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What Was St. Faustina's Big, Mysterious Secret?
Robert Stackpole Answers Your Divine Mercy Questions
By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Nov 16, 2011)
There are indeed some mysterious passages in St. Faustina's Diary. One of the most intriguing ones is entry number 824, where St. Faustina writes:
In seclusion, Jesus Himself is my Master. He himself educates me and instructs me. I feel certain that I am the object of His special action. For His inscrutable purposes and unfathomable decrees, He unites me to Himself in a special way and allows me to penetrate His incomprehensible mysteries. There is one mystery which unites me with the Lord, of which no one — not even the angels — may know. And even if I wanted to tell of it, I would not know how to express it. And yet I live by it, and will live by it forever. This mystery distinguishes me from every other soul here on earth and in eternity.
One of the readers of this column, a woman named Carol, reminded me of this passage. She wrote:
I tried to understand entry 824 in the Divine Mercy Diary, but couldn't. ... Saint Faustina said Jesus unites me to Himself, a mystery of which no one, not even the angels, may know. And she says even if she wanted to tell of it she would not know how to express it. Can you help me understand this?
Well, Carol, I will certainly try. But the biggest problem in answering it is that, in a sense, it is unanswerable. Saint Faustina seems to be saying there is a particular mystery of the faith that unites her in a special way to Jesus — the secret of her soul, so to speak, and she would find it impossible to express this in words. Hence, precisely because this was the special "love-secret" between her and our Lord, there is really no way to know for sure what it was.
But that shouldn't stop us from guessing! Let's do a little detective work and see if we can get to the bottom of this mystery.
In entry 1489, St. Faustina talks about "secrets" in her heart that she cannot ever fully reveal, even to her confessor (so, it is evidently not a secret sin that she is talking about, and the "mystery" that specially unites her to Jesus, therefore, cannot be a special act of pardon for sin that she experienced). She writes:
O my merciful Lord, there are secrets in my heart which no one knows or ever will know except You because, even if I wanted to reveal them, no one would understand me. Your minister knows some because I confess to him, but he knows only a bit of these mysteries that I am capable of revealing: the rest remains between us for eternity, O my Lord!
In entry 278, St. Faustina writes about being drawn into the depths of the "secret love" of the "Heart" of the Savior:
At the feet of the Lord. Hidden Jesus, Eternal love, our Source of Life, Divine Madman, in that You forget yourself and see only us. Before creating heaven and earth, You carried us in the depths of Your Heart. O Love. ... Love is heaven given us already here on earth. Oh, why do You hide in faith? Love tears away the veil. There is no veil before the eye of my soul, for You yourself have drawn me into the bosom of secret love forever.
So, now we know that this mystery has something to do with the union of her heart with the "Heart" of Jesus.
She seemed to experience this special mystery above all in the union of her heart with the Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist. In entry 1721, therefore, she writes:
After Holy Communion, when I welcomed Jesus into my heart, I said to Him, "My love, reign in the most secret recesses of my heart, there where my most secret thoughts are conceived, where You alone have free access, in this deepest sanctuary where human thought cannot penetrate. May You alone dwell there, and may everything I do exteriorly take its origin in You. I ardently desire, and am striving with all the strength of my soul, to make You, Lord, feel at home in this sanctuary.
That is where the trail of evidence runs out — except for one more passage, which just might be the clue to it all. In Diary, entry 1242, Sr. Faustina exclaims with great emotion:
O My Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate Heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let Your Mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life.
Could it be that the "mystery" she spoke about in entry 824 that unites her with Jesus in a "special" way — and that "distinguishes" her from every other soul — is Christ's answer to her perpetual prayer (reflected in 824) that He would impress upon her heart the merciful, compassionate love in His own "Heart"? Moreover, she said in 824 that this special mystery would be what she would "live by" her whole life long. "Let your Mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart like a seal," she prayed in entry 824. And suppose that is precisely what He did, over and over, especially in the Holy Eucharist! Among all the saints, she was to be distinguished as the one who would have that "Mercy" most deeply impressed on the heart, so that it became her distinguishing "badge" in this life and the life to come.
Saint Faustina offered up, again and again, prayers like this one (Diary, entry 163): "I want to be completely transformed into your mercy, and to be Your living reflection, O Lord."
Suppose our Lord's answer to her prayers was simply, "Yes"?
Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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