Trust is a belief in someone’s ability, effectiveness, goodness, honesty, strength, dependability or reliability.
Mercy is to show forbearance or have a disposition of compassion toward someone, especially when one is in a position to exact justice or bring a negative consequence upon someone.
Both of these terms are central to the Divine Mercy message revealed to a Polish nun in the 1930s. The times were difficult and life would soon get even harder with the start of WWII. The nun, later canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, received messages from Jesus Christ about God’s love and mercy for humanity and His desire for us to trust Him. She chronicled the messages in a diary, which has been published into a book called Divine Mercy in My Soul – Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
The diary tells of Jesus’ mercy toward humanity, which He compares to an ocean. He reveals an image of Himself that He asks to have painted as a visual for people to be reminded how much He wants them to trust Him and immerse themselves in the ocean of His mercy.
The image shows Jesus with the marks of the crucifixion on His hands and feet. He points to His heart, which radiates rays of red and white light. When asked about their meaning, He explained “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. … These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross” (Diary, 299). He asked for the words “Jesus, I trust in You” to be written across the bottom.
St. Faustina was also taught a chaplet to pray on her Rosary beads. It’s called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and includes the following prayers:
To be said on the “Our Father” bead of the Rosary: 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.
To be said on the ten “Hail Mary” beads of the Rosary: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
For more detail on the Divine Mercy message and how to pray this chaplet, click here.
What I love about the chaplet is that it gets me to reflect on Jesus’ suffering during His Passion and ultimate sacrifice, dying on the Cross. Its repetitive nature, much like the recitation of the Rosary, encourages a meditative state. It is a petition for myself and my dearest ones as well as the greater community and the world at large. I really appreciate its simple but generous wording, that it is a prayer not just for my benefit but for others. With this chaplet (just as with the Rosary) I don’t need to focus on the words so much because they become rote after a while, allowing my mind to dwell on other thoughts like holy inspirations, petitions, gratitude and others depending on the day, my mood, my family needs and concerns, world news. Don’t get me wrong, my prayer time is not always so lofty, sometimes my thoughts dwell on what’s on my to-do list or how cute the dog is…but I trust that God sees my effort and gives me credit for my good intentions!
What I love about the image is that Jesus reminds us He has risen and He wants us to trust Him. He is approachable and holds up a hand in what seems to be a blessing, but also resembles a greeting. The image and the message were revealed to St. Faustina in the years just before WWII, a troubling time when people would indeed need to ask God to have mercy, and to trust in Him to watch over them. Every generation has its challenging history and every person has their own personal struggles. We do well to turn to our God in trust, asking for His mercy for ourselves personally and for others. We all need it.