The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, also called the Divine Mercy Chaplet, is a Christian devotion to the Divine Mercy, based on the Christological apparitions of Jesus reported by Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938), known as “the Apostle of Mercy.” She was a Polish religious sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000.
Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations.
As a Roman Catholic devotion, the chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds. As an Anglican devotion, the Divine Mercy Society of the Anglican Church states that the chaplet can also be recited on Anglican prayer beads. The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.
The History of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy
In 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel sent by God to chastise a certain city. She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless. Suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. At the same time she found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard interiorly:
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; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. (Diary, 475)
As she continued saying this inspired prayer, the angel became helpless and could not carry out the deserved punishment (see 474). The next day, as she was entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called “the Chaplet.” This time, after “have mercy on us” were added the words “and on the whole world” (476). From then on, she recited this form of prayer almost constantly, offering it especially for the dying.
In subsequent revelations, the Lord made it clear that the Chaplet was not just for her, but for the whole world. He also attached extraordinary promises to its recitation.
Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541). Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687). When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541). Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (687). I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687). Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731)
Prayed on ordinary rosary beads, The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is an intercessory prayer that extends the offering of the Eucharist, so it is especially appropriate to use it after having received Holy Communion at Holy Mass. It may be said at any time, but our Lord specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Mercy (the first Sunday after Easter). He then added: “By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (796)
It is likewise appropriate to pray the Chaplet during the “Hour of Great Mercy” — three o’clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross). In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour
THE PROMISES OF JESUS TO THOSE WHO PRAY THE CHAPLET
In the Diary of St. Faustina, she recorded a number of promises which Jesus made to those devoted to His Divine Mercy. We selected a few of the most powerful of these promises for this article, with a special focus on praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is worth reading these promises a number of times to fully understand them.
Promises for Praying the Chaplet
“Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this Chaplet. Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize my unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of my mercy; let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them” (Diary, 848) .
“Say unceasingly the Chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it, they will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy” (diary, 687).
THE PROMISE OF THE GRACE OF MERCY FOR THE DYING
“IT PLEASES ME TO GRANT EVERYTHING SOULS ASK OF ME BY SAYING THE CHAPLET.
WHEN HARDENED SINNERS SAY IT, I WILL FILL THEIR SOULS WITH PEACE, AND THE HOUR OF THEIR DEATH WILL BE A HAPPY ONE. WRITE THIS FOR THE BENEFIT OF DISTRESSED SOULS; WHEN A SOUL SEES AND REALIZES THE GRAVITY OF ITS SINS, WHEN THE WHOLE ABYSS OF THE MISERY INTO WHICH IT IMMERSED ITSELF IS DISPLAYED BEFORE ITS EYES, LET IT NOT DESPAIR, BUT WITH TRUST LET IT THROW ITSELF INTO THE ARMS OF MY MERCY, AS A CHILD INTO THE ARMS OF ITS BELOVED MOTHER.
TELL THEM NO SOUL THAT HAS CALLED UPON MY MERCY HAS BEEN DISAPPOINTED OR BROUGHT TO SHAME. I DELIGHT PARTICULARLY IN A SOUL THAT HAS PLACED ITS TRUST IN MY GOODNESS. WRITE THAT WHEN THEY SAY THIS CHAPLET IN THE PRESENCE OF THE DYING, I WILL STAND BETWEEN MY FATHER AND THE DYING PERSON, NOT AS THE JUST JUDGE BUT AS THE MERCIFUL SAVIOUR” (DIARY, 1541).
“At the hour of their death, I defend every soul that will say this Chaplet as I do my own glory. When this Chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated and His unfathomable mercy envelops the soul” (Diary, 811)
“I desire that this mercy flow out upon the whole world through your heart. Let no one who approaches you go away without that trust in my mercy, which I so ardently desire for souls. Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in my mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least” (Diary, 1777)
Example of the Chaplet Saving a Soul
“My daughter, help me to save a certain dying sinner. Say the Chaplet that I have taught you for him. When I began to say the Chaplet, I saw the man dying in the midst of terrible torment and struggle. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was, as it were, powerless against the enormity of the soul’s misery. But while I was saying the Chaplet, I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the Image. The rays that issued from Jesus’ heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully breathed his last” (diary, 1565)
Here are the steps of how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet:
Step 1 – Using a regular set of Rosary beads, you begin at the cross by doing the sign of the cross.
(Optional Opening Prayer) You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
Step 2 – On the three beads of the rosary pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Apostles Creed.
Step 3 – You begin each decade with the Our Father beads by praying this prayer: 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.
Step 4 – Complete the decade on the 10 Hail Mary beads by praying this prayer: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for each decade on the rosary beads
Step 5 – Once you have prayed all 5 decades, you finish the Chaplet by praying the following prayer 3 times: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Optional Closing Prayer) Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.