The Novena to Divine Mercy is a truly unique novena for a number of reasons. This novena is different from all other novenas because it is the first novena in the history of the Catholic Church which was created by Jesus. St. Faustina records in her Diary that Jesus instructed her to write down the Novena which she would begin on Good Friday, 1937. Jesus told her that on each day, she would bring a different group of souls to the Fountain of His Mercy. From the Fountain of His Mercy, these souls would be refreshed and granted graces for the hardships of their earthly life and especially for the hour of their death. Jesus promised St. Faustina that He would refuse nothing to any soul whom she brought to the Fountain of His Mercy. He told her that once these souls were refreshed at the Fountain of His Mercy, He would bring them into His Father’s House, at which time St. Faustina would beg the Father, on the strength of the bitter Passion of Jesus, for graces for these souls. St. Faustina responded that she did not know which souls she should bring to the Fountain of Mercy, but Jesus told her that He would tell her on each day.
This is why the Novena is structured in three parts. The first part is the recorded words of Jesus informing St. Faustina which souls to bring to the Fountain of His Mercy. It is interesting that Jesus named nine different groups of souls. All of us fall into one of these categories, no matter what our position is in life. The second part of the Novena is the prayer petition of St. Faustina directed to Jesus requesting graces and mercy for the specific group of souls. She always ends this petition of mercy with a prayer poem. Then she begins the third part of the novena, which is her earnest petition to God the Father for mercy for the souls. According to the revelation of Jesus regarding this novena, we can visualise that at this point, Jesus has brought the group of souls into His Father’s house and these souls are now before the throne of God. It is interesting that Jesus choose St. Faustina to be the one who would make the petition to God on their behalf. It shows the high esteem to which the Holy Trinity hold St. Faustina. Jesus also told her that she would make this novena during her earthly life but also during her life in Heaven. On each day, before an Image of Divine Mercy, she recited the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Again this novena is a testimony to the incomprehensible mercy of God. For although Jesus requests that St. Faustina bring the souls of the meek and humble, priests and religious, devout souls and the souls of children, His first request is for the souls of sinners. He also allots individual days for the souls of heretics and schismatics, pagans, and lukewarm souls, whom He describes as the greatest source of His suffering.
The different groups of souls which Jesus describes provides us with an invaluable insight into the agonies and ecstasies which different souls cause Jesus. It is important to meditate on each group, particularly the groups which Jesus describes as being a source of suffering, and find if our souls contain any of the characteristics of these groups so that we can make the necessary changes to insure that we become a member of the groups which a clearly pleasing to God. Not just for the sake of our eternal salvation, but also to become a soul whom is pleasing to God and remove another source of suffering for Jesus.
Jesus told St. Faustina that she would make this novena during her earthly life but also in Heaven after she died. He told her that He would refuse nothing to any soul whom she brought to the Fountain of His Mercy. He told her that it was she who must beg the Father for mercy for each group of souls. This means that today in Heaven, St. Faustina continues her work of mercy and it will continue until the end of time. We should meditate on these different groups and try honestly to discover into which group our soul belongs. We should then realise that we have an intercessor in Heaven to whom we can pray to request to be taken to the Fountain of Mercy to be refreshed and granted important graces for the hardships of our life, but most importantly that we pray to become souls who will be regarded by Jesus as members of the holy groups, whom are pleasing to God. Through the intercession of St. Faustina, we should pray with her for the souls in different groups, that the graces they receive in life be increased be they sinner or saint, for no-one can survive without God’s grace.
So if Jesus specifically dictated that St. Faustina would be the one who would pray firstly to Him and secondly to the Father on behalf of these souls, can we then pray this novena? And if we belong to a group which is displeasing to God, how can we pray for the other groups of souls who are displeasing to God? The Diary is unclear about this. It seems that this Novena is specifically for St. Faustina. But because Jesus asked her to write it down, it seems unreasonable to believe that Jesus would not want us all to pray this Novena. Maybe the answer lies in the idea that we should pray for the different groups of souls through the intercession of St. Faustina. Or maybe we can ask St. Faustina to pray with us so that our prayers are joined with hers. But the fact the Jesus instructed her to write it down, knowing we would read it, indicates that He wants us too to pray this novena.
All prayer is pleasing to God, and prayer on behalf of others is even more pleasing to Him. So the novena which Jesus dictated to St. Faustina becomes the basis of the Novena which we make. It is probably noteworthy to make this novena joined to the prayers of St. Faustina in Heaven and to keep in mind that she would never refuse to pray with us and for us. The novena highlights how much Jesus desires that every soul is saved. The novena is specifically structured to include everyone who is in need of special graces from God. It is an inclusive prayer. We all become part of Heaven while saying this novena. Whether we are a saint or a sinner, we will be granted graces for our state in life, graces we desperately need to survive the hardships in life.
It is clear from the Diary of St. Faustina that novenas are very powerful prayers. Throughout her life as a religious sister, St. Faustina made many novenas and she records that at the end of each novena, she experienced extraordinary graces and was granted many insights and visions as a result of making her novenas. One of her spiritual directors, Fr. Andrasz told her to “make novena after novena” because “God would not refuse her the graces” she required if she did so. It shows the importance of novenas within our prayer life. But the Divine Mercy Novena is even more powerful because it is the first novena which Jesus personally created for mankind. This fact makes it uniquely special and supremely holy and an essential element of the Devotion to Divine Mercy.