A Sacred Heart Litany for Mercy

I mean to post this on Divine Mercy Sunday, but you know how these things get away from us…! But I think our Good Shepherd has carved some time out for me today, to help me post it on Good Shepherd Sunday — and Mother’s day! Our Lady is always quietly helping us along…

A devotion that I have been trying to keep up some months now, inspired by a close relative who is in great need, is to pray every day at 3:00pm, the Hour of Mercy. I try to at least pray for 5 minutes, and even that is sometimes difficult! (I make no e-pretenses to piety!) In my efforts to hold out the whole five minutes, I’ve found having some set prayers on my smartphone (in an Evernote note posted to the main page) makes it so easy I have no excuses.

I have been praying this prayer at the Hour of Mercy, a Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a prayer to my patron St. Joseph. But I found that on my bad days — you know the kind — the great tumult of “have mercy on us” in the litany was almost unbearable to get through. I don’t mean to slight the prayer by any means — I just found that, with my particular failings and melancholic tendencies, I found myself so often praying it in the wrong spirit, rather than the spirit intended.

Divine Mercy

I value the prayer, “Have mercy on us,” so much, especially as St. Faustina and her visions of Mercy (and her/our great need of it) was instrumental to my early growth in faith. But I found myself time and time again, at the end of prayer, in a spirit of self-condemnation, rather than trusting humility. It was as if, the more I said “Have mercy on us,” the less I believed He would — or rather, that I was worthy of accepting it. And without realizing it, I wasn’t accepting that mercy. I was wrapped up in a feeling of self-despair, and consequently a lack of faith in God and His infinite mercy.

And the more I thought about it, the more I think that this might be the particular temptation of our age: self-condemnation, and lack of trust. After all, that was the specific message Our Lord gave to St. Faustina to spread in the 20th Century: Jesus, I trust in You.

In ages past, when secularism had not taken such deep root, sin was a concept much more familiar to people — even to Christians, who are necessarily affected by the temper of the age, no matter how hard we try to live “in but not of” it. The reality of sin, the necessity of contrition, and the gratuitous glory of Christ’s Mercy were much more present to people.

But our culture today is built entirely around denying the reality of sin, the existence of anyone to offer contrition to, or– and most importantly– the possibility of merciful forgiveness.

In the modern secular mind (the mentality in which I was raised), a fundamental inability to believe in Mercy–that is, forgiveness of all the things we do that weigh upon us, whether we can admit it or not–is what causes us to run so fast and so far from the recognition of sins. We feel the weight of our sins but project the recognition of their destructiveness onto a society/religion/political group we label “judgmental” so we don’t have to realize how much we are condemning ourselves. We have created a religion of Tolerance in order to condone sins that we cannot face to create a synthetic mercy — a forgiveness for which there is nothing to forgive. And yet we always feel the prick of that self-condemnation — self-judgement untempered by a mercy we cannot believe in — and that is why we are the most deeply angry — truly, truly angry — group of people in this fallen world.

And perhaps my readers — I assume you are religious already or you wouldn’t find much of interest here! — think I am throwing around this “we” too lightly. Well, the fact of the matter is we are all affected by our society, whether we are home-schooled amid a happy circle or brought up in the thick of the cultural jungle. Having grown up in the thick of secularism, I would have presumed that I have it worse off than others — and then I met cradle Catholics, ha! But seriously — every single one of us has our own particular temptation to hate or condemn ourselves, and we are all living in the midst of a culture that refuses to recognize sin, out of an agonizing despair of mercy.

And by agonizing, think of the dark night of a soul which has never known daybreak. This is why they frantically break flares of Tolerance and wave them around like they’re salvation. It’s all they have to see in that deep, swallowing darkness of the condemnation the soul has for itself, without any knowledge or acceptance of mercy.

The leaders and shapers of our culture are living in this darkness. They need prayer much more than lobbyists or internet invectives.

And as Catholics and Christians, we are living in a society that is shaped by their mindset. It is the fallen reality. It would be hubris to think we can hold our toes up, pure, of the culture in which we live. We must fight the same temptations they do — but, most thankfully, we fight with much better weapons than they do. We fight knowing we are in a battle, and whom to fight. And we have an arsenal of prayer.

That is why I decided to change up my own daily litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus — not because I am not in need of mercy (HA!), but because the particular way in which I need to ask for it is through an act of faith. My great temptation is not to ignore sins I am perfectly aware of, but to feel the weight of them so badly that I bury my head from the possibility of mercy.

Instead of a petition–have mercy on us–which, to be really effective, must be done in a spirit of confidence in Christ, I have found my spirit much more open to grace when I make my litany an act of faith–Jesus, I trust in You. This is something I have to say over, and over, and over again to really let it sink into my soul.

Our souls have a tendency, these days, to become tight and closed from sorrow and fear, like tender flowers closing up when the sun has abandoned them. But even when the Son shines on them we are afraid to open! This prayer has helped my heart bloom open, when I didn’t even know it had shut. So I am posting it here in case it helps another.

Divine Mercy Litany of the Sacred Heart

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother’s womb,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You,
I trust in you.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints,
I trust in you.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

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One thought on “A Sacred Heart Litany for Mercy

  1. Joseph Horan says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    The projection of self condemnation onto others, “the judgmental,” in the creation of a false mercy, a false love. This is a brilliant explanation of this fundamental error of our age written by my wife on Mother’s Day!

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