Follow His lead, cooperate with grace

“One little word, and the Divine Mercy devotion starts to grow."

By Marian Friedrichs

“God has a plan for each one of us, and if we don’t fight Him too much, we’ll look back and say, ‘Oh, I see why that happened.’” Dian Mayo of Redding Ridge, Connecticut, loves to look back at her own life and see all the evidence of God’s plans for her, the gentle tugs at her heart that prompted her to cooperate with grace.

Nudge in right direction
A long-tome Marian Helper, Dian is unsure exactly when and where she came across a particular advertisement from Liturgical Press — she is not even certain what was in it — but sometime in the 1990s, this advertisement came her way. She remembers seeing Vinny Flynn’s picture in its pages, but there was also something else: One of the product descriptions mentioned Divine Mercy. Dian had never heard of the devotion before. It captured her attention and sent her on a journey to learn more.

About a decade into that journey, Dian felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to help spread the message of Divine Mercy throughout her own Diocese of Bridgeport. She contacted then-Bishop William Lori and obtained a meeting with him. Dian persuaded Bishop Lori that “this wasn’t just a pet devotion” of her own, but a priceless gift from Heaven, meant for the whole Church. The two made a plan to carry this gift throughout the diocese. 

One little word
“The bishop felt our Lord wanted us to do this,” says Dian, so strongly that he took the time to visit many parishes with Dian. At Sunday Masses, Bishop Lori addressed the faithful, encouraging them to explore the Divine Mercy message and consider praying the Chaplet. It was a brief message, but, says Dian, “One little word, and the Divine Mercy devotion starts to grow. Depending on the parish and the person whose heart it struck, that would determine the rate at which it caught on.” 

Dian was delighted when Pope Francis declared 2015-2016 an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. “I, of course, jumped right on that,” she says. Once again, Dian reached out to the diocese — then headed by Bishop Frank Caggiano, who succeeded Bishop Lori in 2013 — and urged him to publicly observe this great Jubilee Year with a Divine Mercy celebration. He did so at St. Augustine’s Cathedral on the Feast of Mercy in 2016. 

Receiving Divine Mercy
“I never tire of the way our Lord works,” Dian says. Now homebound, the woman who once set out on a mission to bring the Divine Mercy devotion to others gratefully allows it to be brought to her. While she receives the Sacraments only occasionally, every day Dian can turn on EWTN at 3 p.m. and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with the religious and lay faithful gathered on Eden Hill.

When she was able to travel, Dian visited the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy many times, and the memory of its beauty and atmosphere of holiness holds a treasured place in her heart.

Dian also derives spiritual nourishment from regular reading of St. Faustina’s Diary and the blessing of faithful friendships. Vinny Flynn and his wife, Donna, have become good friends of Dian’s, and even though she can no longer go to see them in Stockbridge, they keep in touch by phone. Characteristically, Dian approaches her reading of the Diary by allowing the Lord to guide her. She often opens its pages without planning which passage she will read. Countless times, she has found her eyes resting on the words she most needed to read that day. 

“I really believe that our Lord leads you along,” Dian says. 

Providential flow
Dian believes this providential flow of events happens in the life of everyone who tries to listen to God. “God’s voice is silent, but it’s alive in your heart, and He lets you think of something…You have this feeling, this little prompt in your heart, and … if you’re alert, you become aware of His plan in stages.”

The Divine Mercy message has spread throughout the universal Church, Dian says, because individuals across the years and around the world paid attention to the promptings in their souls and followed where the Lord was leading them. She wants to encourage fellow Catholics to persevere in prayer, always trusting that the answers God gives will always be for the best.

Whatever His plan turns out to be, she urges, “Accept it and don’t lose faith … He’s a very soft, loving director of our lives.” 

Dian looks back with gratitude and joy on the ways God called and enabled her to help deliver His invitation to her Connecticut neighbors — that they know and receive the merciful love Jesus offers them. It is a mission she continues today through her prayers: “Anything I can do to help promote the Divine Mercy.” 
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