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Photo: Felix Carroll
'Approach the Fount of Life'
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Apr 9, 2007)
I desire that this image be displayed in public on the first Sunday after Easter. That Sunday is the Feast of Mercy. Through the Word Incarnate, I make known the bottomless depth of My mercy.
— From the Diary of St. Faustina, 88
When Cardinal Syn was the Bishop for the Philippines, he heard of a nun who was receiving private revelations from our Lord. He became very curious about her. He also was apprised of her sanctity. Cardinal Syn wanted to have some personal evidence of the sister's experiences, so he asked for a private meeting with her. The nun readily agreed.
After discussing various topics, Cardinal Syn broached the issue by saying, "Sister, I understand you're having dreams." The nun replied, "No Your Eminence, the Lord does indeed come and shares with me many divine truths which have helped me and others to know Him better." The Cardinal replied, "In that case sister, as evidence of your belief, why don't you ask the Lord to tell you my sins. Only my confessor knows them and surely he will not tell you of them. Therefore, ask the Lord what they are and then come back next week with the answer. This will give me an opportunity to verify your claims."
The nun agreed. The following week, she returned for the scheduled time of the meeting and the Cardinal eventually brought up the subject and was prepared to hear the worst. "Well, Sister," he asked, "what did the Lord tell you about my sins?" "Your Eminence," the nun replied, "the Lord told me to tell you that He forgot them all."
What a loving and merciful God the Cardinal experienced first hand that day! And what a relief that must have been for him to hear that most compassionate and generous affirmation! He obviously knew of God's mercy theologically, but now he believed with his whole heart.
This account also typifies how our Lord's Mercy reaches out to each of us as we celebrate the great feast of Easter and now look forward to Divine Mercy Sunday. We may not have a visionary or mystic telling us this truth or this promise, because now it's a matter of believing in His mercy that has been revealed to us through St. Faustina. We want to cling to and never doubt that promise.
We can also have the same confidence that our Lord will not only forgive us our sins, but because of the promises that He made precisely for Divine Mercy Sunday, our sins will indeed be entirely remitted: "... whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day (Mercy Sunday) will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment" (Diary, 300).
As we continue to rejoice and sing our alleluia's this Easter, we can deepen our trust in our Lord's other assurances:
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory (Diary, 48).
Our Lord reveals to us another way to gain confidence is to remain under His protection through the image:
The two rays denote Blood and Water. 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 tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy.
There are several other promises Jesus made that can sustain a greater trust in Him:
By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy.
I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: "Jesus, I trust in You."
By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to itDiary, 570.
When I initially accepted these promises, there was a freedom and a light that I believe entered my soul and has remained there, due only to His constant grace. I could not have acquired this awareness alone. Therefore, I began to trust Him only to the degree that began to know Him and only with some slight hesitation finally surrendered to His love for me. It was through St. Faustina that I learned to pray:
Merciful Jesus, I beg You fervently to enlighten my mind so that I may come to know You better, You who are the Infinite Being, and that I may get to know myself better, who am nothingness itself (Diary, 376).
At this Paschal season, we are reminded of Jesus saying, "I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in Me, even though he or she dies will live, and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn 11:26).
Trust ultimately comes down to nothing but this: faith in the person of Jesus and complete hope in His promises. In spite of our emotions, experiences, feelings, etc., we stare down death and personal life experiences without fear and anticipate our own resurrection solely because Jesus has given us His word on it.
We join our prayers with the multitude who can now say in complete confidence:
O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You!
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, D.C. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars.