If you are like me maybe you have spent most of your life letting the 3 p.m. hour slip by relatively unnoticed except as a signal that your busy work day is winding down or the weekend is coming to an end.
Indeed many of us let this most powerful time pass without recognizing the tremendous grace it holds. But aren't we, particularly as Catholics, forgetting something? Wasn't 3 p.m. the moment that Christ died on the Cross for us? Wasn't it also the time when he took the totality of mans sins upon himself so that we might have life everlasting? And was it also not within that very hour that his side was pierced with a lance whereupon blood and water gushed forth as a font of mercy for us and the whole world? Over the past few years I have been drawn more deeply to devotion of Divine Mercy and since then I’ve not looked at the 3 p.m. hour in the same way. In my personal discovery of this powerful devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy
3 p.m. has become a deeply significant time for me. Why? Because it is the time when Christ himself calls us to something quite extraordinary – a daily invitation to meet him at the foot of the cross in order to contemplate his passion and invoke his endless mercy for ourselves, our families, and the whole world.
In 1937, Sr. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy began receiving extraordinary revelations or messages from Our Lord Jesus Christ. In these revelations, Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences which she compiled into six notebooks. Today, these notebooks are widely known as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul. Within the Diary are contained words from Christ regarding his unfathomable and endless mercy toward humanity – a call in which he emphatically implores each of us to approach his mercy without fear or hesitation. While the Church has always taught us that Christ is our merciful savior, Sister's Faustina's writings sparked a world-wide movement with a specific focus on Jesus as Divine Mercy itself. In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina, calling her "the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time" and also establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, sometimes known as Mercy Sunday, as an official Catholic Feast Day occurring the Sunday after Easter.
Among Christ's central messages to Saint Faustina is his extraordinary invitation to each of us to implore his mercy not only for ourselves but also for the whole world each afternoon at 3 p.m. wherever we may be. Here are the exact words of Christ to Saint Faustina noting his specific daily call to each of us:
At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).
As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice.
My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. (Diary, 1572)
With these profound words Christ is offering each of us "as often as the clock strikes the third hour" to an extraordinary daily encounter with him. In his words, Jesus is clearly asking us to make his tremendous gift of mercy part of our daily lives.
In this hour, mercy and love itself, opens wide his heart for every soul by asking us to recall and encounter his passion - most particularly his "abandonment at the moment of agony." He is asking us to take a bit of time each day to come face to face with him on the cross.
As John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical Letter entitled, Rich in Mercy, "It is in the cross that the revelation of merciful love attains its culmination." So "if only for a brief instant," at 3 p.m. (or within the 3 p.m. hour) we are being invited to reconnect with his sacrifice and suffering while acknowledging his endless grace and inexhaustible love. In Saint Faustina's Diary, Christ also makes it clear to not to be afraid to approach his mercy no matter how extensive or grave our sins may be saying, "Let no soul fear to draw near to me, even though its sins be as scarlet" (Dairy, 699) and "My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world" (Diary 1485). Here Christ is inviting even the greatest of sinners and weary souls to his merciful heart to find redemption, rest and renewal. Here, at the foot of his cross during the hour that recalls his death, he wishes us to repent of our sins, asking him to pour out his infinite ocean of mercy upon us, our loved ones and the world.
Christ also makes it known that approaching him in the 3 p.m. hour is a powerful time to bring our requests to him, for in this hour he "will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of him in virtue of his passion." Think of the power of this promise! In this hour Christ invites us to make our requests known to him, immersing them in his passion and abyss of mercy and asking for granted prayer by virtue of his passion. Like a good physician wishing to spare his patients sufferings bring also your guilt, your shame, your sorrow, your difficulties, your addictions and illness and unite them with his wounds, for "no soul that has called upon [Christ's] mercy has ever been disappointed" (Diary, 1541).
Once you begin the practice of calling to mind Christ's suffering each day at 3 p.m. you will find it will eventually become second nature to you. Initially, like anything you try to do regularly, it will take some time. You may find you need to set your wrist watch or put a reminder on your daily outlook calendar until it becomes regular for you. Christ in his messages to Saint Faustina is also well aware that it may not be possible for us to daily make the stations of the cross or visit the adoration chapel at 3 p.m. hence his words, "if only for a brief instant." So even if we are in a business meeting, on the road, in a plane or classroom or wherever "we happen to be" we can certainly if only for a brief moment call to mind his passion and invoke his mercy. Even a short prayer associated with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy such as: Oh blood and water which gushes forth from the heart of Jesus as a font of mercy toward us, I trust in you or For the sake of Your Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world will allow us to mentally pause for that "brief instant" to unite ourselves with Christ and his mercy.
Let us honor Christ's call to humanity through Saint Faustina more than 70 years ago in making this powerful devotion part of our lives today. And with all that is occurring in the world at present, is it not crucial to implore his mercy now more than ever? Let us make the 3 p.m. hour significant not just on Good Friday but every day!
Christ wants us to ask for his mercy, in fact, he delights in it! He wants us to submerge our intentions, our problems, our heaviness, our loved ones, our fear and our worries in his endless goodness and draw near to his merciful heart during the powerful hour that recalls his death. Along with this, he also wants us to seek his mercy with great trust.
So this Easter season as we celebrate the risen Christ, let us also resurrect his 3 p.m. call. Let us take advantage on his profound invitation to meet him daily at the foot of the cross where mercy and love poured out for each and every one of us. Let us recognize this Easter and for the rest of our lives the profound gift of Mercy he gives us during this time of great grace.
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|Published by: Judy Webber|
|Date: 2011-04-20 13:23:03|
|Thank you for publishing this spiritually enlightening and wonderful article. Although my family and I say the Divine Mercy Chaplet often, it is wonderful to be reminded of the power of Christ's Divine Mercy during the 3:00 holy hour. May God bless you and your wonderful staff and may you all experience a beautiful and blessed Holy Week and Easter.
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