Learning to Trust in Divine Mercy

By Matthew August

On Oct. 5, Catholics remember God’s chosen daughter who carried His message of Divine Mercy to the entire world.

It was the eve of World War II, and mankind was about to experience some of the worst bloodshed in human history. The world was entering a time of unprecedented evil, but God once again sent His Son to reveal that He brings unprecedented grace.

It was at this time when Jesus Christ appeared to a lowly uneducated Polish nun by the name Faustina Kowalska, and He chose to reveal this message through her.

“My daughter, be at peace; do as I tell you. Your thoughts are united to My thoughts, so write whatever comes to your mind,” stated Jesus Christ. “You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this life and the next life. That is how I want it to be in spite of all the opposition they will give you. Know that My choice will not change” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1605).

Many of us find it difficult to trust in God’s mercy. This has been the case in my own life as I’ve struggled with scrupulosity. 

Before attending university, I had the opportunity to dance professionally with the Boston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet companies. My family and I are very close, and leaving them was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I was 17 years old, and I had to learn how to live on my own in a new city.

God took me away from the comfort of my home and plunged me into a foreign place for a reason. Although I was grateful to have my dream job, the competition and responsibility of being part of a professional ballet company was a heavy weight. While I was there, I did not have the opportunity to turn to my family in moments of pain, heartache, and setbacks.

I was alone in my closet-size apartment on Beacon Street, Boston, when I came across a video of a Christian speaker. He spoke of God’s tremendous love for us. He spoke about not needing to worry about our future, for God in His goodness has already lined up everything we need to prosper and lead fulfilled lives.

I never heard a speaker with so much confidence in the love of God. He was truly acting as the child Jesus wants us to be, completely trusting in the goodness of his Father. A desire welled up inside me to know this God who has a dream for my life.

I went to church every day and spent hours in prayer. I trusted in God, and my outlook on life changed. I no longer took the gifts in my life for granted. I saw every blessing as a present that God had handed to me.

However, I eventually hit a wall in my time of growth and conversion. Out of nowhere, the consolation I received from God vanished. I became hyperaware of my spiritual life to the point of obsession: I lived in constant fear of committing a mortal sin and being separated from God.

My focus shifted from God’s mercy to His justice.

As circumstances became more stressful in the company life, I no longer found peace in my relationship with God. Thinking of Him became a burden instead of relief. Once when I was 18, I forgot to genuflect before entering the pew in a church. I remember my mind sinking into the depths of despair and truly believing I was going to be damned for all eternity for disrespecting the Most High God.

The devil bombarded my mind with doubts that God could even hear me in my sinful state. And if God couldn’t hear me, what was the point of praying? I went to Confession every day, and it seemed that there was nothing I could do to escape mortal sin.

Knowing something was deeply wrong, I researched my predicament until I came across the term “scrupulosity,” the OCD of the spiritual life. I came to find out that many Catholics suffer from this issue, particularly the saints!

It was in my research that I discovered the key to curing my pain: the message of Divine Mercy.

“I am love and Mercy Itself,” says Jesus Christ. “There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted — it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (Diary, 1273).

When I first came upon St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus’s sweet words were like balm to my spiritual wounds. 

We must trust. The scrupulous person denies his own humanity. We are imperfect, and imperfection is the perfect place to grow in humility. 

Father Thomas M. Santa ministered to people struggling with scrupulosity for over 20 years, and he put together a list of commandments for the scrupulous. The tenth commandment states, “You shall put your total trust in Jesus Christ, knowing that He loves you as only God can love, and that He will never allow you to lose your soul.” God has already forgiven every sin we would make. We must remember the gift of Divine Mercy and run to Jesus after we fall instead of running away as Adam did in the Garden of Eden.

Perhaps God chose to change the world through a simple nun to show us that we all have access to Him. No matter our state in life, our level of education, our past experiences, or our failures, He can extend His power and mercy to us. He can accomplish anything through the soul that trusts in Him.

“All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us,” wrote Faustina. “Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery” (Diary, 1507).

Saint Faustina, pray for us!

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