Photo: Marian Archives
St. Faustina's Marian Devotion
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Oct 10, 2006)
Saint Faustina had quite a remarkable devotion to Our Lady, as she noted in her Diary. It was a devotion that began in her childhood and carried her through rough periods throughout her life.
She writes that as a child she would hear her father sing early morning prayers dedicated to Mary. No doubt, Our Lord planted the seed of her virtuous life through the devotion and piety of her own father. These devotions were part of the family practice. For instance, the entire family sang the Litany of Loretto during May, the month when we pay special tribute to Mary. In October, the month of the Rosary, their custom was to recite the Rosary together.
Since Mary always seemed to be a part of St. Faustina's life from a very early age, turning to Mary in every need came naturally for her. One example of this inward reflection that is recorded in the Diary occurred when she first arrived alone in Warsaw and sought entrance into a convent. She immediately asked Our Lady for advice and help.
"When I got off the train, and saw that all were going their separate way, I was overcome with fear," she wrote in her Diary (11). "What am I to do? To whom should I turn, as I know no one. So I said to the Mother of God, 'Mary, lead me, guide me.' Immediately I heard these words within me telling me to leave the town and to go to a certain nearby village where I would find a safe lodging for the night. I did so and found in fact that everything was just as the Mother of God told me."
Her willingness to listen to the Mother of God reveals St. Faustina's simple and childlike faith.
When we pray the Rosary, we can see where St. Faustina learned such faith: from Mary, herself, particularly at the Annunciation. Because of her faith and trust in accepting the message from the Holy Spirit, Mary obtained mercy for all of us in an exceptional way. This is especially evident because she was preserved from the stain of original sin, endowed with tremendous grace and raised to the dignity of the Mother of Jesus, the Incarnate Word.
Through Mary, Mercy came into the world. Mercy is not only an unmerited grace we receive (and, hopefully, share with others). Mercy is a person. And His name is Jesus.
Saint Faustina no doubt also learned of Mary's obedience through meditating on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary. Through them, we see that by the sacrifice of what she held dearest to her heart, Mary shares in revealing God's mercy. She stood on Calvary at the foot of the cross of her Son. Consequently, she has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy. She knows its price and how it continues to be a great and precious gift of God. Mary did not shrink from Calvary, but maintained her Motherly role until the end.
Saint Faustina integrated her awareness of Jesus and Mary; the two were inseparable in her perception. Consequently, Mary shares in the salvific mission of Jesus. In several recorded apparitions, the Blessed Mother was entirely focused on Jesus and often was seen with Him, or showed herself as the One who leads to Him (see Diary, 608, 846.)
Late in her life, St. Faustina reflected on Mary united with God's mercy, and she prayed to Jesus:
"To give worthy praise to the Lord's mercy,
We unite ourselves with Your Immaculate Mother,
For then our hymn will be more pleasing to You â€¦
Through her, as through a pure crystal,
Your mercy was passed on to us.
Through her, man became pleasing to God;
Through her, streams of grace flowed down upon us" (Diary, 1746).
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, DC. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars. Brother Leonard has a leaflet available that has a series of meditations on the five wounds of our Lord. The meditations are intended for use while praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Click here to order Contemplate My Wounds. He also has a CD available with the meditations on the five wounds, interspered with the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Click here to order A Musical Interlude.