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Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska


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United in Prayer with St. Faustina

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This month, on Feb. 21-24, Pope Francis will meet in Rome with all the presidents of the Catholic bishops' conferences of the world to discuss the issue of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. They need our prayers.

Praying for priests (and praying for bishops and our Holy Father), is a practice that St. Faustina took seriously. Therefore, we Friends of Mercy should follow her example. As we prepare for the Lenten season, which begins on March 6, let's offer our prayers and sacrifices for all clergy. Saint Faustina once recorded in her Diary:

I have offered this day for priests. I have suffered more today than ever before, both interiorly and exteriorly. I did not know it was possible to suffer so much in one day. I tried to make a Holy Hour, in the course of which my spirit had a taste of the bitterness of the Garden of Gethsemane. I am fighting alone, supported by His arm, against all the difficulties that face me like unassailable walls. But I trust in the power of His name and I fear nothing (823).

This excerpt may make praying and offering sacrifices for priests sound like a daunting task — one that might require more suffering than we're accustomed to, as St. Faustina herself experienced. This is coming from a woman who was ridiculed for her poverty and lack of education, suffered tuberculosis of the intestines, and was persecuted for her "peculiar nature" (which was really her experiencing mystical visions of Jesus). Praying for priests gave her a taste of the bitterness of Jesus' agony in the Garden, where even Jesus said that His soul was "sorrowful, even to death." He said, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will" (Mt 26:38-39).

Yet St. Faustina, like Jesus, trusted in our Heavenly Father and His will. She confidently wrote that she was supported by His arm, trusted in the power of His name, and feared nothing, so she continued to offer herself in prayer and sacrifices for priests.

We are called to the same heroic virtue. That may sound like a lot, and perhaps you may feel like you're incapable of making any difference in the Church today, with all of the crisis going on, but you have the same Holy Spirit within you as Jesus and St. Faustina did. Saint Faustina may have felt like she was fighting alone, but you most certainly should not feel that way. Saint Faustina fights from Heaven with you, and we, Friends of Mercy, can unite together in our prayers for priests and the Church.

But why should we offer our sufferings for clergy when some of them have caused so much suffering for the Church? Well, because we are the Body of Christ. When one suffers, we all suffer. Vice versa, when one prays and makes offerings on behalf of the Church, we all benefit. We all have a role to play in this pilgrimage home to Heaven. It's not every man for himself.

Jesus Himself has said that at the end of time we will be judged according to what we did for the least of these (see Mt 25). Are not those who have caused harm to the Church among the least of these — as their souls are in the most danger? For the sake of Christ and His Church, we join together in prayer as our Holy Father meets with bishops from around the world to work towards healing wounds and preventing further horrific crimes from ever happening again.

To finish, we are all in need of God's mercy. And we, as Divine Mercy devotees, have taken Jesus' words to St. Faustina to heart many times: "The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy" (Diary, 723). Let us take those words to heart once again and commit ourselves to praying for our Church in this time of great need.

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