In the Diary of St. Faustina, she records that Jesus asked her to write down the Divine Mercy Novena which He would dictate to her each day and she was to start this novena on Good Friday. This novena however was intended for her personally, the novena we must say in preparation for the Feast of Mercy is a novena of Chaplets of Divine Mercy. We of course may also say the novena dictated by Our Lord for Saint Faustina. The reason we begin on Good Friday is so the novena will end the day before the Feast of Mercy, the most important day of this devotion. The novena Jesus asked St. Faustina to say was to bring a special group of souls to the Fount of His Mercy where they would be renewed and granted graces for their weakness in life.
The novena is an essential part of the preparation for the Feast of Mercy. The most perfect way to make this novena is to say your chaplet in front of the Image of Divine Mercy, followed by the Saint Faustina’s novena. Some people are concerned as to whether they should pray the novena which was dictated by Jesus for St. Faustina, but if we pray these words with a genuine heart interceding also for the various groups of souls, in union with the prayers of St. Faustina, whom we know is also making the novena in Heaven, it is obvious that this prayer and the intention of this prayer would be most pleasing to God.
Jesus asked St. Faustina to begin this novena on Good Friday. This fact highlights the supreme importance of the Feast of Mercy for Jesus desires that we prepare for this special day by preceding it with nine days of solemn prayer in front of the image. We know from the Diary that the Image is a living Image. On one occasion while St. Faustina was praying a novena of Chaplets in front of the Image, the Image came alive and she saw the multitude of souls who were returning to God through this Image. (Diary 851) So when we begin our novena before the Feast of Mercy, or at any other time of the year, it brings us before the Divine Mercy, which is a the living Jesus.
The Divine Mercy Novena is an important element of the devotion because it incorporates all the main elements of the devotion like the Image, the Chaplet, the Feast of Mercy, the importance of intercessory prayers, appeasing the just anger of God. Over the nine days of the novena, we should enter deeper and deeper into the mystery of God’s Mercy and Love but also into our understanding of this devotion. We have a tendency as human beings to only pray for our own intentions rather than take the time and make the effort to pray for others. Sometimes it is even hard to really know what to pray for, but with this novena, Jesus gives us a clear insight into that which troubles Him and causes Him suffering and we have a beautiful opportunity to participate in bringing mankind closer to Jesus.
Starting on Good Friday, we should take time away from our daily responsibilities, and begin praying the Novena. Even though the text of the chaplet is short, the depth of meaning is immense, and we have much to learn from this chaplet. It teaches us about the mercy of God for those whom we might think He would despise and desire to punish. But He created this Novena so that His enemies might be granted mercy and love, in the hope that they will return to His Kingdom.
Every year that we make this novena, for the Feast of Mercy, it should bring us closer to Jesus. We must never underestimate the importance of this prayer. Each Chaplet and each Novena has tremendous power, and when joined with the prayers of others, through the intercession of St. Faustina, it is impossible for us to know, during our earthly life how many souls will benefit from these holy prayers. During the nine days preceding the Feast of Mercy, we become part of the history and mystery of Divine Mercy. Although we will never understand during our earthly life how our prayers contributed to the benefit of mankind, we must trust that our genuine efforts have and will always help bring mankind closer to Jesus as He has revealed it would.