MOMM's flagship presentation: This film brings the heart of St. Faustina's famous Diary to life in a moving and informative way. Tell All Souls About My Mercy: Includes Chaplet of... Read more
Daylight Savings Time for the Soul
There's an old story that tells of the Sioux tribal chief hearing a government official explaining the concept behind Daylight Savings Time (DST). When the official is done, the chief remarks: "Typical of the government. It cuts a foot off the top of the blanket, sews it on the bottom, and thinks it has a longer blanket."
The amusing anecdote, of course, says much about the chief's lack of interest in how most of us are by the nature of our daily personal and professional lives forced to measure time: by a machine known as a clock. There's something ruthless about what clocks do to us. Nonetheless, the reality is that we live by the clock. In fact, the clock is a Catholic invention, first devised by monks looking for a way to coordinate vespers for all members of the congregation, especially those out of hearing of the chapel bell.
Bringing More Light into Our Lives
Fact is, DST results in an extra hour of light being clipped off the morning and added to the afternoon so that it extends into what had been the evening. Consequently, in these early days of DST (the clocks changed over on Sunday 3/10), we get to enjoy going home after work and still finding plenty of daylight left. Just that, alone, uplifts the spirits.
"Adding more light to our lives": That phrase could be used as an apt description of the effect of God's mercy on his creatures, especially his children — you, me, and every person alive. Divine Mercy can be viewed as a kind of spiritual DST, except that it does not have to steal light from one part of our lives to add to another. The light of Jesus, The Divine Mercy, enlightens areas formerly dark by the intrinsic addition of more illumination.
This inner illumination of Divine Mercy's limitless love can transform the darkest situation into one of promise, hope, and grace. There's an interesting passage from the Diary of St. Faustina that illustrates how this light of Jesus can enter into even those who are undeserving for the cost of a simple (but heartfelt) request:
At the beginning of the retreat, I saw, on the ceiling of the Chapel, Jesus nailed to the Cross. He was looking at the sisters with great love, but not at all of them. There were three sisters at whom Jesus looked severely, for what reasons I do not know. I only know what a terrible thing it is to meet with such a look, which is the look of a severe Judge. That look was not directed at me, yet I was paralyzed with terror. I still tremble as I write these words. I did not say so much as a single word to Jesus. My physical strength failed me, and I thought I would not live to the end of the conference. The next day, I saw the same thing again, just as I had seen it the first time, and this time I dared to speak these words: "Jesus, how great is Your mercy!"
On the third day, that gaze of great kindness upon all the sisters, except the three, was again repeated. I gathered up my courage, and I said to the Lord: "You who are Mercy Itself, as You Yourself told me, I beg You by the power of Your mercy, to look then with kindness at these three sisters as well. And if this is not in accord of Your wisdom, I ask You for an exchange: turn to them the kind look meant for my soul, and let Your severe gaze at their souls be turned on me." Jesus then said to me these words: "My daughter, for the sake of your sincere and generous love, I grant them many graces, although they are not asking Me for them. But I am doing so because of the promise I have made to you."At that moment, He turned a merciful look towards those three sisters as well. My heart leapt with joy to see the goodness of God." (Diary 383)
God's Mercy Changes Everything
When God's mercy enters into a situation, even (and perhaps especially) a difficult one, it is as if the divine light has been made to arrive earlier and last longer. As many mature believers know, faith doesn't make your problems go away. It just enables a person to handle life's challenges and problems from a different perspective, one that wrings from adversity spiritual graces and sees in problems opportunities for spiritual growth.
When a soul accepts the free gift of God's endless love and mercy, everything changes because our perspective changes. Instead of being in darkness, we can see clearly. The way is well illuminated. Again we turn to St. Faustina for an insight into how this works:
I accept joy or suffering, praise or humiliation with the same disposition. I remember that one and the other are passing. What does it matter to me what people say about me? I have long ago given up everything that concerns my person (Diary 485).
Saint Faustina explains in this passage that state of spiritual indifference to the worries of the world comes when people empty themselves of themselves and become like Jesus. That emptying occurs when one embraces the gift of Divine Mercy. This embrace floods the soul with light — a spiritual DST that perpetually illuminates our way.