Shielded by Mercy

Both passed away only months apart. Helen and Ann were their names. Neither knew each other, but I had the pleasure of knowing them both.

They were mothers. They were Catholics. It was uplifting for me to witness how faithful both were to our Lord and His Church. It was as if the words "Jesus, I trust in You" were their calling card.

Let's start with Helen. She had a devotion to Our Blessed Mother, the Mother of Mercy. Helen had joined our 24-hour Chaplet of The Divine Mercy Prayer Group. As her illness escalated, we went to pray over her with our 1st-class relic of St Faustina. It was then that I discovered how faithful Helen was to our Lord, The Divine Mercy. She prayed the Chaplet quite often.

She lived in a nursing home. The day before she died of lung cancer her friend came by and prayed the Rosary with her, after which Helen cried out to Our Blessed Mother. After Helen's friend prayed, Helen never uttered a word again. She was able to sleep peacefully and eat breakfast and lunch the next day without discomfort or pain. The people taking care of her attributed this grace to the friend's intercessory prayer.

Thirty minutes after lunch Helen gently passed away. She was sitting up perfectly straight in bed with her head straight back and hands perfectly placed one on top of the other. One of the attendants noted that Helen's head was not lying over to the side as is often seen at a person's death. The attendant was so amazed at the perfection of her position in bed that she compared Helen to an angel lying in a bed of roses. She kept repeating how peaceful she was and how peacefully she died. The next person in the room (who was the registered nurse) was asking if someone had placed her in that position. When told "no," she remarked that never in all of her years as a registered nurse had she ever seen anything like this.

Consider some of the words Jesus spoke to St. Faustina:

The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is - trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts (Diary of St. Faustina, 1578)

Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul. (1777)

Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness. (1541)

Ann was dying of lung cancer. Her family prayed the Chaplet with her. When they invited us to bring our relic of St. Faustina, we all joined Ann in prayer and prayed for her through the intercession of St. Faustina. There was even someone on the cell phone praying with us. She passed on her faith to her whole family through her trust in God's mercy. Knowing that she was dying, she trusted and waited on the Lord. Our Lord blessed them with being able to have all the children present when she died. They gathered once again in the morning and prayed the Chaplet as they frequently did. Then at about 3:30, they started to pray another Chaplet with her and after the "Our Father" she very gently quit breathing and passed on. She had died from her illness during the "Hour of Great Mercy."

Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary:

Today the Lord said to me, I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let [souls] approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be confirmed in good. Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with My divine peace at the hour of death. (1520)

Helen and Ann were both women of tremendous faith. When it was time, our Lord in His mercy, granted them His divine peace at the hour of death. What a comfort and peace for others to know that God is with their loved ones. He shows us so by the faithfulness of His promises.

Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary:

May 1 [1938]. This evening, Jesus said to me, My daughter, do you need anything? I answered, "O my Love, when I have You I have everything." And the Lord answered, If souls would put themselves completely in My care, I Myself would undertake the task of sanctifying them, and I would lavish even greater graces on them. There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them; as often as they turn to Me, I hurry to their aid, shielding them with My mercy, and I give them the first place in My compassionate Heart. (1682)

Jay Hastings, of Bartlett, Tenn., is the founder of a growing group of Divine Mercy devotees who ensures that the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is being prayed every hour of the day. The 24-Hour Chaplet members now consist of more than 700 peoplein 19 countries. To join the 24-Hour Chaplet, contact Jay via e-mail,, or via phone, 901-438-7772.

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