Attacks Against Purity in St. Faustina's Diary

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of St. Faustina’s Diary, and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:

I heard these words in my soul: You are My spouse forever; your chastity should be greater than that of the angels, for I call no angel to such intimacy as I do you. The smallest act of My spouse is of infinite value. A pure soul has inconceivable power before God (Diary, 534).

In this passage, Jesus asks the seemingly impossible: that we become purer than the angels. Perfect purity seems impossible to attain because as fallen human beings, all of us are subject to concupiscence, the tendency toward evil. Even St. Faustina, in her holiness, was not exempt from attacks against the virtue of chastity.

It’s true, in her Diary, St. Faustina wrote about temptations of the flesh. In fact, she implies that by her own power, she couldn’t reach perfect purity, either. Thankfully, St. Faustina discovered what to do. In passage 40 of her Diary, she writes about how “for many years” she prayed to Our Lady for freedom from attacks against the virtue of purity.  After a moment of grace, she wrote, "Since then I have never experienced any attacks against this virtue, either in my heart or in my mind. ... [T]his was one of the greatest graces which the Most Holy Virgin Mary had obtained for me.”

Saint Faustina didn't white-knuckle her own way to purity.  She attained the grace of purity through prayer — particularly through prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. No one has power to help free us from temptations of the flesh like Our Lady for two reasons. 

One, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces. Since we can only beat lust through grace, who better to obtain for us this grace than the one through whom all graces flow?

Second, the Blessed Virgin Mary knows exactly how we need to live in order to persist in purity. She never once suffered an attack against the virtue of purity. One might argue that this means Our Lady can’t understand us. But she understands better than anyone the essential truth — that the only way we attain any virtue is through the grace of God. 

Later in her Diary, St. Faustina reveals just how interconnected we all are in the life of grace. She says:

At four o’clock when I came for adoration, I saw one of our wards offending God greatly by sins of impure thoughts. I also saw a certain person who was the cause of her sin. My soul was pierced with fear, and I asked God, for the sake of Jesus’ pain, to snatch her from this terrible misery.

Jesus answered that He would grant her that favor, not for her sake, but for the sake of my request. Now I understood how much we ought to pray for sinners, and especially for our wards. (349-350)

We can’t do this alone. We need to pray to the Blessed Mother, to the angels, and to the saints. We need to ask family and friends for prayers, too. And like St. Faustina, we need to lend our prayer to others. Because as difficult as the battle against impurity has been since the fall, our modern culture has made it all the more difficult. Through the internet, advertising, television, movies, music — the world is constantly enticing us to indulge in impurity. But our prayers have power. We may never know this side of Heaven just how important our prayers are in helping the Body of Christ combat sin. 

So today, let's pray through the intercession of St. Faustina that the Lord will keep us and our loved ones safe from the temptations of the flesh as we rely upon His unfathomable mercy. Amen. 

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