The Book That Sparked the Divine Mercy Movement The Diary chronicles God's message given through St. Faustina to the world to turn to His mercy. In it, we are reminded to t... Read more
Photo: Marian Archives
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Jan 8, 2007)
It has been my privilege and honor over several decades to share some of my modest and personal views on the aspects of God's greatest attribute, which is His Mercy. It took the Lord many years to convice me of His Mercy, therefore, I am not surprised at those who still resist accepting the fullness of His grace. Without His grace I was just as reluctant.
I remember one of the many key moments in which I gained confidence in His mercy. I was sharing some reflections with parishioners at Our Lady of Grace parish in Greensboro, N.C. A reference was made about St. Faustina and her perceptions concerning the incredible events of her own life. Clearly, this Polish nun to whom our Lord revealed Himself as the Divine Mercy in the 1930s had come to the conclusion that there were no accidents, per se, in her spiritual journey. I remember responding to a question from one of the parishioners. I said something along the lines of " ... and by the way, you know that St. Faustina believed there are no accidents."
I realized immediately how truly moved people were by that notion. To this day, many people remind me how significant this attitude has become in their daily lives. Over a period of several years, I have experienced similar responses. Why is that so? Perhaps because we want to acknowledge that there is meaning to the events of our lives, that God has a plan for us, and that so many seemingly "accidental" events are but threads that eventually form a beautiful tapestry of His unique and significant design. All the events we encounter, if we but surrender in trust, can bring about our salvation.
But first, how did St. Faustina come to the conclusion that there are no accidents? Our Lord told her: "I arrange things" (Diary of St Faustina, 1147). Later, St. Faustina wrote: "Jesus gave me to know that even the smallest thing does not happen on earth without His will. After this, my soul entered into an unusual repose; I found myself completely at peace...." (Diary, 1262).
Elsewhere she prayed: "May You be blessed O God, for everything You send me. Nothing under the sun happens without Your will. I cannot penetrate Your secrets with regard to myself, but I press my lips to the chalice You offer me" (Diary, 1208).
These spiritual gems delight us. More so, they may prompt us — as they appeared to have prompted those parishioners in North Carolina and elsewhere — to turn to our Lord and trust Him with the events we encounter in our lives. This is especially required, when we experience frustrations, pain and suffering; when we are wracked by confusion and hopelessness and when nothing seems to make much sense to us.
This inner faith that there are no accidents is a process and cannot be forced on anyone. It cannot be hurried nor simplistically embraced. It can be quite a challenge.
We often arrive at this acceptance after many tears of anguish and pain. It takes our patience and the grace of God to accept His divine intervention in our lives. However, I have seen that it has brought healing to the wounds of a parent who has lost a child to drugs and other addictions. This awareness greatly consoles a family when a child has a fatal car accident. It is able to comfort a mother who has miscarried.
We cannot be cavalier about the pain and anger of those who lost loved ones in battles that are now raging in Iraq and elsewhere. Nevertheless, after years of trying to grasp God's purpose, many of these families come to the conclusion that surrendering the loss to God inevitably brings peace. They have ultimately substituted their losses for the great joy of knowing their loved ones are with God. He, too, will reward them for the great sacrifices they have made.
Each of us approaches grief, sorrow and suffering in our own way. What can heal one person does not necessarily help another. Everything is dependent on His will and our cooperation with His grace. We need to acquire God's understanding and His solution to the issues we face. What we do want to believe in is that God cannot change His nature. He remains loving. He continues to be merciful in spite of our reluctance to yield ourselves to Him because of anguish and pain. If He asks us to trust in Him, then His grace will always remain present for us to respond accordingly.
We find references in scripture that lends itself to His will being perfectly fulfilled in our lives. "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope" (Jer 29:11).
Coming to believe that there are no accidents can help heal many of our wounds, assuage grief and bring the hope that God is in the very heart of our experiences.
Our Lord told St. Faustina: "Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary, 300).
We can turn to His mercy in our lives. We can recognize that the experiences that have so traumatized us were the very means God uses to draw us to Himself. This is how we may find peace. When we can actually realize this principle and apply it, our gratitude to Him will never cease. God has a plan for our lives, a plan that always has significance and meaning beyond our imagination.
Meanwhile in faith we can pray:
Lord Jesus, I trust in You. Let Your will be done in every moment of my life. Amen.