The Divine Mercy and the Life of
Saint Faustina Helena Kowalska

A Presentation Made by Dorothy Breidenstein
at The Bay Area Serra Club Meeting on 9/29/06

 

The words mercy and forgiveness appear well over 100 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament the prophets begged for God's mercy. God is our father. We are brothers and sisters, and every one of us should be looking out for each other.

We hear the message, but we don't seem to be living it.

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and—Jesus taught us what it meant to merciful. In the 1930s Jesus appeard many times to Saint Faustina Helena Kowalska and instructed her how to spread his message of mercy.

The video that was shown Covered Saint Faustina's life. She was born in the village of Glogowiec west of Lodz, Poland, on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women.

The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added "of the Most Blessed Sacrament," as was permitted by her Congregation's custom.

 

 

In the 1930s, Saint Faustina received 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.

It was not a glamorous prospect. Her entire life, in imitation of Christ's, was to be a sacrifice—a life lived for others. At the divine Lord's request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others; in her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others; and by writing about God's mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again.

Convinced of her own unworthiness, and terrified at the thought of trying to write anything, she nonetheless began keeping a diary in 1934 in obedience to the express wishes of her spiritual director, and then of Our Lord Himself. For four years she recorded divine revelations and mystical experiences, together with her own inmost thoughts, insights, and prayers. The result is a book of some 600 printed pages that, in simple language, repeats and clarifies the gospel story of God's love for His people, emphasizing, above all, the need to trust in His loving action in all the aspects of our lives. It also reveals an extraordinary example of how to respond to God's mercy and manifest it to others.

Saint Faustina's spiritual life was based on deep humility, purity of intention, and loving obedience to the will of God in imitation of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Jesus appeared to her with rays of light flowing from is heart. Jesus instructed her to have the image painted, containing the message "Jesus, I Trust in You" as represented below.

 

 

Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation gave her the strength to bear all her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying.

She 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 in 1938, even her closest associates were amazed as they began to discover what great sufferings and deep mystical experiences had been given to this sister of theirs, 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 message of mercy that Saint Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; she was canonized by the Church on April 30, 2000; and her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to The Divine Mercy. She would not have been surprised, for she had been told that the message of God's mercy would spread through her writings for the great benefit of souls.

In a prophetic statement she had declared:

I feel certain that my mission will not come to an end upon my death, but will begin. O doubting souls, I will draw aside for you the veils of heaven to convince you of God's goodness (Diary 281).

The meeting ended with the recitation of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is suggested that this prayer be said at 3:00 PM, the hour Jesus died on the cross. If that is not practical, say it on any hour, for it will be 3:00 o'clock somewhere in the world.

 

THE CHAPLET OF THE DIVINE MERCY

(to be recited on ordinary rosary beads)

Begin with:

Our Father ..., Hail Mary ..., The Apostles' Creed.

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.

(From the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina, 476)

With Ecclesiastical Approval

"Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for
will be compatible with My will" (Diary, 1731, see also 1541).

"By this novena [of chaplets, before the Feast of Mercy],
1 will grant every possible grace to souls" (Diary, 796).

"Even if a sinner were most hardened, if only once he will recite this chaplet, he will obtain grace from My infinite mercy" (Diary, 687).

 


 

Editor's note: Most of the story of St. Faustina Helena Kowalska's life and other parts of this writeup were taken directly from Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website because they accurately describe her life. Also, visit The Divne Mercy Website where The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska may be purchased. This is the book written by St. Faustina chronicling the message of Divine Mercy given to her by our Lord, Jesus, which sparked the Divine Mercy movement.

For more informatioon on Serra Clubs visit
The USA Council of Serra International

 

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