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Streams of Mercy, Part 6: Faith

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By Melanie Williams (Sep 7, 2018)
We continue our series "Streams of Mercy," reflecting on themes and lessons presented in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Each month, we dive into a different virtue or theme presented by our Lord in the Diary, so that we might learn from Him and prepare our hearts for His coming to us each and every day, and at the end of our lives — whether that be through a bodily death or His Second Coming. This month we reflect on the gift of faith.

"O holy faith, you are my guidepost!" St. Faustina wrote in her Diary (763). It doesn't take extensive reading of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska to realize that when St. Faustina references faith, she means much more than a mere theological concept. Faith, to St. Faustina, is a truth to be lived. Living faith entails embracing the reality, the truth, of God, and not just knowing about Him. Having living faith means opening your heart to God and wanting to know Him as an intimate friend. Living faith is trusting, hoping, loving, and believing despite all circumstances life throws at you. Living faith sees one through joyful times of consolation, but also through the darkest of trials.

Saint Faustina wrote:

When it happens that the living presence of God, which she enjoys almost constantly, leaves her, she then tries to continue living in lively faith [emphasis added]. Her soul understands that there are periods of rest and periods of battle. Through her will, she is always with God. Her soul, like a knight, is well trained in battle; from afar it sees where the foe is hiding and is ready for battle. She knows she is not alone — God is her strength (Diary, 890).

Most people attending Sunday Mass would probably agree that faith comes easily when things are going well, but when trials come, temptations arise to disbelieve and distrust in God. Saint Faustina wrote about this:

Faith staggers under the impact; the struggle is fierce. The soul tries hard to cling to God by an act of will. With God's permission, Satan goes even further: hope and love are put to the test. These temptations are terrible. God supports the soul in secret, so to speak. The soul is not aware of this, but otherwise it would be impossible to stand firm; and God knows very well how much He can allow to befall a soul (Diary, 97).

Why does God allow trials that test our faith? One might say, "[S]o that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pt 1:7). I would conclude from these quotes from St. Faustina's Diary that she would agree.

So how do you grow in living faith? Ask God for it! This is what St. Faustina did. She wrote:

I fervently beg the Lord to strengthen my faith, so that in my drab, everyday life I will not be guided by human dispositions, but by those of the spirit. Oh, how everything drags man towards the earth! But lively faith maintains the soul in the higher regions and assigns self-love its proper place; that is to say, the lowest one (Diary, 210).

And practice silence and recollection in the face of difficulties. Saint Faustina wrote:

There are moments when one should be silent ... when the soul feels as weak as a little child. Then the soul clings to God with all its might. At such times, I live solely by faith, and when I feel strengthened by God's grace, then I am more courageous in speaking and communicating with my neighbors (Diary, 944).

This is not to say that we should not help each other through trials and crises of faith. On the contrary, we should strive to build each other up in the faith and pray for one another (see 1 Thess 5:11).

Finally, Jesus expressed to St. Faustina His pleasure when souls have faith. He said:

What you see in reality, these souls see through faith. Oh, how pleasing to Me is their great faith! You see, although there appears to be no trace of life in Me, in reality it is present in its fullness in each and every Host. But for Me to be able to act upon a soul, the soul must have faith. O how pleasing to Me is living faith! (Diary, 1420).

Let us pray for one another, that we all might have living faith. Living faith not only guides us along this journey toward Heaven, it consoles the Heart of Jesus. He told St. Faustina that devout and faithful souls brought Him consolation on the Way of the Cross, and that they were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness (see Diary, 1214). Lord, increase our faith!

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