Father Matt Gerlach’s talk on Divine Mercy


Father Matt Gerlach is the pastor at St. Pious X Parish in Tulsa, OK. He studied Theology at Saint Meinrad School of Theology and is the Director of Propagation of the Faith in the Tulsa Diocese. He is the youngest of 6 kids, he has 14 nieces and nephews, and 30 great nieces and nephews. He loves his big family!

A couple years ago Fr. Matt gave a talk on Divine Mercy. With his permission, we posted his transcript to share with everyone. Enjoy!

Divine Mercy image



God’s Revelation of His Love and Mercy in the 20th Century

(excerpt from the book Miracles of the Divine Mercy 2nd ed., reprinted with permission from author Mercy Lotillo Ascencio)

The history of mankind told in the scriptures, in the Church’s Traditions and other holy books shows that gods Goodness, Love and Mercy are everlasting. As often as the frail man falls into sin or grows cold in his relationship with his Creator, the all-loving God ceaselessly displays His never-ending mercy. Why? His only desire is eternal life for His creatures who might be lost to sin. Thus, He keeps sending messengers to reveal His eternal love and unfathomable mercy to mankind.

In the middle ages, God offered the devotion to the Sacred heart of Jesus through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), to remind mankind that his loving merciful heart awaits sinners who return to him. And He concluded His revelations with the following words: “The end of the world is slowly approaching.”

In a period extremely perilous to His creation, He who is love again comes to extend to mankind His assistance. In a brief interval of time our Divine Lord has successively appeared to four forerunners of His Divine Mercy to remind mankind of the incomprehensible mercy of God. His only desire is to save souls and bring them to everlasting happiness. He told one of these, St. Sister Faustina (1938), “.. for the dreadful day of My Justice is imminent.” Are we not in the period for which this was foretold?

In addition to the revelations made by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima in 1917, notable are these forerunners of his Divine Mercy:

Sister Benigna Ferrero (1885-1916), Italy

The Reminder of Gods Mercy

Sister Josefa Menendez (1890-1923), France

The Depth of Gods Mercy

Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), Poland

The Trust in Gods Mercy

Stanley Villavicencio (1955-   ), Philippines

The Promotion of the Divine Mercy Devotion/The Devotion to the Divine Mercy

(By: Lourdes R Policarpio)

The third secret of Fatima, entrusted to Sr. Lucia, reveals an angel flashing a flaming sword towards mankind. The angel threatens to set the world on fire, and shouts “Penance! Penance!.”

In Japan, Our Lady of Akita tells Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of the Handmaids of the Eucharist: …”if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one has never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity…”

Credible as both apparitions are (both have the positive affirmation of the local bishop concerned), many followers of these messages must be wondering why no worldwide, monstrous calamity has yet occurred. Is it still to come? Is the Blessed Mother’s powerful intercession effectively holding off God’s wrath?

To Fr. Stefano Gobbi, founder of the Marian Movement of Priests, Our Lady has said:

“…when I predict chastisements to you, remember that everything, at any moment, may be changed by the force of your prayer and your reparative penance. Do not say therefore; how much of what you predicted to us has not come true! Instead, give thanks with me to the Heavenly Father because at the response of your prayer and consecration, your suffering, and on account of the immense suffering of so many of my poor children, again He alters the period of Justice, to permit that of great Mercy to flower…”

A related revelation could be found in the diary of a young Polish nun, Sr. Faustina Kowalska (1905038), proclaimed a saint in the year 2000. She quotes the Lord Jesus as saying:

” In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.”

” I do not want to punish,….”

The Lord Jesus’ words to St. Faustina, “I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it….” reveal the depths of God’s mercy towards our sinful generation. Like a loving Father, God does not want to punish and avenge. Indeed, this could be one reason why despite the many calamities which has stricken mankind the past years, the one big phenomenon which has been predicated has not yet come. Certainly, the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother and the sacrifices and prayers of her devotees are holding back the angel’s flaming sword. But more than anything else, we are made to realize that God is a loving Father who hesitates to punish. Instead He sends us His mercy that we may reform.

As the Lord Jesus told St. Faustina,”mercy is the greatest attribute of God.” Consequently, in our present world where so many pervasions seems impossible to weed out (abortion, sexual promiscuity, etc.). God sends man, in moments of extreme darkness, new channels for pouring out His grace.

The Devotion

The Bible and the liturgy of the Church has incessantly spoken of God’s mercy. We especially have the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. However, God who is ever creative and responsive to our times, has given modern man additional channels of our mercy through St. Faustina. The two most widely known are the

3 O’ Clock Prayer and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. In the Philippines, the 3 O’clock Prayer is said at 3 PM, the moment the Lord Jesus died, which He said is the hour of great mercy for the world. It can also be said at 3:00 AM.

In addition, Divine Mercy Sunday (Sunday after Easter Sunday) was instituted by Pope John Paul II with a nine day novena preceding it which starts on Good Friday.

What is striking about the 3’O Clock Prayer and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is the brevity of the prayers. The 3 O’clock Prayer takes less than a minute to say. The Chaplet takes only about half the time needed to say the rosary. God, knowing how hectic and pressure driven modern life has become, realizes how little time everybody has to pray and therefore, also has given short prayers to adjust to our frenetic pace! How Divine Mercy accommodates us and reduces its demands!

Adding to the church’s rich treasury of prayers and indulgences, the Lord further asked St. Faustina to proclaim that on the Feast of Mercy (first Sunday after Easter), any soul who will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and remission of punishment.

Similarities with Sacred Heart Devotion

Devotees of the Sacred Heart will be happy to realize that the Divine Mercy devotion seems to be a continuation of the Sacred Heart devotion. The Divine Mercy image of the lord Jesus shows two rays coming from His Sacred Heart. As explained by the Lord to St. Faustina, the pale rays stand for the water which makes souls righteous. The red rays stand for His Blood which is the life of souls. The Lord further explained to the polish nun: “These two rays issued forth from the very depth of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.” The invocation, “Jesus, King of Mercy , we trust in you” is also similar to the Sacred Heart prayer, “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.” The same promise of tender assistance at the moment of death is present.

In the Sacred Heart devotion, the Lord promised that those who receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays will be assisted by Him at the moment of death. On the other hand, to St. Faustina the Lord said when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior. The fountainhead of the Sacred Heart devotion is the Lord Jesus’ excessive and burning love for mankind. This is the same wellspring of the Divine Mercy devotion as God gives us new channels of grace in these critical and perilous times.

A Preparation for the Second Coming

Readers of the writings of the mystics and holy people are aware that the Blessed Mother frequently refers to our times as the end times. While the Church does not explicitly say that we are living the last years of the world, Our Lord told St. Faustina that there is an urgent need to proclaim his His message of mercy because the world needs it as preparation for his second coming. Here are some of His messages:

Speak to the world about My mercy… it is a sign for the end times: after it will come the Day of Justice. You will prepare the world for My Final coming. Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.

While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.


You have to speak to the world about his great mercy and prepare the world for the Second coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior by as a just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still time for granting mercy.

Do these words make us feel frightened, anxious, and fearful? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”(Luke :18v 8)

Notwithstanding the evil and lukewarmness around us, notwithstanding our own personal difficulties and trials in life, let us fine that childlike faith and abandonment to respond:


(As written and published in Totus Tuus, Maria – July 2004, reprinted with consent of writer)

Learning about the Divine Mercy Devotion

Feast of the Divine Mercy / Divine Mercy Sunday

On Sunday, 30 April 2000, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass for the canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska, a 20th-century Polish religious known as the apostle of Divine Mercy.

In his homily (Sr. Faustina: God’s Gift to Our Time), the Pope said, “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter (also referred to as Sunday after Easter, 1st Sunday After Easter, Second Sunday of Easter and Low Sunday), which from now on throughout the Church will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter;*

Sincerely repent for all our sins;

Place our complete trust in Jesus;

Be in a state of grace or go to Sacramental Confession, before that Sunday;

Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast; (I, 130; II, 138);

Venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy;

Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.

“This feast emerged from My most tender pity and it is confirmed in the depths of My Mercy……I desire that it be celebrated with great solemnity on the first sunday after easter……..I desire that the feast of mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. The very depths of My tender mercy are open on that day. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon souls who will approach the fount of My Mercy!” (i, 175; ii, 138).

“I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy (1109)”

“Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishments (300)”

“The soul that will go to confession, and receive holy communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment (699)……….let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet!”. (ii, 138).

About confession with the Priest..

” When you go to confession, to this fountain of mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul (1602)… In the Tribunal of Mercy [the sacrament of Reconciliation]…the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated (1448) …Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy(1602).”

” Come with faith to the feet of My representative (1448)…I myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest… I Myself act in your soul (1602)… Make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light (1725)… ..”

History of the Divine Mercy Chaplet

In 1933, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy, Sister tells us:

“I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord’s wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus.”

Of another vision on Sept. 13, 1935, she writes:

“I saw an Angel, the executor of God’s wrath… about to strike the earth…I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel’s helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment….”

The following day an inner voice taught her to say this prayer on ordinary rosary beads:

“First say one ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’, and ‘I Believe’.

Then on the large beads say the following words:

‘Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.’

On the smaller beads you are to say the following words:

‘For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.’

In conclusion you are to say these words three times:

‘Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world’.

Jesus said later to Sister Faustina:

“Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy….”

“Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541)Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687) ….When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541) “.

“Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will (1731).”

3 O’Clock Prayer

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls
and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.
O Fountain of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water,
which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus
as a fountain of mercy for us,
I trust in You.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy on us and on the whole world. (3 times)

JESUS, King of mercy, I trust in You!


The ABCs Of The Divine Mercy

Our Lord Jesus, The Divine Mercy wants us to know that God loves all of us, no matter how great our sins are. He wants us to recognize that his mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus all will come to share His joy. The ABCs of Divine Mercy give us easy recall:

Ask For Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, asking Him to pour out His mercy upon us and upon the whole world.

Be merciful. God wants us to receive His Mercy and let it flow through us to others.

Complete Trust. God wants us to know that the graces of His Mercy are dependent upon our trust.

What do these mean in our everyday life?

  1. Ask For His Mercy

God, who created us free, will not force anything on us, not even His mercy. He waits for us to ask: Ask and it will be given to you for everyone who asks, receives. ( Matt.7:7-8) The Scriptures are filled with examples as of how to trust in God and ask for His mercy.

Pope John Paul II reinforces this Biblical message in his encyclical Rich in Mercy when he says:

“At no time especially at a moment as critical as our own can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God The Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of Mercy with loud cries”

To Blessed Sister Faustina Of the Divine Mercy Jesus Said; ” Souls that make appeal to My Mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more than they ask Beg for mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more than they ask Beg for mercy for the whole world No soul that has called upon My mercy has ever been disappointed.”

  1. Be Merciful

Mercy is love that seeks to relieve the misery of others. It is an active love, poured out upon others to heal, to comfort, to console, to forgive, to remove pain. It is love that God offers and it is love He demands from us for each other. “Be Merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke.6:36)

How can we exercise mercy? Through our actions, our words, our prayers, by performing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and by developing an attitude of mercy in our daily lives.

The Corporal Works Of Mercy

1)   Feed the hungry. Never turn away anyone who is hungry, especially the poor, elderly or disabled. Those in authority should try to prevent unemployment. Giving work is the best means for removing the necessity of feeding the unemployed.

2)   Give drink to the thirsty. A cup water given in Chris’ts name shall not lose its reward.

3)   Clothe the naked. Give away your used or superfluous clothing. Help with drives for used clothing.

4)   Shelter the homeless. Give shelter, hospitality or financial aid in cases of fires and natural disasters (for example, Mt. Pinatubo victims).

5)   Comfort the imprisoned. Visit prisoners in jail, console and help their families, provide assistance for legal cases of poor families.

6)   Visit the sick. Visit, console and give relief to the sick of elderly-at home or in the hospital. Provide medical assistance, medicines and proper food.

7)   Bury the dead. Attend a wake or funeral; visit at home in mourning and aid the bereaved family.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

1)   Admonish sinners. Whenever we think our words may have a good effect, we should not hesitate to admonish those in error-prudently, gently and with charity. Good example is another way of admonition.

2)   Instruct the uninformed. By teaching religion or other useful knowledge we are doing an important work of mercy.

3)   Counsel the doubtful. We should be eager to help (prudently and gently) those whose faith is weak.

4)   Comfort the sorrowful. We can do this by showing sincere sympathy, by speaking of Gods providence, of His love and of the happiness He reserves for us in heaven.

5)   Be patient with those in error. By being patient we benefit both ourselves and our fellow-man. Our patience can help others realize their error.

6)   Forgive offenses. Be merciful; never hold a grudge or seek revenge when offended. Forgive and always seek reconciliation.

7)   Pray for the living and dead. There are so many intentions to pray for peace in the world, unity in the Church, family problems, the sick, the souls in purgatory. Etc.

  1. Complete Trust

Trust in God is the essence of the message of mercy. Our Divine Savior made this clear to St. Sister Faustina several times.

“I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with trust On the cross, the fountain of My Mercy was opened by the lance for all souls- no one have I excluded! The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive”

The ABCs are inter-related, and trust is the vital ingredient. We do not simply ask for mercy, nor do we simply try to be good to other people. We ask with complete trust, and Our Lord fills us with grace so that we can be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful.

“I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.”

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