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We have to find the children who have run away and tell them the truth: Our real God is, believe it or not, crushed that they have no faith in Him.

If You Want to Make Jesus Happy

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In a movie scene set in a men's room, an advertising executive named Buddy has just returned to work after a stay at a substance abuse rehabilitation clinic. While washing his hands, Buddy meets a new colleague who identifies himself as a recovering alcoholic. He asks Buddy if the staff at the clinic taught him about the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

"They tried," Buddy says, "but I don't believe in God."

His colleague replies, "Really? He'll be crushed when He finds out."

The intended irony punches your gut and gives it a ruthless tickle it at the same time. Suddenly it's the most ridiculous idea in the world that God would care whether His existence is acknowledged by an arrogant, secretly scared-as-a-child corporate big shot like Buddy.

But of course it's not, and He does. It's impossible to read St. Faustina's Diary and not know that.

The Diary explodes the well-worn myth that God is distant, vague, and exacting. The God in St. Faustina's life was affectionate, eager, open, intimate, and consumed with yearning. And Faustina, unlike the people who subscribe to the God-as-tyrant theory, saw Him and talked to Him face-to-face. Because He is eternal, the way she knew Him is the way He truly was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

In a meditation I read once, the author writes that she feels free to yell at God because she knows she can't hurt Him. Well, yes and no. Yes, we should feel free to yell: it's honest, and He wants us to be perfectly ourselves with Him. No, it's not true that we can't hurt Him. One gift we Christians have been given is firsthand knowledge of that fact.

The crucifixion puts on wrenching display not only Jesus' willingness to suffer for our sakes but also our power to make Him cry. In the history of the world, has any other god ever been said to have wept over his people's rejection of his love? I doubt it. That's not the kind of god we fallen human beings would invent. Gods are all-powerful, and we equate power with unlimited self-gratification, fantasizing about it for ourselves and fearing it in others. Faustina's God — our God — must be the real God because neither she nor we could have made Him up. The real God is terribly vulnerable, for He's terribly in love.

Jesus said to St. Faustina, "The flames of mercy are burning Me — clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don't want to believe in My goodness ... As often as you want to make me happy, speak to the world about My great and unfathomable mercy," (Diary, 177, 164).

It's hard to believe in His goodness because we see Him as made in our image instead of the other way around. This backwardness, this twisted truth, is our great tragedy. It's the reason Jesus urges the women of Jerusalem to weep, and it's the reason He weeps. His grief is so heavy that He begs St. Faustina to tell the world the truth about Him. But while most of us want to be seen as good so that our egos won't be damaged, Jesus wants us to know He is good so that we will let Him take care of us. He knows He's the only one who can make us happy, and like a true lover, He desires our happiness with a longing that's willing to go to extremes. He will die to secure it.

Many times in the streets I've seen stray kittens and wanted to take them in and give them food, but I've known that there was almost no chance that they'd come to me. Primed by the wilderness, they think they're protecting themselves when they hide from the hand I offer them and scurry back inside their various hungers. We can glimpse Jesus' pain if we replace the stray kitten with our own child. That terrible ache we feel when we imagine it, multiplied immeasurably in Jesus because His love for us is immeasurably vaster than ours for our children, is the urgency behind His words to St. Faustina: "I want to give Myself to souls; I yearn for souls, My daughter... [G]o through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of My mercy" (Diary, 206).

Maybe it's tempting to laugh or to feel smug when clever responses defeat the muddled perspectives of unbelievers like Buddy, but in truth, they're our little brothers and sisters who have been duped into believing that our loving Father is dangerous, so they run away to starve all alone. These souls are the ones Jesus reaches for when He opens His arms on the cross, the ones He searches the crowds for through the lens of His tears. If we want to dry those tears, we have to find the children who have run away and tell them the truth: Our real God is, believe it or not, crushed that they have no faith in Him. His outstretched hand holds nothing but good things. And He is dying of love for them.

Marian Tascio is a writer and English teacher who lives in Yonkers, N.Y.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Susan - Oct 4, 2007

Today I've been reflecting on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and how he gave of himself and most of all gave up his pride. Sometimes I think that is the absolute most difficult thing to give up. If we were not embarrassed or afraid we would give more to Jesus the way Francis did. I think pride is what keeps people from experiencing the fullness of his Divine Mercy.
Recently I have been through some sorrowful times on many levels and the Holy Spirit has been able to break through layers of my human pride and I have been experiencing divine mercy much deeper than ever before. When my heart was torn and broken I would continually pray the rosary and chaplet and simply ask with faith that Divine Mercy enter my soul because I wasn't able to heal without Jesus. He has come through and I truely know him. I've been trying to go to daily mass and develop my prayer life and I have been healed. Jesus has truely touched my heart and shown me how real he is. Now my heart and life center around his love and I feel so sorry for the souls that don't know him yet and who continue to reject him. I've prayed recently to Jesus that he would increase my love for others and I'm beginning to share in his sorrow for those he loves so dearly. I think all of this has really shown me that I am loved and that is what has changed my heart. The other day I was sweeping the floor and I felt the Holy Spirt say to my heart. "I have trusted the choice of this world to the people, because what I desire is trusted friends" I was so touched because Jesus wants me to be his trusted friend and he is first mine. Now I am becoming more concious and actually pray "I hope I can be your trusted friend, Jesus" "I can by trusting in you. Just as I can forgive by accepting your mercy into my heart."

Bea - Oct 4, 2007

Thanks for the inspiration.

donna .e. - Oct 4, 2007

This article could bring one to tears. It is so beautifu. As is our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah, the good shepherd, our lover and best friend. Our redeemer and forgiver. When i was brought into the light of repentance i will never forget feeling his presence with me and it was so light and lovely and soft and beautiful and yet strong and present. Once at adoration i walked into the church and there were a few people there and i went to the front pew and all of a sudden i felt as if someone was "there" and i mean someone whom i knew, a best friend who was incredibly happy to see me again...i looked left and right and at the people who were there and i knew none of them. i wanted to look under the pew! i was utterly baffled when all of sudden as if the world went on fast forward i spun around and looked directly at the heavenly host! right then and there i knew who and where that feeling was coming from!! it was him! my lover and best friend!! i was so dumbfounded! because i never experienced anything like it before in my life and it was so vivid! i just sat there stunned! i still get chills, how does he do that? how does he come through the blessed sacrament as if he is standing there looking at you? how? i know all things are possible with God however, if i could feel that way at adoration just imagine the feeling we will have at home with him in heaven! Oh he loves us alright! We are his kids and he does love us-to the point that i think we are spoiled! when we put aside our anger and high expectations and just breath and look around and see what he gives us every single day, we are spoiled kids! we need to show him our love and appreciation everyday, every single day--JESUS I LOVE YOU, THANK YOU, LOVER OF MINE, THANK YOU. and thank you for the great article!

deb R.I - Oct 4, 2007

how beautiful, and so true, Jesus wants us to run to him, so he can cover us with his mercy.
My First communion class,they currently working on the Sacrament of Confession, I have a large life size drawing of the good shepherd, arms open inviting. It is reminding the kids, of the Love and Mercy Jesus wishes to share with us, to carry us home, not ever wanting to leave any one behind.
thankyou, for the beautiful, inspiring message for the day!
God Bless!