Friday, May 22, 2009

It Droppeth as the Gentle Rain

I recently found myself becoming attracted to the Divine Mercy prayer. I never used to be. In fact, I once described this chaplet to my husband as "not a beautiful prayer, like the rosary". Two to three months ago I suddenly began to be drawn to it; looking back, I realize I'd found myself noticing the image back even before Christmas, but my recent attraction to the prayer itself seemed out of the blue.

The chaplet of Divine Mercy is usually spoken, of course, but there is a lovely sung version that has been featured on EWTN and which you can hear multiple places. It is available on YouTube here: The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song, Part 1 of 3, Part 2, and Part 3. It is available as an audio file here. (I am not necessarily endorsing that site, BTW; this prayer is the only thing I have seen there and I know nothing about the site otherwise.) The CD is available from Amazon, and I heartily recommend it for praying in your car; not only is it lovely to hear, but as a prayer, it is easier to focus on while driving than the rosary is. If you'd like to pray along with others in real-time, EWTN television and radio airs the Divine Mercy prayer daily at 3PM Central Time, though it may not always be this same version.

I have never really gotten into praying this at the hour it is often prayed, 3PM, but I have sometimes wondered if would be good for more people to pray a mini mercy prayer then. Most people are busy with (secular) jobs or school at three in the afternoon. But if, when someone notices it's three o-clock (or a few minutes after), that person were to think of Jesus on the cross and offer a quick internal prayer for mercy, he could be in union with everyone else in his time zone praying for mercy. Just a fast "Lord have mercy", "God have mercy on us", "For the sake of Your Son's suffering, have mercy on us", or something similar. Anyway, it's just a thought. I figure the more people praying for mercy, the better.

Of course, my own recent attraction to this prayer was not really some happenstance out of the blue. Long story short, I needed to go to Confession and was, I'm ashamed to say, putting it off. My attraction to this devotion was in part a manifestation of my own largely subconscious need for mercy. I got it. I felt it. God's mercy is great.

Please pray for divine mercy for yourself, for your loved ones, for America, for the world. If not this particular prayer for mercy, then one you make up yourself. Or perhaps the Jesus Prayer, from Orthodox practice. (Salinger readers, you know it already! If not, you can learn about it from this book; I'm not qualified to comment on the translation, but it seemed a good book to me when I read it last November or December.) I did not realize at the time of my sudden inexplicable attraction that when I said "have mercy on us and on the whole world" I was praying for myself, except in a general way--in fact, the most urgent of my prayers were for someone else entirely--but I was blessed anyway. We all need mercy. And with God, if not always with our fellow humans, it is there for our asking.

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