St. Maria Faustina–Secretary of Divine Mercy,

Dives Misericordia!  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children(Matthew 11:25).”

Among the chosen souls to whom Our Lord has deigned to disclose the abundance of His Goodness was a young, uneducated Polish nun named Sr. Faustina Kowalska in the 1930’s. From her childhood, Helena Kowalska was a well-balanced, obedient, and pious young lady. She was the third child in a family of ten – a child accustomed to both the arduous labor and poverty of farm life. Helena was only able to attend formal schooling for three winters, as her help was needed on the family farm. From the age of fourteen she worked as a domestic servant, caring for the children of wealthier families in the nearby cities of Aleksandrow and Lodz. It was to this humble servant that Our Lord would reveal the magnitude of His Divine Mercy.

From the tender age of 7, Our Lord had given Helena the grace to understand she was called to religious life. Since Helena’s family rejected her desire to become a nun, she attempted to stifle the call, willingly accepted her position as a domestic servant, and developed friendships among her peers. One day during a dance Helena attended with her sister, Our Lord revealed himself to Helena in a vision. He was suffering in agony, and cried out to Helena saying: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off (9, p. 7– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987)?”

St. Maria Faustia, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Maria Faustia, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

With her entrance into the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, on August 1, 1925, Helena Kowalska became Sr. Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As soon as the veil was put on Sr. Faustina’s head, Our Lord immediately enlightened her soul regarding what she would have to suffer. Sr. Maria Faustina remained a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy until her death – a mere 13 years later – at the age of 33, on October 5, 1938.

Your Life is to be Modeled on Mine, From the Crib to the Cross. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Your Life is to be Modeled on Mine, From the Crib to the Cross. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Throughout those next 13 years, Our Lord shaped and modeled St. Faustina’s soul to closely resemble His own. He stated: “Your life is to be modeled on Mine, from the crib to My death on the cross (438, p. 193 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

This simple, pious sister, who was the gardener, cook and porter for the community, was also Our Lord’s chosen Apostle and Secretary of Mercy. Though possessing no more than three winters of formal education, St. Faustina would pen a 600+ page diary containing some of the most profound insights regarding Our Lord’s Divine Mercy ever written. The life of St. Faustina seems to reflect our Lord’s words in Luke 10:21:

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “I give You praise Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father such has been Your gracious Will (Luke 10:21).

One of the scholars who would later study and champion St. Faustina’s work, was a Polish kinsman, a certain Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. In 1981,  Pope St. John Paul II  published an encyclical, Dives MisericordiaRich in Mercy, in which the Holy Father drew from the theme of Divine Mercy present in St. Faustina’s Diary- Divine Mercy in My Soul. On April 18, 1993,  Pope St. John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina; and seven years later -on Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000 – Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina as the first saint of that Jubilee year. This Sunday, April 27, all the world will celebrate the canonizations of both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII- truly this Divine Mercy Sunday will be a blessed and historic moment in time.

St. Faustina’s entire mission was to convey to the world the unfathomable Mercy of Christ. Over the years, Our Lord revealed much to her.

 

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

On one occasion He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins and the sins of the whole world. . . . I never reject a contrite heart (1485, p. 524 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On another: “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699, p. 286 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Likewise He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins, and those of the whole world (1485, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Blessed Are The Merciful, for Mercy Shall Be Theirs. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Blessed Are The Merciful, for Mercy Shall Be Theirs. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

Our Lord made it clear that mercy was His gift to an aching humanity, but that this gift must recognized, accepted, and acted upon. We must return mercy for the mercy that has been granted to us. Jesus states: “If a soul does not exercise mercy in some way it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment (1317, p. 473 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

Our Savior cautions: “My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (1588, p. 564 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Jesus also warns: “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice (1146, p. 420 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

As we prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Our Lord, and instituted by Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, let us continue with the eighth day of the Novena of Chaplets. For complete instructions please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today we also continue with the eighth day of the preparatory novena dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina. Each day He instructed Sr. Faustina to bring a certain group of souls into the abyss of His mercy by means of prayer, and likewise to intercede for them before the throne of God the Father.

Bring to Me the Souls in Purgatory.  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Bring to Me the Souls in Purgatory. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

On the eighth day of the novena, Jesus requested of St. Faustina:

“Today bring Me souls who are in the prison of Purgatory and immerse them into the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice (1226, p. 441 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Turn your Merciful Gaze Upon the Souls Suffering in Purgatory  © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Turn your Merciful Gaze Upon the Souls Suffering in Purgatory © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

The novena for the eighth day is as follows:

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You , and yet, must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your Mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

One of the greatest ways we can share the Mercy of Christ with others is to pray for them. Thus, praying for those souls who are yet journeying from physical death to Paradise, and being purified of the stain of sins committed in this life, is itself a worthy act of mercy. Together with St. Maria Faustina let us immerse the suffering souls in the abyss of God’s mercy, and beg Our Heavenly Father to look upon them in no other way, but through the wounds of Jesus.

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly,

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

Bring to Me the Souls of the Merciful, They are Living Images of My Compassionate Heart

Proclaim My Mercy! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy (301 p. 139 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord Jesus makes it abundantly clear that mercy is His greatest attribute. God is perfect, and as such the perfections of God are limitless. However, of all of these, mercy reigns as preeminent of all of God’s glorious attributes. Our Lord stated to St. Maria Faustina: “I am Love and Mercy Itself (1074 p. 404 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

It is therefore right that we should glorify the mercy of God, and proclaim it to others. With this thought in mind we continue to prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast on which Our Lord promised immeasurable graces to those who celebrate the unfathomable nature of His mercy.

Jesus told St. Faustina:

“Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment (300 p. 139 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord spoke to St. Faustina fourteen times regarding this incredible Feast that He Himself instituted on the First Sunday after Easter.

The most extensive diary entry detailing Jesus’ revelations regarding this feast can be found in entry number 699 (p. 286 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987). A portion of this entry reads:

Let No Fear To Approach My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out whole torrents of grace upon those who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699).”

Today we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the seventh day of our novena of preparation. For complete instructions, please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Also today, we pray the seventh day of the preparatory novena Our Lord dictated to St. Maria Faustina. Through this novena, Jesus requests that Sr. Faustina bring a different group of souls into the abyss of His mercy each day for nine days. He requested that she pray for these groups of souls, immersing them in His Mercy, and pleading for them before the throne of God the Almighty Father.

On this seventh day, Our Lord requested of Sr. Faustina:

Bring to Me Souls Who Especially Venerate My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Bring to Me Souls Who Especially Venerate My Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“Today bring to Me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of Hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death (1224, p. 440 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

The novena prayer  for the seventh day is as follows:

Most Merciful Jesus, Whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These Souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to you O Most high! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, Who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen. (Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

Today as we seek to be among those blessed souls whom our Lord refers to in today’s portion of this novena, let us strive to be merciful. Jesus told Sr. Faustina that her hands must be full of deeds of mercy. Jesus stated:

Blessed are the Merciful! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Blessed are the Merciful! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014.

“Yes, the First Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must be acts of mercy. . . .I demand from you deeds which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it (742, p. 297-298 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

So too must our hands be engaged in the work of mercy if we are to share in the myriad of graces He promises to lavish upon us. While this is a difficult command, His grace is sufficient for our weakness.

Lord, please grant me the grace to be merciful as You are merciful!

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

If I Had the Faith of a Child – Reflection on the Divine Mercy Novena Day 6

Unless You Receive The Kingdom of God As A Child. . . .. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

“Truly I say to you, unless you receive the Kingdom of God as a child, you shall not enter into it (Luke 18:17).”

I love watching the reflection of Easter in the eyes of my children. The purity of their love shines forth. Children have a unique relationship to God. Our Lord chose to enter the world as a helpless, innocent babe, and from the moment of the Incarnation, He became one of them, one of us. As we walk the outdoor Stations of the Cross, and listen to the Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, our Lord’s suffering seems to resonate deeply with them. Their piety is genuine; their love is deep. Just as sorrow seems to carve a space within us, so too later that whittled space can brim with joy. Easter through the eyes of a child is a blessing to behold!

As we prepare for the great feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, we continue with the sixth day of the novena of chaplets, prayed with ordinary rosary beads. For complete instructions on how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, visit the Divine Mercy website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Let the Children Come to Me © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Today is also the sixth day of the novena dictated by Jesus to St. Maria Faustina. For each day of this novena, Our Lord requested that Sr. Faustina bring a different group of souls into the abyss of His mercy. For this day Our Lord directed:

I am Meek and Humble of Heart © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

“Today bring to Me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is capable of receiving My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence (1220, p. 439 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

The sixth day of the novena is:

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all of Heaven into ecstasy and are the Heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them; Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

(Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet Pamphlet [LFMCN], 2012 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.)

 

A Sweet Smelling Bouquet. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

If God Himself takes delight in the souls of children, and the humble souls who resemble them, can we do no less?

In honor of these special souls I am reposting a prayer I penned and posted many months ago.

If I Had the Faith of a Child © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

If I Had the Faith of A Child

If I had the faith of a child, I would welcome each day with delight.

With reckless abandon, I would pursue the task of Life.

If I had the faith of a child, I would treat God as my Father,

With confidence I would speak to Him about little things throughout the day.

If I had the faith of a child, I would view His creation with a sense of wonder.

With gratitude, I would thank Him for the flowers, and snowflakes, and autumn leaves….

With Reckless Abandon, I would Live . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

If I had the faith of a child, I would realize my smallness,

And I would seek shelter in His Magnitude.

If I had the faith of a child, I would not let a sense of time constrain me,

Rather, I would marvel in the timelessness of eternity.

If I had the faith of a child, I would not grow anxious about complex matters,

Instead, I would trust in His Providence to make it all right.

I Would See Miracles Every Day © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

.If I had the faith of a child, my prayers would be simple.

With innocence, I would reflect His purity.

If I had the faith of a child, I would tell Him, “I’m sorry,” when need be,

And I would believe in my heart that His Mercy is greater than my weakness.

If I had the faith of a child, I would see miracles every day,

With simplicity, I would accept the incomprehensible.

If I had the faith of a child, I would make God laugh.

He Would Delight in My Littleness © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

He would delight in my littleness, and I in His Omnipotence.

If I had the faith of a child, I would feel His unconditional Love,

He would fill me with His gifts and I would share them.

If I had the faith of a child, I would possess true wisdom,

For, He would reveal the secrets of His Heart.

I Would Hope for Heaven © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

If I had the faith of a child, I would enter the Kingdom of God!

I would hope for Heaven, yet see the Kingdom here around me now.

If I had the faith of a child, I would trust that my every prayer would be answered.

Lord, please, grant me the faith of a child!

________________________________________

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly.

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.