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Just a Tip: When This Priest Speaks of Trust, Trust Him
By Blessed Michael Sopocko (Feb 12, 2011)
We celebrate the Feast Day of St. Faustina's confessor and spiritual director Blessed Michael Sopocko on Feb. 15. The following is an excerpt from his writings.
Blessed Michael was St. Faustina's confessor and spiritual director.
Christ calls the Apostles to trust in Him when they are in danger at the time of the storm on the sea. The Psalmist, finding himself in great danger, places his trust firmly in the merciful God: "But I have trusted in thy mercy. My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation" (Ps 12:6).
When we find ourselves exposed to dangers, either in regard to soul and body, we should trust in God lest we fall. The basis of this trust is the fathomless mercy of God, His omnipotence, and His infinite wisdom.
To trust is to expect help, either promised or understood. This is not a separate virtue but an indispensable condition of the virtue of hope. At the same time, it is part of the virtues of fortitude and magnanimity. Being a component of both the latter virtues, it unites them and in doing so gives us the foundation for a truly strong character.
Trust is a great lever in our life, even if we expect only human help. But many events in history have proved that human help is deceiving, promises uncertain, and alliances often traitorous. On the contrary, our trust in God is never liable to deception.
"But mercy shall encompass him that places his hope in the Lord" (Ps 31:10), says the Psalmist on the basis of revelation and personal experience, emphasizing God's mercy as the chief foundation of trust.
The poor shepherd David goes forth to battle against the well-equipped Philistine giant [Goliath] and defeats him because he trusted in God's help: "You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts" (1 Kings 17:45). This same David reproaches himself in other instances for [his] exceeding fear and lack of trust in God (Ps 41:6, 45:3).
How much more, then, should we reproach ourselves for our lack of trust in our Savior than did the psalmist of old! Through the most tender words and pictures does Jesus call to the soul to follow Him with childlike simplicity and trust.
"I am the Good Shepherd," He says, and it is this title that should awaken boundless trust in every heart. In relation to the Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus places Himself like a lamb laid out as a holocaust for the sins of the world.
In relation to us, Jesus likens Himself to a good shepherd who knows and loves His flock, feeding it with grace, doctrine, and His Most Holy Body and Blood.
Christ speaks of Himself in familiar images and intimate expressions. Why does He do this, if not to awaken our trust?
During 'Spiritual Combat'
How can Jesus — so merciful to Jerusalem, so tender to the Prodigal Son, the public sinner Mary Magdalene, to Peter, and to the thief on the cross — be severe to [anyone] who believes in Him and earnestly keeps His commandments?
Throughout His life, Christ exhibited the greatest mercy, and His attitude toward us has not decreased in the smallest degree today. He has shown this attitude in the well-known picture [the image of The Divine Mercy] showing rays of merciful graces pouring forth from His Heart. Could God, in His boundless wisdom, find anything more appropriate to encourage us to intimacy with Himself and to limitless trust?
Would our Redeemer so tirelessly encourage us to trust in Him if He did not want to reward that trust with mercy? Most certainly He is infallible and does not want to lead us into error.
And so we pray: "Jesus, I trust in You! I trust that You will forgive me my sins and that You have prepared heaven for me. I trust that You will provide all the graces I need to save my soul. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us."
Our Lord often proclaimed that He would always remember us. There is nothing that can give us greater assurance of it than the fact that He … protects us with His wounds from the punishing justice.
What the lighthouse is for the sailor, so shall these holy wounds be for me. I will seek refuge in them in time of spiritual combat. Here I will learn how to love and make sacrifices. The wounds in His hands will remind me of my duty to labor, the wounds in His feet of the burdensome roads along which I am to seek souls for heaven, the wound of the Heart of Jesus of His mercy and my duty to perform acts of mercy.