Spreading Divine Mercy? Expect a Fight

By Chris Sparks

Whenever I get a new colleague here at the Marian Helpers Center, if the time is right and the opportunity arises, I try to have a quick conversation to warn them about the reality of spiritual warfare.

Our work is on the front lines of spiritual warfare, you see. The devil doesn’t like Divine Mercy.

Oh, spiritual warfare exists for the whole Church, for every apostolate, for every source of grace in the world on some level. Now, warfare isn’t the point of the faith. The Church was not intended from all eternity to be an army. No, the Church is by its founding a bride for a Bridegroom, a garden for the New Adam and the New Eve, a family of God. But because the devil and his angels fell, and because they will never cease attacking the family of God, we are stuck in warfare till the end of time.

But while the devil wants to destroy all that is good, Divine Mercy is a priority target.


Well, St. Faustina explained that in her Diary:

I have now learned that Satan hates mercy more than anything else. It is his greatest torment. ... [Jesus said to her]”You are united to me; fear nothing. But know, my child, that Satan hates you; he hates every soul, but he burns with a particular hatred for you, because you have snatched so many souls from his dominion.” ... The glory of the Divine Mercy is resounding, even now, in spite of the efforts of its enemies, and of Satan himself, who has a great hatred for God’s mercy. This work will snatch a great number of souls from him, and that is why the spirit of darkness sometimes tempts good people violently, so that they may hinder the work (764, 412, and 1659).

Dr. Robert Stackpole explored this phenomenon in some detail before, so I will just add a few thoughts to his excellent analysis.

Not only do we at the Marian Helpers Center, the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, and across Eden Hill serve the Divine Mercy, but we Marian Fathers and Marian Helpers are also especially dedicated to the service of the Immaculate Conception.

Well, that makes sure we have huge targets on all our backs! After all, the conflict between Mary Immaculate and the devil is so dramatic, such a permanent part of the Church’s life in time that it gets a whole chapter to itself in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 12. Indeed, that conflict is foretold right after the fall of humanity in Genesis 3:15. That conflict is, in many ways, the story of the whole history of the Church.

So folks who’ve worked up here long enough can tell you stories about printing presses stopping, about machines frozen and nonfunctional. There was nothing wrong with those machines that a mechanic could fix. Nothing would fix them — until some of the Marian Fathers came around and blessed them, and then they started back up again.

People will roll their eyes and groan about the run up to Divine Mercy Sunday, because they expect the devil to intrude wherever he can, whenever he can — and then the weekend is invariably a triumph of grace, a huge source of blessing to all involved, even in the midst of bad weather, logistical difficulties, or personal trials.

If it’s true for us here, then I can guarantee it will be true for you. When you spread Divine Mercy, serve Mary Immaculate, or otherwise serve the Church where the need is greatest, you are the tip of the spear for the second coming. Jesus said to St. Faustina

From her [Poland] will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary, 1732).

Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy ... (848).

Write: before I come as just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy (1146).

Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (1588).

There’s nothing the devil hates more than Divine Mercy — it offends his pride. He is the accuser of the brethren — it offends his sense of justice.

So keep in mind that the levels of temptation, of the sort of normal, everyday spiritual combat that C.S. Lewis depicted so well in his classic book The Screwtape Letters, that you and your fellow Divine Mercy devotees and children of the Blessed Mother will face will be at times extraordinary. Ironically, that’s a very good sign. As many people have observed before, if the devil leaves you alone, it means he thinks he owns you already, that you’re not a threat to his plans.

So as we take up spiritual arms against the gates of hell, the spiritual combat we face may well be extraordinary — but the divine assistance we will have will be extraordinary (see Rom 5:20). Saint Faustina records Jesus saying:

My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare. Never trust in yourself, but abandon yourself totally to my will. In desolation, darkness and various doubts, have recourse to Me and to your spiritual director. ... Do not bargain with any temptation; lock yourself immediately in My Heart. ... Put your self-love in the last place, so that it does not taint your deeds. ... Shun murmurers like the plague. Let all act as they like; you are to act as I want you to (Diary, 1760).

I want you to become like a knight experienced in battle, who can give orders to others amid the exploding shells. In the same way, My child, you should know how to master yourself amid the greatest difficulties, and let nothing drive you away from Me, not even your falls. (Diary, 1823).

We are given Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church as our foundation and our guide through the traps and snares of the devil. We are reborn through Baptism, strengthened through Confirmation, united to the divine life through the Eucharist, and resurrected from sin through Confession. We have the enormous graces available through the Divine Mercy message and devotion, through the Rosary, Our Lady’s scapulars, and much more in the devotions of the Church. We are blessed unimaginably by the Communion of Saints and the intercessory power of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

We have everything we need to triumph. So let us take up our Bibles, our Rosaries, our Divine Mercy Images. Let us pray for our enemies, our friends, our families. Let us be constant in studying, believing, and professing our Catholic faith. And let us remain anchored in the conviction that even if we don’t see the fruits of our labors, our fidelity will bear fruit in the end.

Pray for me, that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.


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