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Photo: Felix Carroll
Put it There (Your Trust, That Is)
By Felix Carroll (Jun 8, 2010)
Trust, as you probably know, is the essence of the Divine Mercy message. As you also probably know, trust happens to be a very difficult challenge. That's why I've been turning to the dictionary and the Diary of St. Faustina to get a better understanding of what it all entails.
My favorite definition of the word trust is this one: Something committed into the care of another; charge.
Aren't we all called to be that "something" that is committed to the care of another? And isn't it in Christ's care that we are committed? From the very beginning of our being, we are His "charges." And when we finally come to realize this, everything changes. Everything, including our understanding of trust.
Why do I say trust is a difficult challenge? Because trust has always been risky — risky because it can leave us vulnerable. And who among us hasn't been left standing in the debris of some form of broken trust?
Simply put, in this day and age, you cannot possibly expect people to trust without giving them a good reason why they should. The message of Divine Mercy is that good reason because it provides us with a deeper understanding of the very One we can trust unequivocally: Jesus Christ. He wants nothing from us except our trust. He doesn't want our money. He doesn't want to make us look like fools. He wants only to save us, and to make our lives here on earth more fulfilling.
Jesus told St. Faustina during a series of revelations she had in the 1930s: "Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary, 300). Jesus is reiterating the Gospel message that God's merciful love is available to all of us who trust Him. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith in Me" (Jn 14:1).
I remember the first time I began reading the Diary. Admittedly, I was equal parts exhilarated and fearful. Exhilarated, because, to me, the Diary was clearly a mystically inspired document that contained Christ's message for our times. But, at first, I couldn't exactly relate to this humble Polish nun, St. Faustina, and all this trust she was advocating.
From her days as a young girl growing up in rural Poland, to her adulthood in the convent, St. Faustina rarely veered from a complete, unshakable, childlike trust in God. Such trust is a big leap for many of us who pride ourselves on independence. If we plotted our pasts, point by point, on an imaginary emotional radar screen, rather than seeing childlike trust, you'd see something akin to childlike scribbles.
Thankfully, that initial encounter so many of us have with the Diary soon leads to a greater understanding of the mission of St. Faustina — and to a greater understanding of ourselves. I began to understand that I'd been in varying degrees suffering and frustrated by not trusting in God. As for St. Faustina, I began to understand that she was a real person who struggled from time to time. Her trust was not something unattainable. It was to be emulated.
Specifically, one of the sections in the Diary that really stuck a chord was the one dated Jan. 1, 1938. Saint Faustina, whose health by then had deteriorated, writes to the Lord: "Oh my Master, I surrender myself completely to You, who are the rudder of my soul; steer it Yourself according to Your divine wishes" (1450).
It made me think: Wow, wouldn't my life be much easier if I surrendered to God and let Him do the driving for a change — if I didn't worry about every little detail of the past and fret about the unknown future?
Jesus then tells St. Faustina: "Do not fear, My little child, you are not alone. Fight bravely, because My arm is supporting you" (1452).
If Jesus was telling St. Faustina to not fear, it meant she probably did have moments of fear. And isn't fear merely a form of doubt (a flammable form of doubt, no less)? It suddenly occurred to me, probably everyone has doubts. Even saints! Doubt is natural. It's not something to be ashamed of. It certainly shouldn't separate us from God. As a priest friend of mine has told me, doubt can lead us to God.
How so? We humans struggle to understand the unknown. As he put it: Every invention, every book written, every equation solved, every secret unraveled is the result of our desire and curiosity to clear a doubt or mystery. And Whom is a greater mystery to our full understanding than God, that Being beyond us yet so with us? Our search for God, even in our doubt, is how we come to real truth and real trust. For trust is founded on hope, and hope builds on faith.
From reading the Diary, I am now certain that Jesus understands our doubts. That's why He tells St. Faustina to "fight for the salvation of souls, exhorting them to trust in My mercy, as that is your task in this life and in the life to come" (1452). He's giving us recourse in St. Faustina. He orders her to assist us. Today, in this age of doubt, we can turn to her in prayer and ask her to help us to trust more — to trust in God and to trust one another.
What's immediately amazing is that God rewards us by our trust. He fulfills the promise he made to St. Faustina: "When a soul approaches Me in trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls" (Diary, 1074).
Another priest friend of mine once gave me a great piece of advice: Trust, even if you sometimes doubt. Indeed, with each step we take in trust — whether giant steps or baby steps — Christ's realness becomes more apparent. And His arm is there supporting us — always.
By the way, my second favorite definition of trust is this one: a legal title to property held by one party for the benefit of another.
God holds the "legal title" to that wondrous thing called salvation. For our benefit, He places our trust in a "trust." He sets up this trust in our name. We are the beneficiaries. We can live on its rapidly accruing interest. It's the most charitable trust ever. Trust me.