Holy Mass, the Eucharist, and St. Faustina’s Visions

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

The courage and strength that are in me are not of me, but of Him who lives in me — it is the Eucharist.”

Diary, 91

This week’s spiritual exercise delves into holy Mass and the Eucharist, and the importance they have in our lives. Let’s take a quick look at what the Catechism has to say and what the saints have shared. We will learn about Sr. Faustina’s tender love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, how she strove to make her soul a sanctuary for Jesus, and how she relied on the strength of the Eucharist to overcome any contradiction. We will also see how the Eucharist ultimately sustained Sr. Faustina to enable her to learn and promote the message and devotion of Divine Mercy. Let’s jump in!

Holy Mass and the Eucharist are at the center of the life of the Church. “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ [Lumen Gentium 11]” (CCC, 1324). Canon law instructs: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body” (Canon 1247).23

The Catechism teaches, “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us’ [Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47]” (CCC, 1323). The Church teaches that we must partake of the Eucharist to abide in the life of Christ. “The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’ [Jn 6:56]. Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: ‘As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me’ [Jn 6:57]” (CCC, 1391).

Many of the saints spoke about the necessity and importance of the Sacraments in our lives and the importance of Holy Mass. Saint Teresa of Calcutta used to explain that she and her sisters absolutely needed to participate in holy Mass each morning to receive the broken Body of Jesus in the Eucharist in order to receive the necessary strength and courage to go out and take care of the broken bodies of the poor. As Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is nourishment for our souls. Without it, our souls will die.

The Eucharist gives Sr. Faustina strength

Earlier, we mentioned that when Sr. Faustina worked as a domestic, she attended daily Mass whenever possible. She knew it was important to her soul. Later on, as a religious sister, Sr. Faustina told Jesus that she could do nothing without Him. She acknowledged to Him that He alone knew the deep persecution she suffered. In the midst of these trials, she was faithful to everything Jesus asked of her. “You are my strength; sustain me that I may always carry out what You ask of me. Of myself I can do nothing, but when You sustain me, all difficulties are nothing to me” she told her Lord. She continued, “[F]rom the time when my soul first received the capacity to know You, my life has been a continual struggle which has become increasingly intense” (Diary, 91). Each daily struggle and splinter from the Cross was a reminder to her of the necessity of redemptive suffering. It was Jesus, after all, who had said that in order to become His disciples we must deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Him (see Mt 16:24). Sister Faustina knew just where to find strength. If it wasn’t for the Eucharist, she would have lacked the necessary hope, courage, and strength to go on.

She shared in her Diary, “Every morning during meditation, I prepare myself for the whole day’s struggle. Holy Communion assures me that I will win the victory; and so it is. I fear the day when I do not receive Holy Communion. This Bread of the Strong gives me all the strength I need to carry on my mission and the courage to do whatever the Lord asks of me. The courage and strength that are in me are not of me, but of Him who lives in me — it is the Eucharist” (Diary, 91). Another time, Sr. Faustina wrote a lengthy litany about the Sacred Host. In it, she said, “O Blessed Host, I trust in You when storms toss my heart about and my fearful spirit tends to despair” (Diary, 356).

This young sister desired to create a loving and welcoming abode in her heart for her Lord and Savior. One time, she wrote, “After Holy Communion, when I had welcomed Jesus into my heart, I said to Him, ‘My Love, reign in the most secret recesses of my heart, there where my most secret thoughts are conceived, where You alone have free access, in this deepest sanctuary where human thought cannot penetrate.” Sister Faustina wanted only her Lord residing in her heart. She continued, “May You alone dwell there, and may everything I do exteriorly take its origin in You. I ardently desire, and I am striving with all the strength of my soul, to make You, Lord, feel at home in this sanctuary” (Diary, 1721). Later on, we will discuss the importance of the Eucharist and the Mass in Sr. Faustina’s life. We will see that our Lord blessed this humble young nun with countless visions of Him at Holy Mass, many times in the form of the Child Jesus. Sometimes, the young mystic saw the Blessed Mother and Jesus, both in His Passion and when triumphant. But for now, let’s get back to what was happening with Sr. Faustina after she first began learning the Divine Mercy message.

Word gets out about the “visionary”

After Jesus had appeared to Sr. Faustina in her cell early in 1931 and showed her the Image of Divine Mercy, He shared the amazing promises mentioned earlier. Sister Faustina took it all into her heart and told her confessor at her first opportunity. He told her that Jesus was referring to her soul. “Certainly, paint God’s Image in your soul.” Sister Faustina left the confessional and heard Jesus say to her, “My image already is in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary, 49). Jesus continued to explain to Sr. Faustina His Divine Mercy for souls, and how distrust on the part of souls hurts Him.

Sister Faustina went to her Mother Superior and told her what Jesus had asked. The superior requested that Jesus show a sign to make clear it was He who wanted the Feast and the Image. Sister Faustina prayed and requested a sign from Him. Jesus answered, “I will make this all clear to the Superior by means of the graces which I will grant through this image” (Diary, 51).

Without support from her superior and fearing she was delusional, utterly perplexed, Sr. Faustina decided to “run and hide” from the interior inspirations. In response, God told her that she would be responsible on the Day of Judgement for the number of souls lost if she failed to act on these private revelations.

Meanwhile, word got out about Sr. Faustina having visions. She was ridiculed by many of the sisters, facing one humiliation after another. She chose to remain silent and not defend herself, even when questioned directly. Sister Faustina knew she needed a spiritual director to help her and begged the Lord to provide. At every Mass and each chance Sr. Faustina had to visit the chapel, she begged Jesus for help.

Something to Ponder

Sister Faustina’s example of striving for holiness and keeping the Commandments, especially with regard to Holy Mass, is edifying. She also desired to make her heart a fitting and comfortable abode for the Lord to reside in. Do you make these kinds of efforts in your spiritual life? Sister Faustina dealt with continual humiliation and suffering in trying to carry out Jesus’ requests. She remained silent and did not defend herself, even when deeply ridiculed. Take time throughout this week to ponder ways in which you can strive to make your heart a more loving place for our Lord. Also, think about how you might react in a holy way to an insult or to ridicule. Granted, not everyone is called to be silent. But as Catholics and Christians, we are all called to respond in charity.

A Merciful Action

To please God and help souls, strive to go over and above what you think is your duty. Do your best to carry out an act of mercy, a word of mercy, or a prayer of mercy this week. Keep in mind that if you don’t carve out time to ponder, pray, and then act upon your inspirations or responsibilities to reach out with mercy, time will indeed slip away. Opportunities will be lost. Life is busy, but there should always be time for mercy! Ask dear St. Faustina to help you.

A PRAYER OF MERCY FOR THIS WEEK

(To be prayed each day this week.)

Strive to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet each day this week for those close to death.

Dear Merciful Jesus, I love You. 

Mother Mary, help me. 

Saint Faustina, please pray for me. 

Jesus, I trust in You!

Amen.

 

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here:

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Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash

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