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Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur reviews Understanding Divine Mercy by Fr. Chris Alar, MIC.

Lent is the perfect time to reflect on the gift and message of Divine Mercy. Fr. Chris Alar is a member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, an order of priests who have made it one of their missions to spread the good news of Divine Mercy. In Understanding Divine Mercy, Fr. Alar explains the visions of Jesus that St. Faustina wrote about in her famous diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, showing how the Divine Mercy message permeates Scripture and Catholic tradition. He also provides ways we can live and share that message in our own lives. 




We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy.

Every time we sin, we bring disharmony into God’s universe. (8)


This disharmony impacts not only our lives, but the world at large, contributing to wars and natural disasters. Contemplating that reality is enough to make a person feel hopeless, but in spite of the sad state of the world, there is hope.

God knows we are suffering as a result of our sins, and He wants to help. . . . God loves us, and He wants to forgive and heal us. He wants to have mercy on us. (9)


God sent His Son to redeem us and the Holy Spirit to sanctify us.  

Fr. Alar describes the blessings of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He also offers simple ways to remember the key tenets of the Divine Mercy message and the five “channels of grace” to help us live out this message. The acronyms “ABC” and “FINCH” are easy to recall, and each of these components is then explained in detail.   

A – Ask for God’s Mercy. 
B – Be merciful to others. 
C – Completely Trust in God’s Mercy 

F – Feast of Divine Mercy 
I – Image of Divine Mercy 
N – Novena of Divine Mercy 
C – Chaplet of Divine Mercy 
H – Hour of Divine Mercy  


Some people struggle to understand or accept that God is loving and merciful because of the suffering in the world (I have experienced doubt because of this). Fr. Alar tackles that problem, explaining how suffering can be a source of blessing when it is offered up for others and we persevere through our difficulties.

The enemy will use our suffering and crosses to try to lead us to despair, but hold fast—we all have to go through these tests ... we need to ask [God] for the grace to persevere, for the grace to be able to carry our cross with His help. (139-140)


Fr. Alar reminds us that “in every storm, Jesus is present” (149). 

Fr. Alar also discusses what we can do if we fear for a loved one’s salvation. He emphasizes that is never too late to pray for someone’s soul, even if they died many years ago, because God exists outside of time.  

Whether you are familiar with the Divine Mercy message and devotion or this is your first time hearing about it, Understanding Divine Mercy is a book well worth reading and contemplating.   

Ask for Understanding Divine Mercy at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Marian Press.



Copyright 2024 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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