Ever since a powerful God-given experience I was given back in October 2016 (which I wrote about here), I’ve researched the life and writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish saint who is hailed as the Secretary of Divine Mercy.
Christians generally have a good idea of what God’s mercy is, based on various verses we’ve read throughout the Old and New Testaments. Saint Faustina was visited by Jesus Himself, and during the many visitations she received of Him, which Faustina detailed in her diary, Jesus described to her in further detail what His Mercy is.
Just in the first third of her diary, Saint Faustina provides deep, powerful quotes from Jesus on His Merciful Nature:
“In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy.” (Diary, 1588).
“Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” (Diary, 301)
The Importance of Trust
Early on in her diary, Faustina was told by Jesus to write down a prayer which He ordained as a prayer for conversion:
“Today Jesus said to me, I desire that you know more profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls, and you will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.” (Diary, 186-187)
The last four words of the above prayer are important, because there are many passages in the diary about how a soul’s distrust can wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus more than any sin. When we refuse to trust in the Mercy of Jesus and therefore doubt His good nature, we make a terrible mistake, as Jesus said in the following passage:
“Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy. Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness. Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.” (Diary, 300)
God is both just and merciful, and the world mustn’t forget that His mercy always comes first.
Saint Faustina also provides important wisdom about spirituality and virtue. For example, in the following passage, she describes in detail the damage that one can do with the words their tongue creates:
“I tremble to think that I have to give an account of my tongue. There is life, but there is also death in the tongue. Sometimes we kill with the tongue: we commit real murders. And we are still to regard that as a small thing? I truly do not understand such consciences. I have known a person who, when she learned from someone that a certain thing was being said about her, fell seriously ill. She lost a good deal of blood and shed many tears, and the outcome was very sad. It was not the sword that did all this, but the tongue. O my silent Jesus, have mercy on us!” (Diary, 119)
This is affirmed by Proverbs 18:21, which says, just as Faustina did, that both life and death are in the power of the tongue. As Faustina and the Bible together warn, the phrase “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is nonsensical, because as Faustina observed, words can indirectly lead to loss of life.
So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying Saint Faustina’s diary, and I look forward to reading the rest of her writings.
Kowalska, Saint Maria Faustina. Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Marian Press. Kindle Edition.