Following St. Faustina’s Example

News: Commentary
by Fr Paul John Kalchik  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 30, 2022   

'This prayer will serve to appease My wrath'

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Catholic churches throughout the world now showcase images of Jesus as He revealed Himself to a Polish nun almost 90 years ago.

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St. Faustina Kowalska and

Divine Mercy image

This faithful nun, St. Faustina Kowalska, navigated her short life of 33 years during Europe's turbulent and sinful period between World War I and World War II simply by following the call of Jesus. Saint Faustina, canonized in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II, reminds us of that call by devoting herself to His divine mercy.

In her diary entry Sept. 13, 1935, St. Faustina described a terrifying vision of an angel she understood to be "the executor of divine wrath." She wrote, "He was clothed in a dazzling robe, his face gloriously bright, a cloud beneath his feet. From the cloud, bolts of thunder and flashes of lightning were springing into his hands, and from his hands they were going forth, and only then were they striking the earth."

Upon seeing this vision of God's just punishment of an evil world through the angel's hands, Faustina pleaded with the angel to stop so that "the world would do penance" for its sins.

Faustina reported that as her vision continued, she was "instantly snatched up before the Throne of God," where she found herself pleading with the Almighty. 

Faustina entreated God with these words, now often recited by faithful throughout the world: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us."

Our Lord explained to Faustina: 'This chaplet will serve to appease My wrath.'

The following day, which was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Faustina went to her convent's chapel, where she understood Jesus to say, "Every time you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer which I taught you yesterday." 

Faustina wrote, "When I had said the prayer, in my soul I heard these words: 'This prayer will serve to appease My wrath.'"

Our Lord directed Faustina to recite this prayer for nine days on the beads of a Rosary, with these instructions:

First of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I Believe in God. Then, on the Our Father beads, you will say the following words: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. On the Hail Mary beads, you will say the following words: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

This devotion, now known as the "Chaplet of Divine Mercy," is important because God revealed to St. Faustina — for our benefit — a powerful way to temper God's divine justice with mercy. Just as God Himself turned His only Son over for our redemption, He extended His Mercy, through Faustina, in a simple devotion to aid us during evil times.

It is a miracle that God responded to the simple plea of one poor contemplative nun who appealed to God for mercy. As a result, we have a tool to help in our salvation. By reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we can appease God's justice, open our own hearts to God's grace and make reparation for our sins.

YouTube: The Divine Mercy Chaplet 
 

These prayers are a reminder to all those who voice them, and to the Almighty Himself, of Jesus' successful mission, Passion, death and Resurrection. God's gift of a Redeemer in Jesus was superlatively efficacious, because of Jesus' complete obedience to God the Father and because of His divine Sonship.

Despite Jesus' sacrifice, people continue to sin, voiding God's complete and perfect redemption of humanity through Jesus. 

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The Divine Mercy image

Contemporary sins cry out for vengeance. Sinful, wayward men are pushing for abortion, euthanasia, LGBT rights, sterilization of the poor and so forth, while resisting God's natural laws and the Ten Commandments. Their stubborn indifference and coldness to Christ could not be more clear, sealing their ultimate destination. 

The Divine Mercy Chaplet offers a remedy for this indifference. As we recite the prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, bequeathed to us by Our Lord Himself through St. Faustina, we are reminded of the holy means of our salvation. We remember that it is by and through Our Lord's Passion, death and Glorious Resurrection that we are redeemed. His atonement for our sins opened the gates of Paradise.

Our Lord also gave Faustina a vision of Hell reserved for those who reject His offers of mercy. The year after introducing the chaplet to Faustina, He permitted her to visit Hell, in all its horror.

Faustina's visit to Hell served to warn us to repent before it's too late.

Recounting the tortures she witnessed, she wrote in October 1936, "I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no Hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like." 

God permitted Faustina to see Hell in order to give us fair warning about what awaits us if we fail to repent of our sins.

Free clip from CHURCH MILITANT Premium

This parallels what happened to the three young visionaries of Fatima, who were also granted a vision of Hell. Their vision, like Faustina's, confirms the existence of the final destination for those who reject God.

Another parallel can be drawn between the Fatima apparitions and Faustina's. In the apparitions at Fatima, Our Blessed Mother asked the three visionaries to offer up prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. 

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 Our Blessed Mother asked the three

visionaries to offer up prayers and sacrifices.

Honoring this request, at the end of each decade, we recite the prayer given by Our Lady to the children at Fatima: "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell; lead all poor souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."

We recite this prayer because we believe it will make a difference and that the hearts of sinners will be moved by God's mercy. We Catholics know prayers and sacrifices sincerely offered to God in love do change outcomes. The arm of God's angel of wrath is stayed and sinners are converted. In a real way, our prayers and sacrifices can aid in the world's redemption.

In Faustina's apparitions, Our Lord gave her the chaplet. As we pray the chaplet, we remind ourselves of the connection between our prayers and the extension of God's Mercy. Obdurately sinful humans are mercifully given one more time to repent of their sins and amend their lives. People are given a final, merciful opportunity by Our Lord to move beyond their wayward lives to a new relationship with Him. 

When we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we reflect on the Paschal Mystery, and in the simple prayers offered, make a difference in saving souls. By reciting the chaplet, we can help with opening the font of divine mercy for others.

One misconception, held by many these days, is that one person cannot make a difference.

One misconception, held by many these days, is that one person cannot make a difference; that one person's actions or prayers cannot change much of anything. Those who hold on to this misconception are fatalists who see their lives and what occurs in this world as predetermined. 

However, a person's prayers can and do make a difference in the final outcome. A humble man, by saying his prayers and the chaplet, can advance his own redemption with Christ and the redemption of those he commends to God in his prayers.

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The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Photo: Augustine Pichot)

Our Blessed Mother represents the quintessential example of this truth. By her simple yes to the Angel Gabriel and unflagging obedience to God, she gave the world a Redeemer and redemption. 

In a similar way, consider the difference a poor Polish nun made in the world. Faustina's life of devout prayer and obedience to God as a contemplative gave to the universal Church the Icon of Divine Mercy as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet. These were no small contributions, made during a life of seclusion in a cloistered religious community.

Saint Faustina died of tuberculosis on Oct. 5, 1938. Her diary was later published, popularizing the veneration of the Divine Mercy Icon and the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. 

Faustina was canonized in 2000, with Pope St. John Paul II naming her "the great apostle of divine mercy for our times." 

As we celebrate St. Faustina's feast on Oct. 5, let us give thanks for the life of this most holy woman. Her example of holiness, in a simple life of prayer and contemplation, is one to follow. Her contributions to our Church tradition of the Icon of Divine Mercy, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Divine Mercy Sunday truly show the hand of God in our modern lives.

In St. Faustina's gift of the Icon of Divine Mercy, we can now see Our Risen Lord. We can visualize, in the rays coming from His wounded heart, His abundant mercy for all humanity, just as Faustina saw them long ago.

In Our Lord's gift of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, each of us can stay the hand of God's angel of wrath.

In St. Faustina's gift of the Icon of Divine Mercy, we can now see for ourselves Our Risen Lord.

Every Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, we remember Our Lord's request to reflect on the reason why He died — to mercifully reconcile all humanity to Himself.

There will be a day of judgment for us personally, as well as one for the whole world. May we have the grace to embrace the certainty of this judgment, repent of our sins before it's too late and pray for the conversion of sinners. There's Heaven to lose if we turn a cold shoulder to Christ, without repentance. There's divine mercy to gain if we follow the path of St. Faustina.

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