Photo: Felix Carroll
Welcome Humility: The Best Cure
By Jay Hastings (May 1, 2007)
There probably won't be any books written about her when she dies. Probably no church will be filled with people, and there will be no press coverage of her funeral. The movers and shakers of our society will probably not ponder her life's events.
But she's a remarkable woman with a beautiful ministry that takes a lot of her time: She prays.
Her name is Jane. She's 83, a widow and mother of four children who love her very much. She doesn't get out too much except for going to the doctor, getting groceries, and going to the bank. Sometimes she'll go out and eat with family, and she'll go to Mass.
Yes, her spiritual ministry is simple. She prays for comfort and guidance, and she prays for the needs of others. But her ministry is remarkable because of the tender love for Christ and the abiding trust in His mercy that are implicit in her prayers.
Jesus said to St. Faustina: "... write this for many souls who are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions or storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasures for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (Diary of St. Faustina, 1317).
Jane spends a lot of her time praying the Holy Rosary and the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Her prayers give her much comfort. Her life is poured out to others through her prayers.
Saint Faustina writes about the power and importance of prayer: "A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer (Diary, 146).
She goes on to write: "I recall that I have received most light during adoration which I made lying prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour every day throughout Lent. During that time I came to know myself and God more profoundly. And yet, even though I had the superior's permission to do so, I encountered many obstacles to praying in such a way. Let the soul be aware that, in order to pray and persevere in prayer, one must arm oneself with patience and cope bravely with exterior and interior difficulties. The interior difficulties are discouragement, dryness, heaviness of spirit and temptations. The exterior difficulties are human respect and time; one must observe the time set apart for prayer (147).
Jane says God always answers her prayers. That's probably because God grants many graces to a soul who is humble and obedient, and who trusts in His Mercy. It would be interesting to know the vast numbers of people who have received graces from our Lord because of Jane's prayers. I like to imagine how each prayer starts a ripple that spreads throughout the world!
She is one of our suffering souls, a member of our Divine Mercy prayer group that ensures the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is prayed 24 hours a day. Jane willfully offers up her daily suffering for the sake of spreading the Divine Mercy message and devotion. She's always cheerfully willing to stop and pray for an urgent prayer request we may get for the sick and the dying.
For me, personally, Jane serves as a reminder in a busy world that the elderly should not be forgotten. For our Divine Mercy prayer group, she serves as a model because the very foundation of her life is built from prayer and sacrifice.
Jane would rather not be called a "prayer warrior," for she believes that might add an element of pride. How pleasing it must be for the Lord when we offer our prayers in humility while adoring and praising the vastness and wonder of His goodness and mercy.
Jesus tells St. Faustina: " ... you always please Me by your humility. The greatest misery does not stop Me from uniting Myself to a soul, but where there is pride, I am not there" (Diary,1563).
Jesus also tells St. Faustina: "The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings" (320).
He says: "Although My greatness is beyond understanding, I commune only with those who are little. I demand of you a childlike spirit" (332).
Saint Faustina writes: "O how beautiful is a humble soul! From her heart, as from a censer, rises a varied and most pleasing fragrance which breaks through the skies and reaches God himself, filling His Most Sacred Heart with joy. God refuses nothing to such a soul; she is all powerful and influences the destiny of the whole world. ... Such a soul is most deeply united with God. ... Now I understand why there are so few saints; it is because so few souls are deeply humble" (1306).
There are many people like Jane in the world who lead quiet lives defined by a deep love for God. Maybe they won't be heralded in this world. But I have a feeling that someday, when Jane dies, our Lord will welcome her to paradise.
"Pure love," St. Faustina writes, "... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love — love, and always love" (140).
Jay Hastings, of Bartlett, Tenn., is the founder of a growing group of Divine Mercy devotees who ensure that the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is being prayed every hour of the day. The 24-Hour Chaplet members now consist of more than 500 people from across the United States, as well as from Mexico, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Belize, India, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Iraq, who are assigned an hour each day in which to pray. They pray for three things: the promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion; the sick and dying in the hour that you pray; and people about to commit mortal sin. To join the 24-Hour Chaplet, contact Jay via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone, 901-438-7772.