Lent ends today and Triduum starts, then it’s Easter and then what? When I first converted I was still used to celebrating Easter just on Easter Sunday. It was such a let down that after this 40-day period of intense penance and sacrifice, the season just ended. Easter came and Monday the world moved on. Then I learned that Easter is actually a 50-day period of celebration! Catholics sure do know how to celebrate! Sure we fasted for 40 days but now we celebrate for 50! What I think really gets missed in all of this is that Easter isn’t actually about a bunny hiding eggs but instead the savior of the world defying the human knowledge of death and rising to new life. The Church in her wisdom, continues the celebration of the triumph over death and with the first Sunday following Easter, celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. Over the years I’ve joined the church as they pray the Divine Mercy Novena, beginning on Good Friday and ending on Divine Mercy Sunday. It always seemed to easy to remember this novena as I associated the start with a Good Friday. It gave me hope on a day is such sorrow, that His mercy was coming.
The Divine Mercy image given to St. Faustina always seemed powerful to me. The idea of his mercy, showering out to us is so clearly depicted in the drawing. I learned the Divine Mercy Chaplet before I converted but I have wonderful memories of praying it when I worked for a Catholic Film company. It was a great way to include the faith in our daily work environment. I love the simplicity of the Chaplet. It’s simple one line responses were easy to learn and it takes just a few minutes to pray! I’m also drawn to it being connected to a specific time of day and associated with the moment of Christ’s death on the cross at 3pm. It is a simple way to connect to Our Lord each day and to remember him in the midst of a usually busy time of the day. Did anyone ever notice that 3pm usually coincides with school pick up? Children and teachers alike can be grateful for the mercy shown as the bell rings!
These last few months, when my anxiety had been extremely high, I had a dear friend who would offer her daily Divine Mercy Chaplet for me. She had done this once before when our youngest son came home through the gift of adoption. I remembered feeling so honored that she prayed daily for me and she said it was easy to remember because she associated it with that time of day. In struggling to fall asleep at night I began praying the Chaplet. I really encourage this, as it would calm my mind and body and I could feel myself drift off, as my rosary would start to fall from my hand.
Recently I was speaking to my counselor about St. Therese and how I had used the image of her holding flowers as inspiration for a project. She began to tell me about something she had read where St. Therese speaks about being a victim of Christ’s love. She couldn’t remember the name and I figure it was a prayer book and didn’t think much more about the book. The next morning she sent me a picture of the cover and it was Father Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Merciful Love. I had been wanting to do this consecration for years and figured the Lord was offering it to me since my devotion to the Chaplet had grown so much recently. Then she sent me the schedule and I realized the next 33-day session to read the book, started the following day and ended on Our Lady of Fatima (a feast I love!). I began texting every local Catholic woman I knew and begged for someone to share the book with me. I ended up getting it that night! Once I had the book, I began to question if it was the right time to read the book or if I was taking on too much during the last part of Lent. That same night a friend came over to visit and gifted me a rosary her mother had bought in Medjugorje. I looked down at this beautiful blue rosary and noticed that on the backside of the miraculous medal, was an image of the Divine Mercy. I have NEVER seen the Divine Mercy on a rosary! So I took that as confirmation it was time to read the book! It’s been a lovely experience! It’s a short read, two pages at the most each day. The next 33 day session begins April 28th and ends on May 31st, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. If you’re looking for a way to grow spiritually during Easter, I highly recommend this book!
So enjoy your Triduum! Don’t forget the Divine Mercy Novena starts tomorrow (Good Friday)! And know that you and your families are in our prayers as we journey with Christ along the Way of the Cross and celebrate His resurrection.
Copyright 2019 Courtney Vallejo All Rights Reserved
Image Credit Copyright 2019 Karen Padilla. All Rights Reserved