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I was recording the audio version of the Divine Mercy Novena (did you know you can pray with me like that??) earlier this week, and a lot of the prayer struck me as very appropriate to contemplate during this Holy Week.

The Divine Mercy Novena prayers were given to St. Maria Faustina through an apparition of our Lord, Jesus Christ. She wrote about her encounters with Jesus in her diary. Jesus specifically asked her to create a novena of Chaplets to be said leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday, beginning on Good Friday.

She wrote that Jesus said to her, “By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.” 

Each day during the novena, Jesus specifically asks us to pray for a particular group of people — for God’s mercy for them.

For instance, we begin praying, “for all mankind — especially all sinners,” and then the next day we pray for the souls of all priests & religious. Later during the novena, Jesus asks us to pray for all devout & faithful souls, all souls who do not (yet) believe in Him, the souls who have left the Faith, the souls in Purgatory, and lukewarm souls, etc.

I was especially struck by some of the things Jesus said about those particular groups of souls…

He said, “My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.” <– My heart broke there.

And He said, “(All devout and faithful souls) brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean bitterness.”

It’s interesting to think of Jesus feeling dread and consolation… Such human emotions! Such things that I feel. His words alone in this novena remind me of His humanity, and they bring me to a greater realization of the very real human suffering He endured for us all.

In short, I wanted to share His words with you and to invite you to join me in praying for the intentions and for the specific souls that Jesus asked that we pray for. The Divine Mercy Novena begins today on Good Friday.