This post is part of our Ordinary Time, Extraordinary Mercy series, in which CatholicMom.com contributors will share their own experiences of living the Year of Mercy. Beginning at Pentecost and continuing through the summer, we’ll cover many aspects of the Works of Mercy in family life.
I learned to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy when I was a teenager, so let us take a brief journey back in time together. Although the following Divine Mercy tidbit is not exactly a fact that places me in a favorable light, I will tell you anyway, because we are such good friends: I took to the chaplet at first because one can pray it rather quickly, much more so than the rosary.
I had learned about the rosary much earlier on in my Catholic upbringing, and while I loved the soothing way rosary beads looked and felt in my hands, I rarely prayed it. As a teenager, I began attending a weekly prayer group with some relatives, and came into a deeper understanding of meditating on the mysteries of the rosary and also the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Given that one prays the chaplet using the pretty rosary beads I loved to collect so much, this really seemed like a winning combination.
“Oh wow,” I thought to myself. “This is so fast! I can actually concentrate the entire time without my mind wandering!”
That gives you an insight into what we are dealing with here in terms of attention span, yes? I believe in the importance of keeping it real!
So, indeed, I enjoyed how the chaplet made it all the sooner that we could move on to the coffee-and-pastries portion of our prayer group. At the same time, I started to recognize, given how I was concentrating on the words themselves more deeply, that this particular method of prayer packed quite a punch:
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
One repeats this prayer 50 times over the course of the chaplet. He suffered for us, yet He still has mercy on each and every one of us. This is a humbling realization, to be sure.
I have prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet hundreds of times between those teenage prayer group days and now, as a wife and mother. My mind is constantly awhirl with all of the things on my hastily scratched out to-do list each day, and so often I do not stop and reflect on what it means to show mercy to others at this particular point in my vocation.
For instance, it can be as simple as displaying patience with my children when I really do not feel very inclined to be patient with them. Does anyone else live in a snowy winter climate, and have children who do not always cooperate with the constant boots/gigantic puffy jackets/mittens/hats/scarves process? That is a perfect Divine Mercy opportunity right there.
It applies in my marriage as well. I have the tendency to fall into the common marriage trap of thinking that my spouse can read my mind. Then I am disappointed when my sweet husband does not do something that I figured he would “know” to do, simply because we have been married for 11 years. Showing mercy to my husband is recognizing that he is not a mind reader, and that if I wish for him to do something, or say something on a specific topic, I need to tell him so. It is not fair to have unrealistic expectations of another person, even someone to whom you are closer than to any other in this world. In this way, I show mercy in my cherished marriage relationship.
Prayer does not have to be time-consuming to be meaningful and profound. I find the Divine Mercy Chaplet to be my go-to prayer weapon of choice when I panic about something in the car, or otherwise have only a short window of time reflect on what is important in life. The repetition calms me right down, and the powerful words are a balm to my anxious soul.
Have mercy on us, and on the whole world. Indeed.
How did you learn to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or is this a brand new prayer for you? How do you apply the lessons of the chaplet in your current state in life? I would love to hear all about it in the comments!
Copyright 2016 Tiffany Walsh