm as a brief meditation on Our Lord’s Passion. It’s short, sweet, and to the point…a quick stop to reflect on Our Lord’s suffering, love, and mercy…then back to the duties of the day. I think some of the theology behind the chaplet is that it unites the pray-er with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
    In no way is it to replace, contradict, or challenge the Rosary.

    As for the image…stick with the Vilnius, it’s the one St. Faustina oversaw and approved, in a way (although she broke down crying when she saw it because it wasn’t nearly good enough).

    And the music, admittedly there is one version that is…so…bleh. There is another version that is more chant-like and less drawn out.

    And as far as I know, the Diary was only banned because of a bad translation, wherein it appeared that Sr. Faustina was saying she was Love and Mercy… Fr. Gaitley explains this all very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX-iNamyVNU

  76. BenjaminiPeregrinus says:

    Well your feelings on the Divine Mercy Devotion (which does not bother me) are essentially the same as mine towards the Sacred Heart devotion.

  77. Robster says:

    I have generally been unhappy with traditional devotions because of the quaint archaic and sometime excessive fawning language (Vouchsafe that Thou Who woudst . O glorious St. X…). I dont disparage them, I just am not keen on them. Also, on the rare occasions they are done, it is in such a perfunctory, read-the-script manner it does little to encourage devotion.

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  79. Nan says:

    The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ are at your disposal every day at Mass and it’s perfectly fine to offer them, in the form of receiving communion, for our sins and those of the whole world. It’s beautiful to offer that to the Lord and what a gift to the sinners that we are.

  80. kram2181 says:

    I could go for a manly, action-based holy devotion, something along the lines of a “Chaplet of the Acts” if you will: Peter telling the crowd that the apostles aren’t drunk (hey, it’s only 9am!) and getting 3,000 converts; Peter and John breaking out of prison, Stephen diving into martyrdom for the love of Christ, Philip jumping out of the chariot with the Ethiopian to baptize him, the conversion of Saul, Peter and the household of Cornelius, Ananias and Sapphira dropping dead for holding out on the apostles, Herod struck down by an angel and eaten by worms, the multiple beatings and escapes of Paul and Barnabas, Paul’s shipwreck, and finally the (post-Acts) martyrdom of Peter and Paul. You read Acts, then look at some of the marshmallow clergy of today, and it’s embarrassing.

  81. Kevin Walters says:

    The Divine Mercy Image that the Church displays today is an affront to God, instigated by nationalistic pride and those who would pacify the powerful it has nothing to do with humility.
    The true Divine Mercy Image is an Image of Broken Man
    “Paint a picture according to the vision you see and with the inscription: “Jesus, I Trust in Thee.”
    “I desire that this picture be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the whole world”.
    Sr. Faustina acted immediately in singular (pure) intent; no one else can paint this picture, as no one else can SEE what she saw. The picture she painted, sketched, (no matter how badly) must be venerated and no other, to do so knowing it is not the painting commanded by God *(His Word is inviolate)* is to commit blasphemy

    The Church acknowledges that Sr Faustina received a direct visual and verbal request to “paint an Image according to the vision you see” God’s Word is Inviolate and is our most fundamental belief and sits at the base of all the Sacraments. His Word is not open for debate it cannot contradict itself and must not be touched by man.
    It is impossible for it to be God’s Word (Will) and not His Word (Will) at the same time.
    You should ask yourself why two Popes forbade the teaching of the Divine Mercy Message (Image).
    Sister Faustina was very poorly educated and it is fair to assume that if her superiors had accepted her painting, as they should have done (they would have known that Gods Word is inviolate) she would have also. Earthly hands violated Gods Word to fit their own earthly vision of goodness, they could not accept the reality that they were been asked by God to show human weakness.
    Any revelations after the first revelation now must be considered suspect, as from that time earthly hands were distorting the Word (Will) of God.
    Sister Faustina was uneducated coming from a very poor family with only three year’s very basic education. Hers were the humblest tasks in the convent. She was very innocent and trusting we can deduce this because after her first vision she immediately attempted to paint Jesus herself and for this reason I believe her vision was genuine and received in total trust.
    Her diaries reflect a particular culture and type of devotion at a particular time in the Church but are more in keeping with those who would propagate such devotions.
    We need to look at her spiritual advisor Fr Michal Sopocko who appears to have overseen her diaries and commissioned the first fraudulent image of Divine Mercy, and in doing so violated her trust in God.

    The Church has acknowledged that the Word (Will) of God had been given to her, its actions confirm this, we have a picture in God’s House, with the words “Jesus I trust In thee” But the picture is not the one commanded by God, it is a worldly image of goodness, it pertains to the senses, made in man’s own image, it has nothing to do with Trust.
    The present Divine Mercy Image is a self-serving IMAGE of Clericalism, definition of CLERICALISM: a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy.
    The original picture by Sister Faustina in its brokenness relates to spiritual beauty (goodness) it pertains to humility.

    “The pure (humble) in heart shall see God”.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  82. Filipino Catholic says:

    To be fair, some of our fellows get by just fine without any devotions whatsoever.

  83. PTK_70 says:

    There must be something about the Western or Latin Church which makes it fertile ground for the profusion of popular devotions. Frankly, there seem to be so many that I don’t know how someone can be committed to fastidiously observing all of them. Unless I’m mistaken, this phenomenon is absent from Eastern Christianity, whether Catholic or Orthodox.

    Prescinding from the merit of the “filioque” – theological or otherwise – could it be that the inclusion of “filioque” in the Latin recitation of the Creed is just the ingredient or condition which enables the emergence and development of so many various devotions in the Latin Church? If not the “filioque”, whence the difference between East and West in the area of popular devotions?

  84. KateD says:

    Forgive me Father, for the length of this comment…If brevity is the soul of wit, then I am woefully bereft of both!

    For those who have commented that this devotion doesn’t speak to their heart, perhaps you don’t need it. Consider yourself fortunate that you are not one of the wretched souls in need of this exceptional mercy. It is a great aid to those who have fallen away and are entangled in the errors of our degenerate culture.

    Mharden-The plenary indulgence may be obtained by fulfilling the usual conditions which includes detachment from sin. Separate from the indulgence are promises made by Jesus to Saint Faustina relating to the devotion.

    Ocampa- It was difficult to communicate with those behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. This led to problematic renditions of the devotion, and those were rightly surpressed. Until it was possible to sort the situation out, the Vatican did not sanction the devotion. I find it doubtful Saint Pope John Paul II was disobedient on the matter.

    Catholic Coffee- you are supposed to meditate on the Passion of Christ while reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. There’s a wonderful Divine Mercy booklet that correlates to the stations. It’s about the size of those softcover booklets for the Tridentine Mass. The Jesus prayer is a good comparison.

    A couple of people mentioned the “magical hour”. It’s the hour from 3pm – 4pm when Jesus died and our accounts were stamped “Paid in Full”. Miraculous, not magical.

    A couple of people mentioned the efficaciousness of the prayer for fallen away Catholics. It is also a good weapon in freeing souls from attachment to certain salacious materials.

    For those of you who like to see people going to confession, a HUGE part of Divine Mercy Sunday is confessions. It’s like the super bowl Sunday of confessions. Parishes I’ve been to bring in multiple priests for hearing confessions all day long. For people who only show up for Easter and Christmas, the fact that Divine Mercy Sunday follows and is advertised in the bulletin on Easter, provides them an opportunity to get straight with the Church again. Could they get to the same place by making an appointment to see the parish priest and go to confession and then do the penance? Sure, but remember that salacious materials bit…Multiple priests provide greater ANONYMITY. Also we tend to be arrogant in our sin. Man in sin, which he has kept secret, believes his sins are the biggest hairiest deal in the history of the Church. Here’s an extraordinarily big event to overcome what people fear may be unforgivable offenses. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve run into in parish parking lots….just lingering…and the stories they tell about why they have been away and feel they cannot come back. It’s heartbreaking!

    Host a Divine Mercy Sunday at your parish and you will be up to your eyeballs in Confessions! Because old grandmas and moms are on the phone the week prior excoriating, cajoling, begging, etc. everyone of their fallen away progeny to go, just this one day, followed by plenty of, “do this one thing for me, before I die!!!” and maybe even a few “or elses!”. Prodigal sons and daughters come out of the wood work, or maybe better imagery is they come out from hiding in their darkened places in hopes of having their leporous souls healed and being reconciled to their Heavenly Father and restored to an honorable place in His house. These liberated souls cause so much healing in families. Spouses return to their families, parents to their children , children to their parents. It is healing that our world needs, and our Church needs it too. Imagine the joy in heaven!

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