Groom-ed for Mercy
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Apr 24, 2007)
I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust in My mercy...The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, that is — trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much.
— Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, 1578
There was a wedding that was about to take place in one of the largest churches in Chicago, IL. Both families were well known and their guests filled the church to capacity. The hour neared for the appointed time of the ceremony and all the ushers and bride maids were waiting for the bride's arrival. However, after some delay the attendees became very anxious, because the bride could not be found. The pastor spoke to the groom about the delay but could offer no assurance. After what seemed to be an endless interval, the bride finally opened the door of the church and walked in, apparently inebriated. Her hair was disheveled and the bouquet of flowers on her arm was wilted.
Gleefully taking the hand of her startled father, she walked down the long aisle and seemed oblivious to the consternation that everyone felt. Seeing so many familiar faces, she smiled and threw kisses to everyone. Eventually she realized the significance of the event and walked more solemnly to meet the groom. She looked down and became overwhelmed at the condition of her stunning white satin dress that now had a large black stain due to a fall on her knee.
She hesitated, becoming embarrassed and actually wanted to withdraw from meeting the groom. In her hesitation, she almost tripped. But, at that precise moment, he held out his hand, caught her, and whispered, "Don't worry. I love you, and we will be married today."
He realized something within her that always overcame past obstacles. Despite her condition, it was his overwhelming love and acceptance that finally convinced her, without hesitation to proceed with the ceremony. Everyone in attendance then realized how the couple's love for each other overcame this situation. There was a collective sigh of relief, and the wedding ceremony continued to everyone's obvious delight.
This story always reminds me of Jesus' love and overwhelming mercy. That bride can represent each of us as we approached the Eucharist this past Divine Mercy Sunday. All of us have that blot on our souls where we, too, have fallen. But like the groom, Jesus actually invites us to come regardless; He knows all the stains on our souls and promised on that day not only to purify us, but also to withhold any punishment due to our sins. We need to acknowledge these promises of Jesus until they becomes so imbedded in our minds and souls that we can trust in Him completely with the rest of our lives. Having us trust in Him is one of the major purposes of The Divine Mercy message. He explicitly requested that the image have the following words placed below it: Jesus, I trust in You (Diary, 47).
Interestingly, the groom never asked what happened or why his bride had acted inappropriately on their wedding day. He wouldn't allow any disparate thought to disrupt the union and love for his beloved. We can imagine how this woman must feel as years go by. Her trust in her husband deepens with each recollection of his total acceptance. To the degree we reflect on the Passion and death of Jesus and accept His mercy, we too can increase our trust in Him. Such is Jesus' mercy that it towers over all of our sins and offenses against Him.
God's mercy can help us to deepen our sense of gratitude, because He was present in our own worst moments of existence when we denied ourselves His grace. In spite of our own weakness, Jesus constantly reaches out with His mercy. Just like the groom, He always wants to deepen His relationship with us. Our Lord proves this when He said:
I desire to unite Myself with human souls; My great delight is to unite Myself with souls. Know ... that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to Me; they leave Me to Myself and busy themselves with other things. Oh, how said I am that souls do not recognize Love!
— Diary, 1385
With St. Faustina we pray:
O my God, my only hope, I have placed all my trust in You, and I know
I shall not be disappointed.
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, D.C. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars.