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Father Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC, the spiritual director of Friends of Mercy, answers questions from club members:

Club member Jason F. emailed: Hi Fr. Thaddaeus! I'm reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, and I'm confused about something in it. Why was St. Faustina not allowed to share or talk about her conversations, revelations, etc., with her fellow sisters? Thank you for your help!

The response is partly historical, partly theological. Historically, in the city of Plock, where St. Faustina lived at one point, there was another nun of a different congregation who also had reported visions of Jesus as the Merciful Savior. However, when the Vatican delayed its response and approval of her apparitions and private revelations, she made it known to everyone that she was having such visions and eventually broke away from the Church. In addition, it would be difficult for St. Faustina to relate on an equal footing with other sisters if they all heard of her having visions of the Lord. Imagine how you, for example, would be treated if everyone knew you had such conversations with the Lord. Some would flock to you, others would criticize you, and you would never be left alone.

The theological reason is that the Lord works best in silence and hiddenness. Did He not desire to spend the majority of His life in quiet in Nazareth? Generally, He does not want lots of human, worldly attention. That only attracts problems and also gives Satan an opportunity to oppose His work. Hence, even Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark, often tells those whom He heals to be quiet about what has happened. That is not because they are to not praise God, but because too much public attention would actually impede Jesus' ministry. So, too, with the visions recorded in St. Faustina's Diary: They needed to be relayed to the Church authorities before they went to everyone else and attracted attention that would harm the purpose for which Jesus was speaking to Faustina, which included the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Another club member asked: Father, I have a very deep sorrow for one of my sons. He was raised Catholic and married in the Church. He has since then divorced and remarried a woman of the Mormon faith and renounced his Catholic faith. Isn't it a very serious sin to have been a part of the one, true faith and then turn against it? At times I am overcome with grief over this.

Unfortunately, this is an objectively serious action that, if done consciously, could be described as heresy in Canon Law. However, I would not despair of his salvation. Saint Catherine of Siena, in the Dialogue, was instructed by the heavenly Father never to look at our sins (or that of others) without also gazing upon the Precious Blood of Jesus. If we look only at sin, then we can easily fall into discouragement, despair, and anxiety. But if we look at the Precious Blood, too, we see that sin has been more than paid for, that no sin is unforgiveable, and that no sinner is beyond redemption or salvation. Jesus' love, expressed in the Blood and Water in the Divine Mercy Image, is infinitely greater than all the sins of humanity combined - so how much greater is it than any sins of your son!

Saint Catherine of Siena, in her letters, recommends that we bring the sins of others before the mercy of the Heavenly Father, sighing and weeping for their sins, but trusting in His mercy. I would recommend that you do the same: Ask Jesus to unite your son's heart with His own wounded Heart. In this way, the Father sees not only your son and his sin, but Jesus and His love, expressed in the Blood He shed for us upon the Cross. Another thing you can do is ask that holy angels (e.g., Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel) be with him, to fight off any attack of the evil one who holds him in any bondage.

Lastly, I would encourage you to imitate St. Monica, St. Rita, and other mother saints, whose prayers, offered with much interior grief and pain for several years, brought about the conversion of family members. I will lift this situation up in my own prayers, asking that Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Undoer of Knots, bring healing, conversion, and redemption.

Got questions for Fr. Thaddaeus? Email us at FriendsOfMercy@marian.org or write to Friends of Mercy, Marian Helpers Center, Stockbridge, MA 01263.

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Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC - May 15, 2018

Regie,

Yes, there is no limit to the number of times the Father forgives us. Jesus makes that clear to St. Faustina in the Diary. Pope Francis, too, repeats this: we tire of asking for forgiveness sooner than God tires of forgiving us!

The key thing to focus on might be to find other ways to relieve stress, and even when you fall, to immediately open your heart to the Father's mercy without falling into condemnation. If you fall into shame (judging yourself to be a bad person) instead of guilt (I did something wrong), then you might create more stress for yourself... and the cycle will continue. It is important that each fall be an opportunity to grow in humility: to recognize our weakness while extolling even more His infinite mercy.

In this way - by praising His Mercy - we can make the devil flee and grow in virtue...

In Jesus & Mary Immaculate,
Fr. Thaddaeus, MIC

Patricia - May 14, 2018

Thank you Father Thaddaeus for your recommendations for prayer for our loved ones who have left the Catholic Church. This is very helpful and full of hope.

Regie - May 14, 2018

Thank you for enlightening our understanding of our faith.

In our times of trials ì sometimes dive on my vice to release the stress but immediately ask for forgiveness because of guilt, can the Lord be patient and forgive over n over again?

Do pray for me and my family father.

God bless you more.