Grace Through Obedience

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:


[Jesus said], "I have granted the grace you asked for ... not because of the mortification you chose for yourself. but because of the act of complete obedience to My representative did I grant grace to that soul for whom you interceded and begged mercy. Know that when you mortify your own self-will, then Mine reigns within you" (365).

In this Lenten season, no matter how many penances we endure, no matter how much we mortify ourselves, none of it matters unless we obey Christ. After all, penance and mortification are meant to help us hear the voice of God better and follow Him.

Through His representatives, in the silence of our hearts, through Scripture, through His Commandments, through daily events, and in many other ways, Christ is speaking to us. If we take the time to listen to His voice, to seek to do His will, we open ourselves up to the graces He wants to give us.

Sometimes, in our selfishness, we reject the Lord's will for us. Perhaps we know what He wants us to do but we act against His will anyway. Or maybe we don't even bother to listen to His voice and do what we want without consulting Him. In either case, when we reject the Lord's will in favor of our own will, we're only hurting ourselves.

No amount of penance, mortification, or good works can make up for ignoring the Lord's will. Christ values our obedience to Him more than our sacrifices. When we deny ourselves and obey Him, we tell Him that we trust Him. We tell Him that we know we're little - that we need His help, because only He can can redeem our past, direct our future, and lead us to Heaven. When we obey Him, we give Him full power to work in our lives on our behalf.

Jesus says to us: Obey my Commandments. Seek my will above all else, and I will give you everything you need, when you need it. Mortify yourself and offer penances insofar as it leads you to obey me more.

My prayer: Jesus, help me to want to do Your will and obey Your commands. Remind me that Your ways are better than mine, and that no amount of mortification, however beneficial, can win Your love for me. You love me as I am already.

View the previous Discovering the Diary.


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We will not presume to outline here the whole teaching of St. Catherine's masterpiece, The Dialogue. Rather we will focus on the theme of Divine Mercy as it appears in the book.

"Our Lady, I know that you are very gracious and cannot help loving us whom your Son and your God has loved with the greatest love. Who can tell how often you allay the ire of the Judge when the virtue of divine justice is about to strike?"