When St. John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000, he surprised the world by declaring the second Sunday after Easter the feast of Divine Mercy. He described Divine Mercy the answer to the world’s problems and the message for the Third Millennium.

Ever since, I’ve fostered my devotion to Divine Mercy, striving as best I could to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 o’clock each day – the hour marking Jesus’ death on the Cross – as Jesus himself instructed St. Faustina:

“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).

Jesus’ promise has brought me consolation in even the most trying of times, and I’ve relied on the chaplet to “fix” not only my problems, but also the problems of my loved ones and beyond. My 3pm routine has become engrained in me, to the point that I can sense its approach without even looking at the clock.

If it’s a work day, I break from my work, grab my rosary and a cup of coffee or tea, and find a quiet place somewhere in the house or yard to immerse myself in our Lord’s Passion. If I’m out and about, I say the chaplet as I go along. This pause in my day is vital because it allows me to put everything aside and focus on the power of God’s infinite mercy.

On the occasional day that I’m not able to observe the Hour of Mercy, I really feel it. Something very important is missing that cannot be replaced.

It leaves me feeling empty.

A few years ago, I had missed the Hour of Mercy for the fourth day in a row – I’d been at a conference and the schedule was so engaging that I lost track of time and completely forgot my Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Driving home, I lamented the missed opportunities and berated myself for not being more devoted and disciplined

Then I asked myself, Does it really matter?

Of course it matters that I missed the Hour of Mercy, but did it matter at what hour I observed it?

It’s like this: No matter what hour it is where I am right now, its 3 o’clock somewhere on the globe. It is the Hour of Mercy right now – perhaps not in my exact location, but someplace.

True, I’m not there; I’m here. But Jesus is there, because he is everywhere.

He’s present in every location and at every moment from the beginning and for all Eternity. So, regardless of the time, it can be the Hour of Mercy for both of us, if only I ask.

That’s exactly what I started doing,

Now, when I miss my 3pm prayer time, I don’t fret. Instead, I recollect myself, remind myself that it still is 3pm – somewhere – and ask Jesus to become my “bridge” from here to there. I ask our Lord:  Wherever it’s the Hour of Mercy, let my prayers rise from here and grant to me the mercy that you extend from there. Draw me into your Merciful Heart so that I can be united with you in the Hour of Mercy.

This little custom has helped to ease the emptiness I feel when I miss the Hour of Mercy and has given me an even greater appreciation of God’s merciful love.

Of late, our world has been vexed with many problems – huge problems – and we need Divine Mercy more than ever.

Jesus promised us that he will refuse nothing to the soul who makes a request of him in virtue of his Passion.

Do we even realize the magnitude of what he said?

What do you think would happen if folks around the globe began observing the Hour of Mercy and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, requesting that Jesus fix the problems of this turbulent world?

And if you can’t fit it in during your own Hour of Mercy, then ask Jesus to make it possible for you to join someone else’s.

Divine Mercy is indeed the prayer of the Third Millennium, and we’re there right now. We need God’s mercy for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the entire world which is so quickly rolling into darkness.

Are you ready? The Hour of Mercy is here.