In Faustina, Saint for Our Times, Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, gives us an insightful look into St. Maria Faustina Kowalska's life, spirituality, and mission.
So Many Reasons to Pray
By Rose Santuci-Sofranko
A few months before the infamous attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Lord sent both a trial and blessing into my life. New tenants moved into the other half of the duplex I lived in. The tenents were a sad, young woman, her confused boyfriend, and her beautiful little 4-year-old daughter. Within days their battling began — yelling, screaming, fists smashing into walls, furniture being thrown about. The police came and went. The violence ebbed and flowed.
The family was eventually evicted. Their fate is unknown to me, and is left in our Lord's merciful hands, as are all things.
As to the blessings that sprung from this ordeal, I became introduced to the Divine Mercy message and devotion and have since become a Divine Mercy promoter.
It was my sister who suggested at the time that we pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for this family — and for all those who are sick and dying. Learning the chaplet when I did also prepared me for that horrifying day to come — in Sept. 11, 2001, when our nation was attacked. That day, I lead the praying of the chaplet in my church, which launched the daily praying of the chaplet in our parish.
A Yearning to Read the Diary
Through the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, a prayer our Lord gave to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s during a series of revelations, we are called to appeal for the outpouring of Divine Mercy on the basis of the Passion of Christ, the chief sign of His love for us (hence the refrain: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world" from the Diary of St. Faustina, 475).
When prayed with trust in the merciful love of God, the fruits are incredible, as I would come to know.
Soon, I had a yearning to learn more about Divine Mercy. I desperately wanted to buy and read the Divine Mercy revelations of St. Faustina that are contained in her Diary. However, I was short on money. No worry. The Lord took care of this in His wonderful mercy.
One evening, after I put the children I work with to bed, I had to go out and move my car from the road to the driveway. I decided to turn on the radio to catch a few moments of our local Catholic Radio Station, WLOF, in Buffalo, N.Y.. Well, lo and behold, as I pulled the car into the driveway, I heard an announcement that "the next two people to call in with a donation of any size would receive a copy of St. Faustina's Diary!" The Lord had timed it just perfectly for me to be in my car to hear that announcement.
You better believe that I rushed into the house and called the station, repeating their phone number over and over again so I wouldn't forget it. I got the Diary. It was another gift of God "writing straight with crooked lines." His ways are mysterious and marvelous! I read that wonderful Diary from front to back in "no time at all."
Well, months went by with our little group praying the chaplet each day at St. Martin's in the main church, when one of our "regulars" asked if we might pray it in our Adoration chapel. But, because I didn't want to disturb those who had signed up for the 11 a.m.-noon hour of Adoration, I advised against it. The Lord had other ideas. I soon learned nobody was even signed up for that hour on Thursdays, and our Lord would have been left alone then.
God used that opportunity for us to begin praying the chaplet each Thursday, "face to face" with our Eucharistic Lord. He had once again "written straight with crooked lines." Through reading literature from Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, a lay apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, I had also come to learn that the Holy Father has granted an Apostolic blessing to those who pray the chaplet "for the sick and the dying" (in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament). God had found a way to bless us in even more ways than before.
Those 'Crooked Lines'
Thursdays became a very special time — used for praying for our loved ones and with each person free to voice their intentions. Several of the people who came into the chapel after Mass (to say other prayers) also began staying to pray the chaplet with us. Our little group of "pray-ers" soon grew until on some days there were more of us then there were chairs in the chapel. It soon seemed the Lord wanted us praying in His Presence more than just that one day each week. So, once again, He used those "crooked lines" and freed up two more days per week for us to pray the chaplet in the chapel, during times when no one was signed up for Adoration. Now we say the chaplet with Him each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, praying in the main church the other days. God is so great!
In the meantime, about a year ago, God put it in my heart to ask a beautiful family (who I didn't know, but had seen at daily Mass at the nearby Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica) if they would help me to lead the chaplet on Sundays at the Basilica after the noon Mass. With the pastor's permission we began to lead the chaplet after Mass. Sadly, most days it was just us praying it, with only occasionally a couple of other people joining in. Despite the fact it was a blessing to pray the chaplet so soon after receiving our Lord during Holy Communion, I didn't believe things were not working out the way that The Lord wanted them to. Something needed to change to get more people involved in praying the chaplet for "our Lord and our Lady and our Holy Father's intentions — especially for PEACE!" I believe God wants more people to pray for peace in this time of war ... and "in reparation for the sins of (and to beg God's Mercy on) all those near death, on our country, and on the whole world."
His Urgent Request
March 19, 2003 — St. Joseph's Feast Day — was "D" day: the day the decision was made to lauch the war in Iraq. Things were about to change . . .
I was praying before the 12:10 Mass at the Basilica. The Lord filled me with an urgent request for me to lead the chaplet before Mass. After hesitating for a few moments, I went back to ask the priest. He was very nice and apologetic, but he was sorry. There wasn't enough time, he said. He did say that we could lead it after Mass. However, another beautiful and powerful prayer — the Holy Rosary — is prayed each day after Mass, and I didn't want to interrupt that much-needed prayer.
Then, three days later, in His quest for us to spread devotion to His Divine Mercy, the Lord opened up some more doors for us. The pastor celebrated Mass that day, and afterwards (while we were still filled with our Lord's Merciful Eucharistic Presence) my Sunday chaplet "prayer partner" and I went to talk with him. We asked him if we could lead the chaplet before Mass each day (even moving our Sunday time to before Mass), and the Lord moved that wonderful man to say "Yes." He also moved me to be so bold as to ask him if we could have the Divine Mercy Sunday services at The Basilica this year. The monsignor said he would think and pray about it. Perhaps this was the year we would be able to have this special day celebrated in one of our Lord and Lady's most beautiful churches!
Two days later I spoke with one of the other priests at the parish, asking if he would be willing to lead the Divine Mercy Sunday services if permission was granted. I asked him because I knew he had a devotion to The Divine Mercy. In one of his earliest homilies at the Basilica, he spoke of his mother's devotion to the chaplet, and he affectionately called it "the cheater's Rosary" because it was so quick and easy to say. Father said that Monsignor had already talked to him about Divine Mercy Sunday and that, "sure," he would lead the services. I have no doubt it was God's will that these services be held at the National Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory. She and Her Divine Son, Spouse, and Father have, and will continue to bring about, victory over war, victory over sin, and victory over the eternal death of hell.
"For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world." These words have such special meaning during this time of upheaval in the world.
No Room for Complacency
I wish I knew how that family who lived nextdoor are all doing. I know I will find out in Heaven some day. Leave it to our Merciful Lord to take what was a hellish situation of domestic violence and to use that to save countless numbers of souls from hell — snatching them from the devil's greedy hands even when they are on the brink of death. He did this by paving the way for the daily recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at not one, but two churches — culminating in the celebration of the great Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter!
Please join us in begging the Lord for His mercy and for His peace. We cannot become complacent. People die daily in all the "wars" against life: artificial contraception, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, genocide, and the constant "war" that the devil is waging against the Church and faithful people everywhere. We must not forget to continue to pray to God to shower His Mercy on us and to thank Him for all He has already done for the world — through His life, death, and Resurrection.
Oh, Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesua as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You! Jesus, I trust in YOU!"