Divine Mercy at the Pentagon

By Teresa S. Faith Flahive

The day that Divine Mercy came into my life was a Tuesday in late November of 2018. It was a transformative moment that brought me much "joy in the morning" (Ps 30:5) and changed my life forever.

I was working at the Pentagon as a civilian employee for the Army. That particular morning, I had awoken with a deep feeling of contrition for the sins of my past and a sense of urgency that I needed to talk with a Catholic priest. Around midday, I felt a clear and very strong conviction that I needed to leave my desk and walk downstairs to the Pentagon Chapel.

When I arrived, the chapel was empty. In my confusion, I turned around and began to walk back to my desk, wondering why I had felt such urgency just a few moments before. As I approached a hallway door, I looked up and noticed a man holding it open for me. He was dressed in black, and, as I drew closer, I realized he was a Catholic priest. I exclaimed, "Oh! You are a Catholic priest!"!

He introduced himself as Fr. Jim McCormack of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. I was a bit surprised that a priest would be at the Pentagon, but Fr. Jim explained that the Marian Fathers have served the Pentagon's military and civilian staff for more than 10 years.

After we talked for a while, I asked Fr. Jim to pray with me. I was moved by his gentleness and how, like our Lord Jesus, he did not judge me. Instead, he encouraged me to continue growing in my faith through prayer, spiritual reading, and putting my trust in Jesus.

In the months that followed, Fr. Jim and the other Marian priests serving at the Pentagon continued to be a great source of support, instruction, and encouragement for me. Through Fr. Jim, I met Marian seminarians whose friendship and youthful enthusiasm quickly became a blessing in my life. I have enjoyed "giving back" to them by offering them a tour at the Pentagon and dinner at my home. I was even blessed to travel last year to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to witness the novices profess their first vows.

One morning, I awoke with the following Bible verse on my heart: "Be ye conformed not to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:2). I felt the Lord was speaking very clearly to me, calling me to deeper renewal, and I thought of Fr. Jim's recommendation to continue growing spiritually.

Now, I frequently attend daily Mass at the Pentagon. Each time I receive Holy Communion, I realize how blessed I am to be able to partake of the holy Sacraments. Like that day in November, I sometimes wake up with a Scripture verse or even the words of a hymn in my soul. It's as if He is reminding me that He is the Good Shepherd and that I need to keep listening and following Him with trust. "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (Jn 10:27).

I consider myself blessed to know the Marian Fathers, who, with their spirit of mercy, faithfully continue to provide spiritual guidance and support at the Pentagon by celebrating Mass and hearing Confessions. I am constantly aware that nothing is too difficult for the Lord, who, despite my working in the largest office building in the world, was able to bring me to the right place at the right time to encounter His mercy through a Marian priest.

I will forever be grateful to the Lord for that day when Divine Mercy came into my life.

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