Perseverance and Mercy
Perseverance and Mercy
‘O great day, in which divine love will be confirmed in me. On that day, for the first time, I shall sing before heaven and earth the song of the Lord’s fathomless Mercy. This is my work and my mission, which the Lord has destined for me from the beginning of the world.’ (825)
St. Faustina knew well the goal of Mercy: to end well, dying unto Life, and to ensure in one’s lifetime that as many souls as possible die in that merciful state. During her brief and physically challenged life (she had tuberculosis), Faustina roused herself daily to convey that Mercy. Through prayer, word and deed, she invited all to partake of the Cross and its fruit.
With simple clarity, she reminds us that what we see is not the end; Heaven awaits the merciful. St. Faustina and her fellow sisters cared for the sick and the dying, and so had plenty of reminders that this life points to something greater. One 84-year-old sister on her deathbed recounted to her: ‘I have been preparing myself all my life for this last hour.’ Expressing the difficulty of remaining true to Heaven’s goal, the aging sage then said: ‘Old age does not dispense one from the combat.’ (517)
The fight to remain true to Mercy and to one’s heavenly home! St. Faustina knew well that battle. Yes, she knew that Mercy ran throughout each day ‘like a golden thread’ (1466), enabling her to remain true to the Faithful One.
And yet the very awareness of Heaven itself, as well as the continual fight for souls on earth, made St. Faustina’s brief life a kind of exile, a time between ‘the now and the not yet.’ She lived on earth, engaged with Christ; she knew her true home lay in Heaven in full consummation with Him.
Various expressions of Mercy sustained her in this pilgrimage. The Eucharist was key for her. She thrived on this meal of Mercy; it was her boast, her delight. She prayed: ‘O living host, support me in this exile.’ (1484) He was faithful, sustaining her through His very Body and Blood.
Christ’s Body–the communion of the saints–enlivened her as well. Mercy became manifest to her through good men and women who guided her steps. She refused to make key decisions about her Mercy mission without wise counsel. And she drew strength and focus from ‘the great cloud of witnesses’ who fought for her in their prayers and witness and who awaited her in Heaven.
She wrote toward the end of her life:
‘I keep going bravely—though my feet become wounded—to my homeland, and on the way I nourish myself on the will of God. It is my food! Help me, happy inhabitants of the heavenly homeland, so that your sister may not falter on the way!’ (886)
Jesus gave St. Faustina a vision of Divine Mercy; she drank from that fountain of Blood and Water, and she invited all she knew to partake of that flood. Since her death, millions more like you and I have been invited to live from that fountain. She now awaits us in Heaven; let us walk without fainting the good path she trod for us.
‘Come close to My wounds and draw from the Fountain of Life…Drink copiously from this Fountain of Life and you will not weary on your journey.’ (1466) ‘Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another onto love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ (Heb. 10: 22-25)
“Jesus, keep our feet in the Mercy pool and are eyes heavenward. May we draw from all the means of Mercy you have provided, that we would be faithful and unflagging in the fight for souls. Thank You for the witness of Your precious sister and ours, St. Faustina. With her we pray: ‘O Blood and Water, that gushes forth from the heart of the Savior as Fount of Mercy for us all, we trust in You!’ “
Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.