Today, October 5, we celebrate the feast of Saint Faustina (1905-1938), mystic, and “secretary of the Lord.” Throughout her brief life, Jesus appeared and spoke to Saint Faustina, who faithfully recorded His words in her diary, entitled “Divine Mercy in my Soul.” When she left this world, she left this incomprehensible gift behind for the betterment of mankind—detailing the Lord’s gracious gift of Mercy to the world.
“JESUS, make my heart like unto Yours, or rather transform it into Your own Heart that I may sense the needs of other hearts, especially those who are sad and suffering. May the rays of mercy rest in my heart.”
Throughout her short life, Our Lord assigned Saint Faustina three basic tasks:
1. To pray for souls, entrusting them to God's Incomprehensible Mercy;
2. To tell the world about God's Generous Mercy;
3. To start a new movement in the Church focusing on God's Mercy.
Saint Faustina struggled to follow God's Will in these three tasks, at times struggling and finding it nearly impossible. Yet, through it all—including suffering and sickness—she entrusted herself to the Lord, relying on His mercy, and letting Him work through her, weak though she may be.
Beginning in the 1930's, Sister Faustina began receiving from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God's mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God's plan of mercy for the world. He said to her:
"If souls would put themselves completely in my care, I myself would undertake the task of sanctifying them, and I would lavish even greater graces on them. There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them; as often as they turn to Me, I hurry to their aid, shielding them with My mercy, and I give them the first place in My compassionate Heart.” Jesus also asked that a picture be painted of Him with the inscription: “Jesus, I Trust in You.” She commissioned this painting in 1935, showing a red and a white light shining from Christ’s Sacred Heart, representing the blood and water that poured from His side.
"In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, 'paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'"
Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her: “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."
During her years of revelation, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy. From her diary, Saint Faustina describes two of her visions:
"I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord's wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus."
"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the punishment...."
Saint Faustina wrote and suffered in secret, with only her spiritual director and some of her superiors aware that anything special was taking place in her life. After her death from tuberculosis—a protracted struggle which she offered as suffering for the sins of the world-- even her closest associates were amazed as they began to discover what great sufferings and deep mystical experiences had been given to her, who had always been so cheerful and humble. She had taken deeply into her heart, God's gospel command to "be merciful even as your heavenly Father is merciful" as well as her confessor's directive that she should act in such a way that everyone who came in contact with her would go away joyful.
“The years she had spent at the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as: revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, the gift of bilocation, the reading of human souls, the gift of prophecy, or the rare gift of mystical engagement and marriage. The living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, the souls in Purgatory — with the entire supernatural world — was as equally real for her as was the world she perceived with her senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr. Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.”
Saint Faustina’s special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation had given her the strength to bear her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying. Her suffering was to achieve what Jesus had promised when He told her: “I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart.”
Sister Faustina died peacefully, the name of Jesus on her lips. Her relics are maintained at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy Chapel in Krakow, Poland. The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world. The Apostles of Divine Mercy is a movement of priests, religious, and lay people inspired by Faustina’s experiences. The goal of the apostles is to spread knowledge of the mystery of Divine Mercy, and invoke God’s mercy on sinners. Today, this devotional group has spread to 29 countries.
“The message of divine mercy has always been very close and precious to me. It is as though history has written it in the tragic experience of World War II. In those difficult years, this message was a particular support and an inexhaustible source of hope, not only for those living in Krakow, but for the entire nation. This was also my personal experience, which I carried with me to the See of Peter and which, in a certain sense, forms the image of this pontificate. I thank divine providence because I was able to contribute personally to carrying out Christ's will, by instituting the feast of Divine Mercy. Here, close to the remains of Blessed Faustina, I thank God for the gift of her beatification. I pray unceasingly that God may have 'mercy on us and on the whole world'."
From Saint Faustina’s First Diary:
O Eternal Love, You command Your Sacred Image to be painted
And reveal to us the inconceivable fount of mercy,
You bless whoever approaches Your rays,
And a soul all black will turn into snow.
O sweet Jesus, it is here You established the throne of Your mercy
To bring joy and hope to sinful man.
From Your open Heart, as from a pure fount,
Flows comfort to a repentant heart and soul.
May praise and glory for this Image
Never cease to stream from man's soul.
May praise of God's mercy pour from every heart,
Now, and at every hour, and forever and ever.
O My God
When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.
It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.
O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of your omnipotence.
And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.
Canonization Homily of Saint Faustina, Delivered by Pope John Paul II
Chaplet of Divine Mercy
You told us that your mission would continue after your death and that you would not forget us. Our Lord also granted you a great privilege, telling you to "distribute graces as you will, to who you will, and when you will." Relying on this, we ask your intercession for the graces we need, especially for the intentions just mentioned. Help us, above all, to trust in Jesus as you did and thus to glorify His mercy every moment of our lives. Amen
Year 2: Day 278 of 365
Prayer Intentions: The ability to suffer with joy, praying for sinners; Atonement for our own sins.
Requested Intentions: Healing of a chronic illness (P); Safety of a family during storms (A); Successful home ownership (P); Healing of a marriage (M); Employment for a husband, blessings for a marriage (E); Successful examinations for a daughter, healing of a relationships (V); Blessing for a family (V); Healing of baby girl M and all children suffering (M); Special intentions (R); Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G).