The greatest message of love in our modern age did not come from tales of world leaders or testimonies of famous men. Rather, it emerged from the spiritual life of a young Polish girl named Helena Kowalska. She came from a poor family, and although she felt called to the religious vocation, she couldn’t for lack of resources. One evening while enjoying herself at a dance, Jesus suddenly appeared before her, covered in wounds. He asked her, “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off?” Struck by this image, she immediately left the dance and went to a Church to pray. Shortly after this incident, she left for Warsaw and joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. From then on she was Sister Maria Faustina.
Even as she matured in faith as a religious sister, she remained ordinary in the eyes of others. However, when she was 26 years old, Jesus began to appear her to share His message of divine mercy. With the guidance of Fr. Sopoćko, her spiritual director, she started keeping a diary where she documented her visions. In these visions, Jesus asked that Faustina share the message of the Divine Mercy to the world, and that a special celebration be instituted by the Church.
For several decades, the message of the Divine Mercy existed in relative obscurity, and remained unrecognized by the Church until a young polish cardinal named Karol Wojtyla was elected pope and shared the Divine Mercy to the world. A central motif of Pope John Paul II’s papacy was God’s Mercy, and he preached that Mercy was the key to understanding the mysteries of God, of man, and all of creation.
Through the Divine Mercy, Jesus wants us to rediscover God’s great love for us. In this message, Jesus encourages us to trust in Him, and to share His mercy with other people. He says, “As often as you want to make me happy, speak to the world about my great and unfathomable mercy” (Diary 164). In response to His great love, He calls us to trust in him, to live and love without fear—that He may lead us to a complete peace.
“The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust.” (Diary 1578)
Today we are surrounded by a culture of death, sin, and despair. Despite this, God calls us to trust in Him, and to return to the Father who forgives all sins, and who sets all things right. Furthermore, He demands of us acts of mercy, “which are to arise out of love for Me (Diary 742).” These may be exercised in three ways: by deed, by word, and by prayer. He asks us not to shrink from this; He calls us to not only rest in the consolation of this message, but to unleash the Divine Mercy upon the world.
“Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people], my daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself.” (Diary 1074)
As published in the April 23 issue of the Parish Bulletin.